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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Koo Rehtorb View Post
    I am perfectly okay with the idea that there's forms of slavery that's lawful neutral aligned, and a good person is perfectly free to engage in neutral practises and still be good. But you're sure making holding that point of view awfully unappealing right now.
    LN with many predicating it towards LE is probably the main tendency of slavery as it existed in the real world. In a fantasy setting though, we can pretty much build it however we like.
    In point of fact, in the forgotten realms setting mortals are virtually slaves to the gods because of the whole wall of the faithless thing. Being able to change your master does not mean you don't have a master.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    LN with many predicating it towards LE is probably the main tendency of slavery as it existed in the real world. In a fantasy setting though, we can pretty much build it however we like.
    In point of fact, in the forgotten realms setting mortals are virtually slaves to the gods because of the whole wall of the faithless thing. Being able to change your master does not mean you don't have a master.
    I try to be vague at this, but we also have systems in place in RL the enforce some things and could be considered "slavery", but are genuinely agreeable with a deontologist stance.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    The institution can be considered Evil, and the acts associated with the institution evil, without making everyone involved Evil-aligned.

    After all, it's the preponderance of acts as a whole (combined with attitude/outlook) that help determine a character's alignment - not one single act.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-05-31 at 04:22 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    Given most nations in history are guilty of it at some point, I find this belief that "everyone who has ever participated in or condoned slaver is evil" to be horribly uneducated. You are basically saying "my ancestors were evil."
    If you're not able to step back and say "some of the things my ancestors did were wrong" that's a pretty disturbing character flaw for you to have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    1: Spread of DNA. In a world where the primary means of travel is on foot or with horses, the radius you have access to is extremely limited. Inbreeding was a major problem since traveling to find a mate was very difficult. Slaves generally came from afar, and their use for sex produced sources for a new influx of dna. The world would actually be MUCH worse off if slavery had never been a thing.
    To be fair, nowadays such is no longer the case. This benefit is better achieved through the massive strides in transportation. But we aren't talking about modern worlds are we?
    This is a justification of rape, plain and simple. You are saying that rape was justified or at the very least has a net benefit. Sex slaves did not, and in parts of the world today do not, have the right to say no. Aside from that, we didn't inbred ourselves to death in the Middle Ages when slavery was greatly curtailed in most of Europe, even after the black death, which would suggest we didn't need to import women as property.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    2: Labor source. We can argue whether or not using slave labor is a good or bad thing but the results are irrefutable. Many things would never have been built without it, and much progress was fueled by slave labor that would never have been possible without it. Is it evil to realize that fact and, despite misgivings about the nature of slavery, understand that the people at large are greatly benefitting from what the slaves are doing?
    Slavery is actually terrible for the economy outside of slave owners. An enormous portion of the potential labor force is (literally) tied up in one place instead of fluidly moving to were the demand is. People could have been gainfully employed with the same, or better, results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    3: In many cases, the lot of slaves ended up IMPROVING after becoming slaves. Many slaves were sold by their own countrymen. They were the poor and disenfranchised... many of whom would have starved otherwise. In some cases it was even voluntary.
    And the life of many others because worse when soldiers came, killed their fathers or husbands and dragged them off to be worked, or raped, till they died.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    Yeah, slavery is awful for those who experienced it. But the benefits to others were astronomical. We would not be here where we are today without it. We understand now that there are better alternatives, but did they back then? No.
    So condemning it as evil is a bit dismissive of the role it played in making our world what it is today. Not everyone who participated in it was evil... pretty sure not every person who went to the colleseum was evil, pretty sure not everyone who owned a slave was evil and also pretty sure not everyone who supported it was evil. To claim it so is to generalize most of the people in history as evil.
    Even if we say that your "benefits of slavery" were actually beneficial, and there's nothing to suggest that. That doesn't make the act any less wrong. Certain horrific experiments were carried up during the period of WWII, and those experiments provided data that was later applied the development of beneficial technology. That does not retroactively make crimes against humanity acceptable. Wrongdoing should always be condemned.
    Last edited by War_lord; 2018-05-31 at 04:33 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Bottom line, slavery is inherently evil. Period. As it is a matter of control over someone else and lowers that person to a mere piece of property, stripping them of free will etc. This is why slavery is evil and why there were modules written where PCs destroy slave owners.
    Last edited by parryhotter; 2018-05-31 at 04:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Here's how you can defo have it "good"

    1: when enslaving enemies, you see it as giving them better lives under your richer nation and better culture, and a good deal of them eventually see it that way. They are safer, and have better access to resources than they did prior.

    2: When enslaving criminals, you see it as a redeeming service; they give back to society where once they took. This also frees up law abiders for higher pursuits (Artistic, Scholarly, Mercantile) while giving temporary criminals skills and connections for lawful endevours after the sentence, benefiting society as a whole, especially in the long run.

    3: Voluntary slavery is a good way to pay debts that cannot otherwise be paid.

    4: slavery is well regulated and slaves do have certain rights.

    5: you may believe that Society is greater and more important than the individual.
    Last edited by The Jack; 2018-05-31 at 04:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Believing you're doing a self serving thing for selfless does not somehow make it good. The triangle trade was justified as a civilizing mission. The Magdalene laundries in Ireland were justified as saving "fallen women". As it turns out, people who do evil things are fantastic at coming up with self serving justifications for greed.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Yeah, I think the only way it makes sense is if you picture Yeenoghu spreading his taint over every gnoll.

    Go ahead and imagine that.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    If you're not able to step back and say "some of the things my ancestors did were wrong" that's a pretty disturbing character flaw for you to have.



    This is a justification of rape, plain and simple. You are saying that rape was justified or at the very least has a net benefit. Sex slaves did not, and in parts of the world today do not, have the right to say no. Aside from that, we didn't inbred ourselves to death in the Middle Ages when slavery was greatly curtailed in most of Europe, even after the black death, which would suggest we didn't need to import women as property.



    Slavery is actually terrible for the economy outside of slave owners. An enormous portion of the potential labor force is (literally) tied up in one place instead of fluidly moving to were the demand is. People could have been gainfully employed with the same, or better, results.



    And the life of many others because worse when soldiers came, killed their fathers or husbands and dragged them off to be worked, or raped, till they died.



    Even if we say that your "benefits of slavery" were actually beneficial, and there's nothing to suggest that. That doesn't make the act any less wrong. Certain horrific experiments were carried up during the period of WWII, and those experiments provided data that was later applied the development of beneficial technology. That does not retroactively make crimes against humanity acceptable. Wrongdoing should always be condemned.
    Oh, I can admit some of the things my ancestors did may or may not have been wrong... But being wrong and being evil are two completely different things. In order to judge something as evil, we have to look at it objectively and judge things within the context that existed at the time.

    It's all well and good to say "slavery is wrong," but for thousands of years it was utilized on every single continent. So to them, it wasn't wrong, it was a fact of life. Very few wanted to BE one, but many, maybe even most, wanted to HAVE one. Call it ignorance, call it short sightedness... but evil?
    I am just extremely hesitant to call the majority of historical mankind evil. That's all I am trying to say.

    Your point about the middle ages is flawed. Yes, the absence of slavery did not deplete the population... no one said it did. What it DID do was decrease VARIETY. During the middle ages, it was, if I recall correctly, estimated that fully 75% of marriages were between cousins. Now, cousin marriages in a single (I believe that statistic was from Romania) generation has little effect, but compounded over several generations it has a serious impact. Decreased intelligence, birth defects, still births... numerous issues can be attributed to the massive rate of cousin marriages. Royal families, in particular, were massively susceptible to it.
    So yes, imported slaves most definitely had a positive impact in that regard.
    Edit:
    As for "condoning rape," saying in a historical context that both wartime rape and sexual slavery helped perform a needed, but now outdated, function of diversifying the human gene pool is not condoning modern rape.
    Last edited by Calthropstu; 2018-05-31 at 05:29 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    I've no problem with saying that the majority of historical people have committed evil acts, even if they aren't "evil-aligned by D&D standards".

    Neutral means "mix of good and evil", mostly, not "has never committed an evil act nor a good one".


    D&D is significantly more "enlightened" than real medieval societies, and depending on the setting, 30% percent of the population may still qualify as evil by D&D standards. A medieval (or earlier) society would likely have an even higher percentage than that. Perhaps not the majority - but a very large minority - maybe close to 50%.
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Some were treated well.

    Others were worked to death in the silver mines, or put into a big bronze bull statue and baked alive specifically for the entertainment value of their dying screams.

    Slavery certainly got nastier after the invention of racism, but it would be difficult to find a time & place where slavery was unequivocally nice.
    To your first point yes - in real life whipping was the iconic emblem of slavery both ancient and modern. It would be pointless to try to adjudicate a brutality contest between two horribly brutal systems, but it is correct and necessary to point out that like modern slavery classical slavery was founded on the whip.

    To your second point, the early moderns invented fewer ideas than they are generally credited with, for good or ill. I think the marriage of slavery and prejudice was probably never a new thing under the sun. Like the moderns, the ancients either justified slave systems based on odious theories of racial superiority and inferiority (Greeks) or arrived at the same place from the opposite direction (Romans, who mostly rejected Aristotelian theories of "natural" slave races but didn't in the least let that stop them from piling up demeaning servile stereotypes).

    A slave society can work without specifically race-based prejudice, but then the need of a slave society for prejudice will just be filled by some other form of prejudice.

    (Or as Mouritsen wrote of the Roman system, "The Roman construction of the slave as morally deficient and dishonoured was in no sense original, but can be found in most slave societies. It may reflect a common, perhaps even universal, tendency of rulers and masters to despise their subjects for their very servility and submission.")

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

    Swinging back around to the original question of the thread, the platonic form of slavery is Lawful Evil (and it is worth noting that tihs is Pathfinder/Golarion, where the god of slavery is also the god who stands for Lawful Evilness in its own right). That is not to say that every person who has the least bit to do with a slave society is LE, but that participating in such a society is an influence towards L and especially E in their lives. Participating in such a society makes it harder to be Good or Neutral, and the more deeply involved in the slave system you are, the harderer ( ) it is.

    It's morally corrosive - like a current tugging you towards evil, so you have to work to stand still and work even harder to get Good. Not impossible, especially if you stay in the metaphorical shallow water, which in this case represents the limited superficial engagement with the slave system that the OP outlines.

    Characters are allowed to hold some beliefs that don't fit their overall alignment. Maybe even for the long term. Your character might go through the campaign never having their shallowly founded ideas of slavery challenged with respect to their good alignment, which is OK.

    But it is worth thinking about what might happen if you have a crisis of conscience (as an aside, when I think crisis of conscience over slavery, I think de las Casas). Such a thing might be caused by reflection, by learning more, or even by a sudden external event thrusting you into the deep end. What would you do if a desperate slave with a cut up back pounds on your door some night and begs for sanctuary, and you face a sudden choice between your good alignment and your belief that slavery is just? Will you come down on the side of a good alignment and turn against the slave system (de las Casas did)? Even if doing so risks alienating family, friends, your peers in the nobility? Will you refuse to help, and tell yourself that it's his fault, if slaves would just do what they're told their masters wouldn't have to beat them (plenty of his fellow encomenderos went this way, and I expect that for any of these who were originally decent people, that increasingly compromised good alignment didn't last long at all)? Will you try to compromise and kick the crisis of conscience down the road, maybe trying to help this one slave but telling yourself it's just an isolated case of a bad egg for a master in an otherwise decent system? Might you ask for advice, or struggle with indecision until someone else steps in? Maybe all of these and more are possibilities depending on how your character grows, the influence of other PCs for good or ill, etc.?

    One of the engaging parts of roleplaying characters with potentially conflicted morals and beliefs is thinking through the future of those conflicts, how the beliefs or indeed the morals might strengthen or collapse or simply change a little under the pressure of new ideas, information, or situations.
    Last edited by Kader; 2018-07-04 at 03:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Kader View Post
    To your first point yes - in real life whipping was the iconic emblem of slavery both ancient and modern. It would be pointless to try to adjudicate a brutality contest between two horribly brutal systems, but it is correct and necessary to point out that like modern slavery classical slavery was founded on the whip.
    Whipping was also an iconic emblem of disciplinary measures of regular armies of free men. That alone says nothing
    To your second point, the early moderns invented fewer ideas than they are generally credited with, for good or ill. I think the marriage of slavery and prejudice was probably never a new thing under the sun. Like the moderns, the ancients either justified slave systems based on odious theories of racial superiority and inferiority (Greeks) or arrived at the same place from the opposite direction (Romans, who mostly rejected Aristotelian theories of "natural" slave races but didn't in the least let that stop them from piling up demeaning servile stereotypes).
    prejudice is as old as humans. But slavery tied to racism is indeed a modern invention that somehow became necessary because the idea of human rights got traction but somehow those should not apply to everyone.

    In ancient times slaves are mostly prisoners of war and just a thing that happened to the losing side, just like the regular pillaging. It just made the booty a big bigger but mostly it also made sure that the losers would not come next year for the revenge. Before slavery as war consequence became widespread, we have mostly massacres instead and they still happened often when later when it was not possble to take war prisoners as slaves for logistical reason and they couldn't be ransomed.

    A slave society can work without specifically race-based prejudice, but then the need of a slave society for prejudice will just be filled by some other form of prejudice.
    Slave societies without race based prejudices were the norm, not the exception.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    That alone says nothing.
    It does say something - it is a marker of an objectively brutal system whether or not it there are also other objectively brutal systems in history. But especially so when whipping is so ubiquitous that it becomes emblematic of the institution itself, as it did of slavery but never did of the legions or the phalanx.

    In ancient times slaves are mostly prisoners of war and just a thing that happened to the losing side, just like the regular pillaging. It just made the booty a big bigger but mostly it also made sure that the losers would not come next year for the revenge. Before slavery as war consequence became widespread, we have mostly massacres instead and they still happened often when later when it was not possble to take war prisoners as slaves for logistical reason and they couldn't be ransomed.
    This is the common ancient justification for slavery. That said, don't uncritically accept their justifications as objective fact. In particular don't accept that most slaves actually were prisoners of war. Quoting Harper, p. 8,

    By the 1980s the case for emphasizing capital in the causal framework of slavery was gaining momentum. The death knell for the conquest thesis quickly followed, as for the first time research turned to ask the primary question of whether or not conquest even could have produced a slave system on the Roman scale. The answer has been a resounding "no," which continues to echo through the discussion.
    Also I caution against imagining enslavement or massacre as a binary choice even in the minority of cases when the slaves really were prisoners of war ("If we didn't enslave them, we'd have to kill them!"). The ancient ideology was not that the victor had the choice between killing and enslaving, but rather that he had the choice between killing and anything he pleased. Make them slaves. Confiscate their weapons and kick them out of your territory. Depose the leaders and install friendly ones. Demolish their town walls so that they don't feel safe defying you again. Extract a bunch of tribute and go home. Extract a bunch of tribute and come back for more in a few years. Take hostages to ensure good behavior. Install a garrison and collect taxes. Uproot the populace and settle them in a different region where they'll be distant from friends, surrounded by strangers, and become dependent on you for protection in the unfamiliar setting. Make the defeated leaders bow to you and then have them govern their people as your vassals. Etc. etc.

    After a victory slavery was never the only, or even the only pragmatic, alternative to massacre. Just one of countless options for dealing with the defeated. And it wasn't the go-to option when victors wanted to be merciful, but was when they wanted to be cruel (or punitive, greedy, etc.). For example, contrast the Roman victory in the Latin War (after which they incorporated the Latins into the state and granted them a set of limited citizenship rights) with the Roman victory in the Third Punic War against Carthage (after which they enslaved everyone left in the city and burned it to the ground).

    Slave societies without race based prejudices were the norm, not the exception.
    I recommend wariness here also. This statement is more broad than is defensible even for societies that didn't limit slavery to certain races (such as Rome). But what I meant was that I think you end up at prejudice against slaves as a necessary, emergent feature of a slave society, whether you ground that prejudice in "scientific" racial theories or a less pseudoscientific, more cultural approach as e.g. the Romans. Many paths to the same place.

    Unlike my first post this is more strictly a derail since it doesn't discuss the OP's question, so I'll cut myself off here and point to a few good contemporary sources instead.

    Spoiler
    Show

    Harper's Slavery in the Late Roman World, particularly chapters:
    2 - The endless river: the supply and trade of slaves (As it says on the tin)
    5 - Semper timere: the aims and techniques of domination (A good treatment of the volatile mix of reward and violence)
    7 - Sex, status, and social reproduction (An argument that slavery lay at the heart of ancient sexuality)
    11 - The community of honor - the state and sexuality (Late antique developments, Constantine's reforms and what were effectively anti-miscegenation laws, etc.)

    Mouritsen's The Freedman in the Roman World, particularly chapter:
    2 - Macula servitutis - the stain of slavery (A good treatment of the stigma associated with ancient (Roman) slavery, especially the discussion starting on p. 17)

    Mouritsen also touches on social mores, and later laws, against miscegenation (with regard to freedmen and freeborn women, which is always the pairing that slave societies are touchiest about) on pp. 50-51, much more briefly than Harper.
    Last edited by Kader; 2018-07-04 at 02:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    I could have sworn that one of Pathfinder's Lawful Good or Neutral Good deities, I keep thinking Iomedae or Sarenrae, actually condoned enslaving your defeated foes, I believe the notion was that putting them to work rather than putting them to the sword ment they had a more chances to turn over a new leaf.


    This was waaaay back in the first Pathfinder Campaign setting book, the one that came out before the actual Pathfinder core rules (which I suppose ment it was technically a third party 3.5 D&D book) so it's possible that's been retconned. And even if it's not putting the surviving orcs(or whatever) to work as a way to have them make up for all the marauding they had been doing is a bit different than "normal" slavery anyhow. But still seems at least a little relevant.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Slavery is entirely on the law vs chaos spectrum, not good vs evil. It is entirely possible to have LG societies with slavery, though there would have to be strict regulations about the treatment of slaves, probably to the point that they are better off than the general populace. This would undermine the greatest advantage of slave labor, so it is unlikely that such a society started as LG. More likely would be a society where the sentiment shifted against slavery, imposing stricter laws until the slaves were so well off that they started arguing against ending it completely.

    On a smaller scale, a LG slave owner in a LN/LE society might own people as slaves because it protects the slaves from other people harassing them.

    That said, the country in question is not such a society.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    I wrote an essay on the morality of slavery for one of my campaigns that tried to reconcile its ubiquitous nature with our modern feelings on it.

    Here's the link:
    http://gurutama.wikia.com/wiki/Slavery

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Her goodness will show in how she reacts to how slaves are treated. She can respect the legal institution of owning the exclusive right to the individual's labor, viewing it as little different than a contract for a single task. She would likely view it much as we view employees today. Just... longer term and with stricter contracts. Slaves refusing to work are cheating their masters, since their master already paid for that labor.

    However, she would likely be horrified that anybody would interpret "owning" a slave as owning their bodies, or their wills, or the right to do anything to the slave that is beyond the contracted duties. Demanding demeaning labors of slaves who are not recalcitrant, cruelty of any sort that is not very carefully restrained to "necessary punishment" (for behaviors which would likely get a free man punished by the law), and any sort of abuse that free men would be allowed to fight back against... that will horrify her to see people engaging in.

    It is highly likely that her LG society is one where "slave" doesn't mean "inhuman property to be disposed of as the master sees fit." Many "slave" concepts were closer to indentured servants or the like, and, while they couldn't just quit, had plenty of legal rights. One owned a contract on their labors, not on their lives and bodies. And slaves had rights. Fewer than peasants, who had fewer than citizens, who likely had fewer than nobility, but rights nonetheless.

    Her goodness, then, shows in how she protects mistreated slaves from cruel masters, and will even go so far as to declare people unworthy masters and seek to rescind their ownership on the basis that they are evil and/or lawbreakers (by her culture's standards) for how they abuse people.

    Consider that abusing an employee is illegal in modern day; she might view abusing slaves in the same light.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Slavery certainly got nastier after the invention of racism
    ...wait, wait... do you honestly think racism was invented with the African/Atlantic slave trade?

    Racism's been around since the first time two tribes with slight family differences met and could tell at a glance to which tribe another person belonged. We talk about "white" and "non-white" nowadays, but not 100 years ago, if you asked two white Europeans (or European-descended Americans) if they were the same race, the Scottsman and the Irishman would be insulted and telling you how they're not like that inferior other one. To this day, Koreans don't like other Asians, and the feeling is mutual. They have tons of stereotypes and slurs they use on each other that would, transliterated, make you think you'd walked into a KKK meeting discussing the neighboring black church.

    Russians for hundreds of years had very negative views of the plains-nomads on the steppes. Two pre-Columbian Amerindian tribes would be horrifically insulted if you told them they were the same, physically, and be able to point out the 'obvious' differences that made the other inferior.

    Racism is nothing new. It wasn't "invented," certainly not after the various famous historical slave cultures. It goes back to pre-Roman times.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Kader View Post
    To your first point yes - in real life whipping was the iconic emblem of slavery both ancient and modern. It would be pointless to try to adjudicate a brutality contest between two horribly brutal systems, but it is correct and necessary to point out that like modern slavery classical slavery was founded on the whip.
    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Whipping was also an iconic emblem of disciplinary measures of regular armies of free men. That alone says nothing.
    Let's not forget, "spare the rod, spoil the child", or the paddle. Corporal punishment has been iconic of multiple industries, including child-rearing

    Quote Originally Posted by Andor13 View Post
    Humans suck.

    I would say someone with a sheltered upbringing could easily be LG, and when confronted with abuse of slaves would have to either try to fight the abuse (directly, if the laws allow such, for example reporting a slave owner for illegal abuses) or seek reforms/abolition if she wishes to remain good, or would slide over to LN if they decides it's just how things are, and at least they aren't being eaten by trolls. Sounds like a good character arc.
    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    It depends on what she encounters in play but i think it would be entirely plausible to see slavery in the outside world and simply come to the conclusion that the way those guys do it is wrong because their cruel, and not look to deeply at her own culture.
    I think it's perfectly reasonable for a good character to view slavery as good - so long as they find certain practices often associated with slavery as abhorrent. And this needn't require her to question her beliefs - just because rape exists, do people generally question whether sex is evil?

    No, I think that the character is fine as lawful good, and, depending on how things play out, possibly even with keeping both her alignment and her beliefs. But that sounds like a great role-playing setup, should those come into conflict.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Lunali View Post
    Slavery is entirely on the law vs chaos spectrum, not good vs evil.
    Um... what?
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Enixon View Post
    I could have sworn that one of Pathfinder's Lawful Good or Neutral Good deities, I keep thinking Iomedae or Sarenrae, actually condoned enslaving your defeated foes, I believe the notion was that putting them to work rather than putting them to the sword ment they had a more chances to turn over a new leaf.
    Sarenrae's clergy on the southern continent of Garund frequently kept and keep slaves, which has more to do with secular culture than religious tenants. Sarenrae does not condone slavery, but seems happy to turn a blind eye to it - something that rubs most other Good deities (especially CG ones) the wrong way.
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Let's not forget, "spare the rod, spoil the child", or the paddle. Corporal punishment has been iconic of multiple industries, including child-rearing





    I think it's perfectly reasonable for a good character to view slavery as good - so long as they find certain practices often associated with slavery as abhorrent. And this needn't require her to question her beliefs - just because rape exists, do people generally question whether sex is evil?

    No, I think that the character is fine as lawful good, and, depending on how things play out, possibly even with keeping both her alignment and her beliefs. But that sounds like a great role-playing setup, should those come into conflict.
    This is really a "define your terms" situation. The words used for the alignments can mean a lot of things in a lot of contexts. In this case, they're particularly asking about Pathfinder, in which those terms are defined fairly specifically in the context of alignments. Under "neutral good", it specifically says these characters find slavery abhorrent and seek to destroy the institution wherever they see it, legal or not. It goes without saying that chaotic good feels even more strongly about it. Lawful good says nothing specifically about slavery, but based on how strongly neutral good (aka "true" good) feels about it, it would be fair to assume that lawful good also feels that slavery in most forms would be unjust. If they lived in a slave-owning society, they would seek to have the laws changed through legal means - by convincing the ruler or legislators or by seeking a government position for themselves and run political campaigns to change the laws. If a lawful good person ever owned or purchased slaves, it would almost certainly only be for the purpose of setting them free.

    Lawful neutral could accept slavery as a legal institution in their society, and could justify enslaving someone as the lawful treatment for prisoners of war and criminals, but I think that the capturing, trading and selling of slaves would always be considered evil, since it is actively oppressing people purely for one's own benefit. A society that depended on institutional slavery for large portions of its economy would necessarily need to employ those evil people to raid for more slaves - so even if you weren't evil yourself, you would need to be turning a blind eye to evil acts (something a neutral person can get away with but not a good person regardless of their law/chaos stance).

    A system wherein "slavery" was only ever either a voluntary condition engaged in order to pay a debt, or a condition of forced and unpaid servitude as a punishment for crime, would be a different matter. If it were imposed by courts following legal codes, and laws protected inhumane treatment of the prisoner/slaves, and it was usually or potentially temporary - that would be a different matter. However, such a society would not be able to use slaves as a major contributor to the economy- there wouldn't be enough of them to do a significant amount of work. It wouldn't be much different than the modern prison system, where convicts are put to work. Some of them are sentenced to life in prison, but most of them are only there for a few years, and the total prison/slave population is never more than a very small percentage of the overall population, probably less than 1%.

    So I would say that if a person was brought up in a slave-owning society, but had been sheltered from the evils of the act of enslavement and the poor treatment of many slaves, she would likely be Lawful Neutral or True Neutral. As this person came to see the evil of it, she would become Good if she decided slavery was wrong and needed to end. She would still be Lawful if she believed that she could create change through legal means, by getting the laws changed somehow to put an end to the evil acts and freeing people who are held against their will unjustly. If she decided this was no longer possible or couldn't tolerate it anymore, and was going to start breaking the law and just start freeing slaves (without buying them or otherwise doing it legally), she would probably shift to Neutral Good.
    Last edited by Thrudd; 2018-07-08 at 12:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    This is really a "define your terms" situation. The words used for the alignments can mean a lot of things in a lot of contexts. In this case, they're particularly asking about Pathfinder, in which those terms are defined fairly specifically in the context of alignments. Under "neutral good", it specifically says these characters find slavery abhorrent and seek to destroy the institution wherever they see it, legal or not. It goes without saying that chaotic good feels even more strongly about it. Lawful good says nothing specifically about slavery, but based on how strongly neutral good (aka "true" good) feels about it, it would be fair to assume that lawful good also feels that slavery in most forms would be unjust. If they lived in a slave-owning society, they would seek to have the laws changed through legal means - by convincing the ruler or legislators or by seeking a government position for themselves and run political campaigns to change the laws. If a lawful good person ever owned or purchased slaves, it would almost certainly only be for the purpose of setting them free.

    Lawful neutral could accept slavery as a legal institution in their society, and could justify enslaving someone as the lawful treatment for prisoners of war and criminals, but I think that the capturing, trading and selling of slaves would always be considered evil, since it is actively oppressing people purely for one's own benefit. A society that depended on institutional slavery for large portions of its economy would necessarily need to employ those evil people to raid for more slaves - so even if you weren't evil yourself, you would need to be turning a blind eye to evil acts (something a neutral person can get away with but not a good person regardless of their law/chaos stance).

    A system wherein "slavery" was only ever either a voluntary condition engaged in order to pay a debt, or a condition of forced and unpaid servitude as a punishment for crime, would be a different matter. If it were imposed by courts following legal codes, and laws protected inhumane treatment of the prisoner/slaves, and it was usually or potentially temporary - that would be a different matter. However, such a society would not be able to use slaves as a major contributor to the economy- there wouldn't be enough of them to do a significant amount of work. It wouldn't be much different than the modern prison system, where convicts are put to work. Some of them are sentenced to life in prison, but most of them are only there for a few years, and the total prison/slave population is never more than a very small percentage of the overall population, probably less than 1%.

    So I would say that if a person was brought up in a slave-owning society, but had been sheltered from the evils of the act of enslavement and the poor treatment of many slaves, she would likely be Lawful Neutral or True Neutral. As this person came to see the evil of it, she would become Good if she decided slavery was wrong and needed to end. She would still be Lawful if she believed that she could create change through legal means, by getting the laws changed somehow to put an end to the evil acts and freeing people who are held against their will unjustly. If she decided this was no longer possible or couldn't tolerate it anymore, and was going to start breaking the law and just start freeing slaves (without buying them or otherwise doing it legally), she would probably shift to Neutral Good.
    Alignment is the worst thing to happen to role-playing in the history of RPGs. There, I said my signature line.

    Is it possible to have a character whose personality generally matches Lawful Good, but, on one particular issue, does not? Yes, fairly clearly, it is.

    In such a case, which of these abhorrent boxes would we put them in? The one that they mostly match? There is general consensus from the Playground that this is the correct answer.

    Make a character with a personality, not a caricature of an alignment. Play that personality to its logical conclusion.

    Play the generally good person who happens to come from a slave state, and has never questioned the potential for slavery to be bad - or maybe even considers it good, especially if one of the slaves has, say, told the story of how, say, selling themselves into slavery to clear their debt and winding up in her family was the best thing that ever happened to them.

    Then, if you encounter slavery that is unlike what you are accustomed to, roleplay your character accordingly. Yes, this is bad, but why is it bad? Are they doing slavery wrong? Are they committing horrors and calling them slavery, slandering slavery's good name? Does slavery inherently lead to abuse, or only when preformed by inferior races (countries, not species)? Or is slavery in general bad? Roleplay your character's reaction based both on their history, and what, specifically, they see.

    And, if they come to accept the evils of slavery, and accept that it is fine, you should maybe change which of the 9 abhorrent boxes you put them in.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Alignment is the worst thing to happen to role-playing in the history of RPGs. There, I said my signature line.

    Is it possible to have a character whose personality generally matches Lawful Good, but, on one particular issue, does not? Yes, fairly clearly, it is.

    In such a case, which of these abhorrent boxes would we put them in? The one that they mostly match? There is general consensus from the Playground that this is the correct answer.
    I understand, and generally agree about alignment, but the game rules are clear that alignment is an actual thing, not subjective or relative to context. There is the option of alignment-less play given, but that's not really what the topic was asking about.

    If the game is being played according to the rules, as it sounds like (not some house rules, not redefining what the alignment words mean), then it is very explicit. Good abhors slavery. So that is one particular issue, the only one so explicitly mentioned (so you know it's important) where it does define your alignment, there's no "almost" or "mostly" there. Yes, you can follow Lawful Good behavior on all other counts, but if you have a blind spot for the evils of slavery you are not technically Good.

    This is apart from the character's own perception of themselves. Many characters believe they are "good", that is allowed. What they think about themselves does not affect the objectively defined alignment the game assigns them. That depends on their true beliefs and behavior as defined by the player. If they truly believe slavery is wrong, they can be Good. If they don't, they are Neutral or Evil. To say otherwise is to propose an amendment to the Pathfinder rules regarding alignment, and ask whatever GM to agree to adopt those amendments. So the argument must be framed thus:
    " the official rules say you can't be good. But I believe you should consider using different (or no) alignment rules. You could be considered good according to my proposed changes. Suggest this to your GM."

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I understand, and generally agree about alignment, but the game rules are clear that alignment is an actual thing, not subjective or relative to context. There is the option of alignment-less play given, but that's not really what the topic was asking about.

    If the game is being played according to the rules, as it sounds like (not some house rules, not redefining what the alignment words mean), then it is very explicit. Good abhors slavery. So that is one particular issue, the only one so explicitly mentioned (so you know it's important) where it does define your alignment, there's no "almost" or "mostly" there. Yes, you can follow Lawful Good behavior on all other counts, but if you have a blind spot for the evils of slavery you are not technically Good.

    This is apart from the character's own perception of themselves. Many characters believe they are "good", that is allowed. What they think about themselves does not affect the objectively defined alignment the game assigns them. That depends on their true beliefs and behavior as defined by the player. If they truly believe slavery is wrong, they can be Good. If they don't, they are Neutral or Evil. To say otherwise is to propose an amendment to the Pathfinder rules regarding alignment, and ask whatever GM to agree to adopt those amendments. So the argument must be framed thus:
    " the official rules say you can't be good. But I believe you should consider using different (or no) alignment rules. You could be considered good according to my proposed changes. Suggest this to your GM."
    Good characters can do evil things and stay good and evil characters can do good things and stay evil.

    Alignment are not like paradin rules. You don't lose your alignment if you do a single thing that doesn't fit. Instead you have and keep the alignment that fits your behavior best.. And yes, that means as long as the neutral and evil alignments are a worse fit, you stay good.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Good characters can do evil things and stay good and evil characters can do good things and stay evil.

    Alignment are not like paradin rules. You don't lose your alignment if you do a single thing that doesn't fit. Instead you have and keep the alignment that fits your behavior best.. And yes, that means as long as the neutral and evil alignments are a worse fit, you stay good.
    A persistent belief/attitude is not the same as a single act or a mistake. Believing slavery is tolerable or good is a thing you are "doing" at all times. It's not like you broke a law once. It's more like someone who says they are good but believes it's ok to kill prostitutes. That's just one evil thing, right? They give money to charity and fight for truth and justice all the time, they just have this one thing where they think it is their duty to murder prostitutes. That is "one thing" that makes you evil, regardless of all other behavior and beliefs.

    Also, read the rules for alignments. It literally says Good abhors slavery and always opposes it. That's not an opinion. To say otherwise is to propose new rules (which is fine, but be clear that's what is being talked about). You don't agree with the book definition and want new way to approach alignments. That's fine.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    ...wait, wait... do you honestly think racism was invented with the African/Atlantic slave trade?
    Looks like I didn't say anything like that, so I guess you're just doing a straw-man. Not sure why you'd do that.

    Also, not sure why you think it's okay to talk about real-world politics, but I'm not going to get trolled into that sort of discussion.

    You're making several bad assumptions, and correcting them seems to be against the forum's rules.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    If I learned ANYTHING in my Latin classes, it's that there certainly was a distinction between good slave owners and bad ones. Reality is, slave was a term for all kinds of situations. From captured enemy soldiers that are worked to death to the urban house servants that are living better than the average commoner.

    However playing the "naive noble woman" is about as cliché as slavery being entirely evil and bad-wrong. I'd play her naivete softer. She knows there are good and bad slave owners. But owning or being a slave isn't a objective quality to her, it is simply a permanent employment situation. Now if an owner abuses their slaves, she will step in. But the worst she experienced yet was people throwing undercooked food into their servant's faces. She hasn't witnessed the true horrors that are possible with such an arrangement.
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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Sporeegg View Post
    If I learned ANYTHING in my Latin classes, it's that there certainly was a distinction between good slave owners and bad ones. Reality is, slave was a term for all kinds of situations. From captured enemy soldiers that are worked to death to the urban house servants that are living better than the average commoner.

    However playing the "naive noble woman" is about as cliché as slavery being entirely evil and bad-wrong. I'd play her naivete softer. She knows there are good and bad slave owners. But owning or being a slave isn't a objective quality to her, it is simply a permanent employment situation. Now if an owner abuses their slaves, she will step in. But the worst she experienced yet was people throwing undercooked food into their servant's faces. She hasn't witnessed the true horrors that are possible with such an arrangement.
    Does she somehow not know or never wonder where all these slaves came from? That they were probably free people with their own farms and families just like her until someone raided their town and kidnapped them? Has she never seen slaves being bought and sold and carted around in chains in the forum? Has she never seen children born to slaves being separated from their parents and sold off? Could she really think anyone actually wanted to be a slave, even the well-treated ones in rich families? They are certainly glad they didn't end up in the fields or the mines, but surely she knows they would rather have remained in their own homes with their own families. It is hard to believe an adult who lives in and participates in such a society being that sheltered or naive.
    Unless she is a young child, she understands what slavery is, and has either chosen to accept society's apologies for it (to allow her to turn a blind eye to the necessary evils being comitted), or she believes it is wrong but maybe lacks the power or influence or courage to do anything about it. If she is Pathfinder Good, then at the very least she would start manumutting slaves whenever she had the chance.

    Also, characters with Good alignment believing that slavery is bad and must be stopped does not mean they are necessarily correct all the time or that they can't make the distinction between real slavery and something called "slavery" that actually isn't.

    Also, I'd like to point out that even pedagogues and other house slaves were almost definitely taken into slavery forcibly by conquerors or raiders. They didn't volunteer to be owned by someone. They got lucky and get to live in a rich house, better than most poor free people, but they were still taken against their will, away from families, their homes probably destroyed. There is no "good" or "kind" way to make someone a slave.

    The implication is that Pathfinder alignments are referring to the above as "slavery", something similar to historically known circumstances, and not some minor subset or precisely limited form of servitude that is actually totally just and humane and coincidentally happens to be labelled "slavery".
    Last edited by Thrudd; 2018-07-08 at 10:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    The implication is that Pathfinder alignments are referring to the above as "slavery", something similar to historically known circumstances, and not some minor subset or precisely limited form of servitude that is actually totally just and humane and coincidentally happens to be labelled "slavery".
    I find it hilarious that this is not just an issue of us Playgrounders using our words differently, but of attempting to engineer a character who uses her words differently. "Of course slavery is fine. Whatever this is, it's horrible - but it's not slavery. Slavery is fine."

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    A persistent belief/attitude is not the same as a single act or a mistake.
    Yes, it is even worth less as far as alignment is concerned. How you act upon such a belief is the important thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    Also, characters with Good alignment believing that slavery is bad and must be stopped does not mean they are necessarily correct all the time or that they can't make the distinction between real slavery and something called "slavery" that actually isn't.

    The implication is that Pathfinder alignments are referring to the above as "slavery", something similar to historically known circumstances, and not some minor subset or precisely limited form of servitude that is actually totally just and humane and coincidentally happens to be labelled "slavery".
    "historically known", as if.

    Slavery was a very common thing. But the overwhelming majority of societies which practiced slavery, did not, in fact have a slave based economy. Or some kind vast network of human trafficking to keep the supply running. I am not sure why the very few societies that completely depended on slavery should be the focus and not the many others that didn't.

    Also, I'd like to point out that even pedagogues and other house slaves were almost definitely taken into slavery forcibly by conquerors or raiders. They didn't volunteer to be owned by someone. They got lucky and get to live in a rich house, better than most poor free people, but they were still taken against their will, away from families, their homes probably destroyed. There is no "good" or "kind" way to make someone a slave.
    True for tutors mostly. But not actually true for all kinds of privileged slaves. You will often find arrangements where people do give up their freedom as person in exchange for upward mobility : an education, gear and a lifelong job with privileges. We have so many historical cases of groups that would best be described as "unfree nobles" that this doesn't hold true.

    It is an old idea, really. The old mighty families are always a threat to the rulers. So, how to establishing elite fighters or ministers/ bureaucrats who don't want to change the ruling family ? Take slaves (or other groups of low influence like heathens or orphans or criminal eunuchs or at least the poor). Those could not go for the throne for lack of backing. And they would be loyal and thankful, wouldn't they ?

    Well, often that worked but sometimes even slaves running the gouvernment or being the core of the army proved powerful enough to take over.

    Societies can be complicated. And generalisations are a bad idea.
    It is even difficult to find a clear line about what counts as slave and what is clearly some other kind of unfree people.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2018-07-09 at 01:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Pathfinder: How views on Slavery influences character alignment

    Taking away someone's freedom is Evil. Full stop.

    That said, I can see situations where you could be a Good slaveowner - specifically, cases where slavery was for life with no way of freeing the slaves, and you bought them explicitly to give them a better standard of living, and them proceeded to treat them as if they had rights.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    I've no problem with saying that the majority of historical people have committed evil acts, even if they aren't "evil-aligned by D&D standards".

    Neutral means "mix of good and evil", mostly, not "has never committed an evil act nor a good one".
    Sorta. It's not a cosmic credit card. A neutral person probably does any number of small goods and small evils.

    A single, sufficiently evil act would be enough to make you Evil, without appropriate contrition and redemption. Conversely, it would take a lot of small-good acts without any real Evil, or likely some very strongly Good without any strongly Evil acts to become Good. Murdering orphans on the weekdays but then saving orphans during the week makes you evil, not neutral.

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Good characters can do evil things and stay good and evil characters can do good things and stay evil.
    Absolutely. Though I (as said above) maintain that a single sufficiently Evil act done without remorse or contrition is enough to put you in Evil. Good is a harder road.

    Motivation and circumstance matter, too. Stealing a loaf of bread from a wealthy baker to feed your family after exhausting every other opportunity for work and to find food, having incredible remorse over it, and then paying the baker back when you get money? Evil, yes, but a very minor one. Stealing a loaf of bread from a poor family because you felt a bit peckish? A much larger evil.
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