Choosing a side has never been so tough

AuthorTopic: Choosing a side has never been so tough
Apprentice
Member # 8828
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Geneforge 3 presented some difficult moral choices, probably moreso than any Spiderweb game before. But with Geneforge 4, there's ethical complications around every corner.

I guess to accurately assess what 'side' you're on (because playing neutral up until the last 2 hours is laaame), you've got to look at what you're trying to achieve. Personally, I think the best goal is to achieve a stable, free society. There are a couple ways that the three groups collectively fail and achieve this.

The rebels are really two factions. The human rebels are probably the most virtuous and viable option of all of the factions. Simply put, however, you can't have one without the other. The drakons are a serious blight that needs to be removed. With them running around and emerging themselves into the deeper and darker secrets of shaping, a stable human society can't exist. Both sides of the rebels are conspiring to release a horror on the world. This has an upside; a holocaust that razed the entire world to the ground could let the world begin anew, like a biblical flood. However, destroying civilization is something I'd rather not try, so the rebels seem out of the question.

Next is the shapers. They have the most practical argument going for them; sure, they can be unjust sometimes and even cruel, but in times of conflict it's absolutely necessary. They need to control their knowledge with an iron will. What still doesn't work out here, really, are two points. The first is why the Shapers need to basically be the rulers of civilization. The question of Shaper arrogance is always left unresolved, because most of the time they really are. And why, exactly, do they need to be ruler to control their knowledge? There's really no justification for a Shaper government beyond some vague, ambiguous argument that they need to control the people to control their knowledge. A worthy goal, since the knowledge definitely has to be controlled, but a totalitarian Shaper government is not the answer. The second problem is with the issue of Shaping itself, which moves onto the...

Trakovites. The idealist. Probably the best path on paper. Shaping causes all kinds of problems, it creates threats to humankind, twists people, all that jazz. No one's on their side because they all like shaping, all use shaping as a powerful tool. However, just because shaping can be a useful tool doesn't mean that removing it wouldn't be a benefit to society. With the total removal of shaping, society would start up. Technology would advance. Engineering and mechanics would blossom. We wouldn't rely on servile-slave labor to build our stone buildings. Shaping would become a crutch, a thing of the past, and we would throw off our shackles and move on. The problem? First, the total removal of shaping might just cause a total breakdown in society. Second, it doesn't seem possible. Too many people use it and too few people are against it to make it seem reasonable.

Therefore, there are a few options.

1) Reform within the Shapers. Basically, slowly transition away from a totalitarian government to a secret sect.
2) Total destruction of the rebels and the shapers. The world would be thrust into the Dark Ages, but whatever sprung from the ashes could be a government much better than the shapers... or much worse.
3) The Trakovite path; destroy Shaping, society throws off its crutches and moves on, advances, prospers.

It seems like option 1 is the best path, but you can't play that way. Any ideas?

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Posts: 3 | Registered: Tuesday, May 29 2007 07:00
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[ Wednesday, November 14, 2007 05:09: Message edited by: Arancaytar ]

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
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The Trakovites recognize that you can't go cold turkey with Shaping. They want to reduce the usage before eliminating it completely. Existing creations that could reproduce without shaping like serviles through eyebeasts would survive, but too bad for the rotgroths.

It seems like the best choice but the Shapers and Rebels that are invested in gaining power both agree that this means the end of them. As a common enemy, the Trakovite heresy to Shaper control or future Rebel control through unlimited shaping, is being stamped out where ever it's seen.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7557
Profile #3
I think the shapers are trapped in a circle. They played god and in doing so became gods themselfs, through the Geneforge and canisters. Even if they win, they will never be the same again. They created life, now they must either Transcend, or cease.
Posts: 942 | Registered: Sunday, October 8 2006 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5785
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quote:
Originally written by Wojiz:


1) Reform within the Shapers. Basically, slowly transition away from a totalitarian government to a secret sect.
2) Total destruction of the rebels and the shapers. The world would be thrust into the Dark Ages, but whatever sprung from the ashes could be a government much better than the shapers... or much worse.
3) The Trakovite path; destroy Shaping, society throws off its crutches and moves on, advances, prospers.

It seems like option 1 is the best path, but you can't play that way. Any ideas?

Yes, we have been discussing this for some time now on these Forums (most recently in the "G4 Poitics Revised" Topic), and some of us, including me, have come to the same conclusion as you do; Namely that option number 1, that of Shapers learning and evolving, would be the wisest.

The reason that you can't play this way in game is that in game, people have allot of prejudice, and greed, and anger, and loss, etc etc, to befuddle their minds. And they don't have all the facts either, like we do.
But you CAN play as a Pro-Shaper, and hope that in G5, the Shapers have evolved slightly.
Afterall, it only takes eons and eons to make a difference..

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"..The seventh wave of Thrall stumbled and climbed over the slippery, piled dead and Mazzarin saw The Watcher with them and at last knew the number of his days."
Posts: 522 | Registered: Wednesday, May 4 2005 07:00
Councilor
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Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. The Shapers are beginning to moderate now--because the alternative is losing--but the pro-Shaper ending shows that the Shapers crack back down (with the exception of the Ashen Isles) and become even more controlling than they were before the war.

In a sense, while the Trakovite ending is ugly, it at least gives further opportunities for change. The Shapers don't resume power and the drakons don't take it. So the Trakovite ending might be the one to take, even if you don't believe that Shaping should (or can) be wiped out.

Dikiyoba.

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Episode 4: Spiderweb Reloaded
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Electric Sheep One
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The Trakovite ending is in some ways the most satisfying, in some ways the least. Which is as it should be.

Both Rebels and Shapers could conceivably turn into good guys by reforming themselves. They do both have their good points. The question is whether the necessary reforms are really possible for them. Is it possible to be a Shaper without being a tyrant? Shaper ideology might be flexible, but Shaper technology is all about control. Is it possible for Drakons to respect humans and serviles? Drakons were created as a superior race dedicated to the endless and ruthless pursuit of further superiority.

And Trakovites could conceivably acquire the power to affect the world decisively. But could they do so without corrupting themselves?

In my view, the main things we still don't understand after all these games are just how hard it is to learn shaping, and just how tight is the link between shaping power and megalomania. There have been so many mad or reckless shapers in the games, but it isn't clear how well the games' sample represents either the general population or the population of trained Shapers.

From this point of view, I'm slowly coming to see Chapter 3 of G4 as more than a good filler episode. The decisive issue for Rebels, Shapers and Trakovites alike is their relationship to madmen like Monarch. Can they keep future Monarchs in check, or are they themselves simply Monarchs writ large?

As I've said before, I hope G5 brings some sort of adequate final treatment of these big questions. Not necessarily a resolution, but something that addresses them. Some dialog lines from Ghaldring that reveal some reflection on his race's origins and long-term goals; something from Khyrryk on the possibility of power without corruption; something from a Shaper honcho that recognizes the high incidence of corruption in Shaper ranks, and doesn't just stonewall about discipline and control.

And it would be nice, in the series' last game, to make contact with the Awakened viewpoint that we all met first in Vakkiri. Not necessarily as a playable allegiance with a victory ending. But there should be some recognition of the major role the Awakened played in the first two games, and some discussion of the viability of their position.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shock Trooper
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But if zou are selfish as...someone your best choise is rebels, much power, much wealth, much fame and who cares about others.

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Posts: 263 | Registered: Sunday, September 9 2007 07:00
Apprentice
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I think that the only way a 'good guy' can be brought is if a completly new sect emerges. it would be a mix of all 3.

1)they would control shaping like the shapers, being ever viligent and smart about who they give there secrets to
2) like the rebals or human rebals they would treat creatures with respect and equality
3) they would't use the canisters and restrict the length of shaping, like the traviokes
other than that, I can't see any of the sects be the good guys unless either the drakons are exterminated or the shapers countinue thier losining of laws
Posts: 39 | Registered: Monday, November 12 2007 08:00
BANNED
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Wojiz:
quote:

Next is the shapers. They have the most practical argument going for them; sure, they can be unjust sometimes and even cruel, but in times of conflict it's absolutely necessary.

Shouldn't that argument also apply to the Drakon resistance? I mean, how much larger a conflict is there than fighting for your very existence?

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"When I was a child, my people talked while others prepared for war. They used reason while others used tanks, and they were destroyed for their trouble! I won't stand by and watch it happen again, I won't!"
Posts: 136 | Registered: Wednesday, September 12 2007 07:00