Ethical dilemmas

Hello, I am looking for evergeen difficult value judgements for my mediterranean nested story story game.
Scheherazade’s framing story begins with a harsh judgement on love vs vows. I don’t need exact situations, but general themes fitting with the setting to weave stories on. Family vs Kingdom, that sort of thing.
I’m sure you have drawers full of them, @The_Bearded_Belgian :wink:


I might be fuzzy because I’m currently down with the flu, but what type of setting are you playing? I’m hearing Sheherazade, which makes me think of the Middle East, but then I hear Mediterranean, which is again a different type of thing. Not entirely sure what the time period is (since values change over time).

I don’t have any written down particularly, but tend to feel around until I find them? I think it’s how Bang’s are supposed to work in Sorcerer?

Individual vs. group seems one that might be a good one to explore, especially in times when technically, the individual wasn’t really in the picture yet.

How different kinds of love interact might be a fun one? What if your love of family is opposed to your romantic love or your love of friends?

How important is telling the truth when lying could make the other person happy?

Oh, and now that I’ve typed this all out I’m starting to understand that you’re asking them to be about love vs. vows specifically, or am I misunderstanding?

Depending on what type of vow, true vows are made out of strong emotion that lasts years, decades even. Be it love in a wedding vow, or hatred in a vow of vengeance, right? I’m just brainstorming here. There’s the Romantic Chivalric love for the unattainable. Like a suffering love? Like a Lancelot and Guinnevaire situation, but they ‘made it attainable’ which caused all the trouble in the Arthur stories, right?

Anyway, these are my sick-brain ramblings, trying to answer a question I’m not even sure I understood correctly in the first place.

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The question of whether to work within a system or tear it all down feels topical to me, and fits any setting that features Law and Chaos as primal forces. Would people be better off if the local ruler and his corrupt guards were deposed? Or would that just leave them weak and get them picked off by monsters?

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Thank you two for your help!
I’ll try and be more precise on what I’m looking for:

“mediterranean”: I’m working with the Saragosse Manuscript (1809), itself based on 1000 and one nights, itself based on the 24 tales of the Vetala. “Scheherazade”: is just a well known example in that lode. I have no concern for historical accuracy, and values should first mean something to the players. But the setting simply makes it harder to focus on computers and genetics.

I think the spectrum of loves is spot on.
Truth vs lies or emotion vs reason are built-in the system but it’s a good idea to make them explicit ethical themes.

I’m totally structuring values on law/chaos God/j’noon (“jinns”) I now realize Utopia tales are great to posit modern day political questions. I will add material for that: “Caliph for a day(dream)” and “Utopian islands” are not dominant, but always present.


Awesome! The law/chaos thing is something I’ve had in my head for a while. I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to develop the idea, but I’d like to do a fantasy adventure or series of adventures called The Virtue War.

Like the Blood War in D&D, but people don’t argue about “how to be evil” in real-life, right? They argue about how to be good. And when they disagree, that can be dangerous. Imagine if CG angels were revolutionaries inspiring mortals to tear down oppressive structures, and LG angels were defending those structures as imperfect but preferable to anarchy. The parallels to real-world politics are there! And it’s easy to put adventurers in situations where that plays out at a local level, and the best course of action isn’t clear.

Whether I do anything with that premise probably depends on if I’m ever running a homebrew campaign in D&D, DCC, or a similar game where it’d fit. :slight_smile:


I started listening to that podcast YouTube link you posted about that in the what are you working on thread, and the pieces started falling together, lol. Haven’t finished listening, but yeah, based on that there should also be room for a lot of tongue in cheek, humor, satire, etc, right? I like the persistent “you can marry us two beautiful girls at once, but you’d need to become a muslim” question which buts up against the protagonist’s faith/honor thing. Or the honor duel, even when he found out that he was wrong, but he needs to hold the duel so as not to lose face/honor.

I could only find a Polish version of the film on Youtube, and it’s not on any of my available streaming platforms, but I am kind of interested in watching it now that I know about it.

Yes, Potocki is Enlightened : Church vs Free thinkers. Also it’s totally picarresque humour: Honour vs Fortune. Reason and absurdity are his two horses in the race.

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