GURPS High Fantasy
I have long believed that reality is a subjective experience, that everyone has a different interpretation of the world around them. Of course there are commonalities, but it is when one looks at the differences that the lines start to blur a bit.
Morality I feel is the same way. Life is not inherently moral, it is chaotic. Morality is a system invented to bring some kind of order to the chaos of the world around us. If everyone went around killing people just because they were angry then nothing would ever get accomplished and people would live in fear for their entire lives. Morals and values help to prevent that.
It is however, as subjective as the reality for which it was built. Which is worse – the man who steals a loaf of bread or the man who will not share his bread with the hungry? Is stealing wrong when the intentions are pure? Is it wrong to murder a man who threatens the lives of those closest to you? These are the questions that must be answered when the moral compass of another does not match the one that is agreed upon by the majority.
In my world, the world I have known my entire life, theft and murder are considered immoral and wrong. Correctly so I would imagine… in general. In this new world the rules are completely different. My life has been turned on its head and now I am playing a game in which I don’t know all the rules. In a world where vampires are a thing and slaves are sold on the open market – how am I supposed to gauge right and wrong? In every fantasy game that I have ever played, murder is not only proper but an acceptable means to an end. Wrath and vengeance are glamourized and pyschopathy is romanticized. Is that because life was just like that back then? I mean historically it was acceptable for men to marry and bed a fourteen year old girl and murder was heroic, especially in the service of
An assassin is something that is different. Why does an assassin do what she does? The money I feel is incidental, a fitting reward for a job well done. Assassins are assassins because they enjoy assassinating. Morality is on my mind tonight because I may have joined the Assassin’s Guild and now I am in a bit of a tough spot. I joined the guild not because I have a particular love of homicide, but because who better to help gather information than those who live their lives in shadow? I haven’t the slightest what is or has happened to us and I will be honest – I am frightened. I would never tell the others this of course.
In the Guild there are particular doors to which I have no access. I have no reputation, no information, and no leverage to help make use of the new resources that I may have. On an impulse I accepted a contract. I was worried until I found out that he is a slaver in this town. The idea of owning another human being is horrifying and here they trade humans in the open as if they were cattle or wood. Is that enough justification for cold blooded murder? This man has done nothing to me. The seer told me that he is not a very good man, that he has tortured and murdered other people…. but who am I to judge? What right to I have to decided whether a person should live or die? It seems odd now that I would have no issue with killing vicariously in the context of a game, but in those games there is no actual blood on my hands. Is this real life or is this a game?
There is a seer in town. She is an interesting and wise woman. A seer who actually sees. No crystal balls, no palm reading, no gimmicks. The party was informed that we are “of the blood” as are others, but not everyone
in this world. We discovered that this world has existed before our arrival and will continue to exist after our departure. The seer created more questions than she actually answered!