Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against them)

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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Mantisking » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:01 pm

addking wrote:Vogon Poetry? Because I've heard that's considered inhumane. ;)
milt69466 wrote:So you've seen that movie too!

There were books and a television series before the movie.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby afny » Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:08 pm

Mantisking wrote:There were books and a television series before the movie.


Also an excellent radio drama!
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby ChaosChild » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:28 pm

The radio series came first, then the book, then the TV, then the movie (which was awful compared to the other versions). The TV series is much lower budget than the movie, but it's much, much better and I thoroughly recommend it.

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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:15 am

gatlinggouf927 wrote:Most Ijadi factions i've read about fall under the neutral line, chaotic and lawful neutral included, but its all neutral! I want to see more morally absent folks in this universe, doom bringers, truly chaotic evil aligned guys, who go around causing wanton destruction because... well cuz they can.


Do what you want, man, but my critique here is that that's appallingly boring. That's as deep as the Puppys Are Cute faction. Making them victims doesn't make them sympathetic. It just makes them victims. If they're not getting something material that they actually need through their actions, they're just going to starve. If there's a way to get what they need without the expensive racism, they're going to starve and lose to those who skip the expense.

Essentialist philosophies like this have fantastically short lifespans in the real world. Ones that usually start with a promise of immortality.

I haven't read much of the stuff you've posted about these guys, I'm already raising my eyebrow.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby afny » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:06 am

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:
gatlinggouf927 wrote:Most Ijadi factions i've read about fall under the neutral line, chaotic and lawful neutral included, but its all neutral! I want to see more morally absent folks in this universe, doom bringers, truly chaotic evil aligned guys, who go around causing wanton destruction because... well cuz they can.


Do what you want, man, but my critique here is that that's appallingly boring. That's as deep as the Puppys Are Cute faction.


I just had a discussion with Soren about this; the D&D alignment grid has a lot of problems, but fostering stale characters is its cardinal sin. As he said earlier in this thread, this is partially because the grid doesn't encourage the consideration of the axiom your axes are based on, but also because it forces you into a completely static model (as opposed to taking a snapshot of a dynamic character/group as is almost always the case in reality).

MFZ is a very fickle, temporary game; I would much rather see factions (and more specifically, companies) that reflect the maleable--dare I say plastic--quality of a battle rather than factions with all the depth of a playing card. I'd like to see factions founded on lofty ideals that fail to live up to them; companies backed by questionable profits that protect the weak for the right price; effective captains that are despised by their subordinates (but slowly gaining respect). Why have good or evil when you can have people?

I also wonder what events lead up to an Ijad tribe invading your (gatlinggouf927) faction's homeworld. While not totally outside the realm of possibility, it doesn't seem like something that would happen unprovoked.

edit: forgot an 'nt.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby ChaosChild » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:36 am

The problem with the D&D grid isn't the basic idea of the grid itself, it's more the labels that are applied to the different alignments (especially Lawful/Chaotic) and people's inability to see beyond those labels. If you actually read the descriptions given in the game you get a much better feel for it. Lawful doesn't necessarily mean that a character always obeys the law, but more that they follow their own moral/ethical code. Similarly chaotic doesn't mean that a character just acts according to random whims (as I've seen it interpreted many times).

In the context of MF0, there's a good argument for classing the SU (as a political/military entity) as Lawful Evil. Absolute dedication to the good of their society, regardless of the impact on individuals would seem to fit that categorisation. That doesn't mean that all the individuals or factions within the SU fit that same category, there's plenty of room for the heroic and the downright diabolical.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Zero Revenge » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:46 am

Gentlemen, the biggest problem with D&D Alignments is that it works from a Divine Point of View. It's the Gods of the game who have decided what is a Good Act or Not. If a person can justify killing a innocent person to save 50 innocent people, that is still an outright Evil action, and as such the person can justify it till they're blue-in-the-face, it's considered an Evil act by the game, that person is Evil & register as such.

It works in Absolutes, which is problematic as nothing in the real-world (and things that mimic it) work in absolutes or black & white's.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby afny » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:51 am

ChaosChild wrote:
In the context of MF0, there's a good argument for classing the SU (as a political/military entity) as Lawful Evil. Absolute dedication to the good of their society, regardless of the impact on individuals would seem to fit that categorisation.


I've never seen WotC define an axiom to that extent (in this instance, evil as valuing a group or authority over the individual) in any version of D&D I've read the alignment bits for. If they did, things would be a bit more interesting, but even then I think you're losing a TON of depth labeling one of the big three factions something as static is "lawful evil by x definition" simply because the organization is too large and diffuse to categorize. Even if you could make the argument (and I admit, you probably could), you'd just be encouraging players to play all their UMFL companies as Lawful Evil instead of asking them to think.

You're right that a lot of the problem lies in interpretation and execution, but to some extent I don't think the players can be held accountable. They've been lead down a dead end road.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:31 pm

The setting's only representative democracy, struggling against starvation, realizing the ideals of billions upon billions of people united in the common cause of exploring the galaxy to bring its wealth back and feed its children...is lawful evil?
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby afny » Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:39 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:The setting's only representative democracy, struggling against starvation, realizing the ideals of billions upon billions of people united in the common cause of exploring the galaxy to bring its wealth back and feed its children...is lawful evil?


To be fair, there could be other free colonies that are representative democracies. But yeah. What you said.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Foxfire » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:07 pm

ChaosChild wrote:The problem with the D&D grid isn't the basic idea of the grid itself, it's more the labels that are applied to the different alignments (especially Lawful/Chaotic) and people's inability to see beyond those labels. If you actually read the descriptions given in the game you get a much better feel for it. Lawful doesn't necessarily mean that a character always obeys the law, but more that they follow their own moral/ethical code. Similarly chaotic doesn't mean that a character just acts according to random whims (as I've seen it interpreted many times).

In the context of MF0, there's a good argument for classing the SU (as a political/military entity) as Lawful Evil. Absolute dedication to the good of their society, regardless of the impact on individuals would seem to fit that categorisation. That doesn't mean that all the individuals or factions within the SU fit that same category, there's plenty of room for the heroic and the downright diabolical.


Actually, my experience has been the opposite. The problem with the D&D grid is that people use it as an end all be all hammer and suddenly everything looks like a nail.

Good Party: Why did you steal from the party?
CN rule cheeser: I am chaotic neutral, its what I do, you guys are all Good, so you can't do anything about it.
Good Party: Well maybe drawing and quartering him was a little extreme, but we will atone for it by helping the next village as much as we can."

The system is actually pretty decent, but people try to use it as a hard set of rules instead of a set of the loose guidelines it was intended to be.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Foxfire » Mon Oct 15, 2012 3:41 pm

So speaking of Ijad extremeism...

I am working on the back story for my Ijad company, and I am working out what an Ijad "Jihad" might look like. My thoughts are thus...
1. An small autonomous cell that takes orders from no one, true to Ijad beliefs.
2. They travel by stealth from system to system. Smuggled as normal cargo, etc.
3. Their objectives in a system are thus:
3A. They have no line of resupply, so securing repair and refit supplies is important.
3B. Secure a friendly base of operations. IE a village or town they are on good terms with.
3C. Capture the infrastructure necessary to spread the word(communications towers, etc).
3D. Capture secondary supplies that can be used to further their cause IE, peaches to bribe officials, medicine for a village in need, etc.
4. If they can convert a town, great. The will keep it quiet, and teach the people how to protect themselves from reprisals by the government.
5. If they cannot convince people of their ways, they will use an assortment of dirty tricks to make it look like town has been corrupted and draw the attention of the system government, who will hopefully respond in the bloodiest way possible.

Either way, their goal is to destabilize any central governments they come across with an "ends justifies the means" type mentality. Their idea is that the more chaos they can cause, the better things will be for those who believe in the Ijad ways. If a few innocent villages get massacred by the UFML to forment large scale unrest, well, they should have converted when they were asked nicely...
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby gatlinggouf927 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:51 pm

Let me clarify some things and bring new info to light, i use the D&D alignment chart just as my initial template. Everything said about it's flaws is very true, which is why it was simply my initial template, not the end all be all of my faction. ZeroRevenge and I have written up many possible routes for each faction for the collective narrative, these outcomes will depend entirely upon the win/lose ratios of game play. We did this specifically to avoid stagnation. Making malleable characters is what we intended from the start. Also, the "lawful evil" aspect that i built off of is the personal views of the fighting men within Varagian Guard, they do not reflect the views of their parent corporation Valhallan Industries. Despite the VG's hatred for the Ijad they are first, employees of Valhallan, so they follow orders explicitly, as they understand that without Valhallan, they'll run out of support and starve themselves.

I took this view from the mentality of American soldiers in the pacific theater of WWII, where racial hatreds against the Japanese spawned from the attack on Pearl Harbor and the immense amount of propaganda that was relevant then. Despite that it never made the soldiers break rank or disobey their superiors. The primary goal of the VG is to act as the militant arm of a corrupt corporation with interest in a natural resource. Assaulting the Ijad just icing on the cake for them, as it gives them an outlet for revenge against aggressors that nearly doomed their way of life, not all Ijad are the same but to the VG they are, as they're personal experience with the Ijad are overly negative, as such they stereotyped them. The VG are racist, but not idiots, they know a "kill em all" strategy would never work, so they're not above buying off support from the other non Ijad factions as the Ijad cannot be bought. Their racism is based entirely upon the fact that when their home world was being initially converted, they noticed the Ijad promising a new way of life free from the confines of the SU, but then noticed the racial tension between the bonded and non bonded followers. This was worsened when the number of Ijad followers outnumbered the non followers, threatening the productivity of the colony leading to aggression. The Ijad armed their followers to defend themselves and the men and women who would later become the VG were forced to fight against their own friends and families who willingly accepted conversion. Fostering a deep seeded hatred for the acts they had to commit.

This morally obscure build is not reflected only in the VG, as all the factions on Arcadia have a moral dichotomy. Our Ijad faction on Arcadia, played by ValkyrieInTraining, is made mostly of non bonded followers (roughly 10% are actually bonded) who were also wronged, leading to a warping of their faith. They view the SU as a serious threat, but know that assaulting directly is suicide. Since they control the majority of our wonder element Aurachalcum they intent to quell the fighting on Arcadia by conversion or combat. Then form a corporation of their own, made up of the large number of non bonded to infiltrate the SU on a economic level and use subversive political tactics to deal serious damage. Using the evils of greed against the greed gods.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Zero Revenge » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:51 pm

Foxfire, Dear God. That is a terrifyingly effective plan. Very sinister. VERY COOL.

I think you'll be meeting with the TEM's very soo--- oh wait, that's your plan... ah crap :shock:

Seriously, Kudos!

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:The setting's only representative democracy, struggling against starvation, realizing the ideals of billions upon billions of people united in the common cause of exploring the galaxy to bring its wealth back and feed its children...is lawful evil?

In D&D if that meant exploiting other people & ravaging their lands. Then Yes. Realistically (but still within the Alignments), the S.U. is Lawful Neutral. Again, D&D alignments are flawed.
----------
And on the topic of my pet-project Arcadia, Gouf's right. Almost all of the factions have good and bad to them, including a Free Colonist group who "does the best for the planet" AKA: War profiteering. In a war where all the other factions need assistance against the Varangian Guard, they sell weapons and information to all sides.

As the Hyperion Corporation puts it: ...Don't think of it as war profiteering! Think of it as war......fun!
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:58 pm

I'm pretty sure — no wait, completely confident — that the D&D alignment system is designed by people looking to take the complexities of the human condition and reduce it to an Asperger-friendly chart implied by an Imperialist Christian*, thereby absolving themselves of responsibility for the horrors it implied. It describes a moral universe alien and hostile to me.

I'll repeat something here that's written into my game Shock:Human Contact: no one does evil but in the service of good.

I got some big beefs with Tolkien.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Foxfire » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:35 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:I'm pretty sure — no wait, completely confident — that the D&D alignment system is designed by people looking to take the complexities of the human condition and reduce it to an Asperger-friendly chart implied by an Imperialist Christian*, thereby absolving themselves of responsibility for the horrors it implied. It describes a moral universe alien and hostile to me.

I'll repeat something here that's written into my game Shock:Human Contact: no one does evil but in the service of good.

I got some big beefs with Tolkien.


What about sociopaths? Some of them know what they are doing is evil, but they simply don't care.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Soren » Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:58 am

That depends on the relative power imbalance between you and the sociopath. My cat just ripped a gecko in half on the floor and watched it writhe around dying in obvious glee before she ate it. To the gecko, my cat is evil. To me, my cat is a lovable little monster (largely because she's not capable of ripping me in half).
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby ChaosChild » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:27 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:The setting's only representative democracy, struggling against starvation, realizing the ideals of billions upon billions of people united in the common cause of exploring the galaxy to bring its wealth back and feed its children...is lawful evil?


As a textbook example of "the ends justify the means", yes. If they weren't responsible for causing suffering amongst the colonies (in the name of the greater good) then we'd be missing a big part of the background material for this game. Or at least that's the way they've been coming across up 'til now, if that's not how you want them to come across then you might want to consider putting a slightly different emphasis on things in the final book.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby afny » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:49 pm

ChaosChild wrote:
Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:The setting's only representative democracy, struggling against starvation, realizing the ideals of billions upon billions of people united in the common cause of exploring the galaxy to bring its wealth back and feed its children...is lawful evil?


As a textbook example of "the ends justify the means", yes. If they weren't responsible for causing suffering amongst the colonies (in the name of the greater good) then we'd be missing a big part of the background material for this game. Or at least that's the way they've been coming across up 'til now, if that's not how you want them to come across then you might want to consider putting a slightly different emphasis on things in the final book.


I think you're making a LOT of assumptions here. We have very few examples of suffering in the sense you are implying here in Solar Union controlled colonies. There were (and are) tensions between colonists and distant SU powers, surely, and there is suffering everywhere, but it's debatable how much of that suffering can actually be blamed on the SU. The one concrete example we have (Quall) isn't a case of morally justified colonists fighting back against oppressive rule; it's a case of colonists listening to Ijad philosophies (and realizing they might be able to get a bigger piece of the pie).

It's also important to note that the local United Mars Foreign Legion element that fought against the colonists at Quall wasn't taking orders directly from the SU; it's a frontier milita with regimental loyalties that decided to keep the SU's peace. Just like all Free Colonials cannot be lumped together, the different branches of the SU military (and ESPECIALLY the locally staffed UMFL) need to be viewed as independent actors to a certain degree.
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Re: Countering Ijad Extremism (Using their faith against the

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:50 pm

Yeah, the fundamental conceptual challenge here is that the enemy is entropy. The problems are systemic; the processe the SU has for resolving misery creates new misery at a slightly lower rate than if they didn't proceed, but because the system works by increasing in size, the overall suffering increases exponentially, too.

If you wanted, we could talk about the flaws of market capitalism here. ;)
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