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A World Worth Saving?

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1 A World Worth Saving? on Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:28 am

A fairly common topic Arche has brought up in Ruminations is the idea of the player having impact on making a world better. And for that matter a reason for the inhabitants to continue onward. Recently my D&D campaign presented this subject quite well, as such I suppose I'm curious as to what anyone here thinks about the topic?

I'll list some settings that come off the top of my head. Which ones I believe are worth saving or otherwise.

•Thedas (Dragon Age): Yes
•Middle Earth (LOTR/Tolkeinverse): Yes
•The Continent (The Witcher): No
•Tameriel (Elder Scrolls): Yes
•Fallout Earth (Fallout Series): No
•Hyrule (Legend of Zelda): Yes
•Azeroth (Warcraft): Yes
•World of Balance & World of Ruin (FFVI): Yes
•Westros/Essos (Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones): No
•The Galaxy (Star Wars): Yes
•Milky Way (Mass Effect): Yes
•Milky Way (Halo): No
•Milky Way (Warhammer 40,000): Never

In the interest of analysis/disscussion I can of course elaborate on any of these. Additionally, I am certainly open to hearing as to what anyone else considers worthwhile in terms of setting.




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2 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:45 am

How is the Halo galaxy not worth saving?

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3 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:21 pm

Without a doubt one of the more controversial of my choices. When I consider these I like to think about the positivity that can come from the setting. With Halo in mind I personally can only see War Heroes, the Sanghelli society, and of course Master Chief.

As such, negatives the I see are quite large. A good example of this is that most conflicts appear to stem from the belief that their civilazation possesses the "Mantle of Responsibility". Even in peace, people are forced to live under Autocratic rule, where their rights are highly oppressed. Not to mention that the most recent peace in the setting was earned through the kidnapping/augmentation of children.

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4 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Mon Jun 06, 2016 4:51 pm

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5 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:00 pm

Luslanz unintentionally brings up an interesting question. Is it better or worse that we, the ones deciding if these settings are worth saving, do not rely upon them for our own existence?


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6 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:08 pm

I say just let the worlds sort themselves out. Eventually the Witcher's world will reach industrialization and get rid of monsters, evil kings, etc. Warhammer 40k will end in any number of ways, probably the emperor rising in some form, etc. etc. and also the idea of dooming a setting because of what an outsider thinks of that society/setting feels really wrong to me. Just because I think a setting is horribly broken or otherwise corrupt doesn't mean I should doom the people that are innocent or can't help the circumstances of their birth. That's still hundreds of billions in something like Warhammer 40k or multiple millions in other settings.

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7 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:26 pm

Pro Idiot117 wrote:As such, negatives the I see are quite large. A good example of this is that most conflicts appear to stem from the belief that their civilazation possesses the "Mantle of Responsibility". Even in peace, people are forced to live under Autocratic rule, where their rights are highly oppressed. Not to mention that the most recent peace in the setting was earned through the kidnapping/augmentation of children.
At least there the problem has a chance to be solved.  Unlike say the setting where almost every major conflict since the asari discovered the Citadel can be traced back to their action, inaction, or imposing of laws without the foresight to see when they might hinder either progress or the quelling of escalating tensions; usually by doing the exact opposite of they should do in a given situation.

At least the UNSC government has a chance to be reformed (once they do something about ONI) unlike the malignant, stagnant overgoverning body that refuses to attempt to solve a crises that comes along, and instead tries to ignore its existence until it inevitably blows up in the face on any of the three ruling species.

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8 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:07 pm

The Lorerunner wrote:Luslanz unintentionally brings up an interesting question.  Is it better or worse that we, the ones deciding if these settings are worth saving, do not rely upon them for our own existence?

It depends, doesn't it? For us ~destroyers of worlds~ it's better, for the settings, not so much Smile

I mean, from an in universe perspective the world is always worth saving. If there is no reason to move forward, then there is no conflict or motivation and the story becomes pointless.

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9 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:21 am

Isn't any world with good people worth saving?

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10 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:18 am

SilverDragonRed wrote:
Pro Idiot117 wrote:As such, negatives the I see are quite large. A good example of this is that most conflicts appear to stem from the belief that their civilazation possesses the "Mantle of Responsibility". Even in peace, people are forced to live under Autocratic rule, where their rights are highly oppressed. Not to mention that the most recent peace in the setting was earned through the kidnapping/augmentation of children.
At least there the problem has a chance to be solved.  Unlike say the setting where almost every major conflict since the asari discovered the Citadel can be traced back to their action, inaction, or imposing of laws without the foresight to see when they might hinder either progress or the quelling of escalating tensions; usually by doing the exact opposite of they should do in a given situation.

At least the UNSC government has a chance to be reformed (once they do something about ONI) unlike the malignant, stagnant overgoverning body that refuses to attempt to solve a crises that comes along, and instead tries to ignore its existence until it inevitably blows up in the face on any of the three ruling species.

I guess the way I see it is that the UNSC has shown no inclination of removing ONI. As such the state things are pretty terrible. Indeed the governing body that is Citadel Space is not any better. The basic difference I see is that the common people within the Halo universe have no real influence on the state of their lives. Mass Effect you have independent groups of soldiers, scientists, and everyday people generally desiring to do good. In Halo great change only comes from those in governing positions, or those with government permission.

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11 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:11 am

Luslanz wrote:
The Lorerunner wrote:Luslanz unintentionally brings up an interesting question.  Is it better or worse that we, the ones deciding if these settings are worth saving, do not rely upon them for our own existence?

It depends, doesn't it? For us ~destroyers of worlds~ it's better, for the settings, not so much Smile

I mean, from an in universe perspective the world is always worth saving. If there is no reason to move forward, then there is no conflict or motivation and the story becomes pointless.

ZGoten wrote:Isn't any world with good people worth saving?

It is rather draconian to even consider this when you think about it. It's almost as if we are playing God. Ultimately I believe we can come to the conclusion that most inhabitants within a setting would be content with survival. But to me life isn't about survival. If we have no values, or great virtues to aspire to then what's the point of preserving what's there? Indeed, there is certainly the concept of good people within a particularly "bad" setting. But if those good people can never make difference then why allow it to continue? As a player, we would be attempting to save something that is not even remotely worthwhile.

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12 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:21 am

If good people want to be saved, it's worth saving them. You make the difference for them, that's what saving them constitutes. If some folks would just rather die, they can always see to that themselves. You're not taking that option away from them. But to not save other, willing, individuals because of it would be terrible.

I don't think this is equivalent to playing god, but even if it were, what's wrong with that?

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13 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:38 pm

There's a reason I had a story entitled "But For One". The idea being that you would save a city for one person worth saving within it, IE it would be lost but for one.


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14 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:46 pm

I believe the world of Fallout is worth saving. Before the bombs dropped is a different story. The world needed to be reset, a way of giving the world another chance. Yes mutants, bandits, and organizations of questionable values are everywhere, but even without all that going against I still see a future for that world.

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15 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:14 pm

The Fallout setting before the bombs was a nightmare, but after the bombs fell I thing those people endured a fate worse then death for the most part. The idea of condemning a setting where the people have endured the Vaults seems unusually evil to me. Or on a lesser scale imagine going through the hardest dungeon you can imagine in your favorite game (or fighting the hardest boss or something along those lines) and then instead of getting loot, or story, or lore, or even progressing in the story you're just killed given a "GAME OVER" ending. Seems cruel to me, but that's just my opinion. The people in that setting have already suffered enough.

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16 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:25 pm

I think Star Trek applies to this list. Also good point Luslanz.

Also, who is judging the worth of saving a world? How do we define "saving" a world or people? <----("We are your salvation"-Harbinger)

In Warcrafts Universe Ra-Den, Alagon, and the other titan keepers concluded that Azeroth was beyond saving and that it was NOT worth it to preserve the life on the planet. It took the heroes of Azeroth to PROVE that we at least deserve a chance to try to save ourselves. The titans idea of saving Azeroth was reorigination. Sargeras plan to save the galaxy: Destruction, Fel-Corrution, and Purging of worlds.

Dipping into both philosophy and ethics territory. Very interesting topic.



Last edited by Norulezx on Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

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17 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:53 am

Parts of fallout are still in post apocalypse/hellish lands, and those are the places I would never go; Sierra madre, The divide, the capital wasteland (Some safe parts, but others not so much) I could go on. However we have places like California (NCR territory). While corrupt the NCR at the very least is trying to rebuild America (However, I do fear that they will turn into pre war America.) Diamond City, Zion Valley. Yes these places have there fair share of troubles, but take those away and within time those places could grow and fix a lot of problems in the wasteland. Would I live in the fallout world? Hell NO! But I see potential for growth and revival in this setting.

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18 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:16 am

TheUltimateParadoxs wrote:But I see potential for growth and revival in this setting.
As long as those asshole aliens from 'A Wind Named Amnesia' don't do anything about it.

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19 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:21 am

Pro Idiot117 wrote:I say just let the worlds sort themselves out. ... the idea of dooming a setting because of what an outsider thinks of that society/setting feels really wrong to me. Just because I think a setting is horribly broken or otherwise corrupt doesn't mean I should doom the people that are innocent or can't help the circumstances of their birth.

Sitting back and letting a society be doomed when you hold the power to single-handedly prevent it in typical player-character fashion is in effect a decision to doom it. You keep your hands clean in a physical sense, but your decision not to act is as much a willful choice and an act of passing judgement as a decision to accelerate its doom and bears some degree of guilt for the consequences. You're a key actor in the situation, whether you like it or not, by virtue of your awareness of it and the unique power you have to change it. To imagine that you could give some kind of null or neutral response would be like Pontius Pilate washing his hands.

But to answer the original question, it depends on how you define "saving". In some of those settings the existence of entire worlds is in question, and if you have the power to save their lives with relative certainty and chose not to because you don't think very highly of them then I'd say you're a bit of a sociopath. People change, civilizations mature. The ones who the heroes save in most stories, even when they're responsible for their own plight or have otherwise done horrible things, can rarely be called completely irredeemable. Surely an entire planet is deserving of a second chance.

But in other cases we're really just talking about effecting a regime change (overthrowing the Empire in Star Wars is a good example). I can understand why that might feel sort of like playing God. To use a real world example, I don't like the way certain independent actors are undertaking global geoengineering projects, but that's because they're doing it against the will of most of the planet's inhabitants (and because it's a ludicrous and probably ill-intentioned plan) rather than because I contest their right to do it. If you think about it, we make decisions that alter the course of other peoples' lives constantly. As a sentient being you're saddled with the power and the responsibility to BE and to DO in ways that will influence what those around you can choose to BE and DO, and you inevitably will unless you isolate yourself completely. And whether you're affecting the lives of 5 close friends or an entire planet is just a difference of magnitude - the principal is exactly the same. To be 'draconian' would be to practice a pattern of control, where you continually subject people or some aspect of their lives to your will. What we're talking about is just a single action ("saving") that happens to have far reaching consequences. That the fate of so many rests on the decision of so few is the fault of the situation, not something intentionally contrived by the heroes. It's natural to shrink from the enormity of such a decision, and it's nice to consider the wishes of those you're affecting so that you don't act like a jerk, but the universe does not operate democratically. It would be impractical and ultimately futile to try to bind all of your actions to the will of some perceived commonality (unless you're literally part of a hive mind, I guess), and it would be hypocritical to hold that you have no right to take actions that will change the lives of others when we unavoidably do it all the time on a smaller scale.

The Lorerunner wrote:There's a reason I had a story entitled "But For One".  The idea being that you would save a city for one person worth saving within it, IE it would be lost but for one.

That's neat. More often I see the opposite scenario.

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20 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:04 pm

SilverDragonRed wrote:
TheUltimateParadoxs wrote:But I see potential for growth and revival in this setting.
As long as those asshole aliens from 'A Wind Named Amnesia' don't do anything about it.

Yeah, screw those asshole aliens. alien

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21 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:35 pm

Have you seen that OVA?

Why the aliens are assholes...:
because they unleash a plague of amnesia that causes all of humanity to revert to below caveman intelligence, because they viewed us as a belligerent species who were a threat...despite the lack of space flight capability. Then, they claimed it was for our own good.

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22 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:45 pm

SilverDragonRed wrote:Have you seen that OVA?

Why the aliens are assholes...:
because they unleash a plague of amnesia that causes all of humanity to revert to below caveman intelligence, because they viewed us as a belligerent species who were a threat...despite the lack of space flight capability.  Then, they claimed it was for our own good.

I've seen a lot of OVA's, but not that one. Sounds interesting though.

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23 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:00 am

Wow, this thread got quite a few more people since I've been off for a couple days. Cool to see the topic is interesting enough.




ZGoten wrote:If good people want to be saved, it's worth saving them. You make the difference for them, that's what saving them constitutes. If some folks would just rather die, they can always see to that themselves. You're not taking that option away from them. But to not save other, willing, individuals because of it would be terrible.

I don't think this is equivalent to playing god, but even if it were, what's wrong with that?

I guess what I consider "saving" means the setting as a whole (Ex. Defeating the Darkspawn). Rather than say removing the evil within the entirety of the world. As such, I feel as if I were to fight for such a world I would be condemning good people to live in something I personally consider worse than death. Even if I did make a difference the outcome would certainly be far from ideal (at least in my mind).



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24 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:07 am

Pro Idiot117 wrote:I say just let the worlds sort themselves out. ... the idea of dooming a setting because of what an outsider thinks of that society/setting feels really wrong to me. Just because I think a setting is horribly broken or otherwise corrupt doesn't mean I should doom the people that are innocent or can't help the circumstances of their birth.

Frieza2000 wrote:
Sitting back and letting a society be doomed when you hold the power to single-handedly prevent it in typical player-character fashion is in effect a decision to doom it. You keep your hands clean in a physical sense, but your decision not to act is as much a willful choice and an act of passing judgement as a decision to accelerate its doom and bears some degree of guilt for the consequences. You're a key actor in the situation, whether you like it or not, by virtue of your awareness of it and the unique power you have to change it. To imagine that you could give some kind of null or neutral response would be like Pontius Pilate washing his hands.

But to answer the original question, it depends on how you define "saving". In some of those settings the existence of entire worlds is in question, and if you have the power to save their lives with relative certainty and chose not to because you don't think very highly of them then I'd say you're a bit of a sociopath. People change, civilizations mature. The ones who the heroes save in most stories, even when they're responsible for their own plight or have otherwise done horrible things, can rarely be called completely irredeemable. Surely an entire planet is deserving of a second chance.

But in other cases we're really just talking about effecting a regime change (overthrowing the Empire in Star Wars is a good example). I can understand why that might feel sort of like playing God. To use a real world example, I don't like the way certain independent actors are undertaking global geoengineering projects, but that's because they're doing it against the will of most of the planet's inhabitants (and because it's a ludicrous and probably ill-intentioned plan) rather than because I contest their right to do it. If you think about it, we make decisions that alter the course of other peoples' lives constantly. As a sentient being you're saddled with the power and the responsibility to BE and to DO in ways that will influence what those around you can choose to BE and DO, and you inevitably will unless you isolate yourself completely. And whether you're affecting the lives of 5 close friends or an entire planet is just a difference of magnitude - the principal is exactly the same. To be 'draconian' would be to practice a pattern of control, where you continually subject people or some aspect of their lives to your will. What we're talking about is just a single action ("saving") that happens to have far reaching consequences. That the fate of so many rests on the decision of so few is the fault of the situation, not something intentionally contrived by the heroes. It's natural to shrink from the enormity of such a decision, and it's nice to consider the wishes of those you're affecting so that you don't act like a jerk, but the universe does not operate democratically. It would be impractical and ultimately futile to try to bind all of your actions to the will of some perceived commonality (unless you're literally part of a hive mind, I guess), and it would be hypocritical to hold that you have no right to take actions that will change the lives of others when we unavoidably do it all the time on a smaller scale.

Frieza2000/Chaos Ryder: You noticing how it misquoted me? Some kind of glitch in the forum?

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25 Re: A World Worth Saving? on Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:53 am

No, I did that on purpose. I like to trim my quotes both to highlight the part of the post that I'm referencing and to take up less space. In this case I used ellipses (...) to skip to the middle of the next sentence.

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