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Author Topic: Elfworld = EVIL  (Read 17118 times)
John Wick
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« on: July 10, 2001, 09:41:00 AM »

Quote

John, you've just put yourself out there for me.  You said EVIL (as opposed to evil).  I look over Obsidian, and Kult, and Unknown Armies, and In Nomine Satanis, and I smile.  They did their duty (well, Unknown Armies is the weak one of the bunch).  
So, uh, John... when you say EVIL, do you really mean it?  If so, you've already sold one copy.


I'm moving this conversation from the LINE ART IN CAUSOBAN forum. It fits better over here.

Yes, ELFWORLD is all about EVIL. Every game I've written so far (from Hunters Inc. to Orkworld) has been about the Hero. L5R was about the Eastern Hero, who submerges his identity in his role, sacrificing individuality for the good of society. 7th Sea was exactly the opposite: the western hero who lives by his own individual code of ethics, flying in the face of accepted societal convention. Orkworld was about desperate heroism, fighting a battle that's already been lost.

Elfworld is about Villains. Really, really bad people. I can't even begin to tell you how nasty the elves in Elfworld are.

When I say "Enslave entire planets," I mean it. When I say "Kill an enemy with his own pleasure," I mean it. You'll see what I mean soon.

Take care,
John
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Carpe Deum,
John
Dav
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« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2001, 05:43:00 AM »

John:

That makes me happy as Hell.

One thing that has always concerned me in evil games has been the "pulling back" of the author(s) in terms of letting it fly.  Kult even did this with their Mental Balance principle.  While the Mental Balance was truly amazing, it was never fully developed to the extent it could have been.  Disappointing, in the end.

I *do* enjoy evil that is predicated on the principle that at one point (whether still valid or not), the evil needed to commit these atrocities to survive.  The Baali in everyone's favorite system started to head this direction, but were ultimately given the redemption slot of "they still need to do bad to bring about the greater good".  No siree-bob.  

If we are looking at evil, why not go whole-hog and let us experience the pit of creation (as it seems you are pointing toward with Elfworld).  I enjoy an evil that no longer requires it, it merely continues with the evil to amuse itself in the off moments.  

To calm the whirlwind, let me ask:  how do you see Elfworld being run in a sustained campaign arena (if indeed you do)?

Also, can we look forward to some more damn-fine fiction and stories that made Orkworld so much fun to read?  

Dav
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2001, 12:56:00 PM »

OK, between Dav's post and an interview I heard on NPR while driving in to work (the world is a strange place), various bits of philosophic knowledge are creeping back into my brain.  I recall one distinction, between Evil that can be explained through various twists of "Free Will" (e.g., the possibilty of child-beating must exist to preserve Free Will) vs "Natural" (e.g., disease, disaster, etc.) Evil.  hmm . . . sounds like this was probably a Christian exploration of "why does God allow Evil?" - not sure how useful that is in Elfworld.  But let me run with it a bit anyway . . . to the other inhabitants of the Elf-verse (sounds like Elfworld ranges far beyond the planet of Orkworld), the Elves may well occur as a "force of nature", a natural evil one must simply deal with.  But what about the Elves themselves?  Is it simply that they ARE Evil, or that they've chosen Evil?

And the real question, it seems to me, is what is the hook for the PLAYERS here?  What about Evil will they be developing/exploring/learning/experiecing/whatever in the game that interests them?  There may be an audience for a "let's see just how Evil I can be" game, but it isn't me - Elfworld might still be worth reading if that's what it is, but I'd never play it.  Perhaps Evil is irrelevant to an Elf?  Maybe there's essentially nothing so bad to an Elf that they'd even consider letting it stand between them and what they want (a long term goal, a cheap thrill, to relieve the boredom, whatever)?

Then we just need something ELSE that they do care about, and see what Evil looks like in the reflection of that something else . . .

Gordon C. Landis
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John Wick
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2001, 01:15:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-07-11 16:56, Gordon C. Landis wrote:
OK, between Dav's post and an interview I heard on NPR while driving in to work (the world is a strange place), various bits of philosophic knowledge are creeping back into my brain.  I recall one distinction, between Evil that can be explained through various twists of "Free Will" (e.g., the possibilty of child-beating must exist to preserve Free Will) vs "Natural" (e.g., disease, disaster, etc.) Evil.  hmm . . . sounds like this was probably a Christian exploration of "why does God allow Evil?" - not sure how useful that is in Elfworld.  But let me run with it a bit anyway . . . to the other inhabitants of the Elf-verse (sounds like Elfworld ranges far beyond the planet of Orkworld), the Elves may well occur as a "force of nature", a natural evil one must simply deal with.  But what about the Elves themselves?  Is it simply that they ARE Evil, or that they've chosen Evil?

And the real question, it seems to me, is what is the hook for the PLAYERS here?


For me, roleplaying games have always been philosophical exercises. I mean, Task Resolution Systems are nothing more than metaphysical proposals. From head to toe, they are an expression of the game designer: "I think the world works like this." From emphasising some traits over others, hit point systems vs. wound systems, alignment, class and traits and skills are all expressions.

Likewise, the L5R Way of... books were philosophical expressions. Each Clan is one side of a multi-faceted jewel, and you use that jewel to look at HONOR. Each Clan sees bushido differently. For the Crab, bushido is all about courage. For the Crane, bushido is all about excellence. For the Dragon, bushido is all about... well, it's different for everybody.

For the Scorpion, bushido was all about loyalty. But the Scorpion book is about more than just loyalty. For me, it was about presenting a very specific notion: that good and evil are all in the eye of the beholder. Good and evil really don't matter: they're both tools; means to a greater end.

Elfworld is no different. It's an opportunity for me (and you) to tell stories using a specific theme: what is "evil?"

This concept is addressed in the Elves section of ORKWORLD, which I'll put up on the Elfworld web page right quick, so we can all talk about it.

In a nutshell:

I took a look at Tolkien's elves and saw:

1) They're immortal
2) They're more powerful than anything else on the planet
3) They reincarnate when they (choose to) die

Which led me to this question: Why in the world would a race who was all-powerful and immortal be so beneficent?

They wouldn't be. Therefore, the elves of Orkworld aren't. They enslave entire worlds for their pleasure. They play impossibly complicated Machiavellian games that take centuries to play out, usually ending in humiliation and death.

Everything is a weapon to use against your enemy, and anyone who can hurt you is an enemy. Everything else is a tool.

With all that in mind, the reason people want to play Elfworld is easy:

It is the ULTIMATE power-gamer game.
You can do ANYTHING.

While playtesting it at Kublai-Con, one of the players whispered to me: "You know, this rule is broken."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because it's so easily abuseable."

"Then abuse it," I told him.

"But, it's broken."

"No. I designed it that way. To be abused that specific way."

I had to explain this to him all night. He never got it. The whole system is full of loopholes for power-gamers to exploit. I WANT them to exploit it.

Because their enemies (the GM and other players) can exploit it, too.

Thanks for the questions, and keep the discussion going!
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John
Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2001, 01:18:00 PM »

I played Elfworld.  The Aelves are amoral, godlike beings.  If they want something to happen, it just does.  So there's a strong kinship with Vampire: the Masquerade and Amber there.

Of course, I wouldn't call the Aelves villains...not at all.  They just have a society that's very much in the mode of "survival of the fittest."  So they have no laws (because as John pointed out, laws exist primarily to protect the weak from the strong).

It strikes me as a very competitive game...lots of intrigue and backstabbing.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
greyorm
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2001, 01:27:00 PM »

Quote

Which led me to this question: Why in the world would a race who was all-powerful and immortal be so beneficent?

They wouldn't be.

I disagree with that contention based on knowledge both scientific and philosophical, there's every reason they should be, but I digress.

I've been interested in Elfworld since I saw you mention these nasty boys in the Orkworld development column; and the system you've just mentioned sounds utterly intriguing; can't wait.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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John Wick
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2001, 02:56:00 PM »

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On 2001-07-11 17:27, greyorm wrote:
Quote

Which led me to this question: Why in the world would a race who was all-powerful and immortal be so beneficent?

They wouldn't be.

I disagree with that contention based on knowledge both scientific and philosophical, there's every reason they should be


"knowledge both scientific and philosophical"? Explain that, please.
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John
Dav
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2001, 05:49:00 AM »

Beneficient based upon philosophical argument is not something one wants to put forth.  For every philosophy that says that charity is the pinnacle of power, I can point to one that says the opposite.  Philosophy is such an abstract point that to use it in defense of anything is much like saying, "I say so."

That aside, scientific standpoints have no true bearing upon this issue as science, by pure concept, does not take the concept of good and evil into account.  It can't.  The downfall of all concrete and evidentiary-based studies is that they cannot deal with a non-quantifiable intangible.  Besides, having only one study group of "intelligent" beings from which to draw conclusions, even the most lenient scientist is going to be leery about drawing conclusions based upon ALL possible intelligences that may exist.  Besides (to illustrate the flaws of paragraph 1), many philosophical beliefs are based around the fact that mankind is amoral and selfish.  Ethical egoism, which is, by far, the most widely practiced and exemplified ethical standpoint, states this as a defining factor to the entire ethical standpoint.

Even setting these aside, it is a strong argument that as mankind develops further into a technological and "advnaced" civilization, that violence and generally "evil" practices are not becoming more and more mainstream.  Evil grows with knowledge, then, becomes a very defensible and sound argument.

All this aside, evil is what makes the world go 'round.  Money is great, sex is great, and instinct has brought down a civilization as well.  However, in the end, nothing pushes mankind to excel quite as much as the threat of evil.  Looking at history, every time a new powerful weapon is developed, and the threat of death looms over us all, mankind suddenly bursts forth with a thousand things to stop it, then takes those thousand things and learns of a thousand ways to utilize each new advance in manners not warlike.  

(This, by the way, is one of my reasons for the "pave the rainforest" campaign... coddling us in a working ecosystem is making us stagnant)

Dav (who loves evil more than caffiene)
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John Wick
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« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2001, 03:00:00 PM »

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On 2001-07-12 09:49, Dav wrote:
Beneficient based upon philosophical argument is not something one wants to put forth.  For every philosophy that says that charity is the pinnacle of power, I can point to one that says the opposite.  Philosophy is such an abstract point that to use it in defense of anything is much like saying, "I say so."


Can I sum up that paragraph with the sentement: "Nobody can prove or disprove a philosophical argument?"

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That aside, scientific standpoints have no true bearing upon this issue as science, by pure concept, does not take the concept of good and evil into account.


I don't differentiate philosophy and science the way you do. Science is philosophy: the search for truth. The scientific method was invented by a philosopher for that very reason.

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It can't.  The downfall of all concrete and evidentiary-based studies is that they cannot deal with a non-quantifiable intangible.


That's assuming "evil" and "good" are nonquantifiable. I don't think they are.

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Besides, having only one study group of "intelligent" beings from which to draw conclusions, even the most lenient scientist is going to be leery about drawing conclusions based upon ALL possible intelligences that may exist.


I think human beings come in enough different flavors that we can look at the 326 (at current count) different cultures' definitions of good and evil (and not all of them even agree they exist; which makes them even more fascinating studies).

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Besides (to illustrate the flaws of paragraph 1), many philosophical beliefs are based around the fact that mankind is amoral and selfish.  Ethical egoism, which is, by far, the most widely practiced and exemplified ethical standpoint, states this as a defining factor to the entire ethical standpoint.


Not at all. Most of the Biggies agree that mankind is inherantly good. The biggest ("Big N": the Man Everyone Quotes and Nobody Reads)doesn't even believe in good or evil, providing sound arguments against the entire notion.

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Even setting these aside, it is a strong argument that as mankind develops further into a technological and "advnaced" civilization, that violence and generally "evil" practices are not becoming more and more mainstream.  Evil grows with knowledge, then, becomes a very defensible and sound argument.


Your first sentence disagrees with your second sentence. "'evil' practices are not becoming more... mainstream" and "evil grows with knowledge" can't both be a "strong argument"s.

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All this aside, evil is what makes the world go 'round.  Money is great, sex is great, and instinct has brought down a civilization as well.


That's assuming that greed, sex and instinct are evil. I don't. I've got things much more EVIL in mind.

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However, in the end, nothing pushes mankind to excel quite as much as the threat of evil...


Can't disagree with that.

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(This, by the way, is one of my reasons for the "pave the rainforest" campaign... coddling us in a working ecosystem is making us stagnant)


Uh... okay.

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Dav (who loves evil more than caffiene)


But how much does EVIL love you?
We'll have to see. :wink:




[ This Message was edited by: John Wick on 2001-07-12 19:02 ]
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John
greyorm
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« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2001, 10:12:00 PM »

Quote

"knowledge both scientific and philosophical"? Explain that, please.

Alright, but only since you asked (and note I'm grossly simplifying things here, so I hope Ron doesn't ride my ass too badly about it):

Firstly, life supports cooperative, beneficial endeavors even at the most basic level.  Cellularly, our bodies require other cells in order to survive; requiring those cells means that nothing must ever happen to those other cells.  Basic cooperation; no intent to betray or injure other cells of the organism is ever desired/programmed.

In fact, the whole organism protects all its pieces, whether the piece doing the protection is the one under attack, it takes hits for other structures.

Frex: The skull and tissues take blows to protect the brain; this developed for a reason, and it isn't because the brain is the center of being...before there was a brain, the cells "decided" (ahem) to protect the central system of communication and regulation for a bunch of disparate creatures that got together to form multi-cellular beings, or multi-being beings.  Later, the comm system became the center of a more advanced singular being made up of a bunch of previously seperate parts.

There is also the protective skin layer, the immune system and so forth.

Now on to studies of behavior in higher order lifeforms -- particularly the more intelligent animals: primates, dolphins, wolves and similar.  These have shown that it is not competition that drives them, but cooperation and social empathy.
That sick individuals of a pack, clutch or whatever are not left to starve, fend for themselves or otherwise picked on, abandoned or killed by the stronger, healthier members.

Instead, they are cared for, tended to and helped, though the ones doing so cannot be said to be doing so out of selfishness, rather altruism of a most basic sort, arising from primitive empathy.  Further, in many cases this even extends to injured individuals not of their pack or species.

To deal with the obvious counter: why is it not selfishness?
The creatures behaving this way do not have the powers of perceptive foresight which would allow them to conceive of future benefit or gain from current actions which do not immediately give rise to such; selfisheness is based on benefit -- there is no perceived, personal benefit to the altruist animal for their actions.


BTW, the above information on primate and other species behavior comes from a number of sources, including speakers from Nobel Conference XXXII, "Apes at the End of an Age," October '96.

Of particular note on this subject were Frans B.M. de Waal, from the Yerkes Primate Research Center, also of Emory University; and Duane Rumbaugh, Regents Prof. of Psychology and Biology, PhD in General Expiremental Psychology, Inaugural G. Stanley Hall Lecturer on Comparitive Psychology for the APA (1984), President of APA division on Comparitive and Physiological Psychology (1988), President of Southern Society on Philosophy and Psychology (1995); 38 years in his field, including time at San Diego State, Emory U's Yerkes Research Center, and 25 years at Georgia State and assorted others (such as the world-recognized authority on orangutans), all top-level researchers in the field.  I mention this to illustrate the quality of the individuals presenting this information.

I can dig out the other sources with some time and effort, but I will just add that my opinions, in total, arise from a year's worth of Honors-level research, and continued study of the subject (and as Ron knows, biology was not my major, but various subjects within it were the focus of my Honors projects).


Further, to advance the point of altruism and intellect, as can be demonstrated, any intelligent or semi-intelligent species has "empathy," here defined as the ability to perceive the world from another's vantage point, as this talent is an evolutionary requirement for intellect.

To wit, for predators, if you cannot understand your prey, you won't be able to deal with it as effectively.
For social predators, if you cannot understand your packmates, you will not be able to hunt with them as effectively.

So the two routes to intellect: understanding of prey and understanding of fellows (primates rarely "hunt", like wolves or lions, but their social interactions necessitate empathy...wolves have both hunting and social systems).

That empathic understanding also indicates a seperation of self from envrionment, the glimmer of realization that there is you and there is stuff that is not you.

Intelligence describes the ability to comprehend the world and see how it works; intelligence requires empathy.  Empathy entails being able to feel like or view the world from the position of not-self; for any social species, it also entails the ability to respond to fellow creatures with compassion without view of personal gain.

Basic, successful life is structured on cooperation, and as it gains more intelligence and power and socialization, it becomes more inclined to cooperate and behave altruistically due to empathy.

I see no compelling biological reason that an intelligent species, even a powerful and immortal one, would be unequivocally selfish and malevolent.
Now, it is your game and you can do what you want with it, I'm just responding to your contention that it is fact an all-powerful, immortal race would lack compassion or empathy.

However, what I'd really like from you in response is why you see that such things (immortality, sheer power) would infer they would be un-nice to anything else; it doesn't follow for me (power does not equate malevolence; intelligent species are predatory).  Care to explain?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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Dav
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« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2001, 10:32:00 PM »

John: "Can I sum up that paragraph with the sentiment: "Nobody can prove or disprove a philosophical argument?""

Dav: Yes, that *would* be a much less wordy method of stating the entire paragraph.

John: I don't differentiate philosophy and science the way you do. Science is philosophy: the search for truth.

Dav: Do what thou wilt

John: That's assuming "evil" and "good" are nonquantifiable. I don't think they are.

Dav: *That* would be a fun flowchart.

John: I think human beings come in enough different flavors that we can look at the 326 (at current count) different cultures' definitions of good and evil (and not all of them even agree they exist; which makes them even more fascinating studies).

Dav: That is still taking from one core sample.  Similar to taking sampling distributions of tree heights of a specific breed within a single forest.  Most would argue that the sampling is biased, and no statistical data could be gathered to pertain to societies outside said forest.  It is a niggling point, agreed, but still one that I cling to.

John: Not at all. Most of the Biggies agree that mankind is inherantly good. The biggest ("Big N": the Man Everyone Quotes and Nobody Reads)doesn't even believe in good or evil, providing sound arguments against the entire notion.

Dav: Agreed, but in my opinion, Nietsche fails to then fill that void created by removing a "moral compass" (a much more modern term, I agree) from the ethical standpoint.  Nihilism, as a belief, is not replacing god or morality, it is just renaming them.  That, as a core belief, leaves much to be desired, to my mind.  The man issues an empty statement (ethically and philosophically), then wonders why no one argues.

John: Your first sentence disagrees with your second sentence. "'evil' practices are not becoming more... mainstream" and "evil grows with knowledge" can't both be a "strong argument"s.

Dav: Yeah, take out the "not"... I'm not sure what I was doing while I typed that line.  "Not" shouldn't be a part of it at all.

John: That's assuming that greed, sex and instinct are evil. I don't. I've got things much more EVIL in mind.

Dav: I was using chiasmus there.  I know, I should replace the "However" with a "But" on the next line to illustrate and lend comparison.  My fault, I need editing...



All-in-all, I agree with most of your views, from a spectator standpoint.  We two just live by different morals in life (which is good... um, evil... you get the idea).  Must be that crazy California sun :wink:

Dav

 
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greyorm
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2001, 10:45:00 PM »

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(This, by the way, is one of my reasons for the "pave the rainforest" campaign... coddling us in a working ecosystem is making us stagnant)

I have to ask: the opposite of stagnation is obviously progress.  What's so great and wonderful about progress?

I know, all you modern folks are stunned, "Why progress is the best thing ever!"  But there's nothing inherently good or better about progress than stagnation, that makes it the absolute best reached-for goal.
No, suddenly failing to progress technologically or scientifically will not impair us nor is it a horrid sin or a terrible tragedy.
Progress for the sake of progress is...idiotic.

BTW, "Pave the Rainforest"...Did a web-search on that "movement."  Looks like typical reactionary idiocy to me, trying to cover itself up in the maskings of rational, sensical thought.

Yep, that's it exactly...here's what they say: "survival of the fittest" as a social/species right?  "Because that's how nature works.  Anything that dies, too bad."  Someone needs to go back to school.

Oh, and "junkscience.com" (you know, because some loudmouthed conservative right-winger didn't have anything better to do than try to hype up his opinion in supposed scientific fact...apparently smoking isn't bad for you!..next we'll be hearing Bible quotes and all about the righteousness of Manifest Destiny).

Well, Dav, you said your bit on it, there's mine. :smile:

(Next...I'm only responding to the following part because I think it ties into John's claim about Elfworld being about EVIL.)

Quote

Dav (who loves evil more than caffiene)


Then I really hope you think caffiene is a hideous pit of seething darkness.

Evil isn't a cool thing; evil isn't a fun thing; evil isn't a mildly acceptable thing.

Liking evil is saying you like pedophiles, you like Nazis, you like racists, you like people who walk into department stores and blow people's heads off, you like child abusers, you like serial killers, you like terrorists and hearing about people killed in bombings, you like causing people pain and suffering and enjoy it when people are in agony.

Evil isn't "cool", it's sick, it's destructive, it is EVIL.  I know Darth Maul is soooo coool though, and being a blood-drinking goth Vampire is just so awesome and emotionally powerful...because it is counter-cultural; evil is cool, evil is dangerous and rebellious.  Sounds more like evil is a buzzword for stupid teenagers.

How do you accept someone saying they like evil -- think about that -- and how would you react to someone responding by telling the person to take their sick ass and get the hell out?
Think about that.

The first seem more acceptable than the second.  It shouldn't.

If I were to say, "I like watching little girls being raped," what would you say or do?  I'd hope you'd cringe and feel utter disgust and threaten me with violence because that thing if I were to say it is evil, that sort of thing is what evil is about.
There's something likable about that?  Acceptable about that?

Would you casually support someone saying the above statement?  Didn't think so.  So why casually support someone saying they like evil?  Why not tell them to get the hell out and never return?

If you'd let them stick around, I'd say you don't have kids; and I'd say you've never been a victim of evil, that you don't even know what the word means because you've been blinded by modern culture's overuse of it.

I truly doubt most of the people today who bandy the word around like some sort of counter-cultural mark of prestige even remotely understand what evil is.

Lock them up as though they're a child with an abusive parent for a few years and then let's see how cool they think evil is.  Strap them to a table and let some sick fuck do as they please to them and let's see how cool evil is.

John says Elfworld is about EVIL, well, we'll see.

If John can make a decent game about real evil, it will make a lot of people uncomfortable; good, real evil needs to be thrown in their faces to wake them up.  And it should make those who think evil is cool even more uncomfortable.

Evil isn't cool, it isn't likable.
Neither are Nazis or the death camps.
Or torture victims and their torturers.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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John Wick
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« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2001, 09:22:00 AM »

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Firstly, life supports cooperative, beneficial endeavors even at the most basic level.


Oh...
So that's why animals fight and kill for mating rights?
(Sarcasm. Sorry.)

Gotta disagree with you there. The Sad Truth of Life is this:

1) If you do not eat, you die.
2) You must eat life to live.
3) Therefore, you must kill to live.

Life and living is all about conflict, and the Strong eating the Weak.

Quote
Now on to studies of behavior in higher order lifeforms -- particularly the more intelligent animals: primates, dolphins, wolves and similar.  These have shown that it is not competition that drives them, but cooperation and social empathy.


Every animal feeds on another animal to live.
If you can show me "cooperation" between dolphins and the meat they eat, I'll buy your argument.

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That sick individuals of a pack, clutch or whatever are not left to starve, fend for themselves or otherwise picked on, abandoned or killed by the stronger, healthier members.


I'll be there are fewer species who protect their sick than those that leave them behind.
I don't have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.

Quote

BTW, the above information on primate and other species behavior comes from a number of sources, including speakers from Nobel Conference XXXII, "Apes at the End of an Age," October '96.


Appeals to authority are the #3 most used non-valid argument technique, and they don't save you from being wrong. :wink:

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Further, to advance the point of altruism and intellect, as can be demonstrated, any intelligent or semi-intelligent species has "empathy," here defined as the ability to perceive the world from another's vantage point, as this talent is an evolutionary requirement for intellect.


I'll agree with your definition of "empathy." (It's a good one, too.)

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To wit, for predators, if you cannot understand your prey, you won't be able to deal with it as effectively.
For social predators, if you cannot understand your packmates, you will not be able to hunt with them as effectively.


Hm... maybe I don't agree with your definition of empathy. I prefer to use the Socratic definition of: ability to sympathize with others. Hannibal Lector can think like other people, but it's because he can't feel what they feel that makes him a sociopath. Just because the wolf can think like the deer doesn't mean it sympathizes with it when it rips its throat out.

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So the two routes to intellect: understanding of prey and understanding of fellows (primates rarely "hunt", like wolves or lions, but their social interactions necessitate empathy...wolves have both hunting and social systems).


That's because nearly all primates are herbivores rather than carniverous predators. Isn't it because man is an omnivore that he hunts?

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That empathic understanding also indicates a seperation of self from envrionment, the glimmer of realization that there is you and there is stuff that is not you.


Socrates called that "Courage." The ability to recognize that some things in the world are bigger than you. He also claimed that man was the only creature capable of "Courage." From my own observations, I tend to agree. I don't think animals have the capability to "Empathize." When an ape child dies, the mother carries it around for days, completely unable to recognize the child is dead. Eventually, it leaves the child behind. The ape mother shows no signs of mourning or grief. That's because apes don't know or understand death. They understand danger, but the concept of "He was here, and now he's not here anymore" just escapes them.

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Intelligence describes the ability to comprehend the world and see how it works; intelligence requires empathy.  Empathy entails being able to feel like or view the world from the position of not-self; for any social species, it also entails the ability to respond to fellow creatures with compassion without view of personal gain.


I think that's a very limited definition of intelligence. Because I don't agree with the definition, I won't make any arguments in that direction.

(It's too hard to argue on the internet. There's no chance to define terms.)

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Basic, successful life is structured on cooperation, and as it gains more intelligence and power and socialization, it becomes more inclined to cooperate and behave altruistically due to empathy.


I completely disagree with your premise. There are thousands of species on this planet that don't have any kind of "social structure."

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I see no compelling biological reason that an intelligent species, even a powerful and immortal one, would be unequivocally selfish and malevolent.
Now, it is your game and you can do what you want with it, I'm just responding to your contention that it is fact an all-powerful, immortal race would lack compassion or empathy.
However, what I'd really like from you in response is why you see that such things (immortality, sheer power) would infer they would be un-nice to anything else; it doesn't follow for me (power does not equate malevolence; intelligent species are predatory).  Care to explain?


Hundreds of thousands of crimes are committed every day? Why? Because people believe they can get away with it.

If I passed a law tomorrow that said: "Every crime comitted on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday shall, from now on, be punished with capital punishment ONLY" what percentage of crimes do you think would be comitted on a Friday?

How about 0%?

Give people the opportunity to do evil, and they will. Give people the opportunity to do good... and they generally won't. (I said "generally." I don't want to discuss exceptions.)

The point is this: if given a ring of invisibility, we'd all do good and evil with it. We'd stop crime, we'd stop a rape or two, we'd kill mob bossess...

And we'd probably walk into a bank and steal a million dollars. Why not? Who's gonna miss it? The bank? And I did stop that rapist, and help the police with that serial killer... I deserve a little payback, don't you think?

Don't think like yourself (empathy, remember?). Think like Joe Genero. If you gave an invisibility ring to the people on Jerry Springer, do you think they'd do good or evil with it? How about your average college jock? How about your cliche lawyer or politician (there's a reason cliches exist). You think Bill Clinton would do good with that ring? How about Bush? What do you think Jessie Ventura would do with it?

In short, what would you do with it? And be honest.

If you give someone the power of a god... they'll probably act like your average god. Like Yawah for instance.

He created life... that wasn't as powerful as he was.
He created a world... that didn't have enough food or resources to last.
He created good... and evil.

You give people enough power, they hang themselves with it.

All right, I've babbled enough on this one. If you want to read more, go check out the Elfworld page. The chapter on Orkworld Elves is there, with more details on why they're so BAD.

And thanks for the discussion. It's nice to see respectful disagreement on the web. It's refreshing.

Take care,
John
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Carpe Deum,
John
John Wick
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Posts: 210


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« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2001, 09:28:00 AM »

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John says Elfworld is about EVIL, well, we'll see.

If John can make a decent game about real evil, it will make a lot of people uncomfortable; good, real evil needs to be thrown in their faces to wake them up.  And it should make those who think evil is cool even more uncomfortable.


Damn skippy. You got the nail right on the head.

Take care,
John
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Carpe Deum,
John
Dav
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Posts: 432


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« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2001, 09:43:00 AM »

Raven:

There's a whole lot to respond to in this, so bear with me while I attempt to organize it in an at least mildly comprehensible format.

1) Pave the rainforest.  I had no idea it was an actual popular and literal movement.  This is just something I do in my own area and in my own time -- a hobby, not some group-thing with a manifesto.  I am not associated with anything that has websites and rallies and anything really organized in that sense.  Kinda weird.  I'll have to check this out to see what the hell is going on.

2) Progress for the sake of progress is not idiotic.  You see, there is this idea... widespread really... Hell, I don't know many people that haven't delved into it.  We call it religion, philosophy, ethics, take you pick.  Progress is, to me, the core trait that keeps me going.  I love progress.  I love clering away the old and ushering in the new.  I love popular culture, meme plagues, and anything that crests the wave of everyone's thoughts.  To say that progress is idiotic without an outside motivation is bizarre to me.  As Sartre would say, progress is being-in-itself, as opposed to being-for-itself.  But Sartre is a poor comparison for just about anything, so let's leave it at progress never needs justification.  As soon as you start to justify something, you taint that thing.  Why do I need to have a reason to do something?  It doesn't follow that a reason defines a thing for me.  A thing is a thing, and people fuck them up with rationalization and justification.  It ruins the inherent purity of the action to me.

3) There is a definite line between evil and insanity.  Period.  If you can't see that, we have a big problem in this discussion.  Violence, as an action, is neither good nor evil.  Hate is the same way.  "Good" beings are discriminatory against "evil" beings.  That puts them in the same boat as racists.  So what?  To say the Nazi Party is evil is ridiculous.  They are nationalists.  Yes, they went bugfuck crazy in WWII, but to say the political movement is evil is just wrong.  There were, indeed, evil people within the party at that time, and guiding that party.  Just as there have been evil popes, evil presidents, evil kings, evil everything.  That does not mean the entire organization is evil.  Himmler, Goebbels, Mengele, yes, *that* is evil.  Hitler, no.  

Child abusers, people who go "columbine", and the like are not evil.  They are fucked-up.  Evil would be trying to get away with it in a rational sense, and having a personal gain/fulfillment principle.  These people have no plans.  They are imbeciles.  Plenty of people trying to do good are imbeciles (um... Bush anyone?).  If Terrorists are evil, so is anyone that fights and dies for a belief.  That they choose suicidal means to fight their little wars is not evil, it is BAD PLANNING!  Herbert has a whole series of books about the downfall of fanatics.  Fanatics aren't evil, they are insane (obsessed).

People have this problem with attributing evil with violence.  Evil isn't violence.  Neither is EVIL.  Evil is a commitment to personal satisfaction and advancement at the expense of anything that gets in the way.  Evil is do what you have to and fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.  

Evil does not have to be violence or acts of physical pain (though that is not excluded as an option).  Evil can be your best friend.  Evil can be someone who is willing to bargain rather than murder/rape/kill because it is more expedient.  Evil doesn't mean you lose concept of consequences, it just means that all things are given attention and concern keeping in mind only two things:  "what is in it for me", and "what is the down side"?  Feelings of others, statements of belief, anything else, is not a factor unless it will, in the future, impede that person from continuing to experience happiness.

Evil is being on the winning side, because you always want to leave an out.  Evil is pulling a Gacy Motel if that is the best way to lay low.  

Evil is not psychopathic, evil is sociopathic.  

I don't even know what the hell you mean by vampires and buzzwords.  Vampires are people you only have to worry about half as often as most people.  

When I say I love evil... I mean it.  Period.  I'm not some dimwit with a hard-on for snuff flicks, I'm not some fool with my face painted white and hitting on fat chicks wearing black lace in smoky corners of hole-in-the-wall bars thinking I'm the new wave of cool.  Screw cool.  

I'm not a nice guy, I'm not sympathetic.  I am completely unconcerned with the suffering of others.  Yes, children are kidnapped, hurt, and other unfortunate things... They aren't my kids, and I don't know them.  

Evil is kick you when no one's looking and you're already down.  Not walk into Central Park and draw your guns.  I'm not cavalier, and my courage for violent situations is intrinsically linked to how confident I am that I can win.  

If that isn't evil tell me what it is, because that's where I stand in life.  

Dav  
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