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September 4th, 2007, 11:09
Very interesting thread.
Therese is, in fact, very little similarity between virtue systems and reputation in modern games. Reputation is based on how people read your actions, virtues is bases on following some principles.
Incorporation the ethics into RPG is very difficult indeed, especially if your task is to accomplish something (like destroy the evil dude) rather than simply be virtuous.
Take for example classic orthodox Christian ethics, which says that "good ends could never justify evil means", that is, you should not kill innocent human, even if, by doing this, you are saving thousands other lives. Christianity assumes that the most important thing is one’s salvation, not any mundane deeds, and you should not sacrifice your soul for saving the entire planet from destruction etc.
This kind of absolute ethics would make gameplay very difficult, so typical RPGs assume a kind of utilitarian ethics, when many shady actions (especially stealing and deception) are justified if they help to complete the main quest.
But it would be very interesting to see a game, in which the main character should stick to some strict moral code. For example, make PC a pilgrim on a way to a far, forgotten sanctuary. Reaching the sanctuary is difficult, and he must also obey rigorous moral code regarding not only violence but, for example, chastity and poverty
The problem of ethics is a subcategory of "problem of constraints" in RPGs. Younger, impatient gamers do not like the constraints, and do not understand that constraints could add a lot of flavor to the game. They want everything, like being be the master of paladins guild and assassins guild simultaneously and gaming industry allows them to do so. I don’t think this trend would reverse in near future
Last edited by Bar Tec; September 4th, 2007 at
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