Announcement

Collapse

Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Good and evil in the E.C. cycles ?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Good and evil in the E.C. cycles ?

    On a french forum, there are talks to determine if the Menilboneens, Elric, Hawkmoon ant other people can be classified good or evil or lawfull or evil ( in part refering to the classification by ADD )

    I am not sure this references are truly operationnal.......

    I am not sure the tentative is operationnal : for instance, can romans and mongols be classified as good or evil ?

    May be it is more easy to consider them as on the side of law ?

  • #2
    The original AD&D Deities & Demigods reference book from 1980 included a section on the Melnibonéan Mythos and classified Elric as Chaotic Evil. I've always wondered about that classification, and don't really agree with it.
    Last edited by Oren; 07-21-2006, 01:40 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Although useful as a quick and dirty game mechanic, alignments - especially the D&D/AD&D ones - got dropped from my games pretty quickly, because they are just too blunt an instrument to reflect anything usefully.

      In the Moorcock multiverse, you have real problems with even a superficially simple structure like Melnibone - followers of the chaos gods, devoted to the pursuit of their individual desires, and yet there's a pretty strict social heirarchy, with rules of behaviour at the court in particular, and based on sorcery that requires exact and precise repetition of existing formulae, and a grinding pressure of 'tradition' to uphold - what could be more lawful? Meanwhile, in Londra, Taragorm and co are trying to impose scientific regularity on the forces of what is apparently chaos, or maybe neutrality, with some successes and some failures...

      The paradox of frequently needing an almost scientifically accurate 'magic' to bring in the influences of chaos is pretty central to the dynamic of the multiverse, and really won't fit into the classic RP alignments systems at anything other than a superficial level. Most of the major characters in fiction swing across a whole range of those 'alignments' during their careers, as do societies, fictional and real.

      Comment


      • #4
        I would say that Elric is neutral with good ideals and good tendencies.

        Sometimes his actions benefit Chaos and sometimes Law, ultimately serving The Cosmic Balance.

        I don't recall any direct act of Evil that Elric would have done, all his killing was against Evil creatures and people.

        Now Stormbringer would be Pure Neutral/Evil with Chaotic tendencies.


        If Elric killed his friends, he would be Evil, but since Stormbringer killed his friends, Stormbringer is the culprit.

        "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
        - Michael Moorcock

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by lemec
          I would say that Elric is neutral with good ideals and good tendencies.
          .....
          I don't recall any direct act of Evil that Elric would have done, all his killing was against Evil creatures and people.
          .........
          If Elric killed his friends, he would be Evil, but since Stormbringer killed his friends, Stormbringer is the culprit.
          But as in real life, it's not that simple.... leading the 'barbarians' who storm Immryr results in the death of many 'innocents', the slaves in the city not being the least of them. Some might argue 'it was needed for the greater good of ending Melnibonean power', I reckon the people affected by the event might have had a different view. Meanwhile, the old argument of 'is killing evil of itself a necessarily 'good' thing could be interestingly applied to Elric's actions. He's perfectly happy (or at least as happy as Elric tends to get ) leading mercenary troops into battle for some very dubious causes, or on occasion for nothing other than personal revenge. Surely he can't claim no responsibility for what he knows will be the outcome in death and injury?

          Elric toys with 'good and evil' as philosophical constructs, but I find it arguable he falls on either extreme - he has a marked tendency to appoint himself judge and jury, even when not influenced by Stormbringer, with often morally dubious results. He's probably a classic case of nurture vs nature as well... he's not happy when, for example, Dr Jest is cutting up prisoners as torture - but doesn't stop it because 'it's the way we do such things'. Also, remember, he comes up with the subsequent idea of serving Cymoril's treacherous guard captain to Yyrkoon as an evening meal - even if he thinks about it later and maybe would have stopped it happening, there are not many moral frameworks that would register even the idea as 'good'.

          'Alignment' is a handy game tool, but falls apart at very slight pressure.

          Comment


          • #6
            I always found Michael Moorcock was trying to tell us how close, if not even one and the same, Good and Evil can be.
            Google ergo sum

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by L'Etranger
              I always found Michael Moorcock was trying to tell us how close, if not even one and the same, Good and Evil can be.
              That sounds about right to me - anything in excess or extreme is probably a bad thing, balance is almost always preferable, and good/evil are often just different perspectives on the same thing. Law without any chaos is just as appaling as chaos unconstrained, it's the mixture that matters. Damn hard to make that function in a limited RPG ruleset though

              Comment


              • #8
                I play to D&D and i think that Elric would be a Neutral character beacause he do wats he thinks is a good idea.But well its hard to classified

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by L'Etranger
                  I always found Michael Moorcock was trying to tell us how close, if not even one and the same, Good and Evil can be.

                  ya!, I also like that explanation.


                  aside from that, who defines what good and evil are?

                  Evil would have a very long list to write down all things that we as a society are not supposed to do.

                  Good would be equally lengthy.


                  Then there are all the sub-categories of good and evil.


                  How evil really is it not to say please or excuse me for instance?

                  I wonder if bad manners will ever be considered "evil."

                  -Should someone be executed over the issue? haha

                  -Is it right to wage war on your kinsman if you know they are evil or have done evil?


                  What I mean is that, there are alot of evils in the world and not all of them are on the books making them illegal. The moral right and wrongs, the can do and can not do.

                  In a gaming environment, it does not really matter, I think, the character can do what they want, just let the DM (or game master) present consequences to the character depending on what they do.

                  It might come into play for clerics, if their diety tells them to go out and serve good or evil and if the character does not obey he might be punished in some way.


                  -just some random thoughts,



                  thanks!


                  -Lemec



                  P.S. -Also is it morally just for Elric to even wield Stormbringer?

                  He 'knows' what kind of things The Black Blade can do and how unpredictable it can be.

                  On many occasion, even when Elric knows that Stormbringer is evil, he chooses to use it to aid in his health or help in combat, or to save others.

                  Is the price of power and victory greater than the the morality when many innocent lives are sacrificed so Elric can save those he loves? (or try to?)

                  "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                  - Michael Moorcock

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by L'Etranger
                    I always found Michael Moorcock was trying to tell us how close, if not even one and the same, Good and Evil can be.
                    Agreed (strongly). I would add that he shows how the distinctions between them are sometimes defined arbitrarily or relatively.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      One of the poblem is that good and evil are socially defined.

                      For instance if suicide is a crime in a chrisitian society, it is very honored in some circumstances in Japan !

                      And that is only an exemple.

                      If we classlfy menilboneans and Elric according our criters they are evil, but what are we ?

                      For instance the colonial conquest has been the source of acts worthy of a menilbonean or a granbreton .........

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I like that Mike put Law and Chaos instead of good or bad.There are always some guys that want the things to remain the same and some to change them,right?

                        I don't like some epic books with the good and the bad guys.I mean the bad guys are usually some kind of monsters that serve a dark lord who wants to take over the world and destroy the good guys.OK.And then what?If Sauron had won,what would he do?What would the orcs do?
                        And the bad guys...what do they think?"Hey,we don't like the good guys because we are bad"
                        Does any man who is not mad think this way?Hitler thought he was good.Genghis Chan thought he was good.They just did something that distorted the balance.Killing millions of innocents is bad,but they thought they had to do it to fulfill their "good" intentions.Bush thinks he is the Gods champion or something.Of course helping some businessmen who have helped him is good for him.

                        Besides,Law and Chaos are found in nature.Check most of the laws in science.We always have changes but the objects are trying to resist to the changes.
                        Inertia in Mechanics
                        Lenz rule in electricity
                        The priciple of Le Chatelier van't Hoff in chemistry.
                        Gravity and expanding universe in cosmology
                        Gravity and resisting forces inside a star in astrophysics

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                          That's what I always believed.

                          Also, it's the case that Elric chooses order in the very end, so that raises the question about which actions define a person. If you live a life of evil and then you suddenly decide to be good, then are you?
                          Well if we keep this discussion to the E.C, cycle I believe at least one character from the novel "Eternal Champion" believed that the results of your actions rather than your intentions are the key to determining Good or Evil. The ultimate outcome of Elric's Struggle is a good one, but Elric is not good. In fact he is mostly concerned with his own self interest rather than the interest of anyone else...

                          Now if we take Christian theology / moral frame work as our basis one can suddenly decide to be good. Forgiveness is for past sin is always an option.

                          In a universe with no Christian God how are we to judge good or evil? Does the end result justify the means?

                          And on the topic of Elric being evil, he certainly is from my perspective.
                          • He sacrifices other sentient beings for his own well being.
                          • He murders for money.
                          • He tortures other sentient beings
                          • He betrays his own people to pirates
                          ect ect

                          Sure he feels bad about some of those things, but that doesn't stop him from doing the same evil things over and over again....

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Erekose, though mild in tone was a genocidal maniac. I love his character and his would be passiveness but no man (?) can rationally dissolve two races of beings in an act of justifiable homicide.
                            I found Elric to be very self serving and always leaning toward the darkside in his alliance with Chaos. Between the drugs he took for sustenance and his soul sucking sword he himself was an abomination of life itself. He absorbed the people that he loved the most.
                            Corum was more of a saviour and his alliance with Lord Arkyn seemed to help others more than to simply annihilate them. I felt a lift of exuberance when he crushed Ariochs heart with the Hand Of Kwll. He walked a saintly path.
                            I found Hawkmoon to have similar traits to Corum.
                            Jerry Cornelius was a messiah.The only harm he inflicted on humans was upon himself through his filthy habits. It was either Frank or Jerry and I would class that as survival of the fittest succeeded by the lesser of two evils. Jerry massacred part of the human race at the end of the FP but such is death.
                            Michael Kane was also a saviour being called to defend ancient races on Mars.
                            Professor Faustaff trying to defend 15 alternative Earths while enjoying the physical and material life, battling Orelli and Steiflomeis in between.
                            I found Oswald Bastable to be a saviour of men also but there is always an Ironic twist in Mikes work when you least expect it. There is always a sinister underlying deceit felt by the prime characters for the very same people that they protect. The paradoxial, hopeless state that all of his characters exist in hooked me 30 years ago. I wont go on to Von Bek, Urlik Skarsol.etc...
                            Yes they do enact evil deeds in order to accomplish results for Good.
                            And yes they perpetrate acts of good that accomplish evil results in the end.
                            Thats what makes Moorcock brilliant only HE knows the final outcome!
                            Last edited by voilodian ghagnasdiak; 07-21-2006, 04:11 PM.

                            Comment

                            Working...
                            X