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Re: A Contest of Lightsabers, A Test of Ethics

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

What would you do?

1. I accept and will play to win, I really need the money and I really want the rewards. I’m viewing this mainly as business.
4
24%
2. I accept and play to win, I find it distasteful but I fear for the consequences for me and my family if I decline.
5
29%
3. I accept and play zealously to win and stomp... the money and rewards are great but above all, I relish the opportunity to crush those weaker than myself on TV.
5
29%
4. I politely, carefully and diplomatically decline. In reality I feel the whole thing is distasteful and I don’t want to compromise my personal morals... but I’m scared of the Empire and what they might do to me and my family so I’ll try to say no in a respectful way. Hopefully they don’t hurt me.
1
6%
5. I decline aggressively. I’m going to grandstand against racism and if me or my family suffer for this, then so be it. I’m not compromising my values. Period.
1
6%
6. I accept, then I lose on purpose/create a close match to try and embarrass the Empire/bolster the Bigtopians. Me and my family will face severe/lethal/brutal consequences if I do this and there will be no reward, but it’s worth it because it’s a political statement.
1
6%
 
Total votes : 17

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Infected Mushroom
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Re: A Contest of Lightsabers, A Test of Ethics

Postby Infected Mushroom » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:25 pm

Please consider the following hypothetical:

You are a citizen in the Empire. The Empire favors its own ethnic group (the Imperials) while systematically oppressing the Bigtopians.

The schools and the system teach and reinforce the people to believe that Imperials are racially pure, biologically superior, and part of the master race. Society is structured to reflect that, with the Imperials owning a much greater share of the wealth and having complete control over the police and the military.

However, every day the Bigtopians strive for progress, equality, and freedom. They do so using non-violent resistance. They want to show the Empire that their people can achieve great things too.

The Empire doesn’t like this.

Traditionally the Imperials have dominated in every sport at both the national and international level. Most prominently, the Imperials are the world champions at non-lethal lightsaber dueling.

This is because many Imperials, especially those from the noble class, have been trained to wield a lightsaber since birth. Lightsabers are expensive and the craft of wielding them takes a ton of time to perfect... traditionally only the Imperials can put in the time and money to excel and keep up.

The Bigtopians decide to try their hand at lightsaber combat too. At first, some of the more gifted players tried to enter the prestigious Imperial Tournament but due to racism they were denied entry.

In response, the Bigtopians formed their own lightsaber competitive league with its own elo system and rewards. At first it was considered a joke so the Imperials left it alone but over time, it became widely reported by the international media and excessively popular. Many of the Bigtopian champions started to make quite a name.

The Emperor decides that it’s time to put the Bigtopians in their place.

The Imperial Tournament reaches out to the Bigtopians to challenge them to a 1 vs 1 that will be broadcast in real time.

The Bigtopians can use their best player, to make it “fair,” the Imperials will only send in someone straddling high elo and low elo (far from the best).

That person is you.

At first, the Bigtopians wanted to reject the challenge but then they decided that they could benefit from the publicity and a win would be incredible for their cause so they accept. They expect their champion will probably lose, but so long as he pulls a bit of a fight and shows a determination, it could move the world.

The Imperial officers ask you if you’re up to the task of crushing these Bigtopians. If not... they can send someone else (many other lightsaber duelists of your race and elo ranking want to volunteer)... however, you are urged to consider this “carefully.”

Specifically, the Empire wants you to show the world the undisputed superiority of the Imperial race. They don’t want to see a close contest... they want a one-sided stomp. They want you to use everything you’ve learned and been trained to do to obliterate, crush, devastate, and publically humiliate the Bigtopian challenger. The PR Coup that they are going for is:

“Mid Elo Imperial... more than enough to defeat the best of the Bigtopians.”

Conditional on delivering the win in the manner the Imperials are satisfied with, you will be rewarded with a large amount of wealth and title. In the scenario, this financial incentive is strong because... although you carry a noble title, your predecessors have handled the estate poorly and left you in debts and with a very cumbersome set of lands to work with. The money promised to you by the Imperials can turn your fortunes overnight.

The Imperials also tell you that if you win, they will encourage and promote more publicity for you, thus making you a star with even more business opportunities.

They also promise good futures for your relatives in the capital.

The Empire and you both feel that you are able to take this Bigtopian champion down based on past showings.

However, just because you CAN do it, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Keeping in mind that the Empire is a very authoritarian and violent nation (that regularly engages in torture and execution) that will find ways to mess with you if you don’t play ball (but also keeping in mind your personality and morals weighed against self interest), do you accept or politely decline?

Your options:

1. I accept and will play to win, I really need the money and I really want the rewards. I’m viewing this mainly as business.

2. I accept and play to win, I find it distasteful but I fear for the consequences for me and my family if I decline.

3. I accept and play zealously to win and stomp... the money and rewards are great but above all, I relish the opportunity to crush those weaker than myself on TV.

4. I politely, carefully and diplomatically decline. In reality I feel the whole thing is distasteful and I don’t want to compromise my personal morals... but I’m scared of the Empire and what they might do to me and my family so I’ll try to say no in a respectful way. Hopefully they don’t hurt me.

5. I decline aggressively. I’m going to grandstand against racism and if me or my family suffer for this, then so be it. I’m not compromising my values. Period.

6. I accept, then I lose on purpose/create a close match to try and embarrass the Empire/bolster the Bigtopians. Me and my family will face severe/lethal/brutal consequences if I do this and there will be no reward, but it’s worth it because it’s a political statement.


What do you choose? Why?

To make the polling results and the discussion as realistic as possible, try to really immerse yourself in the setting. Imagine: there’s real rewards, there’s real risk of death/torture, there’s a real mountain of debts, I have family members in the capital... but my morals are real too. What would I do?

Also, I would prefer to focus the discussion on your participation/non-participation in the tournament and not on other things (ex, would there be a revolution?). Just to quickly address the potential tangent, let’s just say that the Bigtopians do not have the will nor the capability to mount violent resistance against the Imperials.

I’d go with Option 1-2. I’d feel a bit uncomfortable about the whole thing (I hold nothing against the Bigtopians and I’d feel a bit bad for them) but I’d be able to rationalize the whole thing as “just doing my job.” I’d get on the stage, and try to get the whole thing over as quickly as possible.
Last edited by Infected Mushroom on Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Sundiata » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:33 pm

Option 5.

Some things are worth losing everything for, things like the dignity of others. I would not feel right living at the expense of people less powerful than myself.
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Postby Picairn » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:39 pm

Option 2, then I use some of my money and political capital to fund the Bigtopians and intentionally sabotage the Empire from within.

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Postby Aclion » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:09 pm

How can I be expected to know how I would act if I'd been indoctrinated into an entirely different set of beliefs; beliefs that would color my actions in such a scenario?
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Neanderthaland
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Postby Neanderthaland » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:19 pm

Obviously, when it comes to lightsabers, it's important to maintain the moral high-ground.
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Infected Mushroom
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:20 pm

Aclion wrote:How can I be expected to know how I would act if I'd been indoctrinated into an entirely different set of beliefs; beliefs that would color my actions in such a scenario?


I suppose you’d have to try and estimate how “easily indoctrinated/influenced” you are based on irl. Different people have different levels.

I consider myself to be hard to indoctrinate. I frequently clash with my parents’ beliefs and even though I was raised in a very conservative Christian school, my beliefs have evolved separately
Last edited by Infected Mushroom on Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Infected Mushroom
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:22 pm

Neanderthaland wrote:Obviously, when it comes to lightsabers, it's important to maintain the moral high-ground.


The textbook example of this is Kenobi v Skywalker (Mustafar).

In most of these duels though, the dueling platform is uniformly flat and regulated (unless it’s a special challenge/event/mode).

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Postby The Alma Mater » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:31 pm

As a proud citizen of the empire, having myself be declared "mediocre" on intergalactic holovision, resulting in everybody knowing I was "only good enough to spar with a lower life form" feels incredibly demeaning.

I would need bigger rewards to humiliate myself so.
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:35 pm

The Alma Mater wrote:As a proud citizen of the empire, having myself be declared "mediocre" on intergalactic holovision, resulting in everybody knowing I was "only good enough to spar with a lower life form" feels incredibly demeaning.

I would need bigger rewards to humiliate myself so.


I mean. That could be how it’s spun and perceived.

But you’re popularity will probably skyrocket because the Imperial majority would be cheering you on. And for decades to go you could become synonymous with Imperial pride and supremacy. In effect you’d achieve champion levels of glory without ACTUALLY having to win a true tournament against the actual very best. It’s a sort of sneaky promotion.

I mean, you know your own limits (it’s hard to impossible to actually truly be the number one), but there are other ways to make history and have a public presence. :)

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Postby Canis Rex » Fri Oct 16, 2020 11:38 pm

Honestly probably choice one. The rewards would be great motivation for me and I would be planning to try my best anyway and would hope the Bigtopian champion would do the same. If the gap in skill is large enough that I can casually swat them around then that isn't on me. I wouldn't exactly enjoy it since I would want at least a competitive match but as long as they aren't asking me to execute the person or needlessly drag out a live tv bullying session than I would be getting tremendous rewards for what I was already going to do. If they are asking me to drag it out, as in I could have finished this ten minutes ago but here I am still bonking the poor Bigtopian over the head, then I would feel worse about it but still still ultimately agree due to rewards and the off chance they surprise me somewhere along the way and make it feel like there was an actual contest at some point.

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Postby Purpelia » Sat Oct 17, 2020 12:32 am

Another nobrainer. My choices in this case are:
1. Get wealth, success and fame at the cost of sacrificing an entire race of total strangers.
2. Sacrifice my self for total strangers.

That's not even a choice. Nobody in his right mind wouldn't pick #1.
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Postby Tinhampton » Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:56 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:the Bigtopians strive for progress, equality, and freedom

We'll be having you writing issues sooner or later! :P

I would withhold judgement until I knew what the Elo ranking of the best Bigtopian lightsabre wielder was.
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Postby The New California Republic » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:12 am

I'll assume I'm Dark Helmet. I'd use the oldest trick in the book by pretending to shake hands with the competitors, at which point I'd throw their Schwartz-rings into the gutter.
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Postby Kowani » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:26 am

Accept the challenge, then throw my lightsaber at the silly emperor in his silly box on the day of the fight.
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:55 am

Tinhampton wrote:
Infected Mushroom wrote:the Bigtopians strive for progress, equality, and freedom

We'll be having you writing issues sooner or later! :P

I would withhold judgement until I knew what the Elo ranking of the best Bigtopian lightsabre wielder was.


He’s their champion (highest elo in the Bigtopian League). However, the competition in that pool is a lot less intense than with the Imperial leagues.

So as a general analogy, you’re a B- tier NBA team and the Bigtopian is the championship basketball team from a local Russia tournament or something.

You’re a relatively non-glorious force in your own league but your league is the best. And you have a lot more experience and psychological fortitude for the long contest and mind games etc.

...

In League of Legends it would be like an unremarkable but Korean LCS team (you) versing a top team from the South American server (they’ve done local tournaments but nothing like the LCS). They love the game too but it’s just not the same caliber of play.
Last edited by Infected Mushroom on Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:58 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Destyntine » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:22 am

Option 1 would be my choice. I'd fight mainly for my family and defeat the Bigtopian with everything I've learned. After the fight I could use my status as a champion to gain recognition among the Empire and work my way into a higher position in the government to fight the torture and executions that the Empire allows.
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Postby Dylar » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:38 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
Neanderthaland wrote:Obviously, when it comes to lightsabers, it's important to maintain the moral high-ground.


The textbook example of this is Kenobi v Skywalker (Mustafar).

In most of these duels though, the dueling platform is uniformly flat and regulated (unless it’s a special challenge/event/mode).

Well that's when you try spinning . That's a good trick to catch your opponent off guard
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Postby Chan Island » Sat Oct 17, 2020 3:50 am

How would they know I don't give it my all? If I'm just some mid-tier no namer at the game, then I could not actually give it my all, have it be a close fight, and always claim later that either the pressure, the day or the skill of the Bigtopian champion caught me off-guard.
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:02 am

What's a lightsaber?

I mean, I know the fictional version from the Star Wars universe. But that universe doesn't include Bigtopians.

So lightsabers here can be something entirely different. Like how elves between Tamriel and Middle Earth are different.
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Postby Dylar » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:27 am

The Blaatschapen wrote:What's a lightsaber?

I mean, I know the fictional version from the Star Wars universe. But that universe doesn't include Bigtopians.

So lightsabers here can be something entirely different. Like how elves between Tamriel and Middle Earth are different.

I figured they were basically electrified poles. Which then begs the question as to why the elite would be the only ones with them? Surely the lower classes can figure out how to electrify a 4 foot pole
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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:31 am

Dylar wrote:
The Blaatschapen wrote:What's a lightsaber?

I mean, I know the fictional version from the Star Wars universe. But that universe doesn't include Bigtopians.

So lightsabers here can be something entirely different. Like how elves between Tamriel and Middle Earth are different.

I figured they were basically electrified poles. Which then begs the question as to why the elite would be the only ones with them? Surely the lower classes can figure out how to electrify a 4 foot pole


In fairness, the lower classes did figure it out. That's kinda the whole contention.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Infected Mushroom
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:36 am

The Blaatschapen wrote:What's a lightsaber?

I mean, I know the fictional version from the Star Wars universe. But that universe doesn't include Bigtopians.

So lightsabers here can be something entirely different. Like how elves between Tamriel and Middle Earth are different.


It's heavily based on the Star Wars training sabres used in the Jedi Temple.

However, since it takes place in the IM verse, you can expect that the swords would be re-crafted to look more medieval/stylicized.

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Infected Mushroom
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Postby Infected Mushroom » Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:37 am

Chan Island wrote:How would they know I don't give it my all? If I'm just some mid-tier no namer at the game, then I could not actually give it my all, have it be a close fight, and always claim later that either the pressure, the day or the skill of the Bigtopian champion caught me off-guard.


They wouldn't know 100% but if they suspect then they may act, the rule of law and due process isn't really a thing for them =)

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Jassysworth 1
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Postby Jassysworth 1 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:46 am

Going with self-interest, Option 1.

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Purpelia
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Postby Purpelia » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:08 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:
The Blaatschapen wrote:What's a lightsaber?

I mean, I know the fictional version from the Star Wars universe. But that universe doesn't include Bigtopians.

So lightsabers here can be something entirely different. Like how elves between Tamriel and Middle Earth are different.


It's heavily based on the Star Wars training sabres used in the Jedi Temple.

However, since it takes place in the IM verse, you can expect that the swords would be re-crafted to look more medieval/stylicized.

Well I certainly hope so. Like seriously, Star Wars shows us they have shield technology. Proper shield technology as in what the Gungans use. An obvious improvement on the lightsaber would be to use it with such a shield. An even more obvious one would be to make a tiny version of it and use it as a complex hilt handguard. Seriously, imagine how many chopped of hands could have been saved if someone had seen this and thought this.
Purpelia does not reflect my actual world views. In fact, the vast majority of Purpelian cannon is meant to shock and thus deliberately insane. I just like playing with the idea of a country of madmen utterly convinced that everyone else are the barbarians. So play along or not but don't ever think it's for real.



The above post contains hyperbole, metaphoric language, embellishment and exaggeration. It may also include badly translated figures of speech and misused idioms. Analyze accordingly.

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