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Lack of Choice Regarding Bitter Squash


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#1
calavicci

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I'm playing through Defiance Bay right now, and I'm very disappointed with the content involving bitter squash (the Supply and Demand quest, etc.), especially with all the emphasis on moral choice and so forth in the CRPG world these days, Pillars of Eternity included. The player ought to be able to take a moral stand against the abortifacient. As it stands, it seems that the only options are to condone it, to quietly not do those quests, or to kill everybody involved. The player should at least be able to condemn it, and preferably be able to take action to cut the supply, get it outlawed, or so forth. With all of the choice to roleplay moral situations in various ways, the lack of choice here is really conspicuous. Moreover, with the prevalence of this as an actual moral issue in the modern world, it really seems like a huge oversight. I would really like to see some substantial options added here in a future patch.

 

Edit: spelling fix


Edited by calavicci, 16 April 2015 - 08:20 PM.


#2
sparklecat

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Killing everyone involved seems like a pretty good way to cut the supply to me.

 

But hey, so long as the player's got equal opportunity in any quests to take a moral stand against people trying to control what women do with their own bodies and to condemn any legal restrictions upon the trade, I'll have no complaints if something of this sort is put into the expansion.



#3
Luckmann

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Killing everyone involved seems like a pretty good way to cut the supply to me.

 

[...]

 

If that's what it takes, that could be a good counter, for ambiguity. But in order for that to even happen or come to a head, I think you at least have to be given the option of taking a moral stand, and then if that's not enough, argue, and sure, at the end of the whole ordeal, make the choice as to whether you'll go to those lengths to enforce your morality, or if you settle for just taking a stand in this instance, or do not consider the issue worth killing loads of people over.

And of course, yeah, you should be able to take a stand in the opposite direction too, if it's relevant and not out of place (as in, if there's a situation where these issues pop up, such as legal restrictions, etc). I think it would be funny if you'd raise the point of a womans "right" to "her own" body and a group of guards just laugh you in the face, or a group of religious nutjobs go bananas.

In particular I'd expect Eothas (as Gaun) or Magran and maybe Ondra to have some things to say on the matter, while others might be straight-up indifferent. I'd expect Skaen and maaaaaybe Woedica to support it. But in general, gods are probably pretty big on the whole spreading the seed and increase the flock thing.

This could actually be something interesting to paint otherwise "good" people as "bad" (in the modernist sense, at least). Gaun is all about the seasons and the harvest and all the regular Chauntea-by-any-other-name stuff, and Edér having an interjection about the immorality (although he'd certainly not say it so formally) of abortion or Durance going on for a while about how women are whores and children are tinder for the furnaces of Magran could be funny.

And oh god, I think this might actually make Grieving Mother explode.

 

Sagani would maybe question it, but be more /shrug, considering the whole Hollowborn thing. She seems "understanding", for lack of a better word.

Meanwhile, I think that Kana Rua would have a pretty "worldy" approach, like, "of course, why not?". I wonder what Hiravias would do... he *is* a druid, but at the same time, he's a lecherous little wreck of a man. Aloth? Probably /careface.


Edited by Luckmann, 16 April 2015 - 11:40 PM.


#4
Qbert

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Killing everyone involved seems like a pretty good way to cut the supply to me.

 

[...]

 

If that's what it takes, that could be a good counter, for ambiguity. But in order for that to even happen or come to a head, I think you at least have to be given the option of taking a moral stand, and then if that's not enough, argue, and sure, at the end of the whole ordeal, make the choice as to whether you'll go to those lengths to enforce your morality, or if you settle for just taking a stand in this instance, or do not consider the issue worth killing loads of people over.

Yeah the option that caters to someone who thinks killing all these people is a good way to prevent what they consider immoral killing would not seem to apply to a broad spectrum of people.  Perhaps a religious zealot character would go this route, but there is a much broader swath of characters I would think who would like an option to try and prevent the abortions without resorting to violence and death.

 

I haven't played this quest, so I can't speak specifically, but in much of the general discussion the point has been made that the developers have openly catered the game world to fit their own liberal political philosophy.

 

In this vein, they probably see the anti-abortion position as hate speech, similar to how they viewed the limerick.


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#5
Veevoir

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 The player ought to be able to take a moral stand against the abortifacient. 

If it only was relevant to the setting. There is no religion in PoE that afaik shuns on abortion. And the way the game world is constructed everyone knows that souls circulate through the wheel. 
Hell, I guess some day they may be up to discussion when soul is bound to the body, which would be relevant to the topic and shine a light on why/if abortion is considered a moral act or not.. After all not a body yet/empty body vs body with soul makes a difference in PoE world.

So TL;DR: trying to impose our world morality/choices connected to it on a world so different from ours is a fail. Sure some parts of both moralities are similar, but many are not.


Edited by Veevoir, 17 April 2015 - 07:26 AM.

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#6
Luckmann

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 The player ought to be able to take a moral stand against the abortifacient. 

If it only was relevant to the setting. There is no religion in PoE that afaik shuns on abortion. And the way the game world is constructed everyone knows that souls circulate through the wheel. 
Hell, I guess some day they may be up to discussion when soul is bound to the body, which would be relevant to the topic and shine a light on why/if abortion is considered a moral act or not.. After all not a body yet/empty body vs body with soul makes a difference in PoE world.

So TL;DR: trying to impose our world morality/choices connected to it on a world so different from ours is a fail. Sure some parts of both moralities are similar, but many are not.

 

 

Well, yes and no, I mean, you are possibly right, but that's a pretty weak "possibly". You're possibly wrong, too, but that's equally weak. It's just very hard to tell.

We actually know very little about the religions and the deities. Like I said in my post, I could definitely see Eothas (as Gaun) opposing abortions, or Magran, or, even more relevant actually, the followers of the deities themselves - I think it would be quite appropriate for the setting to have at the very least a limited number of different sects and beliefs related to a given god.

And while it's commonly acknowledged in the setting that souls are reborn, there's the obvious question as to where new souls come from (which may or may not have been answered), and the argument that this may result in a higher degree of acceptance ("because the child is going to be reborn anyway", which could actually be considered a pretty weak argument in itself; it's not about being reborn, it's about suffering, etc) it can also be completely turned around, such as with the argument "If the child is to be reborn here and now, who are you to break the strands of fate and force it back to the great wheel?".

And as you say, it is a good question as to when a child can be considered as having a soul. Is it measurable? Or does it just sorta drip in, piece by piece, shard by shard, from the point of conception onward? I would assume the latter, because a sharp "exactly three months and 4 hours" would be.. weird. But it's possible.

So while we shouldn't impose our world's morality and choices by default, by the merits or lack thereof of the arguments in our world, I can easily see how similar issues might arise on Eora, and especially in the Dyrwoods at this time. And being able to take a position on the stance, as a character in the world, should be a pretty basic, fundamental option in the context, I think.

And it would be better if the merits (or lack thereof) of the various arguments and stances you can take remain largely unconfirmable, so it is impossible to take an objectively "correct" stance on the issue. I hate it when options that should be complicated and debatable have easily confirmable "right" and "wrong" answers in the game world.



#7
sparklecat

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I considered my priest of Eothas's opinion on the matter when being asked to negotiate a lower price for bitter squash seeds for the prostitutes, and decided that she'd feel that if it was a choice between nine months of pregnancy, a dangerous birth, and then the mother drowning her Hollowborn child, an early abortion was the much better option.  More generally, when the Hollowborn epidemic was over?  I'm not really sure which way she'd go on the matter.  The argument that souls get returned to the Wheel and the child would be better off born to someone who actually wants one might be convincing to her, especially now; even before the end of the game, she was never an "animancy is meddling in the domain of the gods" type, and by the end, well, the disposition of souls seems even less the rightful domain of the gods.



#8
Luckmann

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I considered my priest of Eothas's opinion on the matter when being asked to negotiate a lower price for bitter squash seeds for the prostitutes, and decided that she'd feel that if it was a choice between nine months of pregnancy, a dangerous birth, and then the mother drowning her Hollowborn child, an early abortion was the much better option.  More generally, when the Hollowborn epidemic was over?  I'm not really sure which way she'd go on the matter.  The argument that souls get returned to the Wheel and the child would be better off born to someone who actually wants one might be convincing to her, especially now; even before the end of the game, she was never an "animancy is meddling in the domain of the gods" type, and by the end, well, the disposition of souls seems even less the rightful domain of the gods.

 

See? It's an interesting topic in it's own right, in-universe.

My Priestess of Eothas would of course follow my interpretation of Eothas' will (based on nothing but loose conjecture and guesswork, for lack of better), and oppose it, but would be far less adamant in opposing it if it required her to kill otherwise innocent people, and would likely try to focus on easing the suffering, if anything. "I don't support it, but I understand why you do it, so I'm going to help as best as I can as long as I don't have to cross any boundaries."

 

And if not for Waidwen's Legacy.. she'd probably be a lot more adamant on the issue, although probably not so much as to start killing people over it. Feels more like a Magran thing to burn the midwives and the abortionists as witches. Eothas forgives and knows that there will be another spring.


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#9
White Phoenix

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It is interesting. Some options called benevolent or honest (Eothas disposition) in the game could make someone harm when decepetive in some case has more positive effects than following deity path. I remember it was told that priest faith is more open to interpretation that paladin, so I guess there are some Eothasians resisting abortion and some who grant permission to it in some cases. But we do not know official stand from their god, but I guess again because of Eothas portfolio: a god of (re)birth, as a Gaun he watches over young life not dying too early, BUT he takes people who want to die, he is allied with Hylea - goddes of motherhood and birth, so I think he would typically dissaprove of abortion.

 

I'm wondering that for people of Eora it could be not so controverse as in our world, because they can't breed between races (natural sterility is more common than in our world), Godlike are naturally sterile too and on Eora there is another philosophy/religion (additiionally AS a scientific facts not only beliefs) wchich is not created on Greek and Christian fundaments (Greek medicine has huge impact on progress of our science). Although there are some similarites with Greek, ancient culture of ours and so on. People live longer than in our Middle-age and modern world, maybe they have better developed medicine, biology and so on.

 

I try to think about morality in Eora in multiverse category, but sometimes it is hard (for example do not kill child because it is simply immoral as a pure act of killing children), when it comes to my personal beliefs. But it is called role-playing in some way.


Edited by White Phoenix, 17 April 2015 - 11:27 AM.

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#10
Luckmann

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It is interesting. Some options called benevolent or honest (Eothas disposition) in the game could make someone harm when decepetive in some case has more positive effects than following deity path. I remember there was told that priest faith is more open to interpretation that paladin, so I guess there are some Eothasians resisting abortion and some who grant permission to it in some cases. But we do not know official stand from their god, but I guess again because of Eothas portfolio: a god of (re)birth, as a Gaun he watches over young life not dying too early, BUT he takes people who want to die, he is allied with Hylea - goddes of motherhood and birth, so I think he would typically dissaprove of it.


I ask myself if deities are even capable of recognizing the soulless as alive, though. Not that you can tell before birth, or.. huhmm.. that's a good question, actually, why wouldn't animancers be able to tell if a child has a soul before it's born?

#11
White Phoenix

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It is interesting. Some options called benevolent or honest (Eothas disposition) in the game could make someone harm when decepetive in some case has more positive effects than following deity path. I remember there was told that priest faith is more open to interpretation that paladin, so I guess there are some Eothasians resisting abortion and some who grant permission to it in some cases. But we do not know official stand from their god, but I guess again because of Eothas portfolio: a god of (re)birth, as a Gaun he watches over young life not dying too early, BUT he takes people who want to die, he is allied with Hylea - goddes of motherhood and birth, so I think he would typically dissaprove of it.


I ask myself if deities are even capable of recognizing the soulless as alive, though. Not that you can tell before birth, or.. huhmm.. that's a good question, actually, why wouldn't animancers be able to tell if a child has a soul before it's born?

 

I think there are some traces to recognize that children USUALLY have soul before birth. Godlike case. They are what they are because their soul was transformed before birth not after. They are born with visible, phisicial signs of their divinity, so they can be killed later. Imagine how many of them had lived if they would have got those signs in adolescence or later. 

 

In our world creatures do not need soul to live (pure biological functions). By terms of Christian theology of course - soul gives human being dignity of person and element of God. In Eora I don't know what the soul is, but but I agree that soul is more associated with biological functions of life, because Waidwen's Legacy showed it. Children with no soul after birth are not able to live and develop normally, they are like car with no gasoline.

 

Maybe animancers have no right tools to tell it, but I think it is plot hole, because they were able to dectect wrong things with wichts' souls (although they are children in adolescence). Maybe infant soul is hard to detect? Maybe it changes in some way like body during growing up? I think POE leaves us with so many questions about lore as for a new world game.


Edited by White Phoenix, 17 April 2015 - 11:55 AM.

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#12
sparklecat

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Perhaps the mother's soul "interferes" in some way with the detection, or their instruments are only sensitive enough to detect if a soul's present after the point where a medicinal abortion would be safe and effective?  Also, animancy isn't exactly trusted in the Dyrwood; there are probably a fair number of mothers who'd rather pray than go consult an animancer about their pregnancy.

 

 

Universes in which there are unequivocally souls, along with magic that interacts with them, often have some interesting implications.  I played a pregnant character who died in a D&D game at one point; it was interesting, trying to decide with the DM whether we'd want to be using one Raise Dead or two.



#13
Ineth

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lol



#14
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The whole point of the quest is that abortions are in TREMENDOUS demand - nobody cares about the moral repercussions of abortion in the situation, literally anybody who gets pregnant, and isn't naive to the whole hollowborn situation, is having an abortion.  Furthermore, throughout the land, people who produce hollowborn children (some villages haven't had normal births in YEARS when the PC shows up) are killing/shunning those who produce the hollowborn children, and klling the children themselves.  Not to mention that so far the best that's been done with hollowborn children is turning them into roving, insane, dangers to man and beast. 

 

The reason the quest is in the game is to demonstrate to the player, yet again, how warped society has become due to the hollowborn epidemic - not to give the player the opportunity to grandstand on moral principles that nobody in the game world would give a solitary .... about.


Edited by Gallenger, 17 April 2015 - 03:51 PM.


#15
Luckmann

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The whole point of the quest is that abortions are in TREMENDOUS demand - nobody cares about the moral repercussions of abortion in the situation, literally anybody who gets pregnant, and isn't naive to the whole hollowborn situation, is having an abortion.  Furthermore, throughout the land, people who produce hollowborn children (some villages haven't had normal births in YEARS when the PC shows up) are killing/shunning those who produce the hollowborn children, and klling the children themselves.  Not to mention that so far the best that's been done with hollowborn children is turning them into roving, insane, dangers to man and beast. 

 

The reason the quest is in the game is to demonstrate to the player, yet again, how warped society has become due to the hollowborn epidemic - not to give the player the opportunity to grandstand on moral principles that nobody in the game world would give a solitary .... about.

 

That would be a fair point if we didn't know that it's factually wrong. A lot of children are born as hollowborn, but not all, and we not only meet infant hollowborn, but also children that have been born during Waidwen's Legacy. There appears to be a good amount of births still going on, so there's still definitely some good stuff to build on here.

And either way, the player character certainly hasn't been living this life, and it's actually the perfect opportunity to take a stand on moral principles that many in the game world would probably give many ****s about.


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#16
elf1

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Similarly, if you rescue the the girl in the missing noblewoman quest, there not opion to give her back to her uncle, and when you talk to him you have either act all pissy and passive aggressive or just flat out kill him.
The quest imposes the morality of a decent 21st century person on my character's morality, which really made the whole quest lame
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#17
White Phoenix

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Similarly, if you rescue the the girl in the missing noblewoman quest, there not opion to give her back to her uncle, and when you talk to him you have either act all pissy and passive aggressive or just flat out kill him.
The quest imposes the morality of a decent 21st century person on my character's morality, which really made the whole quest lame

On RPG Codex forums there are many accusations about 21st century mentality in Renaissance/Middle-Age setting. For example having reincarnation themes and Western mentality instead Eastern. But I think that Dragon Age setting made it much worse than Eora of POE.

 

One good setting with reincarnation theme and more Eastern mentality/culture was Bioware forgotten child - Jade Empire.


Edited by White Phoenix, 18 April 2015 - 10:44 AM.

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#18
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Similarly, if you rescue the the girl in the missing noblewoman quest, there not opion to give her back to her uncle, and when you talk to him you have either act all pissy and passive aggressive or just flat out kill him.
The quest imposes the morality of a decent 21st century person on my character's morality, which really made the whole quest lame


Yeah, I really hate these things. It also feels incredibly inconsistent in regards to some other parts of the game, like the kid you can beat up, or give a knife, no questions asked. Yes, it turns out bad "of course" if you give him a knife (sigh.. how nice it would be if things were more realistic), but that's beside the point. My point being that because of that, these times when 21st-century morality is forced upon you comes across as preachy and jarring.

It's actually way worse than in D&D, where the 21st-century morality is expressly an objective part of the setting and if you don't adhere to it, you're a chaotic evil psycho that will go to literal hell. Not much better, but at least it's consistent.

Edited by Luckmann, 18 April 2015 - 10:48 AM.


#19
elf1

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Similarly, if you rescue the the girl in the missing noblewoman quest, there not opion to give her back to her uncle, and when you talk to him you have either act all pissy and passive aggressive or just flat out kill him.
The quest imposes the morality of a decent 21st century person on my character's morality, which really made the whole quest lame


Yeah, I really hate these things. It also feels incredibly inconsistent in regards to some other parts of the game, like the kid you can beat up, or give a knife, no questions asked. Yes, it turns out bad "of course" if you give him a knife (sigh.. how nice it would be if things were more realistic), but that's beside the point. My point being that because of that, these times when 21st-century morality is forced upon you comes across as preachy and jarring.

It's actually way worse than in D&D, where the 21st-century morality is expressly an objective part of the setting and if you don't adhere to it, you're a chaotic evil psycho that will go to literal hell. Not much better, but at least it's consistent.

 

i agree, constancy is the key. having the freedom to choose my morality 9 out of ten times makes the one time i can't extremely frustrating and throws me out of the narrative i build around my character. 

 

 

Similarly, if you rescue the the girl in the missing noblewoman quest, there not opion to give her back to her uncle, and when you talk to him you have either act all pissy and passive aggressive or just flat out kill him.
The quest imposes the morality of a decent 21st century person on my character's morality, which really made the whole quest lame

On RPG Codex forums there are many accusations about 21st century mentality in Renaissance/Middle-Age setting. For example having reincarnation themes and Western mentality instead Eastern. But I think that Dragon Age setting made it much worse than Eora of POE.

 

One good setting with reincarnation theme and more Eastern mentality/culture was Bioware forgotten child - Jade Empire.

 

i only played dragon age 1 but the morality of the characters fit the setting pretty well i thought , it's been a long time since i played though

 

gonna have to check jade empire out



#20
Luckmann

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Similarly, if you rescue the the girl in the missing noblewoman quest, there not opion to give her back to her uncle, and when you talk to him you have either act all pissy and passive aggressive or just flat out kill him.
The quest imposes the morality of a decent 21st century person on my character's morality, which really made the whole quest lame


Yeah, I really hate these things. It also feels incredibly inconsistent in regards to some other parts of the game, like the kid you can beat up, or give a knife, no questions asked. Yes, it turns out bad "of course" if you give him a knife (sigh.. how nice it would be if things were more realistic), but that's beside the point. My point being that because of that, these times when 21st-century morality is forced upon you comes across as preachy and jarring.

It's actually way worse than in D&D, where the 21st-century morality is expressly an objective part of the setting and if you don't adhere to it, you're a chaotic evil psycho that will go to literal hell. Not much better, but at least it's consistent.

 

i agree, constancy is the key. having the freedom to choose my morality 9 out of ten times makes the one time i can't extremely frustrating and throws me out of the narrative i build around my character. 

 

 

Similarly, if you rescue the the girl in the missing noblewoman quest, there not opion to give her back to her uncle, and when you talk to him you have either act all pissy and passive aggressive or just flat out kill him.
The quest imposes the morality of a decent 21st century person on my character's morality, which really made the whole quest lame

On RPG Codex forums there are many accusations about 21st century mentality in Renaissance/Middle-Age setting. For example having reincarnation themes and Western mentality instead Eastern. But I think that Dragon Age setting made it much worse than Eora of POE.

 

One good setting with reincarnation theme and more Eastern mentality/culture was Bioware forgotten child - Jade Empire.

 

i only played dragon age 1 but the morality of the characters fit the setting pretty well i thought , it's been a long time since i played though

 

gonna have to check jade empire out

 

 

DA:O did heavily enforce the whole 21st-century morale thing pretty bluntly, and in the later DA games to sheer absurdity, but at least in DA:O it's consistent, and in DA2 it's consistently stupid. It makes it actually feel not half as bad.


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