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Do no gaming "heroes" want to justify taking stuff from people and places?

BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,644
edited September 2015 in Off-Topic
Hello, I was just playing Neverwinter Nights, and comparing its encouragement to "steal everything that's not nailed down", with other "RPG" games like Baldur's Gate.

I've watched the beginnings of every NWN "Let's Play" I can find on YouTube. All of those players start the game by finding and robbing every npc home they can find. They don't think twice about it. They also don't think twice about murdering any guard who gets in their way of their armed robbery, or about lockpicking, or breaking and entering, any secured devices or containers they find.

In fairness to all the "robber baron" gamers out there, in a game like NWN, or even BG, it is baffling why people leave gold pieces, healing potions, and magic items outside their houses, or out in the middle of nowhere, in abandoned camps. It's almost like the game developers just automatically expect players to steal everything everywhere, and that players who want to roleplay characters with a moral compass don't exist in the RPG gaming world.

There is one saving grace about this issue in both BG and NWN - the gold, magic items, and healing supplies you get from playing a stinking, dirty, burglar (and the games even allow a paladin to be a "stinking, dirty, burglar", if that's what the player wants), it's that the loot from being a riotous looter, even a supposedly "lawful good" riotous looter, is pretty small and irrelevant to the game outcome.

I can immediately see one game-changing outcome in BG:EE of actually roleplaying a "good" or "lawful" Charname. You will not get the Mace of Stunning from that chest in the top floor of that Beregost inn, because you would never go around inns breaking and entering into people's valuables, nor would you allow any party member under your influence to do so, either. You wouldn't steal "overpowered" cloaks from people like Algernon, either, and you certainly wouldn't murder him for it.

I am starting to get really, really hot and bothered by people who amount to the armed robbers of the D&D world, who call themselves, "Lawful" anything, or "Good" anything. I even object to people who do these things calling themselves "Chaotic Neutral". No, if that's what you do, you are some brand of "EVIL". I don't even think you quality as "Lawful" Evil. You are either Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil.

At least most of the YouTube D&D Let's Play posters I'm seeing are admitting that they see games as a chance to be EVIL, and to get away with it, which makes me kind of worry about them in real life. I see their love of being evil in games as a way to express their true selves in games, which they could not do in real life without getting arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to either many years in prison, life in prison without possibility of parole, or even outright "death penalty" execution.

Thank GOD for our "Lawful Good", societies. "Lawful Good" preventers of anarchic, evil, evil, EVIL people who would break and enter, kill without thought or remorse, steal everything they want and laugh at the weakness of the people, alarms, and locks who try to protect what's theirs.... omg, I'm just really ANGRY right now at people who would do that to other people.

If anyone might even care where this rant is coming from emotionally, I just found out today that the house *right next door to mine* was burgled yesterday. The thieves apparently passed a Gibson guitar and a 50 inch television right over MY fence, in MY back yard! I saw cops and neighbors moving around out my living room window around my fence, but I was so engrossed in playing NWN that I didn't care, and I ignored all of the flashlights.

They also stole my next door neighbor's RIFLE. Yes, that was apparently his "Plus Three Crossbow of Whatever". They broke into his house and TOOK it. The police managed to recover his *heavily scratched and damaged* HDTV, and his guitar, which I hear can still be played, and they arrested and incarcerated the two *THIEF* partners who did the job, but they have failed to find or recover the rifle, which is assumed to have been sold to someone who just *wants* a rifle for whatever reason and cannot get one through lawful means.

My anger at non-lawful people, even ones who want to play games and pretend to be non-lawful people, (and I don't believe they're actually "pretending" - I think that they're using the cloak of "gaming" to express their *true selves*), has just dropped from a reaction penalty of minus one to about a minus FIVE reaction penalty, based on alignment alone!

I am making an oath right now to never, ever again steal or break into *anything* in a game again, unless I have a very good, *clear* reason to do so. I've always intuited, and rarely stated, but still firmly believe, if you'd do it in a game, you wouldn't hesitate to do it in real life if you thought you could get away with it! Boo, all of you evil, evil, EVIL people out there, even if you want to hide behind a label of "Chaotic Neutral", "True Neutral", or "Chaotic Good".

"Face it, you're Neutral Evil." Or perhaps even more likely, "Face it, you're Chaotic Evil."

TeflondeltagoVallmyrKamigoroshiatcDaveTuthJuliusBorisovWandering_MinstrelThacoBellsemiticgoddessStummvonBordwehrProontmlnevese
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Comments

  • TeflonTeflon Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 517
    Crime can not justified.
    When I was young robber broke into house and stole money while whole family sleeping but police couldnt caught that #%*^₩.
    Maybe that is why I do not taking stuff from npc container in game.

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovProont
  • NaveenNaveen Member Posts: 81
    edited September 2015
    I don't know what are you talking about, you filthy peasants, I'm a goddamn hero and a LG one to boot! It's in my character sheet.

    Yeah, well, that's an old rpg cliché, and an almost inevitable problem when you design a "realistic" town, which means homes, wealth and a new place to explore. The Bard's Tale (the new one) made fun of that when you break barrels and the barrel-maker comes screaming at you "What the hell are you doing?! I make a living with these things!*", or when you find gold pieces inside a wolf xD.No surprise here, the behaviour of most charnames in baldur's gate is borderline psychopathic, but the game isn't well designed to stop these things... unless you force yourself to roleplay, and sometimes that's just boring. But I may not be the best role model, I mean, I'm one of those who kills Petrine's cat.

    Gothic, on the other hand, has a much better and reasonable game system. You enter uninvited into someone's home (and by home I mean hovel), and they warn you, if you don't leave, they attack you. Morrowind and Oblivion are also quite good since objects have an owner, although I find it amusing when half the city wants to kill me because I stole an apple by mistake.

    *Of course, then he offers you a business proposition: He will pay you for every barrel you break during your adventures.

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovProont
  • iKrivetkoiKrivetko Member Posts: 934
    edited September 2015
    Talk about overreacting.

    KamigoroshiscriverArtona
  • AlmateriaAlmateria Member Posts: 257
    I need the items more than they do.

    NaveenTeflonProont
  • TheElfTheElf Member Posts: 798
    If you don't break into people's homes in BG1 you miss out on a lot of the fun. :neutral:

    WilburTuthProont
  • WilburWilbur Member Posts: 1,173
    TheElf said:

    If you don't break into people's homes in BG1 you miss out on a lot of the fun. :neutral:

    Just like in real life ;)

    FinneousPJNaveen
  • SquireSquire Member Posts: 512
    edited September 2015
    RPGs are strange things, in that they seem to be designed to make you act as if the whole world revolves around you, and nothing else matters. Everything that isn't nailed down is yours, and if someone so much as insults you, you are basically allowed to murder the crap out of them. There's usually no option to subdue them, or allow them to surrender, and even if there was, most people won't because you typically get no XP that way.

    In tabletop games, a GM could award you XP for doing things like knocking enemies out, or capturing them and taking them to the authorities, but again, most players won't simply because it's just not part of their mindset. The person has gone hostile, and therefore they are completely justified in murdering him and looting his corpse.

    I'm one of the few who doesn't do things like loot random containers in civilised areas, or break into people's houses to steal stuff, simply because it'd make no logical sense for my character to do that. I don't walk the streets of Birmingham rummaging through every bin I see, because I don't expect to find anything in there other than rubbish, so why would I walk past Athkatla Docks and expect anything other than junk to be lying in a random barrell? I think it's a shame that even Baldur's Gate encourages you to do that, because the only way you can know that a lot of items are where they are is by metagaming. :p

    atcDaveBelgarathMTHJuliusBorisov
  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,868
    edited September 2015
    Looks like I'd better go and turn myself in then. See you all in a few years. :cry:

    Post edited by Nimran on
    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovProont
  • VallmyrVallmyr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,445
    edited September 2015
    Fortunately I don't think I have what it takes to be a necromancer with my IRL stats XD. I'd probably be a Bard that dabbled in Necromancy. Also, I doubt I'd actually raise the dead. It'd be something I'd learn how to do but it would be more of a "OH CRAP WE'RE GOING TO DIE; DO THE THING WITH THE ANIMATE UNDEAD!"

    I mean I might use Larloch's Minor Drain, Ghoul Touch, and other necromancy spells but to my knowledge in D&D "Animate Dead" is the only spell with the evil descriptor.

    Edit: That is to say the only necromancy spell with the evil descriptor.

    BelgarathMTHProont
  • SquireSquire Member Posts: 512
    Looting crypts full of undead is one thing. Looting houses owned by living people is another.

    In some cases, looting a crypt might be considered chaotic (you're still taking things that don't belong to you), but I don't consider it evil, since you're not harming anybody by doing it. Those valuables left in the crypt are just going to be forgotten (if they haven't already), and who's going to visit the grave when it's full of walking undead? By taking somebody's possessions, however, you're affecting their livelihoods, and potentially harming them by depriving them of their needed coin and possessions. By comparison, how would you feel if some arsehole walked into your house and made off with your laptop (or whatever equivalent you may have), explaining that he was a hero and needed it to save the world from some great evil? :D

    Also, I agree, raising the dead as mindless corpses to serve you is evil. :p

    BelgarathMTHatcDaveJuliusBorisovProont
  • TuthTuth Member Posts: 233
    Looting tombs and graves seems to me the same as taking stuff from random barrels and someone's houses. Would you take a ring from a long dead corpse, touch it's stiff fingers, hell even open the casket? I believe that looting a place/dead body is only justified when you take it from your enemies (not the same as "evil"). You both intend to murder eachother, mortal enemies would often take thier opponent's stuff on purpose.

    I remember playing Baldur's Gate the first couple of times and then I didn't break into random houses and look for loot. Having discovered so much hidden stuff makes it difficult for me to skip it. There are some really interesting dialogues here and there. Since I'm using every item I'm able to find, taking everything that I can enables me to play weaker characters. Besides, I'm just very curious what stuff I can find.

    The idea of playing an absolutely Lawful character that doesn't hunt for loot seems quite interesting. I might give it a try sometime.

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovProont
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 22,015
    I fully agree with this person from reddit:

    "I love that people actually care that you break into their house.

    When I first played BG1 I didn't think much about, but after recently playing The Witcher 3, which was excellent mind you, and no one caring that Geralt was stealing their stuff I find this to be awesome in Baldur's Gate. Granted I have no idea how to take items when their owners are watching me so that's kind of bothersome.

    Anyway, I can't think of many rpgs that do this except for the Kotor games."

    https://www.reddit.com/r/baldursgate/comments/3juvz5/i_love_that_people_actually_care_that_you_break/

    BelgarathMTHThacoBellProont
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    IIRC Divinity: OS also did this pretty nicely.

    JuliusBorisovProont
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,644
    edited September 2015
    @Nimran, that's kind of my excuse for occasionally looking in and "looting" barrels, too. I think of them as "trash cans". Why people in these gaming worlds would leave valuables out in the trash, I don't know, but, I guess, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

    If the exterior container is locked, though, then I see that as the equivalent of a padlocked outdoor storage shed in real life. The owner has limited space, and needs to lock up some things in an outdoor structure. Why they'd leave money out in a storage shed does call their sanity into question, though, as you say. That doesn't mean that it's not "evil" (here defined as "criminal") to break into it and take the valuables.

    Our modern lawful good societies have evolved such strict ideas and laws about property ownership, however, that it is illegal to even be caught walking on private property and snooping around the house or any outdoor structures or containers, which we call "trespassing". I say, good for our lawful good societies, but that level of "lawful good society" does not exist in games. Maybe that's a good thing; I don't know. A game based on a Renaissance level of world technology and "swords and sorcery", that also had contemporary structures and strictures of morality, equality, property-ownership, and law built into it, probably wouldn't be a very fun game.

    The thing is, I can't help but to approach my D&D game as a man of the times and the place that I live in. I can't have fun with a game that I play by ignoring my moral compass, even if my moral orientation doesn't fit into that world. Luckily for me and people like me, D&D does at least provide a barebones structure of character morality through its alignment system. I wish most of the games would implement it a bit better, but still, at least a player can express his or her natural alignment through self-restraint.

    And, the games do need to have content in them for evil people who choose to go "off the rails" morally in games, since a significant percentage of the games' developers' market will be potential buyers with a strong "evil" streak to their psychological makeup.

    NimranJuliusBorisovThacoBellProont
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,644
    Hello, I just got my current lawful good cleric NWN run up to just about the final confrontation with Desther, and I followed my "no stealing" rule all the way to here.

    First, I would say that I found it quite liberating to NOT think I had to spend my time robbing every container and closet everywhere in the game, and I think I just got to the end of Act I of this game in a record speed time, since I was just trying to finish it quickly under my new roleplaying rubric.

    Second, I would say that I still got ALL of the most important treasure - Armor of Comfort, blades/axes/clubs of plus one enchantment, and just about anything else you might think of for a coveted magic weapon or armor in the NWN game Chapter One. Oh, yes, one of the best magic items in the game, the Ring of Helm, which is a Ring of Elemental Resistance, with a permanent non-buff dependent resistance to all the worst that a mage, dragon, or even a lich can throw at you in that game, comes just for playing good at banishing a demon and not trying to "play ball" with it out of some evil desire to control it for personal benefit.

    Third, my level at the end of Act One while playing a "lawful good" character who looted nothing if it had not been taken off a dead evil creature's body, or out of a chest nearby that dead evil creature, or who always spared anyone who surrendered and begged for mercy, such as Meldanen, was roughly level Eight.

    In other playthroughs of various alignments, while following the normal habit to loot and break into everything in the game, my level at the end of that looting spree was - about level Eight.

    As far as my wealth at the end of Act One - yup, it was about the same, perhaps no more than about 1,000 gold pieces difference between playing a good character and a deluded evil character. And nothing worth having in the game had even close to a value where 1,000 gold would make a difference.

    Any difference between my "true" lawful good playthrough, and all of my by-habit stealing and killing playthroughs of the past, even under a "lawful good" label, much less any other alignment label, comes down to no significant difference whatsoever in the end result, other than perhaps a bit of convenience.

    I think these games are a test of what we really have in our hearts, if we play them as hypothetical simulators of ourselves in different realities, rather than as mere releases of our more primitive and violent impulses. Heck, I think you could do the release thing more effectively as a real life athlete, football player, police officer, or soldier, unless you don't have the athletic ("Strength") skill to do so.

    If the games are just for pure entertainment, I'm not convinced that wouldn't be better achieved through a good book, TV show, or movie, rather than trying to immerse oneself in a fantasy of psychopathic violence and robbery where oneself is the "star of the show". Even that end might be better achieved through watching horror movies where the watcher is identifying with and rooting for the monster(s) or the psychopathic killer(s).

    Sure, you can do a release of your repressed primitive and violent impulses through games, but shouldn't you ask yourself why you love to do so, and to self-reflect a bit on how you are spending your leisure hours?

    I like to flatter myself that I do it because I want to imagine myself and place myself into a fantasy world where I have the power to do great good, while enjoying at least a little bit of public approval, wealth, and comfort while doing so.

    So, my conclusion from my experiment here, is about the same as what Master Yoda told Luke in "The Empire Strikes Back".

    Luke: "Is the dark side stronger?"

    Yoda: "No. Easier, more seductive."

    So, all of you evil people out there who love to play out your evil to your hearts' content in D&D games, I would say to you, "Once you start down the dark path, consume you it will! Forever will it dominate your destiny!"

    Also, my thoughts about this topic remind me of this little gem of wisdom, attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament:

    Mark 7:20-23English Standard Version (ESV)

    20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

    JuliusBorisovNimran
  • Planescape Torment has an alignment modifier, but this doesn't alter your alignment at all when you loot from people's homes. The game also is designed to have loot everywhere to take.

    I didn't play the EE but the original has mods to show each alignment change. I notice when you return from the catacombs and lockpick the gate, the guards hostile and you must kill them in self-defense and each time it's +1 evil and +1 chaotic. And they respawn each time. So unless you do the trick to twist Barr's arm, you have to have a bugged alignment shift each time.

    But for looting homes, never.


    Also in Baldur's Gate, the hotel rooms don't have doors which is really weird.

    There are also hotel rooms that are unoccupied with treasure left. I wonder if people left stuff in their rooms after checking out (hotel doesn't have a lost and found I guess) or they are checked in but out somewhere.




    Proont
  • Squire said:

    RPGs are strange things, in that they seem to be designed to make you act as if the whole world revolves around you, and nothing else matters. Everything that isn't nailed down is yours, and if someone so much as insults you, you are basically allowed to murder the crap out of them. There's usually no option to subdue them, or allow them to surrender, and even if there was, most people won't because you typically get no XP that way.

    In tabletop games, a GM could award you XP for doing things like knocking enemies out, or capturing them and taking them to the authorities, but again, most players won't simply because it's just not part of their mindset.

    The experience system is weird in RPGs. A mage can go around killing things with regular weapons and this somehow improves his/her magic ability.

    In reality, a mage would have to be alone practicing magic and off in quiet meditating to get better.

    Squire said:


    I'm one of the few who doesn't do things like loot random containers in civilised areas, or break into people's houses to steal stuff, simply because it'd make no logical sense for my character to do that. I don't walk the streets of Birmingham rummaging through every bin I see, because I don't expect to find anything in there other than rubbish, so why would I walk past Athkatla Docks and expect anything other than junk to be lying in a random barrell? I think it's a shame that even Baldur's Gate encourages you to do that, because the only way you can know that a lot of items are where they are is by metagaming. :p

    There's a game, I think still in beta, called Hobo Simulator. Basically you're a homeless person and just surviving is a whole adventure! And so rummaging through the garbage and stealing things makes sense -- and it's a major part of the game.

    Proont
  • DrHappyAngryDrHappyAngry Member Posts: 1,577
    I just started the swordflight module for NWN, and if you even disable a trap or open a lock on random people's chests, you get evil alignment shifts, plus more for taking stuff. Granted I'd say stealing from a lot of them should be chaotic, but it does mean if you want to play good, especially a paladin, you're not rummaging through every room and going through random people's stuff. Now it's OK to loot chests in a bandit hideout, and those won't cause alignment shifts, in swordflight. I think I need to rethink my character and start over.

    I did like how Verner in Mass Effect 2 made fun of this, and some other RPG tropes “Sometimes I poke through crates, too. You know, for extra credits.”

    As for undead. I could see 2 arguments, ya the lawful good paladin or the like would be ready to burn anyone using raising undead. But somebody like a neutral wizard or priest might just view it as another tool, not good or evil, but what you do with it is. Now, killing a bunch of people to raise them as undead minions is clearly evil, but using leftovers from a battle may not be, especially if they're from a cultural background that views the body as just a shell, and doesn't care what happens to it afterwards.

    BelgarathMTHMakeAthkatlaGrtAgainProont
  • JoenSoJoenSo Member Posts: 910
    I'd say it's pretty dangerous to assume that people who play evil characters in RPGs are more evil in reality. Or that people who steal are always chaotic/neutral evil. That's more of a lawful neutral mindset than a lawful good one in my opinion.

    I do have a hard time playing evil in RPGs though. Knights of the old republic and New Vegas are the only ones I can remember where I managed to be evil through a whole playthrough.

    FinneousPJsemiticgoddessProontArtona
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,201
    Its amazing what people will do when there are no consequences. If you want to see how strong someone's moral fibre is, watch them in a consequence free environment. I can't do evil runs, or loot people's homes. It just makes me feel bad.

    BelgarathMTHMakeAthkatlaGrtAgainProontmlnevese
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