The use of death magic and what it means to virtue.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Baron Drocis Fondorlatos, Jan 25, 2017.

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  1. Poor game design

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    I think that's also questionable. Starting with the summoning of a daemon.

    I think the lore would need to be carefully crafted to explain the summoning of outer world creatures as neutral. I don't think that works in our work for undead and deamons though. If you know something is going to show up in the world and randomly attempt to kill everything in site, I don't see how that would be anything but a non-virtuous act.

    In the case of elementals, I think these being purely magical beings that you control, it's like a gun. You have to shoot it so you're responsible for it.

    I know that Chaos and Virtue are not opposed to each other. But Chaos has evil actions in it the same that Order does. Chaos also would have non-virtuous actions in it, because it's chaos. So when someone performs one of those acts, like summoning a daemon, they would be less virtuous in my mind.
     
  2. Jens_T

    Jens_T Avatar

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    Actually that could be the differentiating piece: death force is by its definition destructive and has little other purpose. Elemental magic (or rather the elements) can also be destructive and consuming but have positive / constructive qualities when tempered.
    From that angle the means adds to the end with regards to virtue impact.
     
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    Yeah, here's another real life comparison.

    It's like nuclear energy. It's not evil, it can be used for great good. But a nuclear bomb? That's not something (even in the context of helping to end World War II) that we could call virtuous. Sure it's a tool, but it's a tool used for one thing, destruction and the ending of life.

    In this respect, the way that we have our virtue system set up...the question would be "do you use death magic to kill the other guy or to save yourself?" Well that answer is the same because you can't use death magic to do one or the other...you need some form of life magic to do that.
     
  4. Daxxe Diggler

    Daxxe Diggler Bug Brigade - Bug Hunter

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    I think what Lum was getting at was that casting a fire ball at someone is also "stealing life" even though you are not getting it... you are still taking it from your opponent.

    Any attack spell/skill takes a portion of your opponent's life (hit points) and so by your logic, any attack should give you a virtue hit BDF.
     
  5. Crumpets

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    I have yet to meet a lich that has not been evil so it would be difficult for me to believe that a virtue hit to the path of Love is called for when a death mage summons a lich to fight another evil force. Perhaps points should be awarded for rehabilitation? Am I disturbing the dead? Yes, I am, because that is the one of the skills of my vocation. The skeleton is a tougher call but it could be a LOTRO style undead warrior who is eager to return to the battle - one never knows, Baron. Skeletons may come in many types. Or, it may be the only practical solution in the situation of the moment.
    My character would not consider taking of life as a benefit whose sole purpose is selfish, nor would she consider death magic a selfish discipline. She would consider it the same as any other skill; self defense, protection of others, a means to bring about a greater good and group goals. Those things would be the same no matter what her class and weapon were, I believe. She is a practical person who finds herself in an odd vocation.
    Death mages/necromancers are often played as the worst of the worst, aren't they? Selfish, self-centered, dabbling in the nastiest of bits? Often with some horribly tragic RP background or with nefarious plans for their peers? I hope there is room for those of us who would like to play it not quite so close to the stereotype.
     
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    Yes, I agree that's what Lum was getting at. But as I replied to him, there are inconsistencies if that's the rule we're supposed to be following. Pickpocking being a perfect example. Here we are saying that the act of stealing an item is more important than stealing the life force of something.

    Even if you would regenerate your health full, I doubt you'd feel this was a virtuous act if a stranger came up and starting taking your life force. In fact, I doubt you'd care much about your items during that moment and gladly let them all go as opposed to becoming closer to death while being powerless to stop it.

    Not entirely. You can't use death magic without giving yourself a benefit. None of the other schools work that way.

    You've also failed to mention the summoning of undead, which is important to the story line and directly represented as a bad thing.
     
  7. Poor game design

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    This is not me trying to limit anyone's RP choices. I'm more interested in why death magic is not giving players a virtue hit when it seems so clear to me that it should.

    Just as Davropos is capable of rationalizing it inside the game, so too will players (including me). But outside the game I can't do it, and it feels incomplete or a misapplication of the virtue system. When you pick someone's pocket that's bad virtue, but when you summon a lich that's ok? I don't understand the logic.
     
  8. Crumpets

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    Reviewing your post above, I think I understand what you are saying and could go along with your thought behind the problem with no virtue hit with summoning given what we have been told in game about disturbing the dead (darn I wish I hadn't looted those elves in the opening sequence!); it is about consistency, correct? If the game premise is that disturbing the dead is "wrong" it just is (even for the detestable lich), in the same way stealing always is and will take the hit - even though that is the person's skill and the person may have a compelling reason or quest.

    It would raise some dilemmas - I wonder if getting a hit for that would result in less summoning? More careful consideration of the need to summon? What the heck, throw the gnarled finger bone on the pile and summon anyway? Hmm.

    I am still not as convinced that use of the remainder of the death skills deserve a virtue hit because they grant a benefit by "stealing" life, are therefore inherently selfish, etc. (correct me if I am misunderstanding). All skills in all magic trees grant a benefit of some sort. All skills are used to bring about a desired benefit and/or outcome by the caster (desired benefit/outcome = selfish). We are not to steal items without getting a hit, we know disturbing the dead is frowned upon, but killing enemies by various means has not been on the list of "thou shalt not"s to my knowledge. I don't think my drawing the life out of someone is a worse way to go than getting flamed with a fireball and no more deserving of a virtue hit. I do not consider transfering life with death magic "stealing" in the same sense as picking someone's pocket and taking their item - it is the way I kill. I get the benefit of an increase in life or mana with death magic spells ( or in the case of corpse explosion the fun of massive gore). If I were in another school of magic I would be getting other benefits, either direct or indirect ones.
     
  9. Garfunkel Humperdinck

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    Interesting thoughts in this thread, but this could open Pandora's Box. Clubbing an animal in the head until it is almost dead, forcing a collar on it, and then making it fight mobs while we stand back and watch certainly isn't very loving or courageous. The taming tree would become the pitchfork of evil.:mad:
     
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  10. GreyMouser Skye

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    1) They are thugs and bandits. I mean, you see how they are dressed. Fun aside, some creatures/humanoids are deemed evil therefore it is ok to kill them, right? You cannot use death touch on a good npc, yes? The poor wolves though is another topic.
    2) Death means change in many, many cultures (and tarot). It is not inherently evil, it just changes the state of things.
    3) Nuclear energy is my favorite tool. That giant fusion reaction in the sky keeps me warm. Hmm, maybe sun magic needs a big nuclear blast?
    4) I only borrow life, not stealing. They regenerate fast enough at full strength.


    Good thoughts, but maybe too deep for the lore in this game. But interesting to think about.
     
  11. Lord Aventine

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    This is an interesting thread. Good topic.

    So conversely, would life magic always be virtuous if death magic is not?

    I kinda agree with the opening post. But in the end think it's best left to role playing only with no virtue hit.

    Imagine a player whose character was cursed to walk without his love, slain by a necromancer. And the only way to join her again was the slay the necromancer with valor. But doing so meant becoming the new necromancer. Who then went around summoning skeletons with compassion hoping one would be his lost love whom he could again love and honor Gruesome. But maybe not anti-virtuous. A sacrifice.
     
  12. Vallo Frostbane

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    I was imagining casting certain spells having effect on your virtue, just as summoning demons had in UO.
    I think the game will get a lot more in depth and some things start to make sense and get a purpose once the virtue system is implemented fully.
    That being said, no one really has a clue what its purpose is, so hard to find something factual to look forward to.

    But it would make sense that casting death and stealing etc would make you lose or change alignment towards the virtue.
    Robin Hood still wasn't a saint either.
     
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  13. Lord British

    Lord British Lord British SOTA Developer

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    Very interesting thread, I see a few points worth discussion.
    Also there are "practical" issues at play as well from a "game" standpoint vs purity standpoint.

    1) While I have an affinity for the all schools of magic not be inherently virtuous or not, it could be interesting or appropriate to say "using the Armageddon spell" be anti-virtue as thus could other spells be.
    2) Its an interesting point about "attacking from behind", but conversely, if evil is attacking a friend, shooting evil in the back of the head to stop it, seems justified.
    3) While the concept of a projected morphing Avatar requires something similar to a "soul", I have tried historically to use "spirit" without the word "soul", perhaps we should change that spell.

    FYI - Stealing should hit virtue, and is a good example... will review!

    Thanks all!
    - Richard
     
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  14. Earl Atogrim von Draken

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    What? No!
    Hands of death magic!
    Don't change something that isn't broken just because somebody kicks off a pseudo-philosophical discussion!
     
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  15. Jens_T

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    Thank you for joining Richard.

    It might be the necessary thing to do - but does that make it virtuous? This leads down to the question are you willing to sacrifice somebody/something for your belief of right. In such a situation it would be honourable to face the evil, courageously to do so in a chivalrous way, though it also might be stupid. The idea of situations usually being grey and without a clear and simple solution is what I like about the virtue concept. Most humans (myself included) would chose the smart or even effective choice of backstabbing, but it might not be the virtuous thing.
     
  16. Lord British

    Lord British Lord British SOTA Developer

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    There will be no perfect answers, in Ultima IV for example, I simulated "close" to a reasonable answer with things like:
    Face an evil foe tougher than you is courage
    Flee from evil foe weaker than you was cowardice
    But now that is too complex for this game, U4 had tiny 16 x 16 scenes, knowing who was in/out was trivial, now FAR harder to tell intent, especially with groups involved and LARGE spaces.
    when in doubt, we will leave the virtues alone.
    BUT, if its ONLY use is un-virtuous, like the subterfuge of stealing, then maybe worth consideration.
    :)
    R
     
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    I agree with you here. But I think that proves my point.

    Being virtuous is not always the "smart" thing to do. It's not always the safe thing to do. It's like that saying "no good deed goes unpunished". There's some truth in that. Being "good" is difficult, it's a sacrifice, it requires a lot of discipline, and in some cases it means you're "less powerful" because you don't get the quick and easy path. I'm thinking about the great scene in Game of Thrones where Bronn of the Blackwater is told "You don't fight with honor!" and he replies, "No, he did" regarding the man he just killed.

    Skip to about 3:15 for the part I'm talking about.


    Both men in the video are using different skills...some are more honorable than others. It's up to people to decide who they want to be, the guy that dies at the end or the guy that lives to tell about it. Clearly though, the man that is living in this video is less honorable. (and an awesome character!)
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  18. Jens_T

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    The interesting bit is in SotA Avatars are basically immortal - if we assume we're playing ourselves and not roleplaying somebody else, staying virtuous is completely without risk. All we sacrifice might be pride, perhaps time... something you could call opportunity cost. So if we believe in virtues we could just follow them and take the hit. But then, if it is without risk is it still virtuous? Or is it the risk that defines the sacrifice? ;)
     
  19. Poor game design

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    That's a great point, the lack of moral hazard in a virtual world where death (lasting death) has no meaning. The immortality of characters is something that can't be over appreciated.

    Without fear there is no courage, for example. One of the reasons my character has never talked to the Oracle past the opening scene during character creation is that he realizes that he can't really be held accountable for any of his actions. He can't die, he doesn't require food, in some ways Avatars are almost like liches. They exist to constantly learn more and more and grow ever powerful - at least that's how he sees it.

    From a virtue design standpoint, it will be interesting to see if Richard is able to hold players accountable for their actions despite the regular penalties on Earth not being present in New Britannia.

    I think that's already happening.

    See this post here by a "mischievous" member of our community:
    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum/index.php?threads/would-robin-hood-glow-red.74229/
     
  20. Jens_T

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    On the other hand "we" cannot leave - so we're basically hostages or prisoners that are robbed of the freedom of death. Rather unvirtuous of the Oracle. But then it is a machine created by flawed beings, so by design can't be perfect.
     
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