Galwylin wrote:

> >I would view a human character who ruthless slaughtered goblins as being at
> >best of neutral alignment.
> Okay, I was following you well till now. Goblins are sentient. I don't
> see why the ruthless slaughter of them gets a neutral alignment but elves
> who slaughter humans gets an evil one. I can almost imagine goblins
> saying, "If you prick us, do we not bleed?" ;D

Well, I haven't actually said that I think an individual elf that participated in
a few GS raids would be definitively evil. I think I hold the elf up to the same
standard as the aforementioned human. He would at best have a neutral
alignment. (Emphasis on "at best" depending on his actions.) I'd be much more
likely to say they were both evil, but this is largely circumstantial.

Say there is an elven character who accompanies a band of GS guys on a raid upon
the camp of human brigands who are hiding across the border on elven held lands.
He kills a bunch of humans while on the raid. Towards the end of the battle
several of the remaining humans surrender and the GS fanatics go right on killing
them. Horrified, our elven hero attempts to stop the slaughter only to be pushed
aside, even attacked if he does not get out of the way.

"Man-lover!" they shout at him and roughly cast him aside.

Shocked and disgusted, our hero returns to his treehouse with a heavy heart,
questioning not only his own actions, but the future of all elves in a world so
harsh that it could turn even the heart of an elf towards thoughts of bloodshed
and slaughter.

Such an elf would still be considered of good alignment to me. If it were not
brigands but farmers/settlers, however, his morals would be much more in
question. An elf that slaughtered the humans regardless of the status as
combatants is undeniably evil.

Replace human with elf and goblin with human in the above examples and use the
same moral standard. I don't think a human who ruthlessly slaughters
non-combatants is a good human. One who attacks goblin raiders could still be
considered good. One who attacks goblins who unlawfully cross the border and set
up shop is in danger of immoral acts that could be evil.

Ever seen the John Wayne movie The Searchers? That's a pretty good example of
what I'm talking about. I think Wayne's character for the majority of that movie
is evil. He espouses that "the only good indian is a dead indian" philosophy and
shoots them in the back, which even upsets his fellow indian fighters. (I hope
everyone realizes what a bad misrepresentation of indian fighters this is. Real
indian fighters shot indians in the back just as happily as any other way, but
this is a film made in the 50's when historical accuracy was about as likely as a
stewardess on a biplane.) He thinks it's better to kill his niece after she has
been living with indians for a few years as she has "become one of them."
Towards the end of the movie he becomes more neutral. He rescues his niece
rather than kill her. In the context of the movie that's a big moral development
for this character, who is a racist of the highest order.

The point is that John Wayne's character is definitely evil in my book. Some
folks out there might point to this character's background (he returns from
fighting the Civil War--on the side of the Confederacy--to find his family
slaughtered by Comanches) as justification for his actions, but I don't see how
that holds up. He's still a racist, murdering, shoot 'em in the back, evil
bastard. The Comanches that slaughtered his family aren't sweethearts, either.
They are murderous bloodthirsty killers of women and children. It doesn't matter
if they are defending what they see as their traditional lands from the ruthless
farming of European settlers.

Sure, circumstances could be different and might justify their actions. Say the
settlers built Ye Olde Crackhouse on the Prairie and were getting all the buffalo
hooked on meth amphetamines. I'd be willing to support a raid on the Engels
place then. Toss Ma, Pa and little Laura in the pen for a few years and that'll
learn 'em!

OK, I'm going a bit too far with this example so I'll reign it back in now....

The point in all this that I think I'm holding the elves to the same moral
standard as humans. I think there is a bit more sympathy for elves, however,
that is misconstruing the argument. Elves are cute, so we justify their actions
a bit more. The "elves are just protecting the forests when they chop up human
families" argument doesn't work for me any more than a human going into a goblin
cave without provocation and slaughtering all the little gobboes would.