We’re back and we’re sitting in judgement. Unfortunately, it turns out that judgement doesn’t make a very good seat. Next time, we’re bringing cushions. The topic of morality in RPGs shouldn’t be a comfortable one, but that doesn’t mean we want to end up with piles.

Main Topic: Morality in RPGs

This episode is our exploration of the role of morality in RPGs. From the weirdness of D&D‘s alignment system to the more challenging approach of games like Dogs in the Vineyard, RPGs have always explored questions of morality. But should games try to enforce moral codes through mechanics? When they do, does it work better to use a carrot or a stick? And what makes the exploration of morality interesting in a game?

The original AD&D alignment chart

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Paul at Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff

Paul is heading off to another convention. This time, he’s attending the latest Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff in Leamington Spa, over the weekend of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of September. Do say hi if you spot him there.

Night Bus on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Scott recently ran his scenario “Night Bus” from issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome for our good friends at Ain’t Slayed Nobody. All three parts of the recording are now available on the main ASN feed. Find a free seat, if you can, and join us as we journey into terror, via Penge.

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One comment on “Morality in RPGs

  1. For the Morality in RPGs ep:
    The new Delta Green RPG has a wonderful Sanity mechanic as was mentioned near the end of the podcast. They break SAN rolls into three categories: Violence (inflicting it or suffering from it), Helplessness (things happening you cannot act upon, cannot doing anything against), and the Unnatural. If characters fled a show without trying to save people, they would make a SAN roll against either violence or Helplessness (probably Helplessness). However, there are a few things to note:
    1. Although there are a lot of things that cause a Sanity check (being ambushed by gunfire is a SAN roll of Violence type), the losses are usually relatively low–0/1 for a gunfire ambush. So for running out without helping people, a probable loss would be 0/1D4 or 1/1D6 depending on how many people and if they knew any of them.
    2. It is possible in Delta Green to become Adapted to it–this is only possible for Violence and Helplessness Sanity. If a character makes three successful checks against that type without missing one, they become Adapted to it, which means they will always succeed in their Sanity roll against that type (no need to roll). They might still lose some, but it will always be the least amount. However, there are some other penalties to the PC stats, e.g., Charisma drops for those adapted to violence, and Power (ambition/drive) drops for those adapted to Helplessness.
    3. One of the best parts about Delta Green are a character’s Bonds, which are people the PC is connected to–spouse, child, bestie, etc. Characters can project their Sanity loss onto their Bonds (1D4 worth) to reduce the Bond score but also reduce the Sanity loss. However, during roleplay between missions, the effect of reducing that Bond is played out. So it is quite possible that someone could flee before rescuing people in the theater, take a Sanity loss because of it, project it onto their sister (and hence the character suffers no San point loss, or less than they would), but the next time they see their sister they yell at her because she’s leaving her kids (the niece of the PC) alone in a store.

    Great episode, thanks guys!

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