You Want Me to Think About How the Orc Feels Before I Kill Him? What Are You? A Pervert?
|title unknown by Richard M. Powers|
The other day I was reading reddit, as you do, when I ran across a thread that got my attention: Killing people is hard, but not in RPGs. The basic premise of the opening poster is that in life it's incredibly hard to kill people because reality is a complex bastard and that we should transpose this moral complexity over to our role-playing games and find a way to reflect that difficulty in how we play.
This insistence on playing in a world of complex morality, where every decision should matter morally to me as a player has never appealed to me. Our real world is filled with that complexity and I deal with it every day so why should I deal with it in my game world too?
I don't and I won't.
The real world that I live in is filled with moral complexity and I don't need to imagine what it feels like to deal with the fallout from terrible people doing terrible things and trying to keep my family safe with murderers, thieves, drug addicts, and criminals of all sorts living around me. I don't need to wonder how I would feel if I have to deal with rape survivors, the families of murder victims, or what it feels like to be robbed. I know all of those things too well and have no interest in replaying them in my games.
No, I would rather play in game worlds where things are morally simple. There are firm lines in what is good, and what is evil. We kill orcs because they would kill us, our families, and everyone we know or could ever hope to know. Why? Because they're evil. We don't worry about the moral repercussions of our actions because they're evil and fuck them. Role-playing games can be that simple, and for me they will be because I live with the complexity that some try to emulate every day.