Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

General feedback and discussion of the game.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

Post Reply
User avatar
Dugi
Posts: 4925
Joined: July 22nd, 2010, 10:29 am
Location: Carpathian Mountains
Contact:

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Dugi » April 18th, 2012, 4:22 pm

When you're all chatting about good and evil, law and chaos, light and darkness, you should think about the alignments in D&D. It is perfect there, lawful and chaotic alignments are not related with Good and Evil. According to this, nothing would be inherently evil, except necromancers (who are evil, with some exceptions, but they still can be either chaotic, neutral or lawful). Human soldiers are lawful, but they may be good or evil, a paladin should be lawful good, a gaoler is typically lawful evil (they are usually sadists, no?), those who just fight for money are lawful neutrals. Bandits are chaotic, they disobey law, but like William Tell, they may be also good. Otherwise dwarves would not unite with them in some cases. Elves would be then neutral or chaotic good, dwarves neutral good, trolls true neutrals (or neutral neutral, they don't care too much), saurians chaotic evil (dunno, saurians always seem to me like some kind of twisted minds seeking only ways to harm others), drakes lawful neutrals (they have a highly organised society, but they don't seem to be much good), goblins and orcs chaotic neutrals (like it was said, they are not evil, but they don't care too much about life or other stuff), and undead also chaotic neutrals (they are mindless, like the in-game description of many undead creatures says, but like the orcs, they fight, because they carry weapons and it makes them remember that). The undead creations are pretty much just like weapons; they have no feelings, and they are controlled by their usually evil leader.

So I see it so that no matter if the units are lawful or chaotic, lawful things can be evil (e.g. late UtBS) and chaotic things may be good (e.g. Liberty).

The most frequent enemy of people in Middle-Age were barbaric invaders (Mongolians, Ottomans, Moors,...), and orcs are just perfect barbaric invaders. Nobody is saddened when one of them dies, and they are brutes by nature.
Undead are the servants of darkness, another kind of enemy that nobody mourns if it dies (maybe except the necromancer, whose work was wasted, he worked for a year on that Draug, and the stupid Paladin defeated it, but that is still the way you are sad when your disk gets accidentally formatted). Necromancers are the evil guys, who can do anything to gain power, and their complete selfishness makes them an ideal antihero.
That is why are orcs and undead chosen to be the most frequent enemy - when (fully) intelligent things fight one another, it is just sad, war is bad, but when they fight things similar to dumb animals, who just came to plunder and have fun killing, they are doing good things and there is no controversy at all.

P.S. When I was reading a book from Terry Pratchett (one of the Discworld series), I really liked the idea that neutrality can be worse than evil. Evil has some relation to its victims, and it is hatred. Evil guys also feel love (towards themselves, but they can still love). Evil has feelings, and behaves emotionally. Neutrality (like the orcs) don't care about life, and then they are those who kill without any purpose, without any sentiment or motivation. Pointless killing is just worse than killing due to hatred. So, orcs and undead are the bad guys, even if they are not evil :wink:

User avatar
Boldek
Posts: 576
Joined: April 14th, 2011, 6:37 pm

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Boldek » April 18th, 2012, 6:53 pm

dugi wrote: When you're all chatting about good and evil, law and chaos, light and darkness, you should think about the alignments in D&D. It is perfect there, lawful and chaotic alignments are not related with Good and Evil. According to this, nothing would be inherently evil, except necromancers (who are evil, with some exceptions, but they still can be either chaotic, neutral or lawful)
That wsa just an allusion, chaotic and lawful have no correlation with one's evil or goodness.
Gambit wrote:"I was standing my ground! He had skittles!" :P topical off-topic humor
:lol2:
Guys I never thought I'd come back to this forum after 8 years this is wild

User avatar
Dugi
Posts: 4925
Joined: July 22nd, 2010, 10:29 am
Location: Carpathian Mountains
Contact:

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Dugi » April 18th, 2012, 6:58 pm

Boldek wrote:...
That wsa just an allusion, chaotic and lawful have no correlation with one's evil or goodness.
That was meant to be just an introduction to a longer philosophical monologue.

User avatar
alexanderthegre
Posts: 193
Joined: December 8th, 2011, 3:23 am
Location: nowhere

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by alexanderthegre » April 18th, 2012, 7:19 pm

It seems to me that there are 3 kinds of necromancers: The stereotypical evil-megalomaniac (muff malal), the 'evil means to a good end' necromancer (malin keshar), and the 'the dead follow me willingly' necromancer (delfador).

Type 1 is chaotic evil; they will do anything or slay anyone to get what they want.
Type 2 is neutral (good / neutral); they use necromancy to accomplish what is right in their point of view.
Type 3 could be anything. Discussing this part of DM could take up a whole new thread. :lol2:

In essence, necromancy is like an evil sword; it can be used for anything, but mostly bad.

Orcs, on the other hand, are not inherently evil. They are a different species, their values are different, they are probably carnivorous, pack-oriented, and a dime a dozen. This leads them to behave differently than other races would expect them to. As mentioned before, they are not evil in their own eyes.
From an outsider's perspective, they are probably chaotic neutral: they take what they want, and have no regard for what happens to other, erm, for lack of a less human-specific term, people.

Korben
Posts: 22
Joined: April 14th, 2012, 11:41 pm

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Korben » April 18th, 2012, 8:32 pm

alexanderthegre wrote:
Type 1 is chaotic evil; they will do anything or slay anyone to get what they want.
Type 2 is neutral (good / neutral); they use necromancy to accomplish what is right in their point of view.
Well, what if if slying people seems „right" to them in their point of view? To bring another historical „badguy“ into discussion, I don´t belief Hitler ever saw himself as „evil“ because in his very twisted view anonyone opposing him was evil which justified slaying them (in his point of view).

It depends very much on our culture and education what we consider „bad“ and „good“. So, even a guy like the Type 1 wouldn´t consider himself evil, just like an orc wouldn´t. Both justify very much by the „might is right“ principle...

User avatar
The_Other
Posts: 189
Joined: February 3rd, 2012, 10:05 pm
Location: UK

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by The_Other » April 19th, 2012, 5:02 pm

Korben wrote: Well, what if if slying people seems „right" to them in their point of view? .....It depends very much on our culture and education what we consider „bad“ and „good“.
Precisely. Suppose that Mal-Jimmy the Necromancer is a devout follower of a religion which teaches that 'might equals right'? To us, when he kills everybody he can, he appears to be pure evil - but as far as he's concerned, he's following his God's instructions and therefore he feels that his actions are morally correct. Maybe his faith teaches that there are a limited number of spaces in Heaven, and the way to get one is to earn it by defeating others who also want it. Is he still evil, if he believes that he is good?
This also sounds like a possible explanation for orcs' universal aggression - maybe they think that they literally have to fight their way to Paradise?
Boldek wrote:how do you determine if someone is good, if there is not an opposite? How is the Paladin qualified to battle undead if we cannot trust his integrity? Would if the person you send out to slay undead is really a necromancer himself? How can you determine light, when you don't even have darkness? To call someone evil, one must have good, and to call someone good, than there is also evil somewhere
Whether somebody is 'good' or 'evil' is a matter for God to decide, if He/She/They exist. Moral absolutes can be determined only by an absolute and infinitely-wise being. If God does not exist, there cannot be an objective and absolute moral standard. Humans and other finite beings cannot determine 'good' and 'evil', but must think in terms of "compatible or incompatible with my own moral views".
As for the questionable Paladin - presumably his 'qualifications' come in the form of a holy sword and an astoundingly well-trained horse, rather than a certificate of moral superiority. When it comes to destroying the undead, does his moral status even matter, if he gets the job done? Even if he is a necromancer in disguise (who, with his powerful arcane attack, is almost as qualified as a genuine Paladin!), is it important? Granted, he might throw in his lot with the hungry zombies - but then, the Paladin might later turn out to be a Nazi (who, as somebody pointed out, probably believed they were in the right!)
And as for light and darkness defining one another - this is entirely correct. If we lack the capacity to define true evil, we also cannot determine true good - but we don't need to, because we don't live in a world of absolutes. As far as I can see, in the real world "I (do not) agree with the way this person behaves", is just as good for all practical purposes.
Nothing is true; everything is permissible.

User avatar
Telchin
Posts: 327
Joined: December 20th, 2010, 10:01 am
Location: Czech Republic

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Telchin » April 20th, 2012, 1:20 pm

Well, I'm sort of guilty of this myself, as the main bad guy in my campaign is a generic evil lich. You get to fight some traditionally "good" races and there are no orcs though. From my opinion there is a big difference between orcs and undead:
Orcs are people. Sure, they have ddifferent skin color and culture, but there are people of different skin color and culture in real life and you don't call them evil for it (if you do you're a horrible person). This is made worse by the fact, that Wesnoth orcs are a skin color that appear in real life, so them being evil by default is rather unfortunate.
OTOH most of undead aren't people, but mindless abominations, so killing them is more like breaking a machine than killing a sentient being. Also, many of them were enemies of their current boss, who were killed and reanimated as his slaves, so one can assume that killing them is actually doing them favor. This practice of turning people into mindless slaves against their will is also a reason to assume said guy in command is evil until proven otherwise. That doesn't mean that I can't imagine good undead, but I don't think DiD succeeds here.
I'd like to mention that using orcs and undead as enemies can also have a mechanical reason: Undead have complex resistances and vulnerabilities, so by using them in a scenario you can force the plyer to use units that might not be used otherwise. On the other hand orcs take full damage from everything, so they can make good enemies early in begginer campaigns if you don't want the player to worry about damage types. That said drakes have also numerous resistances and vulnerabilities and they aren't used as often as undead...
Also in case of undead, they provide plotpoints that other races don't. For example, you can have an evil human as an enemy in one scenario and let him return as undead later (as seen in DM). Imagine, say, a dwarf turning into an elf :lol2:
When you're all chatting about good and evil, law and chaos, light and darkness, you should think about the alignments in D&D.
Aligments in Wesnoth affect only when the unit fights better. Taking the names "chaotic/lawful" literary might work for human units, but then you run into things like bats being chaotic. What laws can a bat ignore or obey? I believe there was a thread about changing the names to "nocturnal/diurnal", but it went nowhere.
However, I notice that chaotic/lawful are often assumed to be evil/good. For example orcs, undead and Saurians are chaotic and use slaves. The lawful mermen don't use slaves (as seen in DW) despite being based on ancient Greeks in their appearance and ancient Greeks used slaves. That said, Drakes are lawful and don't exactly have an utopian society, so it's more like races used as as campaign protagonists practice human rights, enemy races are sick-wrong-gross-evil.

User avatar
Dugi
Posts: 4925
Joined: July 22nd, 2010, 10:29 am
Location: Carpathian Mountains
Contact:

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Dugi » April 20th, 2012, 1:51 pm

Telchin wrote: Aligments in Wesnoth affect only when the unit fights better. Taking the names "chaotic/lawful" literary might work for human units, but then you run into things like bats being chaotic. What laws can a bat ignore or obey? I believe there was a thread about changing the names to "nocturnal/diurnal", but it went nowhere.
However, I notice that chaotic/lawful are often assumed to be evil/good. For example orcs, undead and Saurians are chaotic and use slaves. The lawful mermen don't use slaves (as seen in DW) despite being based on ancient Greeks in their appearance and ancient Greeks used slaves. That said, Drakes are lawful and don't exactly have an utopian society, so it's more like races used as as campaign protagonists practice human rights, enemy races are sick-wrong-gross-evil.
Well, some exceptions exist, bats must be chaotic because they are obviously nocturnal.
I do not think that slavery makes a race evil, many European nations were keeping slaves in their remote provinces like Africa and America and we are not evil. Greeks were not evil, but they kept slaves. I don't however think, that this justifies slavery.
The alignment is perfectly logical for humans, elves, dwarves, orcs (the strongest one rules, or the one who killed him from his back; that is a perfect chaotic society), monsters, merfolk (you said they are based on Greeks, whose society used to be a highly organised one), ogres, drakes (because their society has a plenty of rules and traditions they obey, even if their society is not utopian), nagas and saurians. Bats and undead are chaotic because they are nocturnal. I don't know why woses are lawful, I think they should be neutral.
Maybe it would be logical if bats and undead were neutral, but had a 'nocturnal' trait, with the same properties as the chaotic alignment, but that would be just making the game more complicated.
In this law/chaos discussion, I would like to remind a quite funny part of a description of a unit in IftU, saying that '...the Army of Chaos is highly organised...' or something very similar. I always thought that any bad soldiers should be lawful, no matter what blackguards they are. But well, it was said elsewhere that they like attacking at night... Just another example of nocturnal lawful/neutral units. Also I wonder why was it called 'Empire of Chaos', when any Empire cannot stand on chaos, and must be based on law and order. :D

User avatar
The_Other
Posts: 189
Joined: February 3rd, 2012, 10:05 pm
Location: UK

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by The_Other » April 20th, 2012, 5:25 pm

Yeah, I had a laugh about the 'organised Chaos' in IftU, and the non-applicability of lawful/chaotic in certain instances. My own opinion is that the alignments should be renamed Diurnal and Nocturnal, but I realise this isn't likely to happen and frankly I don't care abot it enough to (try to) do it myself.

I don't see any problem with orcs or undead being used for game-mechanics reasons - as stated, undead in particular pose unusual tactical challenges which do not occur with other factions. My issue is with them being employed because they're inherently 'evil' - I think they should have a bit of motivation at least, even if it is as simple as 'we want that patch of land/object/arch-enemy's head on a pike'.
Nothing is true; everything is permissible.

User avatar
Telchin
Posts: 327
Joined: December 20th, 2010, 10:01 am
Location: Czech Republic

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Telchin » April 20th, 2012, 6:32 pm

Greeks were not evil, but they kept slaves. I don't however think, that this justifies slavery.
I didn't intend to mean that ancient Greeks were exactly evil or chaotic. I was more complaining about the fact that the protagonist/prettier races tend to be depicted as (mostly) conforming to our human right standarts, while the antagonist/uglier races tend to be depicted doing nothing but reprehensebile crimes. In real life it tends to be not as black and white. Take those ancient Greeks (and Romans) for example. They did some awesome things and are basis of western culture/science/law. On the other hand they also did things that are frowned upon today ( slavery, treatment of women, pederastry).
The alignment is perfectly logical for humans, elves, dwarves
Well, in THoT the dwarves seem to make great deal about their laws (I am a witness!). That said, if they were lawful, they would have penalty in caves and that would be silly.
I don't know why woses are lawful, I think they should be neutral.

Well, they look similiar to trees, so perhaps they are capable of photosynthesis :geek:
Also I wonder why was it called 'Empire of Chaos', when any Empire cannot stand on chaos, and must be based on law and order.
Well, it's not unheard of for a totalitarian regime to pretend that the're eemocratic, so perhaps they secretly are lawful, but pretend to be chaotic because they think it's stylish. :D

User avatar
Roraborialis
Posts: 12
Joined: April 15th, 2012, 10:41 pm

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Roraborialis » April 21st, 2012, 2:44 am

The alignment has nothing to do with good and evil in this, hell, it even avoids those words altogether, as law does not mean good, and chaotic does not mean bad. All the alignment stands for is whether the unit is more comfortable walking around in day or night. The loyalists make up a majority of basic campaigns, they are lawful, because of this it suddenly becomes more interesting to fight chaotic units, as it forces you to pay attention to the day/night cycle. The Orcs and Zombies are the two major convenient forces to give this treatment to, so you end up butchering Orcs and zombies in every campaign. The add on campaigns didn't give much improvement on this because its too easy to justify why the orcs and zombies are being used as bad guys, or explain that they are in a state of civil war due to peoples preconceptions of the two groups.

Korben
Posts: 22
Joined: April 14th, 2012, 11:41 pm

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Korben » April 22nd, 2012, 8:34 pm

Woses: They do not want to fight. They just want to live their peaceful lives but are enslaved by he brutal and war-hungry elvish empire!
Just like the Trolls: Lived in harmony with nature, until the dwarves invaded their caves, slaughtering and pillaging the Troll-families for their limitless need for minerals and shiny things.

User avatar
TheBladeRoden
Posts: 168
Joined: July 16th, 2007, 8:01 am

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by TheBladeRoden » April 23rd, 2012, 9:50 pm

Say if you had a snake or snake-like race. On one hand they would seem chaotic since they don't have any kind of organized society and just go around biting things. But on the other hand, they fight better during the day, since they need the sun to warm their body temperature. What alignment would you give them then?
Founding Father of Columbia

User avatar
A Guy
Posts: 790
Joined: May 24th, 2008, 1:55 am

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by A Guy » April 23rd, 2012, 10:18 pm

TheBladeRoden wrote:Say if you had a snake or snake-like race. On one hand they would seem chaotic since they don't have any kind of organized society and just go around biting things. But on the other hand, they fight better during the day, since they need the sun to warm their body temperature. What alignment would you give them then?
I would give them lawful personally.
I'm just... a guy...
I'm back for now, I might get started on some work again.

Korben
Posts: 22
Joined: April 14th, 2012, 11:41 pm

Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Korben » April 23rd, 2012, 10:24 pm

lawful, since it´s only a metaphor for diurnal to me. Since when do your morals have to do with the amount of sunshine?
(why are the Saurians chaotic anyway? aren´t they reptiles like the drakes?)

Post Reply