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The Morality Thread - How evil are your Kindred?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

    Yes, they're humans called vampires.

    And before you say all the superpowers make them not human, almost all of them can be done by humans called mages.

    And every human being can become that.
    Yes every human can shed their nature to become mage, like a wasp bursting from the caterpillar it was implanted into

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    • #32
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

      Eh, I don't think my game would be interesting without the other side represented. The confusion is where the drama exists.
      We differ fundamentally on who the 'other side's are, and the worth of pretending to be human.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Taggie View Post

        We differ fundamentally on who the 'other side's are, and the worth of pretending to be human.
        I think that if you provide an answer rather than let PCs work it out for themselves that you've done a poor job as an ST.

        Originally posted by Taggie View Post

        Yes every human can shed their nature to become mage, like a wasp bursting from the caterpillar it was implanted into
        Literally, that is the premise of Mass Ascension and the goal of every faction.

        Similarly, most vampires can't actually handle being a vampire. You can be a vampire and live long by either being very human or very inhuman but rarely do fence sitters survive.


        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

          I think that if you provide an answer rather than let PCs work it out for themselves that you've done a poor job as an ST.
          So you allow Paths of Enlightenment and their Virtues to remove the Tenets system completely? (Because I have playtested them as Tenets, and they do not work.) And you don't let PCs know the basic assumptions of the Chronicle? Because I have never enjoyed an Anarchs game in over 20 years, the closest was Autarkis at points during the Giovanni Chronicles.

          To me the 'other side' is the Anarchs and Cam. They may even be the enemy, but that might be the other Packs, depending.
          Last edited by Taggie; 09-19-2020, 04:41 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

            Yes, they're humans called vampires.

            And before you say all the superpowers make them not human, almost all of them can be done by humans called mages.

            And every human being can become that.
            even mages have a name for humans...sleepers


            -

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Taggie View Post

              So you allow Paths of Enlightenment and their Virtues to remove the Tenets system completely? (Because I have playtested them as Tenets, and they do not work.) And you don't let PCs know the basic assumptions of the Chronicle? Because I have never enjoyed an Anarchs game in over 20 years, the closest was Autarkis at points during the Giovanni Chronicles.

              To me the 'other side' is the Anarchs and Cam. They may even be the enemy, but that might be the other Packs, depending.
              I actually don't use either system. I find the system the least important part of the game and rarely bother with doing anything more than keep a vague track of Humanity and Path scores when running games. I generally run a bit like Jason Carl in that the system is there but I only call for rolls at dramatically important time.

              How do I run morality in V5? I ask the players to describe their Morality System and then make a score of it. Then if they violate that morality then they lose a point. Sometimes if dramatically appropriate, I let them gain a point.

              It's more or less identical to the way I ran Paths, Roads, and Humanity.

              Roads and Paths are not something to mechanize anymore than you should care about Alignment in D&D.


              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                I actually don't use either system. I find the system the least important part of the game and rarely bother with doing anything more than keep a vague track of Humanity and Path scores when running games. I generally run a bit like Jason Carl in that the system is there but I only call for rolls at dramatically important time.

                How do I run morality in V5? I ask the players to describe their Morality System and then make a score of it. Then if they violate that morality then they lose a point. Sometimes if dramatically appropriate, I let them gain a point.

                It's more or less identical to the way I ran Paths, Roads, and Humanity.

                Roads and Paths are not something to mechanize anymore than you should care about Alignment in D&D.
                Ah I am way more simulationist than that, I find it really helps to seperate character ability from player ability, especially when the shy player wants to play a charismatic or charming character, or the natural salesman the charmless thug.

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                • #38
                  pretty evil, but never irrationally evil

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                  • #39

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                    • #40
                      The problem is that evil is more or less a meaningless concept. One groups Hero/Rebel is another groups Terrorist/Criminal and thus evil comes down to if the individual or group is working towards a goal you agree with.

                      In TV shows like Burn Notice, Leverage, and Person of Interest, the "good guys" routinely manipulate the "bad guys" into defeating themselves, often with lethal results. Conversely in the Hannibal tv series we often see that Hannibal manipulates things from the shadows for no greater good than his own amusement and curiosity. Then you have the hybrid 2013 tv series of Dracula which tried to have Dracula be a sympathetic figure who is trying to take on a corrupt secret society by being essentially as bad as they are, all the while claiming the moral high ground.

                      In the gaming groups I used to run with the characters were more or less the types that killed when required to survive or advance their plans. But needless killing was boring and tended to be viewed as sloppy. Not unlike the Kindred of the East take on how to behave actually, but we generally played V:tM.

                      Considering the body counts that some game groups can produce it might be a good idea to try to classify players as serial killer types, rather than inherently good vs. evil in nature. Most of the players in my groups tended to fall into the "mission based killer" archetype. They have a job or mission to carry out and if you get in the way they may kill you or they may ignore you based on the mission requirements. I suspect this is a more common response in Players if only because the way the game mechanics are designed, they support a win/fail state of play, thus the group will try to win the game. Thankfully the number of players who had personal issues where they wanted to experiment with behaviors that would fall under other killer types were rare.

                      In a strange twist I have to admit that one of the lowest body count games I played in was an all Assamite coterie game. Each character was a specialist in a different form of killing, be it at range, melee, poisons, accidents, etc. But since they were only paid to kill the main target, there was no incentive to Rambo their way through dozens or hundreds of body guards.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Thoth View Post
                        The problem is that evil is more or less a meaningless concept. One groups Hero/Rebel is another groups Terrorist/Criminal and thus evil comes down to if the individual or group is working towards a goal you agree with.
                        It's a meaningless concept unless you believe that someone ascribing meaning to it counts. In which case it becomes ALL meaning.

                        Just because it's only your conception of good and evil doesn't make it any less valuable because you're the only head that matters. Its the one under your control.


                        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          It's a meaningless concept unless you believe that someone ascribing meaning to it counts. In which case it becomes ALL meaning.

                          Just because it's only your conception of good and evil doesn't make it any less valuable because you're the only head that matters. Its the one under your control.

                          Anyone can believe anything, but it doesn't matter unless they have the power to influence others to make those beliefs count.

                          For example if a moderator bans some one for bringing up a given topic, it doesn't matter if the Moderator was righteously upholding the rules or suppressing free speech in an evil way. It only matters in the end that the moderator had the power and chose to use it. The morality of a given action tends to be retroactively filled in hindsight with justifications or excuses. Kind of like how historical figures go through waves of revisionism based upon which political or moral view is currently in public favor.

                          Now if you want to get into a discussion about validating other peoples views, that opens up a completely different can of worms due to the motivation of why you validate them. For some people they can not conceive of not validating everyone. For other people you validate other peoples views only so far as to understand their mental limitations and how to manipulate them. But then that gets compounded by what they choose to do if anything with that insight. Then you have people that don't have enough coffee in their systems to care one way or another.

                          Sadly a lot of people tend to knee jerk react to buzz words like "good" or "evil" without ever really questioning what makes them fall into those categories. It wouldn't be far off to suggest that many aspects of "morality" are like loot boxes in modern video games, you are told repeatedly that you want the stuff in the loot boxes to the point that you sink untold hours and or huge amounts of currency into pursuing the contents, but along the way few people want to ask if they should really be playing the game at all, let alone if the loot boxes are worth it.

                          To be clear, I agree with the OP that there is no right answer to this concept. But I do point to the fact that since there is no right answer, the concepts of "good/evil" can't be taken as absolute values, especially since the collective views on such things change over time and is so dependent on context.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Thoth View Post


                            Anyone can believe anything, but it doesn't matter unless they have the power to influence others to make those beliefs count.
                            At the very least everyone has the ability to make their beliefs count for themselves.

                            A Malkavian may believe a Stop Sign talks to him and his TV but if that guy slaughters the Prince of Los Angeles, he's made his ridiculous beliefs count.

                            Certainly despite its immaterialness, good vs. evil has an enormous impact on Kindred society as it defines, "What do I believe? What will I do? What won't I do? How far do I hold the Beast at bay."

                            But that's just my two cents.

                            Also, it certainly DOES influence how groups like the Anarchs fight the Camarilla as they are NOT the good guys but they certainly believe they are.

                            My .02.


                            Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                              At the very least everyone has the ability to make their beliefs count for themselves.

                              A Malkavian may believe a Stop Sign talks to him and his TV but if that guy slaughters the Prince of Los Angeles, he's made his ridiculous beliefs count.

                              Certainly despite its immaterialness, good vs. evil has an enormous impact on Kindred society as it defines, "What do I believe? What will I do? What won't I do? How far do I hold the Beast at bay."

                              But that's just my two cents.

                              Also, it certainly DOES influence how groups like the Anarchs fight the Camarilla as they are NOT the good guys but they certainly believe they are.

                              My .02.
                              Fair enough.

                              Though the Malkavian concept does bring up an interesting parallel. Most societies agree that love is a good thing, But if the individual is suffering from Erotomania that "good" thing called love drives the individual to extreme behaviors that can create a lot of "evil". We as a society find the results of this behavior abhorrent, thus classify it as a mental disorder, allowing us to maintain a clean distinction between good and evil, regardless of the hair we end up splitting to make it work.

                              In regards to the anarchs, they have always struck me as individuals who think in binary terms. In the early days of television and movies there were a lot of westerns made. Due to poor image quality and the black and white film stock, people making the shows started using visual short hand to assist the audience follow what was happening on screen. The hero would wear a white cowboy hat, while the villains wore black cowboy hats. This is where our hacking and character terms of "white hat or black hat" come from.

                              The anarchs are the type of people who look in the mirror and say "since I am not wearing a black hat, I can't be a bad guy, thus since I am not a bad guy, I must be a good guy". Completely ignoring the flaw in the thinking that an absence of obvious evil means a default state of grace. This lack of awareness is shown by the character of Charlette Richards in the Lucifer series when she says "why would I go to hell, I pay my taxes and I work hard" while simultaneously ensuring murderers escape justice.

                              But in theory if we agree that an absence of obvious evil does not make one good, then an absence of an obvious good does not make one evil either.

                              Once we start down this particular rabbit hole of thought, then we have to start taking into account things like virtue signalling and societal good vs. the individual good.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                                Broadly speaking, I think you can divide characters into five "morality ratings."

                                Good guy vampires.

                                Average guy vampires.

                                Jerks.

                                Assholes.

                                Monsters.
                                I like this. I like this enough that I'm going to steal it and save me the work of describing things.

                                I went through my NPC portfolio for my game, and here's where the breakdown was, by clan:

                                BRUJAH:
                                Good Guys: 2
                                Average Guys: 9
                                Jerks: 3
                                Assholes: 6
                                Monsters: 1

                                GANGREL:
                                Good Guys: 0
                                Average Guys: 3
                                Jerks: 3
                                Assholes: 4
                                Monsters: 0

                                MALKAVIANS:
                                Good Guys: 1
                                Average Guys: 2
                                Jerks: 3
                                Assholes: 3
                                Monsters: 2

                                NOSFERATU:
                                Good Guys: 3
                                Average Guys: 2
                                Jerks: 4
                                Assholes: 4
                                Monsters: 0

                                TOREADOR:
                                Good Guys: 1
                                Average Guys: 5
                                Jerks: 7
                                Assholes: 4
                                Monsters: 0

                                TREMERE:
                                Good Guys: 1
                                Average Guys: 5
                                Jerks: 5
                                Assholes: 5
                                Monsters: 0

                                VENTRUE:
                                Good Guys: 2
                                Average Guys: 7
                                Jerks: 5
                                Assholes: 7
                                Monsters: 1

                                TOTALS:
                                Good Guys: 10
                                Average Guys: 33
                                Jerks: 30
                                Assholes: 33
                                Monsters: 4

                                Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                                Chronicle Ratings
                                Broadly speaking, I think there is a spectrum that chronicles fall into. Also with one to five dots because hey, it's the WoD.
                                I would have thought I was running a V/20-2e Chronicle based on your description. Maybe I still do, but the fact that my Good Guys outnumber my monsters by more than a factor of two gives me pause. A lot of the moral thematics you describe, though, fit my game to a Tee -- particularly with everything being potentially sinister underneath.

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