Jeremy Morgan

Written by Jeremy Morgan, tabletop games editor, gamer, and software developer.
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Thoughts on Morality

19 March 2012

The topic of morality has been on my mind recently for numerous reasons. One is the ongoing speculation with #dndnext in regards to alignment (some excellent discussion on it here). Another is that the question of morality and how it’s handled in games is something I think about quite a bit. There’s a faint thread of it in my blogging. My interactions on Twitter touch on it from time to time, but I’m often reticent to discuss those types of things due to the medium (I find 140 characters is a difficult space for me to express thoughts like this fully).

My designer-brain engaged, and I started thinking of how I’d create a game who’s primary purpose was to explore the issue of morality. Consider this an initial step in that process: info-gathering on current RPGs that have morality as a predominant feature. Here’s my research list and thoughts so far.

These are in no particular order (seriously).

  • Star Wars (various flavors)

Obviously, morality plays a major role here with the Light Side and Dark Side of the Force. Honestly, I’m not as interested in this, as this is a little too black and white for me.

  • Dogs in the Vineyard
  • Sorcerer

These two intrigue me. I’ve heard rumblings of Dogs for quite some time now, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to play it yet. I’m less familiar with Sorcerer, but it might be worth picking up both of these when I get an opportunity.

I know the “fruitful void” comes up in discussion about these types of games, and that’s an interesting design space I may need to cogitate on more fully.

  • World of Darkness

This one came up in both its old and new incarnations, with Vampire being mentioned more than the others.

  • How We Came To Be Here

I know nothing about this game, not even that it existed.

  • They Became Flesh

I’m intrigued by this, although I know next to nothing about it.

  • Dragon Age

From what I hear, this one has morality all over it. The rub is that it puts characters in moral quandaries. This is a good thing and is applicable to what I’m looking for.

So what am I missing? I know there have to be some more games out there that deal with morality (either directly or indirectly). Hit me up on Twitter.