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Active Topical Banter - Episode 19: Save the Baby - Eat the Baby

Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News EditorRPGamer Staff
The panel breaks down the moral compass of games writers only to discover it only points two directions. We ramble on that and some related topics for a while.

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Talking points from the episode:
-breaking choice mechanics related topics into several episodes because reasons.
-ethics is hard.
-therefore black and white - so painfully obvious.
-sometimes that’s okay - ie source material.
-scales.
-consequences and costs or the lack thereof.
-teal and orange morality.
-or when half the writers miss a memo so it’s purple and red morality sometimes.
-why doesn't japan do it more?
-maximizing vs satisficing ethos and the point scale.
-gaming the system.
-locking RP into an alignment box Pal Adin/Claire Ack.
-doing it better.

Next Time: Boo! Haunted RPGs

Comments

  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited September 2015
    I am amazed how many times we rationalized things as "Eat the baby, Save the baby."

    Goooooo wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn, tell us the lesson that we must learn!

    ....eat the baby, save the baby!
  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    "2B or not 2B, that is the pencil."

    "That's pretty sharp!"

    "But in the end, pointless."


    I'm surprised no one made a "But thou must!" reference.

    Honestly, I expect to have a game with a well-modeled ethical/moral system in place around the time we can all do LARPs on the holo-deck.
  • daveyddaveyd Turn-based lifeform PAFull Members
    edited September 2015
    I am glad Sam mentioned Growlanser II- I'm totally joining that fan club when the membership fee drops to a buck! I'd also like to point out that in Growlanser (IV) Wayfarer of Time, you can take the "Dulkheim route" and actually join your enemies and fight against your former party members- but this option is only available in new game plus (which reminds me I still need to go do this).

    Also, while Growlanser III doesn't have any major moral / ethical choices, it has an... interesting personality system. In the beginning of the game you choose your blood type and astrological sign, which influences your initial personality... Then you continue to shape your personality with dialogue decisions (and a walkthrough refers to two of the possible personality types as "good man" and "bad guy"). Certain dialogue options will be unavailable to you based on these decisions. This doesn't really have any major consequences, but it affects what type of magic your character is proficient in, and also may affect which characters you can romance / befriend.

    Dragon Age: Origins and The Witcher games deal with choice & consequence pretty well.

    I think some of the best moral / ethical choices I have seen in a game were in Harebrained Schemes Shadowrun games (Dragonfall DC in particular). As expected in a game where you play as a criminal there are lots of morally gray situations to deal with. The game doesn't necessarily punish / reward you for making the "right" or "wrong" decision either. For ex: in SR: Hong Kong, you witness an old guy being mugged by a gangster. You can go and intimidate the gangster into giving you the money (you'll get a Karma point if you do)... But it's up to you to decide if you actually give the guy his money back or keep it. Also, since there's no exp for killing enemies in Shadowrun, you can take the diplomatic approach to encounters without essentially being punished for not just killing everyone.

    Black & white morality systems in games are usually pretty dreadful (although it was certainly understandable in KOTOR 1&2).

    Playing as a paladin in Pillars of Eternity is pretty interesting . There's several different paladin orders so you basically pick the one you want to role-play as and then try to live by their code. There isn't a huge consequence for going against your order's codes; just penalties / bonuses to your defense stats. But it's still a pretty cool way to make your choices matter in small ways.
    Currently playing (on PC): Hard West, Eisenwald: Blood of November, Dungeon Rats, Wasteland 2, Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire





  • Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    "but thou must" is a blooper form the next episode. no, for real.
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    daveyd wrote: »
    I am glad Sam mentioned Growlanser II- I'm totally joining that fan club when the membership fee drops to a buck! I'd also like to point out that in Growlanser (IV) Wayfarer of Time, you can take the "Dulkheim route" and actually join your enemies and fight against your former party members- but this option is only available in new game plus (which reminds me I still need to go do this).

    Also, while Growlanser III doesn't have any major moral / ethical choices, it has an... interesting personality system. In the beginning of the game you choose your blood type and astrological sign, which influences your initial personality... Then you continue to shape your personality with dialogue decisions (and a walkthrough refers to two of the possible personality types as "good man" and "bad guy"). Certain dialogue options will be unavailable to you based on these decisions. This doesn't really have any major consequences, but it affects what type of magic your character is proficient in, and also may affect which characters you can romance / befriend.

    I am so happy you brought that up about Growlanser III. The personality system that it gives the player was certainly unique and it made decision making sort of interesting, nus the whole good or bad (I was a 'bad guy' in my playthrough). It was an odd little system, but I didn't feel it was a bad idea in any way. Growlanser II though, I lovelovelove that game to pieces and I want everyone to play it just because the story is done in such an interesting way. One day I will finish Growlanser IV.... ONE DAY (I should go back to it and see if I can beat the battle I got stuck on).
  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    edited October 2015
    On my phone(podcast app) new episode is playing the ff7 one. Don't know if it's on my end or what.
  • ShayminShaymin The Gratitude Pokemon Halifax, New SealandFull Members
    I think it may be a prominent program.
    "The flowers all over its body burst into bloom if it is lovingly hugged and senses gratitude."
    Twitter | A gaming podcast by grownups | Nintendo World Report news editor
  • bobbywatsonbobbywatson Random guy Full Members
    Budai wrote: »
    On my phone(podcast app) new episode is playing the ff7 one. Don't know if it's on my end or what.

    I have the same problem with Downcast on iOS.

  • BudaiBudai Paladin Full Members
    But I did listen to the episode from the site though.
  • Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    looks like one of the pointers in the enclosure was for the wrong link. which is weird cause why would a catcher grab the enclosure over say the perma link is beyond me.
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