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Necrozius

Rape and torture in the name of the Imperium

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This topic has been brought up in a few threads with all kinds of debating about what constitutes "evil" acts by PCs in this horrific setting.

What I'd like to know is how other Gamemasters handle non-Warp related moral corruption?

This isn't to start a debate: there are lots of those already. I'm just looking for ideas.

Originally, T.S. Luikart dished out Corruption Points in Purge the Unclean for acts of immorality. He later admitted that the Corruption rules hadn't been completely written at that time, and that this concept needs to be handled differently.

Since we know that Corruption points can only come from Warp-tainted sources, is there some other way to handle this?

One idea that I had was dishing out "sociopath" points in the form of Insanity points to the character, symbolising that their concept of right and wrong is getting muddled and messed up.

How do you folks handle this?

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Personally, I'd go with Insanity points.  Eventually those that commit such acts will become accustomed to them and they will no longer feel they are morally wrong.  You can even allow a willpower check to see if the character in question can rationalise their action to themselves.  If not, gain more insanity.  This would represent the 'oh, my god... what have I done' factor.

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My question is, why are you punishing your characters for it? Agreed, by our standards these are evil acts, but so long as it fits into the mindset of the Imperium and the character's background, I allow it completely. Of course, murder and **** do come with rammifications, such as drawing the attention of the Adeptus Arbites, which could lead to new enemies and more role-play opportunities. I had a case where a player flat out murdered a mechanic aboard an emperor-class vessel. He had no motivation beyond annoyance, but being a ferral world assassin, this fit his character. So I didn't see a point to punishing him with negative stats for role-playing accurately. That being said, that character was also a necrophiliac, and I did give him insanity points for everytime he...yeah...

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I have never seen anything to indicate that the Imperial Creed/mindset promotes ****.  Murder,torture,genocide sure.  But if you were to **** any of the majority of things you're supposed to be killing, then you'd end up viewed as tainted and on the kill list yourself.  ("Fraternization with heretics?!?"  Blam!)

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I don't think the idea was that **** is condoned by the imperial creed but that **** is an immoral act not related to the warp, hence not something that would give you mutating corruption points. 

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Graspar said:

I don't think the idea was that **** is condoned by the imperial creed but that **** is an immoral act not related to the warp, hence not something that would give you mutating corruption points. 

...But it might get the attention of the Ruinous Powers.

I delight in the irony that a noble Inquisitor (who could really be just a sociopathic, xenophobic, misogynistic fascist) essentially does dirty deeds that would make Khorne or Slaanesh proud but all done in the name of  the God Emperor.

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Necrozius said:

 

...But it might get the attention of the Ruinous Powers.

I delight in the irony that a noble Inquisitor (who could really be just a sociopathic, xenophobic, misogynistic fascist) essentially does dirty deeds that would make Khorne or Slaanesh proud but all done in the name of  the God Emperor.

 

And it's how said attention is handled that can result in corruption or, perhaps, even fate points awarded pending on how it plays out.

I agree with you on your second statement and am reminded of Witch Finder Rykehuss from the Core Rulebook.  "Innocent deaths, while regrettable, are a small price to pay for Rykehuss to spread the fear that helps suppress the activities of witches" with an 'Emperor knows his own' mentality.

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Torture probably shouldn't be worth anything really.  We work for the Inquisition after all, and the Inquisition is known for their "Interrogation" techniques, which they unashamedly all agree consists of various forms of torture.  As long as its done in the name of the Inquisition, I don't think torture should merit anything really.  Its an excepted thing in society.  Kind of like mass murdering an entire planet.  While they may not like to do it, an Inquisitor wouldn't even blink to do it if necessary.  While arguably that could be because they're all insane to some degree, its probably because its not seen as sociopathic, and is excepted within that circle.

**** probably gets you insanity, unless somehow its connected to Slaneesh, then it gets you corruption. **** and Sexual Deviency is probably one of those tha can go either way, because of its connection with Slaneesh.

Murder is another sticky point.  Assassination is another excepted tool of the Imperium, unless its unsanctioned, then it gets you Insanity/Corruption depending on the reasons done.

So basically its not what you do, but the reasons behind your actions that cause you Insanity or Corruption.  Kill a planet and your lauded as a hero.  Kill one person on an altar and you get corruption.  Kill 10 for the hell of it, and you're an insane sociopath.

Torture someone for the Inquisition and its your job.  Torture someone in order to forsake the Emporer and become a disease carrying ghoul, and you get corruption.  Torture someone because you get sexually aroused from it, it could be because you're just an insane freak (insanity) or because you're worshipping Slaneesh (corruption and possibly also insanity).

In 40k it basically comes down to not to why you do it, but can you justify it for some reason.  Though I'd love to see the justification for ****, as I'm pretty good with coming up with all kinds of justifications and **** doesn't even blip on a reason.

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 Insanity points should be applied if the event or actions damage the character's psyche. That means that for some PCs torture and **** result in insanity, for others it does not.

As for **** in general, anywhere where you have men who have power over women with no defence, power or legal recourse, they will almost inevitably get raped. Slaves, refugees, dispossessed, lower classes, concentration camps, etc. 

I would strongly suspect that only the most fanatical redemptionist (or equivelent) is going to have a real issue with it. Otherwise it would be a case of 'don't ask, don't tell'.

I don't think **** would get you insanity points, unless the PC was forced to **** someone as part of some sick torture or they only did it under peer preasure and regretted it afterwards. They would certainly get IP if they were raped themselves. 

 

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I disagree...

I think corruption should be had for those who do these acts of maliciousness and enjoy it. I have a player character in my group, an arbitrator, who has a nack for holding a gun to a childs head to get information, then shoots him and anyone else for "kicks". He doesnt do it as a form of chaos sacrifice, but enjoys it none the less. The dark gods take notice of this, and will "reward" this behavior. Hence why I choose to give him corruption. The player in real life cares little for the corruption he gets, as he says "this may lead him to becoming our Big Bads accomplice, I can always roll up a new character."

Hence why I choose to give corruption for any acts of evil not related to corruption, as it is still evil. Torturing a heretic for information is much MUCH different then killing a child for kicks, or ****** a defenceless women out of a need for sexual pleasure or power. These arnt acts that are consitered heretical, just malicious, and the dark gods will take note of such things.

But thats just me..

-Ira-

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 I think that's a  valid approach, but I would handle it differently, 

I would only give cp if the executions or **** was done as an offering to the Warp.

I would probably give  your arbite IP from it, and if he keeps it up assign derangements (or whatever they're called) that point the character in Dark directions.

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Honestly I can see both Ira's and Agmar's point here.

In Ira's case though, since its an Arbitrator whose doing it, he's clearly breaking the law, making him a borderline heretic within the Arbitrator community, for taking the law into his own hand and not following Imperial law dictates (in fact there is a heresy in the one source book that comes very close to describing this exact thing).  Now technically he can turn around and say he's doing it in the line of duty with the Inquisition so he CAN get away with it, but its definatly sociopathic in nature, hence forth insanity, especially to someone who has been trained and  educated to uphold Imperial Law.

However I would definatly say there are some psychological problems with an Arbitrator who is so willing to break Imperial law, so I'd start with giving him Insanity.  If he continued to do it, the insanity could quite honestly lead to him attracting Khaine's notice, and Khaine begin to take notice of an Arbitrator committing murder, then giving him corruption.

I'd love to see the IC reasoning behind why a Arbitrator would be so willing to give up Imperial Law at a moments notice and become a full blown murder, and definatly see his very quick decent into worshipping Khaine.  Though if his "replacement" character started to do the same thing I'd seriously have issues with the player.

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As far as the Arbiter and his misadventures go, I would completely agree with Wolf. Arbiters have been billed as some of the most single minded lawmen around. They practically worship the Book of Law and for one of them to go against it is the highest form of blasphemy to them. I can't remember where it was mentioned, but somewhere it was said that the Arbiters deal with their own breaking the Imperial Law far more harshly then they do anyone else. With that kind of mind set, what must be going through an Arbiters head when breaking the sacred law has got to be messed up indeed. Heck, in my game I had the Arbiter making checks to see if he gained insanity from following orders from the =I= that resulted in him breaking That Which Must Never Be Broken. The psykers have the perils keeping their power in check and the arbiters have their fanatical devotion to Imperial Law keeping their badge in check.

 

On the Original Topic, I reckon IP's are the default way to model morality in 40k, though I find them to be a bit lacking in their ability to do such. My single most heavily modified part of the game actually happens to be the insanity section -not that there's anything wrong with the way it is, I just find it to be inadequate for dealing with more in-depth moral degradation in 40k which is really a shame seeing as how such is one of the keystones to gothic horror.

So, how do I deal with **** and Torture in the name of the Imperium? I make a new bloody "sanity" system for it, that's how.

I posted a write up on it in the house rules section if you want to look it over and see if you can pick out any useful ideas from it:

http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?efid=100&efcid=3&efidt=59278

 

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As I imagine it, servants of the Inquisition engages in interrogation so frequently that while outright torture isn't taboo, it isn't commonly used either, primarily because torture is unreliable. If you want a man to confess to something, torture him... if you want him to tell you the truth, other methods are needed.

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Xathess Wolfe said:

Honestly I can see both Ira's and Agmar's point here.

In Ira's case though, since its an Arbitrator whose doing it, he's clearly breaking the law, making him a borderline heretic within the Arbitrator community, for taking the law into his own hand and not following Imperial law dictates (in fact there is a heresy in the one source book that comes very close to describing this exact thing).  Now technically he can turn around and say he's doing it in the line of duty with the Inquisition so he CAN get away with it, but its definatly sociopathic in nature, hence forth insanity, especially to someone who has been trained and  educated to uphold Imperial Law.

However I would definatly say there are some psychological problems with an Arbitrator who is so willing to break Imperial law, so I'd start with giving him Insanity.  If he continued to do it, the insanity could quite honestly lead to him attracting Khaine's notice, and Khaine begin to take notice of an Arbitrator committing murder, then giving him corruption.

I'd love to see the IC reasoning behind why a Arbitrator would be so willing to give up Imperial Law at a moments notice and become a full blown murder, and definatly see his very quick decent into worshipping Khaine.  Though if his "replacement" character started to do the same thing I'd seriously have issues with the player.

In his defence, this is the second character the player has played. He's a brilliant rollplayer, and I can safely say that when the time comes that his current character is too "corrupted" he will probably find a new personality. His former character was a guardsman with an amazing backstory whom he played perfectly. So when and if the time comes he will have a new idea.

His justification for these things IC is simply "The ends justify the means." He always shows proper respect to those of higher rank, and those of the Ecclisarchy. But he obviously takes pleasure in the acts of murder he commits. If it was in his character to just "do what needs to be done" then it would be insanity. Or if it was a priest who is convinced there is heresy everywhere he goes, then it would either be insanity or nothing at all. The fact that hes an arbiter who enjoys killing is what it is.

I was thinking of having a demonic entity confront him and offer him "power" in the future. When he hits 20-30 corruption.

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Xathess Wolfe said:

 Though I'd love to see the justification for ****, as I'm pretty good with coming up with all kinds of justifications and **** doesn't even blip on a reason.

 

You said it yourself, torture.

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Necrozius said:

Graver said:

 

I posted a write up on it in the house rules section if you want to look it over and see if you can pick out any useful ideas from it:

http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_foros_discusion.asp?efid=100&efcid=3&efidt=59278

 

 

This is just about perfect! Hubris Points especially. Thank you! I'm going to present your post to my player groups.

Glad I could help you out :-)

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In large part, any moral or ethical collapse would be modeled with Insanity Points, with corruption being left for altogether different problems.  An exception would be if the following conditions were met:

  • Action is also strongly in line with one of the Ruinous Powers
  • Motivation for action is equally in line with Ruinous Powers
  • Character would have reason to be (or by chance is) noticed by the Ruinous Powers
  • Character fails appropriate will check to resist the faint whispers egging them on in the back of their head

For example, a character commiting **** to simply display power, to punish, to hurt, or out of malice is not sufficiantly in line with the four to make it a corrupting event.  However, if they do it because it makes them feel something they need or just can't get any other way (perhaps due to the transgressive nature of the act), then you have something Slaanesh can appreciate.  In the first case, a chunk of IP, in the second, if Slaanesh cares to pay attention, they may take a small amount of CP in addition, if they can't resist the Daemon's urgings to "ramp it up a bit".

In a sense, a carefully placed whisper could turn any appropriate act into a sacrifice or rite undertaken in the power's name, even without the express intention of the individual.

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Letrii said:

I wonder if all these skulls on clothes and skull-servitors have anything to do with skulls for the skull throne.

 

HERESY!!1!!

 

To compare the most holy of thrones to the foulness of the warp is...is... kinda cool ..  gui%C3%B1o.gif

 

On the main question in this thread:

Splattering a Younglings scholam all over the walls with a combat shotgun, burning the place down for laughs and digging up the corpses three weeks later to sexually molest the charred remains = Insanity (quite a lot for this sicko)

Killing the neighbours chicken in the dark of  your basement, dripping its blood across the symbol of khorne = Corruption (It is dedicated to the dark powers and as such has a much better chance of getting their attention)

In the Games I GM, i do not give corruption for 'evil' acts...  Good or Evil is a subjective matter and i simply do not see entire armies of IG mutate because they "KILL PEOPLE", clearly an evil act... 

But dedicating your actions will remove the subjective part, along with any excuses. Tentacle incomming !!

My take anyhoo :)

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Letrii said:

But the killer should definitely be urged on be the Ruinous Powers.

Which is rather my point, that doing things very in-line with the powers nature might attract their attention, in which case you may be fighting off both insanity for the behavior and corruption from the whispers in your head.

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Insanity points.  Its the only RAW option for this.  Make the insanity fit the behaviour when it finally crops up.

Necrozius said:

One idea that I had was dishing out "sociopath" points in the form of Insanity points to the character, symbolising that their concept of right and wrong is getting muddled and messed up.

An interesting point but the problem is that there is no clear idea of what constitutes Imperial morality or a 'concept of right and wrong'.

 

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