Thursday, March 24, 2011

Moral Dilemmas in the Dungeon

One of my players sent me a link yesterday to this post about moral dilemmas in RPGs. In the real world, he is interested in ethics, so it doesn't surprise me that he'd be interested in me including this stuff in some of our games. I even think I can do it without rail-roading, so I'm going to try, and I'll also probably try some things from the "X is for Xenophobia" page in the Dungeon Alphabet. I've been wanting to do that for a while anyway…

Have any of you purposely inserted moral dilemmas into your games? How did it work out?

In other news, I'm immensely thankful that Sham over at Sham's Grog 'n Blog took the time to answer a question about stocking dungeons with monsters with a whole blog post. After downloading what he's made available, I think that using it as a template for my own dungeon stocking charts will be very easy and work quite nicely. Thanks Sham!

And now back to studying…


  1. I usually toss a morality bone in depending on teh group I am DMing and what type of game we're playing.

    For example, in one campaign, there was a druidic grove that was almost virtually destroyed. All of the druidic circle were killed, except for one young woman who was not a full druid herself yet.

    The adventurers were compelled to assist her and defend her against whatever evil was out to destroy her sacred grove. The young woman had a sacred task to fulfill. In the event of the grove being destroyed, she was duty-bound to take a sacred seedling on a long journey to a place where it could be bathed in what was called the Bloodfire. The seedling could then be brought back and it would renew the grove.

    The party agreed to protect her and help her reach her destination. They had many small adventures along the way. The party really began to bond with this young woman. She became everyone's "little sister". She fought alongside them as one of them, yet remained true to her teachings and philosophy. They listened to her and she listened to them.

    Anyway, whern they reached the location of the Bloodfire, they discovered it wasn't some fiery fountain they had expected. It was an ancient Red Dragon!

    The dragon was bound by an oath to the druidic circle, made by an ancient member of the druidic order. The dragon would be free if it would bathe the seedling in its fiery breath. There was a condition, of course. It had to be bathed while an unprotected member of the druid order held it. Surely, this meant the young woman would have to sacrifice herself.

    Discussion around the table got hotter than the dragon! Some didn't want to see the sacrifice made, others respected the duty she had to fulfill. And could the young woman fulfill her duty now that she realized it meant her death?

    Eventually, the adventurers allowed her to make her own decision: she would bear the seedling to the dragon. A few players actually cried when it happened.

    Unbenownst to the players, and because I am not a complete evil bastard, the dragon's breath actually caused the seedling and young woman's spirit to merge. This brought new life to the seedling and it began to grow into a sapling. This was the test of faith for the druid who undertook this task.

    Needless to say, the dragon was free and tried to then destroy the sapling. The adventurers defended their transformed companion and killed the dragon. They swore to return the sapling to the druid grove. They let NOTHING stand in their way. It was quite emotional.

    They returned to the grove, planted the sapling and watched as the grove began to be restored. It was quite epic really.

  2. Very cool story! Reminds me of another thing I really need to do- give my players PCs that they care about…