Talking about moral alignment, and good and evil
I like the way Fable I, II & III handle it.
Personally I will play the saint first time round and then the opposite for the second.
Alignment and morality… Those subjects are so broad that it is hard to find something specific to say.
I’d suggest reading about it on TVTropes, they did a good job at describing both extremes (good and evil), the area in the middle (grey area), the morality that is above good and evil (For immortal or godlike beings), and even the morality that is “so utterly alien and foreign to human experience that we can’t peg them as good or evil” (Blue and Orange morality).
Is there a specific subject that you find particularly interesting when it comes to alignment and morality?
I’m interested in two things
1 How something can be right and good when it comes to morality
2 Also characters that are either good for the sake of being good and the villian that is evil just cause he can.
1 - For me, right and good/wrong and bad are very subjective concepts based heavily on our culture and evolutive process.
There are very few things that are almost universally good or bad, such as killing another human for no reason.
Why do most (if not all) humans see it as a bad thing? Because it would be harder for us to survive if we all just killed eachother all the time. That “philosophy” worked 100.000 years ago, and it still works today.
But religion made things more ambiguous, by having specific “dos and don’ts” for Christianism, Islamism, Buddhism, etc.
I’d say something is good/moral when it has positive outcomes for everyone involved, and bad when there are negative outcomes for someone, but that is a rather generic way of seeing things.
2 - As much as we like to say that having pure good and pure bad characters is bad, it cannot be avoided completely.
Most of the epic literature that created the fantasy genre, centuries later, was based around the battle between good and evil, so it is in our DNA at this point.
A pure good or pure bad character can be interesting if he/she has a personality, a strong reason to do what he/she does, but a cardboard cutout villain or hero can be hard to swallow without a plot that justifies it.
Honestly I think that some villains aren’t truly bad. look as Lex Luthor, whenever aliens attack, he sides with them in case they win, so he can be an advocate for humanity. Bane has fought with batman nearly as much as against him in the comics even taking up the mantle at one point. When it comes to even the most psychotic villains, even they sometimes put down their differences and fight for a greater good, look at Carnage, guy’s a complete psycho, but even he fought alongside Spider-Man at one point.
Well morality depends entirely on the moral code you’re judging something with. If you’re a moral relativist, anything can be judged good or evil without enough thought, but if you subscribe to Kantian philosophy the ultimate good is doing your duty. Both things are wildly different, obviously, and they’re only two of the myriad of moral codes out there, and that’s excluding the fact that most people have their own unique one.
As for characters who are good/evil for the sake of such things: it doesn’t really work for me unless the writer sets up WHY they think good/evil is something they should be doing. If a character, for example, was rescued by a Paladin in the past, they may have devoted their life to good as a way of repaying the debt. If a character was beaten and cheated and just generally tossed aside by life, they may find evil a great way of getting back at the world. But without that kind of basis, it’s cheap and ineffective storytelling to just make someone good/evil outright.
It all seems to be about perspective and information available. What may seem “good” in your eyes and is the right thing to do, might look bad to another. When creating a believable “evil” character I really think you need this in mind. I read an interview with one of the designers of dragon age who followed this Philosophy. Hell, even extremists and terrorists think the same, yet appear crazy and “evil”. Does the age old “end justifies the means” the right way of thinking? Kill one to save a hundred? Although essentially kill that one person is “evil” isn’t let a hundred died make you even more so?
I don’t think either “good” or “evil” exist, it’s too black and white when we live in a world of various shades of grey.
I don’t really like morality bars because I could do something that seems good for evil reasons and vice-versa so I prefer personality bars.
I have to disagree with the people who dislike characters who are good or evil for no reason. There is a point where it gets hammy, but there are many naturally good and naturally horrible people in this world. Not every villain or hero needs a reason for their actions.
About grey areas and morality systems that actually is the one thing I would love to see done well vecause I myself am more of a morally gray person and not because I’m on the fence its just I’m good to some people and “bad” to others so I dislike it when they reward playing pure good or evil because I just don’t connect with that character. If there is one thing I like though it has to be an anti-hero.
Everyone is a morally gray person in the real world. Gandhi was not purely good, and Hitler was not purely bad.
Morally black and white people are only possible in fiction
Oh I believe people do horrible things, but to think there’s no reason why, I find is odd. Although most would not agree with there reasons, it could be something as simple as “they enjoy it” or “for there own amusement”. I think it’s the “why” that makes characters believable/relatable
Good point but even among the morally gray the shades differ and peoples stability and strength when it comes to that moral standpoint for example
You have some people that would never kill and such for me in defence of myself or family then if I have to yeah but even I have things I consider horrible so I think thats why I like a anti hero. I think I just like chaotic good (chaos is key)
Not all “evil” acts are evil in my book. Like in the following example
Say guy A and guy B were somewhat friends and B is obsessed with lady C, so B reveals his plan to kidnap C to A, I think that while A can’t legally beat B within an inch of his life, I wouldn’t say it was evil.
Bahahahaha awesome example. But yes I would agree, that’s why In my first post up more, I played with the idea that there is no “good” or “evil” just information, difference in perspective and various forms of grey
You want to see an example for “grey” area? Watch “How Evil Are You?” where they recreate the Milgram Experiment. I’m pretty sure that’s the episode. I was both shocked and disgusted with humanity. If it’s the right episode only one person flat out refuses to participate.
If you get to watch the whole thing, it goes on to explain that a lot of people who committed horrendous acts against other people in the time of Hitler. They claimed that they “had to to protect loved ones”. That their motives were not bad or that it was better someone else than themselves. Also make sure to watch the part where those participating in the experiment explain their reasons for going along with “orders”.
The best examples come from experience, I’m A, I found out B was a pedophile. The cops just gave him a slap on the wrist and warned C’s parents, that’s it. To be honest I still get mad over that.
It doesn’t justify the experiments on Jews, but some medical advancements were made. Hypothermia treatments, toxology, even parachute limits. (That one was just plain awful, it was more or less “throw them out from different heights, I wanna see where they start to die.”)
I agree that those things done in the time of Hitler were wrong. POW camps and the genocide against Jewish people. People of that time voted him in to “save” their country. Those who did wrong, tried to get out of being held accountable for their actions afterwards. If anyone wants to read about good, bad and all that grey morality, they need not look further than into the history books.
@TechDragon610, that parachute thing is terrible.