Jump to content

Are broos people???


icebrand

Recommended Posts

Hi guys, just had an argument on reddit...

For me Broo are "creatures of chaos" but some people seem to think they are persons instead.

My line of reasoning is that you don't commit war crimes on people, but it's fair game with broos and similar stuff.

What do you guys think?

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Broo, like scorpionmen and ogres, are people, and all the moral strictures that apply to treating people generally apply to them as well. 

They are also of course creatures of Chaos, but that does not mean that they are lacking in moral worth just by that fact (as opposed to by their actions), and in practical terms, trying to annihilate things into nothingness/nonexistence is quite literally the Devil's work within Glorantha. 

  • Like 2

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you ask is a certain thing is a creature or not you will hear different opinions depending of whom you ask: A Storm Bull will see things different than Orlanth or the Red Goddess. 
So let´s see how the most peaceful cult sees this topic: 

Chalana Arroy loves all creatures, but has no problem that broo get hurt or killed (RQG rulebook page 290, left column, second to last paragraph: "Chaotic foes are exempt from this protection.") . 
So IMHO: "No, broo are filthy chaos things, but they are not creatures. "

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Feral broos skirt the definition of people - absent of any culture or language, they rarely develop anything that might make them people. They are all about eating and mating, and bouts of mindless raging destruction because their chaotic nature..

Freshly spawned boos can however be taught basic personality by example, and are perfectly able to acquire language and culture (and cults). This "nurture" makes them into Wild Broos, capable of communication, negotiation, planning, and magic.

There are even civilized broos in the Empire, having received nurture and more than just the bullying of a band of wild broos. Immune to dsease, some serve as sanitation crews in Glamour. These broos definitely count as persons, although possibly traumatized from being pushed into a role that goes counter all of their instinctis.

  • Thanks 1

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't fantasise about committing war crimes, so I'm going to stay out of this one. I'll just mention that declaring your enemies to be "not people" has an ignoble heritage.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 2
  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, icebrand said:

Hi guys, just had an argument on reddit...

For me Broo are "creatures of chaos" but some people seem to think they are persons instead.

My line of reasoning is that you don't commit war crimes on people, but it's fair game with broos and similar stuff.

What do you guys think?

from players gamers (aka we, outside of glorantha) yes they are people, more or less educated, more or less wild, but, as they can learn, speak, organize, etc, I consider they are people.

the best argument for me is they are "complete" : they have all characteristics : STR / SIZ / INT / CON / CHA / DEX / POW

I do consider that all complete beings are "people"

 

now in glorantha, what could consider a troll ? an elf ? a lunar ? a sartarite ?

it depends on the culture. Not sure a praxian will see them as people, but as vermin. but not sure a praxian will see a griffin (a speaking animal ?) or an elf  (a speaking plant ?) as people. Until of course the praxian (the person, not the "people") understand more the griffin or the elf nature

 

this local concept is for me important: you don't break a taboo/oath if you are absolutly convinced you are not breaking a taboo/ aout :

when swearing to "not attack people", a lunar may not attack any broo when a praxian may do it without any issue

 

we have enough (sad) experiences irl about the conception of people. And often,  "we (a community) are the people" when others are not (until the others are not too much other)

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMO Broo are people. Tragic, dangerous people afflicted with gods who are genuinely insane. 

They are also the moral exemplar of excess. Their evils are an excess of the things others consider virtues. Narratively (when they're not being a terrifying faceless horde that any sane party runs from) they warn of the route passions may take you.

As for being "creatures of chaos", so too are Thanatari priests. I use them because my viceral reaction on first reading the Thanatar write-up was "this is chaos I could really get into". That's a little disturbing, as it is meant to be. If broo (Thanatar Priests etc) are not people then their narrative purpose is less. Less even than Jackson's retelling of Tolkien's orcs. They cease to be an end point of disconnection from the world, a track ONLY people can take, and become just another mookfest. Smarter Dragonsnails. 

This:

9 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

they are "complete" : they have all characteristics : STR / SIZ / INT / CON / CHA / DEX / POW

I do consider that all complete beings are "people"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To a modern mind, it's a tough one. I can see the impetus to roleplay always in a modern mindset, but I try and think in a different way when playing people from other cultures, that's the point of roleplaying to me. Yes, I've executed peasants for disrespect to my Samurai character. I put on that expression of grim determination and went through with it, it shocked the other players, but I saw it as like watching that scene from Shogun where one of the household takes down the rotting pheasant and the housekeeper beheads him for it. When Blackthorne returns he is horrified and angry, and the housekeeper immediately kneels down and sticks his neck out to be beheaded. Was this atrocity porn that we watched? Did I enjoy watching that execution? No, it was a tough scene to watch, but I am glad that I watched it. Was that actor a bad person for enacting that role? No, and I don't think I was a bad person for playing it out either. Yes, I was playing a bad person. A person who felt they had to do terrible things in the name of a greater good. Those people exist, and I don't shy away from playing them. I don't want to always play Blackthorne. Do I enjoy it, in the sense that I gain a dirty pleasure from playing thorough these challenging scenes? No. It horrifies me, but I do it for the same reason that I watch TV dramas about it. The fact that it horrifies me, that I lose sleep over it, reassures me that my moral compass isn't broken.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's questions like this that fascinate me about Glorantha, you can dig deep on fundamental questions of philosophy and metaphysics and it mostly all holds up.

It seems clear to me that Broo are conscious beings. The next question relevant to their moral responsibility is do they have free will? Are they autonomous beings?

Well, what does true autonomy mean? Do humans have free will, and what does free will even mean? That's actually not a settled debate here in the real world. Does the powerful instinctive drive Broo experience that motivates their worst behaviour count as coercion? Even if so, does that make a practical difference to how they should be treated? Humans have instincts and emotional drives too after all.

It's the fact that there are no easy moral answers that makes it such a powerful playground of the mind.

Edited by simonh
  • Like 4

Check out the Runequest Glorantha Wiki for RQ links and resources. Any updates or contributions welcome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

55 minutes ago, simonh said:

It's questions like this that fascinate me about Glorantha, you can dig deep on fundamental questions of philosophy and metaphysics and it mostly all holds up.

It seems clear to me that Broo are conscious beings. The next question relevant to their moral responsibility is do they have free will? Are they autonomous beings?

Well, what does true autonomy mean? Do humans have free will, and what does free will even mean? That's actually not a settled debate here in the real world. Does the powerful instinctive drive Broo experience that motivates their worst behaviour count as coercion? Even if so, does that make a practical difference to how they should be treated? Humans have instincts and emotional drives too after all.

It's the fact that there are no easy moral answers that makes it such a powerful playground of the mind.

Tolkien had this exact problem with orcs. If orcs have (something akin to - they are still partially mentally dominated) free will and are people and in principle redeemable, then you may still have to fight them at times, but something like Gimli’s and Legolas’s kill count contest starts to look a bit unpalatable as something you probably shouldn’t relish in.

But if they don’t have free will, that means Morgoth managed to essentially take away the souls and chances of redemption of whoever he corrupted into them, and not only is that a theological problem for Tolkien, it also goes against how orcs demonstrably have personalities and (admittedly vile) personal goals.

He never managed to sort it out to his satisfaction - it gets all tangled up in the problem of evil.

Edited by Akhôrahil
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

To a modern mind, it's a tough one. I can see the impetus to roleplay always in a modern mindset...

It wasn't presented as a roleplaying question, it was presented as a question of fact.

Quote

For me [not: "For my adventurer"] Broo are "creatures of chaos" but some people [not: "in Glorantha"] seem to think they are persons instead.

A lot of Glorantha's appeal derives from the moral complexity of questions like this: boiling it down to a simplistic D&D alignment system is missing the point. Broo are sentient, they are intelligent, they are fully capable of worshipping the non-Chaotic gods of Glorantha and receiving their Rune power, and I don't think anybody would argue with any of that.

I grant you that imbecile knuckle-dragging Storm Bull types would kill the Wild Healer of the Rockwoods as happily as they'd murder innocent Lunar civilians or harmless Broo toilet attendants, and would do it "in character," and so I'd advise any GM with problematic players to have a robust Session Zero discussion about just what fantasies they want to entertain in their games. (FWIW, saying "I want to feel justified in carrying out war crimes" would get you booted from my sessions: that's not my idea of a fun time)

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

" and so I'd advise any GM with problematic players to have a robust Session Zero discussion about just what fantasies they want to entertain in their games. (FWIW, saying "I want to feel justified in carrying out war crimes" would get you booted from my sessions: that's not my idea of a fun time)

Thing about the warcrimes is...

P90 of the bestiary says pretty much everyone tries to genocide them (and didn't succeed yet due to the broos insane fertility).

Also in Muriahs revenge it has an option to flood them (totally a warcrime).

What if hostile broos surrender? Killing them... Warcrime, right there. Not killing them? What are you gonna do, let them roam free? Imprison them and get everyone sick?

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, icebrand said:

What if hostile broos surrender? Killing them... Warcrime, right there. Not killing them? What are you gonna do, let them roam free? Imprison them and get everyone sick?

Hmmm... The question is: 
Could they be purified if someone wanted to take that load on his shoulders?

I am sure a shaman could get rid of all the diseas spirits acompanying them. 
You could put them in some kind of boot camp to change their habits. 
What do you do so that their mating habits not ruining what you have acomplished?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

34 minutes ago, icebrand said:

Not killing them? What are you gonna do, let them roam free? Imprison them and get everyone sick?

Why not parole them? They're not particularly associated with entities that could escape the consequences of violating solemn oaths. You could just have them swear to leave your lands alone for a reasonable, traditional quantity of time and they would be, as far as the text says, as compelled to abide by this as any other group of people. 

 

Now, if a group of broo wanted you to take them under your protection, that would be a potentially fairly thorny problem because you'd have to be able to shield them against divine retaliation for abandoning Thed and Mallia. (Which is why broo are essentially soft-banned from games I run- I don't find the ethical dilemmas around broo interesting enough to make up for all the assumptions built into their existence, generally.)

  • Like 1

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wasn't the Wild Healer of the Rockwoods "cleansed" of their chaos taint and so they could easily travel with and even receive the protection of Ankubi Broostalker or the High Khan of the Block, wouldn't you agree?

On the other hand shouldn't we keep in mind that although Broos are certainly people and all people are equal but some are more equal than others.

Along the same thought wouldn't the Gloranthinian antiegalitarianist view have them less equal but still people but you could still tap them because it wouldn't be going against Malkion's 3rd Law: Do not ruin that which you love. Being that Aeolians do not love Broo or chaos "people" in general, the tapping of Broos as a lessor people would be tolerated if minor penance was conducted following the act.

Wasn't it ordained via the 4th Ecclesiastical Council of Malkion that a verbal recital of an Aeolian Act of Contrition following the tapping of Broo be enough to absolve one of their wrongdoing? Why would any right minded Rokai Wizard not reap the full potential of tapping a lessor person across all characteristics in lieu of just settling for something like Drain Soul which leaves so much to be desired on the MP/POW gain that its almost so wasteful to be considered by some Rokai to be a Mortal Sin?  

Edited by Erol of Backford
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, icebrand said:

Thing about the warcrimes is...

If you ask situational questions in character, you'll get different answers.

If you make universal statements such as: "I fantasise about war crimes, but it's OK because broo aren't people," you've already seen the answers you'll get. That's an attempt to strip out nuance and complexity from the setting, rather than (let's say) looking for pointers when role-playing a character who lacks nuance and complexity. They're two very different things. People with blinkered takes on Glorantha ("The Lunars are chaotic evil!") tend to get short shrift, because they aren't engaging their critical faculties.

In the situations you describe, pretty much everyone in Glorantha would happily howl, "Exterminate all the brutes!" -- which ought to make you think

Edited by Nick Brooke
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oath magic like this is very costly, and not always available (in fact rarely available). Even if they leave your lands alone, they're still a dire existential threat to everyone else. Down the line, to you and your descendants too. They're not of your culture, so how can we expect them to feel just as compelled to abide by it's norms? Many of them worship entities explicitly inimical to such norms.

Societies that routinely practice catch and release with Broo, if the're anywhere near significant numbers of Broo, are not societies that will last long. In fact if you practice catch-and-release and encounter even one Broo, living next to significant numbers of them is highly likely to be the result.

  • Thanks 1

Check out the Runequest Glorantha Wiki for RQ links and resources. Any updates or contributions welcome!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Personhood" is a complex philosophical question with all sorts of legal and political ramifications. The only group I can think of that might appreciate the question and its implications are the Lunars - for them, all self-aware beings are "persons" and are capable of embracing the Lunar Way. That includes broo, ogres, and even things like vampires or self-aware jolanti. 

For pretty much all other groups - human, troll, aldryami, mostly, etc. - broo are simply dangerous monsters. They are clever, but also viciously aggressive predators - to be killed when possible. If they are too powerful or too numerous to kill, then they must be defended against or turned against other foes. Most Gloranthans view broo as something like the Xenomorph from Alien - dangerously intelligent, but with no higher goals than self-propagation and infliction of pain on others. That is not actually true but it is true enough. 

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Jeff said:

"Personhood" is a complex philosophical question with all sorts of legal and political ramifications. The only group I can think of that might appreciate the question and its implications are the Lunars - for them, all self-aware beings are "persons" and are capable of embracing the Lunar Way. That includes broo, ogres, and even things like vampires or self-aware jolanti. 

For pretty much all other groups - human, troll, aldryami, mostly, etc. - broo are simply dangerous monsters. They are clever, but also viciously aggressive predators - to be killed when possible. If they are too powerful or too numerous to kill, then they must be defended against or turned against other foes. Most Gloranthans view broo as something like the Xenomorph from Alien - dangerously intelligent, but with no higher goals than self-propagation and infliction of pain on others. That is not actually true but it is true enough. 

Now some Illuminated Lunars believe that if broo are taken outside of their awful conditions and taught the Lunar Way (including self-discipline and social skills), they can be useful members of society. The Lunars have been able to constructively negotiate with Ralzakark, and are able to send caravans through Dorastor to Ralios without molestation. But even within the Lunar Empire, most people hate and fear broo, and things like the Seven Troubles from Dorastor are within living memory.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, simonh said:

Oath magic like this is very costly, and not always available (in fact rarely available). Even if they leave your lands alone, they're still a dire existential threat to everyone else. Down the line, to you and your descendants too. They're not of your culture, so how can we expect them to feel just as compelled to abide by it's norms? Many of them worship entities explicitly inimical to such norms.

Societies that routinely practice catch and release with Broo, if the're anywhere near significant numbers of Broo, are not societies that will last long. In fact if you practice catch-and-release and encounter even one Broo, living next to significant numbers of them is highly likely to be the result.

I don't think there's any reason to believe that broo represent a dire existential threat to anyone. They have a grotesque and awful method of reproduction, they are trapped in a cycle of divine parental abuse in which one of their few reliable methods of escape is joining a divine racketeering gang... But there's a decided lack of broo as an agent of terror. You have "armies of broos" marching out of desolate places every so often, but if they're not accompanied by bigger, meaner/weirder monsters, they're just mooks and distractions. 

Now we could presume that this is because every human civilization except the Lunars practices "murder/castrate every broo you come across" religiously, but I'm not sure that's obvious and there are some good reasons not to assume it's the case. Not least that Praxians, with that Hate (Chaos), are still entirely fine with hiring broo as disposable mercenaries instead of reenacting Sand Creek or Katyn with them.

Of course, it's plausible for people in the setting to believe that broo are an existential threat ( :20-element-moon: because they're chained within unglamorous social assumptions :20-element-moon: ) but you seem to be suggesting that this is an objective fact of the setting. 

(On top of all this, it's rather interesting to me that it's broo and not scorpionmen or ogres who get these kinds of questions attached to them. Partly it's because they've been standard mooks in old RQ publications, but I can't help feeling it's also that broo are pathetic and it seems potentially viable to wipe them out.)

  • Like 1

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Talk of morality aside, I don't recall any reference to them respecting the ransom system, which takes them outside the normal rules around violence for "people" in the core setting. Someone who doesn't treat captives according to certain parameters is basically an animal with no legal status or rights. I suspect feral broo behave in such a way that they qualify as animals. A civilized or cleansed broo, should you ever meet one, would explicitly embrace ransom and other foundations of a social contract, no matter how primitive or disturbing their execution of the terms might be.

Edited by scott-martin
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, scott-martin said:

Talk of morality aside, I don't recall any reference to them respecting the ransom system, which takes them outside the normal rules around violence for "people" in the core setting. Someone who doesn't treat captives according to certain parameters is basically an animal with no legal status or rights. I suspect feral broo behave in such a way that they qualify. A civilized or cleansed broo, should you ever meet one, would explicitly embrace ransom and other foundations of a social contract, no matter how primitive or disturbing their execution of the terms might be.

Ah. We found the one broo-focused scenario that might actually be interesting: dealing with the consequences of broo ransoming some captured broo and what kind of potentially-dangerous artifacts they'd offer as payment, and safely dumping them on the market. 

(Which you could probably do with scorpionmen or huan to, for that matter.)

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, scott-martin said:

Talk of morality aside, I don't recall any reference to them respecting the ransom system, which takes them outside the normal rules around violence for "people" in the core setting. Someone who doesn't treat captives according to certain parameters is basically an animal with no legal status or rights. I suspect feral broo behave in such a way that they qualify as animals. A civilized or cleansed broo, should you ever meet one, would explicitly embrace ransom and other foundations of a social contract, no matter how primitive or disturbing their execution of the terms might be.

Correct. Most broo are feral or wild - and they do not respect the ransom system (or if they do, it is usually with bad faith. They behave like animals or worse. 

Civilised broo do follow the ransom broo and other social contracts - that's why they are called civilized!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • MOB locked this topic
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...