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MrRoivas

They were the best of people, they were the worst of people...[G5]

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In all your humble opinions, out of all the characters in the Geneforge series, which were the scummiest of scum, the lowest of the low, the most utterly despicable?

 

And alternately, which people in the games do you believe were the whitest in a world shaded in gray?

 

For my personal worst list, I got:

 

-Barzhal, from G2. A neo-nazi in shaper robes. You half expect him to start talking of the infinite perfectibility of the master race.

 

-Master Hoge, from G3. He coldly set up the murder of students under his care.

 

-Shaper Monarch, from G4. Out of all the insane sickos throughout the series, he was pretty much the King Psycho of them all.

 

-Taygen, from G5. While Barzhal may have embodied certain aspects of Nazism, Taygen just goes straight for the Godwin award and goes for the full blown concentration camps and systemic genocide. I think that even the infamous Emperor Tullegor would have had a hard time defending him.

 

As for the best:

 

-Learned Pinner: Out of all the leaders in G2, she was the only one pretty much free from the taint of ruthless choices. Her philosophy is pretty cool too.

 

-Astoria from G5. A Shaper Councilor whose ego isn't bigger than her castle, and didn't view all non-shapers as lessor beings, with an extra boot to the face for creations. Even is willing to compromise her personal power for the sake of her goals, which is pretty much unheard of.

 

Unsurprisingly, the second list is much shorter.

 

Anyone else got additional thoughts?

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Shaper Rawal as the supreme opportunist sitting in his fortress gathering information to insure his power base and blackmail or discredit his opponents.

Using control tools to insure his followers' loyalty he started the ultimate police state where rebellion could be punished by instant death.

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Goettsch is a good candidate for the 'bad' category. He's not as systematically awful as Barzahl or especially Taygen, but he's at least as much of a power-hungry opportunist as Rawal. Likewise Salassar: while he's mostly there to get knocked down in order to show how awesome Ghaldring is, it bears noting that the reason he and Ghaldring are enemies is because Ghaldring is not racist enough for his tastes. Really, though, there's no shortage of completely awful people in the Geneforge series: the ones we've mentioned so far are mostly notable for being nasty and having a lot of power.

 

As for good people, Greta deserves mention. She's pretty selective in her morality in G3, but by G4 and 5 she's one of the few people (along with Astoria, Litalia, and Khyryk) who actually wants and seriously works toward a peace that doesn't involve the extermination of either the Shapers or the rebels. On the subject of Shaper leaders who aren't Lawful Stupid fanatics, General Crowley from G4. He's more moderate than Alwan or Miranda, a relatively trustworthy ally to the rebels fighting against Monarch, and seems to take a personal interest in healing Shaila.

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For the good list, many of the "Learned" servile hermits were very pleasant people. The one in G2 who makes the emerald chestguard for you and helps the other serviles (Learned Darian?) seemed to fit in the good category. There were one or two from G1 (Darian was in there too I think) are notable mentions as well.

 

For the bad list, mine would be comprised of:

Rawal

Ghaldring

Taygen

Barzahl

Master Hoge

Tuldaric

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Samman (G5 secret boss) probably deserves a mention, seeing as he was kicked out of the Rebellion by the freaking Drakons for modifying himself to the point where even the massive lizards thought he was taking the whole thing too far. Then again, he might belong more in the crazy category than the evil.

 

While not really a character,

Click to reveal..
the Protoshapers of Sucia probably deserve at least an honorable mention. They got the power to manipulate life, and the used it to twist and deform their enemies to kill them off, and even managed to render a large segment of Sucia uninhabitable. The one person you meet who survives seems pretty bitter about it, at least.

 

There's a pretty decent Mephistopheles-esque character in the drayk who offers you power, knowledge, and canisters in exchange for your "life force" (aka soul), so from a certain moral perspective, he would be one of the most evil characters in the series.

 

For "what if" scenarios, the one of Danette's lieutenants who sneaks back to the island because he's lured by the power of the Geneforge could have been pretty evil had he not been trapped in the lab and left there, instead of actually reaching and using the Geneforge.

 

It rather annoyed me that Gottesch himself basically got ignored (I don't think he was even mentioned again, ever), especially when you consider that he demonstrates how even a powerful and influential Shaper would become a Barzite in a second if given the chance, especially before the stigma got in place. I think he got retconned away in order to increase the centralization of the Shapers and make the Loyalists a stronger movement.

 

I'm sure there were other bad dudes, but the G1 ones seemed the most complex and nuanced ones in the series, and the others after them seemed more like just various recombined hybrids of the various good/bad traits and beliefs of the G1 characters.

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Rawal shouldn't be on any list, hes no worse than anyone else. Sure, hes more open in his desires for power, but all the others do the same things.

 

Learned Darian is easily number 1 on the good list.

 

G3 Litalia is also rather evil. She has her righteous intentions, but will burn anything in the path to instantly get there. This is equivalent to Taygen, who has righteous intentions (stop the war), but is opting for the disturbingly quick way to get there.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
It rather annoyed me that Gottesch himself basically got ignored (I don't think he was even mentioned again, ever), especially when you consider that he demonstrates how even a powerful and influential Shaper would become a Barzite in a second if given the chance, especially before the stigma got in place.

Dunno. The PC had plenty of opportunities to use the Geneforge or otherwise betray the Shapers but canonically stayed loyal.

Dikiyoba.

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Besides, what most likely ended up happening is that the Shaper clean up crew saw how corrupted Gottesch was, attempted to take him into "custody," he resisted, suffered an unceremonious death, and his body was left forgotten.

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Disagreed on Litalia. She's a fanatic, sure, but so are the plurality if not the majority of other characters in G3-5. I'd call her more equivalent to G4/5 Alwan (except maybe when the latter finally relents in his ending in G5), and he's far from the worst character in the Geneforge series.

 

On the subject of good characters, Learned Dominic in G5 is another one high on the list. He's engaged in some shady business concerning the Shadow Road, but overall he's genuinely trying to create a community where serviles can interact as equals with Shapers and other humans. He comes the closest of anyone in the series to making the dreams of the Awakened a reality, and depending on the ending, he might even succeed.

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Originally Posted By: MrRoivas
Besides, what most likely ended up happening is that the Shaper clean up crew saw how corrupted Gottesch was, attempted to take him into "custody," he resisted, suffered an unceremonious death, and his body was left forgotten.


Actually, I killed him. =)

Originally Posted By: FnordCola
Disagreed on Litalia. She's a fanatic, sure, but so are the plurality if not the majority of other characters in G3-5. I'd call her more equivalent to G4/5 Alwan...


Nah, Litalia is pretty heartless. Unlike alwan, she wants war, strife, and death. Alwan ultimately wants to end the war, its just he wants it to end with destruction of those that caused it in the first place. Litalia is definitely worse than Alwan, and in especially in G3, she is a ruthless, bloodthirsty canister addict.

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
Nah, Litalia is pretty heartless. Unlike alwan, she wants war, strife, and death. Alwan ultimately wants to end the war, its just he wants it to end with destruction of those that caused it in the first place. Litalia is definitely worse than Alwan, and in especially in G3, she is a ruthless, bloodthirsty canister addict.
Are you talking about G5 Litalia, or one of the earlier versions of her? She's trying to get the shaper council to see why shaping is so horrible and why it needs to be stopped. Yes, the missions she sends you on cause a great deal of damage, but she's trying to get the war, strife, and death to end, and in the process prevent creations such as the unbound from ever being created again.

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We're talking about G3 Litalia.

 

@TxGangsta: I think 'wants the war to go on' is a seriously flawed criterion in this discussion. Both rebels like Litalia (G3) and loyalists like Alwan (G4 and most of G5) want the war to end with the destruction, or possibly complete capitulation of their opposite numbers. The fact that the rebels have farther to go in order to achieve this goal, and thus plan for a longer war, does not make them of necessity wrong any more so than any other guerrilla or rebel army, whether the Americans in the Revolutionary war, the Confederacy in the American Civil War, the French Resistance in WW2, the Mujaheddin fighting the USSR in Afghanistan, etc.

 

As for her being heartless more generally: I maintain that she is not substantially more so than many other rebels, and many Shapers. It's not that she's a nice person (I don't generally use the word 'fanatic' to describe people I like), but to me she doesn't stand out as a monster in the way that Taygen, Barzahl, and the like do.

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G3 Litalia (in G5 I think she's really wise, even though she does indirectly cause great harm) is only not on par with taygen if you assume the only way to create change was war, and only if you deem change necessary. Its that first reason I guess I put her up there. I think careful politics could have achieved the same things. Maybe a little deceit here and there along with some leveraging could have accomplished the same thing.

 

With the council being filled with the fools it shows in G5, it would be no problem. However, I guess it could equally be argued that they would not be so foolish if there was no war at their boarders.

 

I still maintain that murder of innocents is not a reasonable means to any end.

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Taygen. Really. I guess I could maybe see Ghaldring as a moral analog to G3 Litalia, but Taygen? Litalia at most wants to kills all Shapers, and even then there are signs (e.g. her diary, her rationale for sparing the PC) that she's not too happy with the idea. Taygen wants to kill all currently existing creations, which is less analogous to killing all Shapers than it is to killing all humans.

 

As far as killing innocents is considered: I basically agree, but I think that only bolsters your argument if you use an unfortunately narrow definition of "innocent." A newborn baby drayk, or a servile born to rebellious parents, is about as innocent as an entity can be, and even the nice and reasonable Shapers through most of the series are for killing them off. To say that Litalia is more guilty of killing innocents than the Shapers are is to assert that a person ceases to be innocent the moment they break a law. This is true for a strictly juridical definition of guilt and innocence, but it becomes utterly repugnant when one considers the fact that governments real and fictional have ruled that the act of being born to a certain race, species, or creed is a crime. So if killing innocents is sufficient basis for placing an individual on the naughty list, then nearly every Shaper deserves to be on the list, along with most rebels. I'll say it again...Geneforge: full of awful people.

 

Finally, I'm dubious on the idea of considering G3 Litalia in isolation. The fact that she reforms later and becomes a much more moral and reasonable person in G4 and 5 shows that she had that potential within her to a significant degree, whereas we don't see that for the likes of Ghaldring and Taygen. This is another reason I like the analogy between her and Alwan in his ending in G5: both of them realize that the "kill 'em all" philosophy is wrong, even when applied to enemy combatants, and change their behavior based on that recognition.

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Originally Posted By: FnordColoa
Finally, I'm dubious on the idea of considering G3 Litalia in isolation.

Heck, even looking solely in G3, we see a crisis of conscience in Litalia's backstory.

Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
I think careful politics could have achieved the same things. Maybe a little deceit here and there along with some leveraging could have accomplished the same thing.

Yeah, no. The Shaper Council had two games before the rebellion broke out into a full-scale war to try and fix things. They pretty much outright refused. It wasn't until the end of G4 when the Unbound were released that the Shaper Council was scared enough to start listening to other ideas besides "Kill them all!"

Dikiyoba.

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
Finally, I'm dubious on the idea of considering G3 Litalia in isolation. The fact that she reforms later and becomes a much more moral and reasonable person in G4 and 5 shows that she had that potential within her to a significant degree ....


Yeah, in G4, Litalia gave her Trakovite assistant a head start before she sent her creations after him. She really has started to mellow out. smile

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The sad thing is, when you think about the real world, are real people any less awful, at least when it comes to those with power?

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ive never actually considered Barzahl to be evil or otherwise a "monster". in his ending he basically perfects the use of canisters to the point that people end up being gods(you and him become gods of gods) in fact one of the most touching parts of geneforge for me is when in the Barzite ending you get captured and he actually holds a entire town hostage for your safe return, by far the best treatment you get in the entire series.

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That's an interesting question. I'd say...yes and no. The worst rulers and governments in real life are somewhat worse than the worst in Geneforge. On the other hand, the rulers and governments in Geneforge are probably worse than the human average. They're certainly worse than the average of people in the modern world...most of the of the modern world is pretty okay, though there are some major exceptions (The Rwandan genocide, North Korea).

 

I'd even say that the Geneforge world is worse than medieval Europe, upon reflection, and that's saying something. While overall quality of life for humans seems to be better in the pre-war Geneforge world (probably thanks in large part to Shaping's improvements to agriculture and medicine, which is why I don't agree with the Trakovites), the whole genocide thing is kind of a sticking point for me. While the people of the pre-war Geneforge world have less frequent war than medieval Europe did, they've also got systematic mass murder down to a much greater degree.

 

So, yeah, I must say: humanity is full of awful people.

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The worst and the best characters in Geneforge would have to be the Player Characters.

The PC is the one that makes everything happen... even the most Evil or most Good NPC wouldn't have things turn out how they want without the PC's help.

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Originally Posted By: Asher
The worst and the best characters in Geneforge would have to be the Player Characters.
This is true. I've never seen Ghaldring running into people's homes and stealing everything not nailed down.

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On the other pedipalp, I guess that means the whole "retcon Litalia into the G2 PC" thing in G5 undermines her moral standing considerably. Perhaps I ought to reconsider my position on her.

 

Well, at least since she reforms in G4-5 she can expect to be reincarnated as an item marked "NY" rather than a town guard.

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"(probably thanks in large part to Shaping's improvements to agriculture and medicine, which is why I don't agree with the Trakovites)"

 

Would there be a war of such magnitude without shaping? Real life equivalent, would there be wars of such magnitude without technology? The answer is no, wars would be over a smaller area and much less devastating, but like technology, it has the wonderful tendency to amplify everything, the good and the bad.

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
Would there be a war of such magnitude without shaping? Real life equivalent, would there be wars of such magnitude without technology? The answer is no, wars would be over a smaller area and much less devastating,

Would there be a war of such (or any) magnitude without people? In both of the above cases, the answer is also no. Shaping (and technology) doesn't murder people. People murder people. Admittedly, Shaping does make it a bit easier to do so, but if we refused to make technological progress that could be used to kill people, we'd still be stuck living back in the stone age.

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Nobody is going to mention Trajkov?

He kicked off the whole series with his greed, and held his own people hostage to boot.

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Trajkov may have been the catalyst for the whole rebellion, but he certainly wasn't responsible for it. And it did it for the sake of the Kazg serviles as well as greed, which is more than could be said for Gottesch, Monarch, or Ghaldring.

 

Dikiyoba.

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Originally Posted By: Nothronychus
...we'd still be killing each other with rock-based technology, though.

Dikiyoba.


Avernum 2 only goes to prove this.

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...and killing by rock-based technology would generally result in a lot less death than nuclear fission, machine guns, chemical weapons, etc. It's not as if the Trakovite argument is entirely without merit: my point was more that the tradeoff they offer (less destructive technology for less helpful technology) isn't worth it, in either the real world or Geneforge.

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Rock-based technology just slows the rate of death not the death count. The cave man was just as destructive as modern man. Just ask a Neanderthal Man. Wait, Cro-Magnon Man killed them all. smile

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
...and killing by rock-based technology would generally result in a lot less death than nuclear fission, machine guns, chemical weapons, etc.


While I can't find the study right now, unfortunately, I've seen evidence that this is exactly opposite the case. Specifically, research indicated that small-scale warfare between tribes, clans, etc. tends to be more destructive over time than large-scale warfare between nations. This is because of the horror effect of large scale war; the Rebellion touched every aspect of Terrestian lives and will live on in the memories of the generations, just as the atrocities of the World Wars live on in ours. With smaller scale warfare that isn't as destructive, meanwhile, combat is more frequent and thus adds us to more over time.

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Originally Posted By: Goldenking
Originally Posted By: FnordCola
...and killing by rock-based technology would generally result in a lot less death than nuclear fission, machine guns, chemical weapons, etc.


While I can't find the study right now, unfortunately, I've seen evidence that this is exactly opposite the case. Specifically, research indicated that small-scale warfare between tribes, clans, etc. tends to be more destructive over time than large-scale warfare between nations. This is because of the horror effect of large scale war; the Rebellion touched every aspect of Terrestian lives and will live on in the memories of the generations, just as the atrocities of the World Wars live on in ours. With smaller scale warfare that isn't as destructive, meanwhile, combat is more frequent and thus adds us to more over time.
I remember hearing the same thing a long time ago, but can't for the love of bacon remember where. Although a machine gun in Geneforge would be fun.

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This statement needs a metric for what constitutes more or worse in terms of death toll. In particular, is it percentage of population killed per unit time or absolute number of people killed per unit time? The former would be difficult to ascertain regarding any time period before the existence of a census, though I'd be curious to see what estimates people use. The latter (which was more the metric I was using, correctly or incorrectly) clearly 'favors' the modern era, given that World War 2 killed several times as many people as were likely alive at any point prior to the invention of agriculture.

 

Quote:
With smaller scale warfare that isn't as destructive, meanwhile, combat is more frequent and thus adds us to more over time.

 

I question your conflation of scale and technology level. Small regional conflicts in the modern world still involve automatic weapons, high-tech explosives, and the like, which are products of modern technology.

 

Nevertheless, the 'horror effect' you describe is an interesting one, particularly as it relates to nuclear weapons. There does seem to be a threshold at which most people see a weapon as too horrible to actually use; what we haven't established is whether this scales linearly with the destructive power of the weapon. To wit, the fear of machine guns and mustard gas from World War 1 didn't seem to do much to prevent the outbreak of World War 2.

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wtf no mention of Alwan?

 

The one stalwart law-keeper?

The one who maintains his ideals?

Yeah...he's my #1. Whenever I run through G5 I almost always side with him.

 

 

 

Even with Astoria you see her backstabbing colonies and perform other unscrupulous actions in order to achieve something.

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Originally Posted By: Nefarian
wtf no mention of Alwan?

The one stalwart law-keeper?
The one who maintains his ideals?

*cough*Control Core B*cough*

Dikiyoba.

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Yeah, Alwan's a damn saint.

 

He's very good at adhering to a code of laws (Control Core B notwithstanding, and if memory serves it's not clear how directly responsible he was for the creation of the Controller Mind). A code of laws that calls for the extermination of millions of sentient beings for no greater crime than being born, and murderously suppresses internal dissent. Though he eventually relents in his ending in G5, prior to that he seems to have very little regard for practices of just war. And while most people on both sides are guilty of similar injustices, there are people who go about fighting more ethically. Crowley from G4 comes immediately to mind on the Shaper side.

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Originally Posted By: FnordCola
...and if memory serves it's not clear how directly responsible he was for the creation of the Controller Mind).

He still knows about its existence and uses it instead of killing it for being against Shaper law.

Dikiyoba.

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He took reasonable precautions. The creator mind supposedly should have not been able to create them well. But, to make it able to shape, it was given too much other stuff. He experimented with it and it failed, but that's no crime against shaper law.

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Originally Posted By: Txgangsta
He experimented with it and it failed, but that's no crime against shaper law.
He created a highly unstable creation and left it there where it could cause problems. I'm pretty sure that was against shaper law.

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Testing a creation is not a crime. He was testing. Research. He didn't know it was going to be highly unstable. He was looking for a way to control more creations with less shapers. It didn't work, you go kill the mind, Alwan is disappointed, but it wasn't like he made them in mass quantities.

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Various statements throughout the series make it clear that making creations who can shape is one of the most severe crimes a Shaper can commit. Just think of the horror that the spawners and creators in G2 and 3 inspire in the Shapers who see them. While Alwan's actions are justifiable in a "desperate times call for desperate measures" sense, they're certainly not up to the legal standard to which he ostensibly holds himself and others.

 

Having looked over the dialogue regarding the quest again, I still think Alwan's degree of culpability in the creation and existence of the Synthesis Mind is somewhat ambiguous. To the extent that he was involved in allowing its creation and continued existence, though, he clearly contravened Shaper law.

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