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Author Topic: Evil in SC2  (Read 21482 times)
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Evil in SC2
« on: July 25, 2004, 07:00:18 am »

This is a spin-off thread of the Official remix addon 3: The Ur-Quan Hierarchy thread.
The question is, can certain SC2 races (Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah in particular) be considered evil?

This of course depends on your definition of "evil". If you take the religious view, "evil" are usually the opponents of the "good" guys, where the good guys are usually those likeminded in belief as the speaker. So for George Bush Iran and North Korea are evil, for a Muslim extremist America may be evil. Neither is incorrect within its own definition.

If there is no religious reason for what is called "conscience", then it is either the result of evolution, or of upbringing (or a combination of the two).
If it is the result of evolution, then it is just something which happened to work out for the survival of the species. If it is through upbriging, it's merely something that has survived through history.
Either way, while "conscience" may be helpful for the whole, "good" and "evil" are not absolute truth. In fact, they are irrational (in the meaning "not the result of reason") and "conscience" may in fact be completely replaced one day by logical guidelines.

Nonetheless, this doesn't have to stop us from defining "evil" and using those definitions on the SC2 races. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to seperately define "evil" on an action, and on a person (or intelligence in general). It is also good to realise that we don't need a precise good/evil dichotomy; a definition where there are gradations of "good" and "evil" is also valid.

In the original thread, I came up with a few possible definitions, which were flawed in the way that they do not match the idea what most people have of "good" and "evil".

Dinoli came up with the latest suggestion:
Quote
I consider it quite a safe assumption that evil is something that one does to harm other self-aware creatures with little or no benefit to oneself except satisfaction from said actions. So killing something intelligent in self defense is OK, but killings said intelligent creatures for 'fun' is 'evil'.

I have some problems with this definition:
  • torturing non-sentient beings for fun is not evil by this definition
  • as long as there's a personal reason other than satisfaction, anything is allowed. Giving someone diseases for scientific study, or killing someone because you want his parking space is not evil by this definition.
  • how much is "little"?
    Also, it only defines "evil" on actions, and not on "people", which is not enough if we are to apply it to SC2 races.

    I'd like to try to define an evil "person" given a definition of an evil action:
    "Someone is as evil as the most evil action he is willing to perform."
    Note that this definition includes actions that are not, or not successfully executed.
    Also, I think that either the definition of "evil" on an action, or on a "person" should include "out of free will". I decided to consider an action that is not performed out of free will as not evil. An alternative is to say that the action is evil, but the person executing it isn't.
    This definition does however give no compensation for "good" actions. It does sound ok to me, but maybe others have problems with this.

    As a definition of "evil action", I like to put this one up for discussion:
    "An evil action is an action that has a damaging effect on other self-aware beings that are not in proportion to the benefit to the whole."
    For this purpose, I consider doing nothing an action in itself.
    The "in proportion" is rather vague, but let's see where this definition gets us.
    Also, it would make leaving the lights on when you're going out (slightly) evil.
    Combined with the above definition of "evil person", this would make Kzer-Za, Kohr-Ah, Ilwrath, Umgah, Vux, and Druuge evil. How convenient.

    An alternative, but rather different definition of "evil person":
    "An evil person is someone who enjoys negative effects on other self-aware beings."
    It's a very clear definition that is pretty easy to use. However, it does not put the line between "good" and "evil" where most people would put it.
    An evil action would then be "an action having negative effects, performed for the enjoyment of the person performing it".
    Again, I consider doing nothing an action in itself.
    By this definition, the only SC2 race that would be evil, would be the Il-Wrath.
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2004, 08:22:09 am »

Some things to think about (I'm not really trying to make any point here):

Quote
How on earth can a race that protects all known sentience from utter eradication with all its known means be evil?

Alright, I know why people think otherwise, and here's why:
What Kzer-Za takes is not our resources nor intellectual property, but our freedom OR our will to govern ourselves. Either we stay on our planet or fight alongside our masters.

Not only that, but what Earth (and the other races) lose is the ability to defend themselves.
What would have happened if the Kzer-Za didn't slave-shield planets and destroyed or locked away their defensive capabilities?
Those races would have a chance to defend themselves when the Kzer-Za lost the war. Or better yet, they could have been fighting alongside the Kzer-Za and actually defeat the Kohr-Ah. Now the Kzer-Za don't want that, because the doctrinal war isn't about defeating the other party, it's a matter of determining what strategy is better.

Also, the Kzer-Za destroyed historic sites on Earth. What was that good for?

By the way, the Kohr-Ah believe in reincarnation. That would reduce the severity of killing someone somewhat.

Quote
Now, lets focus on the 'Slaveshield' part. So humanity lost its chance to get to stars. 0.01% of human population couldn't get above strathosphere. Bohoo. The sky is red but we are goddamn alive. Is your (opposer of the Way of Now and Forever) life so cheap that the color of sky or the minimal chance of getting to space is what dictates whether or not you want to be alive?

Contact with other races can also enrich your culture. And it may advance science.
Most people want living to be something more than just existing.

Quote
Even if there were no Kohr-Ah, Kzer-Za acted rather benevolently, even after all they had gone through they protected races even from themselves (Thraddash), united everyone under one banner(Ur-Quan hierarchy) and/or prevented them from causing any trouble to anyone else (slave shields).

(yet another a loose thought; I'm not a supporter of this myself:) Civilisations can also gain strength by conflict. For some cultures conquest may even be their purpose. Who is to say that can't be a valid purpose in life?

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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2004, 08:22:22 am »

Quote
Combined with the above definition of "evil person", this would make Kzer-Za, Kohr-Ah, Ilwrath, Umgah, Vux, and Druuge evil. How convenient.


I agree with you, but they are in fact different gradations of evil. Also, shouldnt the Dnyarri be up there somewhere?

I'll put an Evil-O-Meter rating at the bottom of each comment, 0 is absolute evil, 20 is pure good. 10 is neutrality, 15 is good and 5 is evil, etc.

Kzer-Za

Wish to enslave all races. This is, in and of itself, a negative thing and thus evil. However, the Kzer-Za also give the race a choice to submit to slavery in two forms, fallow slavery or battle thrall. Kzer-Za slavery is in all probability not like the slavery we've seen in the past, although there would be some major changes in society (should battle thrall be chosen) the overall populace shouldnt be negatively impacted to a great degree. Fallow slavery is much simpler, you just cant travel in space at all and you can live however the heck you want under a slave shield.

Limiting freedom is an evil in this definition so the Kzer-Za are in fact evil. However, the amount of freedom they give and the patience they show a lot of the time with the "inferior" races shows a kinder heart, or at the very least a more logical one from their normal pathology (thanks to the Dnyarri). In retrospect, however, the Kzer-Za may actually be the most egalitarian of all the slave empires to date, making them quite possibly less evil the some past Terran slave empires (Roman, Ottoman, etc).

Evil-O-Meter Rating: 6 - Kind of Evil

Kohr-Ah

The Kohr-Ah are definitely evil under this definition. They benefit from the evil they perpetrate on other races. They give no choice and even take pleasure in the act ("Fine Cleansing" "Filth" etc). However, it's also been demonstrated that the Kohr-Ah are in fact insane. It's questionable whether it is possible to perpetrate an evil act when one cannot reason.

In another light the Kohr-Ah are doing whats right by them. They believe that by murdering all races in the galaxy that they will be given a chance to be reborn as Ur-Quan and they view this as a positive thing. To them it's like a mercy killing.

Evil-O-Meter Rating: 3 - Damn Evil

Umgah

I did a bit of thinking about the Umgah and they are certainly evil, but not to the same extent as the Kohr-Ah or Kzer-Za are. The Umgah are more callous then they are evil. Those subjected to their cruel jokes are often laughed at (har har har) and the umgah dont know when a joke ceases to be funny.

In some cases Umgah jokes can have beneficial results. *The Umgah placing the Evil Ones on Spathiwas surface, for example, catapulted the Spathi on the path to technology, but created much misery when they had to move to their moon and resulted in thousands, if not millions of Spathi deaths (not surprising since hundreds of thousands die of shock from an alarm clock Tongue).

Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Frightening the spathi can be viewed as more of the behaviour of a jerk then anything but getting the Ilwrath to attack the Pkunk was a decisively evil act. Though funny in the Umgah's eyes it was essentially prompting genocide and allowing it to happen. Futhermore, the Umgah probably found it quite funny for the Ilwrath to be killing the Pkunk.

Also, the Umgah killed a mycon for study purposes. This is once again the Umgah's callousness showing. Other races are nothing more then some kind of entertainment or objects of study to them, the most direct example of which is when they make you honorary king and then decide to attack you.

*It's not known that the evil ones are in fact an umgah prank but in my opinion it has all the hallmarks of umgah humour about it and the Umgah have been in space long enough to have done this

Evil-O-Meter Rating: 6.5 - Kind of/Sort of Evil

VUX

We dont know about the attitude of the Vux to other races except from what we hear from the Yehat ("The VUX are an effete and bigoted race...").

Clearly the VUX are arrogant but this is not evil. They attack and kill humans based upon appearence but this is because we sicken them.

This, in my opinion, is where the evil definition kind of falls down. The VUX do not harm others to bring pleasure, but to remove bad (known as negative reinforcement in Psychology Smiley).

Apart from that though, it seems that before the war the VUX were fairly solitary (I cant find any records of any animosity between the Yehat and the VUX either). Their negative actions are, in a way, warranted.

Unless someone gives me compelling reasons the VUX arent really THAT evil when compared to the Kzer-Za or the Druuge.

Evil-O-Meter: 9 - A little evil

The Druuge

Before I type anything, I want the reader to know that I have a personal bias against the druuge. I never like them, in fact, I just about hated them, so I am sort of biased.

The druuge are a slave empire if ever there were one. Their currency with outsiders at the very least is in slaves and if you wont give them slaves then the most you can do is barter with them for some valuable goods (Fuel, rosy sphere, ships etc).

The druuges evil becomes evident as the game is played. They are willing to trick you into attacking their competitors (melnorme) under the premise that destroying a melnorme trader gives a large benefit (probes in fact give more RU then a trader ever will). The druuge also diverted the Kohr-Ah away from them to attack the Burvixese. The Utwig also took some collateral damage from this. Although this was done out of survival, the Druuge didnt even attempt to rescue some of the burvixese race, something of which the ships they sent could have done (I guess =\).

The main evil of the druuge though is slaving. If your not a good slave to the crimson corporation, you get tossed into the furnace. Your not transferred to a more useful position, your not even allowed to quit (since the corporation owns you). The corporation also owns all the water air and sunlight on the druuges homeworld, which allows them to treat the entire race as property. This not only limits the freedom available to the druuge but devalues them (leading into the slaving empire saga).

The druuge also regularly rip off their customers for their own benefit. This comes in under the definition of evil used here as they do this for their own benefit, which is usually at the customers expense. They also dont seem to realise that this is what they do to others when it is done to them and thus appear to lack perspective.

All in all, the druuge will do anything to better themselves or their race no matter what the cost is to others. Since most of what they do has a negative impact on others (Slaving, furnace throwing, diverting hostile alien races to cleanse out innocent races etc) they can be considered to be quite evil but by their own standars they are quite altruistic.

Evil-O-Meter: 4 - Evil and then some

Also, a question, how do the Thraddash, Androsynth and Dnyarri fall under this discussion of Evil?

Apoligies if anything didnt make sense up there. I'm fighting with fatigue here and I think it's winning.

{Edit} Since the second posting does not conflict with the original content of this post, I'll leave it as it stands but some points are reiterated whilst others are missed etc.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2004, 08:31:04 am by Cronos » Logged
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2004, 10:52:32 am »

I don't entirely agree with your existing classifications or rating system, but for the sake of brevity I'll give my take on the ones you asked about:

Thraddash are on par with Druuge. They're a heck of a lot less *competent* than the Druuge, but they never the less are in the category of people who take what they want without caring about others' needs or feelings. Like the Druuge they have a pathological need to dominate, to be superior, to control, though unlike the Druuge they prefer to express this in war rather than commerce. But it's not terribly different in the end.

Dnyarri should rank as low or lower than Ilwrath. As the Chmmr said, "If ever there was a devil, Captain, it was a Dnyaari". The purest definition of evil -- an utter hatred and contempt for all other life, possibly even including itself, and a perverse need to cause as much suffering as possible for its own sake. The fact that the Dnyaari is uniquely adapted to be perfect at achieving this goal is a bonus -- in fact, the reason for its sadism may be the nature of its existence, as a pitiful lump of flesh that can only ever do anything by bending others to its will.

Androsynth should be higher than the VUX (I'd rate the VUX a lot lower -- they don't just dislike humans, they kill them on sight and express a deep desire to commit genocide against them, which makes them pretty damn evil). I'd hestitate to make Androsynth evil at all; the only harmful actions they've taken were winning their own freedom from slavery and then fighting for the Ur-Quan under duress. The brutality they demonstrate against humans, and the pleasure they take in killing them, do demonstrate that they've held their own grudge long enough for it to become irrational and pathological and, yes, probably evil, but no one can deny they have reason and we ought to see them as partly sympathetic. In any case, they're preferable to the Orz, who definitely rate somewhere in the pretty damn evil range (at least I'd say their actions are evil, even if their motives are so incomprehensible as to be undefinable).
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2004, 04:08:18 pm »

I would say that the Umgah are far more evil than the Kzer-Za, or even the Kohr-Ah. The Kzer-Za, at the very least, have some justification for their actions, and have even saved species from self-annihilation before. The Kohr-Ah believe in reincarnation, so killing isn't so terrible a thing to them. Also, the Ur-Quan don't screw with you; they tell you what they are from day 1.

The Umgah are just jerks. They exploit other races, not to preserve their species like the Ur-Quan, but merely for their own enjoyment. They don't have any kind of morality; they just do whatever amuses them.

The Thraddash aren't evil. They believe in basic evolution: survival of the fittest. While most of the conflict results in the death of the loser, it is aluded to that the vanquished are not always killed in conflicts.

As for the Dnyarri,  we know is what they did: they enslaved a large portion of the galaxy via thought control, corrupted the Ur-Quan at a generic level, and utterly wiped out a number of species. That makes them pretty evil, given the lengths that they were willing to go to in order to gain and ensure power. I consider them to be kind of like Umgah with mind control and a more serious attitude.

The talking pet in the game, however, has every right to want to hurt the Ur-Quan. They brutalized their species, stripping away their sentience and reducing them to mere translation units.

BTW, SlaveShields are, in the really long run, a death sentence. Sooner or later, the nearby star will go Nova, crack the shield, and kill everyone on the planet. Also, what about species that have been so long in space that one world cannot sustain their population? Half of their population would starve in short order.
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2004, 06:24:26 pm »

Saint Augastine defined more evil acts as actions taken with
no gain or positive result in mind. His example was stealing a
pare that the thief did not want, nor need. If you take something
or destroy something with no plan (or hope) of a positive outcome, that
becomes an evil act. I'm not sure I agree with him. I mean, rape for
pleasure seems worse than taking a pare one will not eat. But it
is food for thought.

I think Dungeons and Dragons says that evil (for game purposes) is
the hurting, oppressing or killing of others, regardless of intent. I tend
to agree with this definition more. Especially if we regard the UQM
universe. By that rule set, nearly every race is a little evil, but some
are more so than others. The Kor-Ah being near the top of the list and
the Pkunk (probably) near the bottom.

Here's another thought. Our hero goes about collecting life forms and life form data from planets. Really, isn't stunning, capturing and selling a creature slavery? Doesn't that make the hero pretty evil, selling poor, dumb creatures to the Traders for profit?
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2004, 06:50:21 pm »

Quote
I consider it quite a safe assumption that evil is something that one does to harm other self-aware creatures with little or no benefit to oneself except satisfaction from said actions. So killing something intelligent in self defense is OK, but killings said intelligent creatures for 'fun' is 'evil'.
Quote

I have some problems with this definition:
torturing non-sentient beings for fun is not evil by this definition

Yes, I consider it not evil to hurt something that doesn't have any sentience, unless there are sentient beings (of which the torturer is aware of) around who feel sympathy towards the tortured creature. It might be strange but not yet evil. It might very well be a result of a 'evil thoughts', but in itself said act harms no-one's 'feelings'.

Quote
"An evil action is an action that has a damaging effect on other self-aware beings that are not in proportion to the benefit to the whole."

This definition is more universal than my previous one, may I keep it? Smiley Of course it would be interesting to make a rating system for different levels of evil, I wonder if someone has done that before?

Quote
Combined with the above definition of "evil person", this would make Kzer-Za, Kohr-Ah, Ilwrath, Umgah, Vux, and Druuge evil. How convenient.


Here the "not in proportion to the benefit to the whole" part of "evilness rule" comes to play: Ilwarth, Umgah, Vux and Druuge sure are evil in some portions, but Ur-Quan (I use this term to refer to both Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah) are not 'definitely' evil.

Kohr-Ah:
Even Kohr-Ah does what they're doing to make universe a nicer place for everyone (althought, everyone = everyone left after cleansing = Ur-Quan). They surely don't do it for the kicks of it, but to ensure future generations of Ur-Quan an agony free existence. The method of accomplishing this is just quite painful. Oh, they have some generosity too, they allow their target to make any prayers they wish before getting annihilated.

Kzer-Za:
Kzer-Za too wants universe to be a better place to live, but instead of genocide it is enough for them to make sure any sentience won't be able do anything to harm Ur-Quan. Additionally, Kzer-Za wants to ensure safety of their subjugated species without expecting anything in return. They even gave Syreen a new homeworld after Syra was destroyed. Slaveshielded species do lose their ability to defend themselves, but if something so powerful came that could crack down the slaveshield, the ability to defend wouldn't make a huge difference.

Losing capability to reach the stars would be a disappointment, but we'd still be able to have fun down here. I think that curiosity is the main reason to reach other planets and stars, not able to do that is not fundamentally that horrible thing.

Quote
BTW, SlaveShields are, in the really long run, a death sentence. Sooner or later, the nearby star will go Nova, crack the shield, and kill everyone on the planet. Also, what about species that have been so long in space that one world cannot sustain their population? Half of their population would starve in short order.

Considering how Kzer-Za manage their things (Syreen is an excellent example), if the population of a species can not be fit on one planet the population would be divided into a few different planets. Regarding a star going nova Kzer-Za probably takes this into account, on our case, 5 billion years 'might' be enough time to consider options for us: relocating to a different star system might do the trick.
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2004, 07:10:31 pm »

Quote
Also, the Kzer-Za destroyed historic sites on Earth. What was that good for?

The Kzer-Za were destroying all of the precursor artifacts on Earth. The artifacts may have had the technology to break the slave shield, so they were destroyed.
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2004, 10:11:45 pm »

Honestly, in my opinion, Evil is an absolute illusion, So is good.

Neither exist, its simply we have no other word for it, probably due to religious influence over so very long a time impacting on all culture.

Now then, consider the Kzer-Za... I dont consider them evil at all. They were mentally enslaved for a very long time, and forced to torture themselves to free themselves. To me, this is the same as the Dynarri directly torturing them. Sure they enslave entire races, but under both options, autonomy IS kept.
We cant go skip school days, can't steal, cant do all sorts of things...How is this different from not being able to disobey the Kzer-Za in MAJOR things? Mostly, I imagine that the Kzer za dont micromanage their individual races. This isn't slavery, in my opinion.
Btw, in 5 billion years, you'd have gone FAR further than Chmmr, and would've pulled down the shield by then EASILY.

The Kohr-Ah are insane. Even if this is discounted, consider their Reincarnation belief.
Everyone who dies, is reborn as another sentient being ( i dont think youd be reborn as a squirrel). You kill everyone, only Ur-Quan are left, so EVERYONE is Ur-quan. They're no longer Filth. They are now safe.
Evil? no. A bit messed up? Oh yeah.

How are the Vux any different from us? We persecuted, enslaved, killed black people for hundreds of years. And we didn't throw up every time we saw one of them, not that it matters. Don't judge others before taking a long, good look at yourself.

The Umgah are kinda weird. I think that they have a belief similar as the Ur-Quan. They're masters of bio engineering, and i personally believe they can preserve or even reincarnate anything killed. Look what they did with the Dynarri.

The Ilwrath are fictional, no 'true evil' (as everyone so far has called them) will sustain cizilisation for long enough to survive past Dark ages, in my humble opinion.

The Androsynth are very, VERY justified, in wreaking revenge on us. We enslaved and persecuted them for like 100 years.

The Druuge are pretty scary. Why? Because they're powerful enough to carry out whatever they want.
I think that sure, evil is an illusion, but theyre as close to that illusion as pretty much ANYTHING ive seen. =p

The Dynarri are, to me, a frightening concept, and theyre right up there with the Druuge.

Power corrupts. There is no issue. How evil would any one of us be if there were no consequences to our actions? THAT is why evil is an illusion. We are all evil in some way, and no one is perfect. Some just control it better than others.
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2004, 10:47:53 pm »

Quote
Honestly, in my opinion, Evil is an absolute illusion, So is good.

Neither exist, its simply we have no other word for it, probably due to religious influence over so very long a time impacting on all culture.


Good and Evil are relative terms, contrasted to what we know is good and evil. You need to know the extremes to define the terms comparing good music(Metallica, Black Sabbath) and bad music(Brittney Spaers, Jessica Simpson) . Hell some people see me as evil. Why I'm a smartass, sarcastic and I have an Umgah sense of humor.

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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2004, 11:20:31 pm »

Quote
Honestly, in my opinion, Evil is an absolute illusion, So is good.

Neither exist, its simply we have no other word for it, probably due to religious influence over so very long a time impacting on all culture.

It doesn't stop us from defining evil and applying that definition to the SC2 races.
Despite my first post, most people here are just saying which races they consider evil. Which is meaningless as they all use different definitions which they don't make explicit.

Quote
How are the Vux any different from us? We persecuted, enslaved, killed black people for hundreds of years. And we didn't throw up every time we saw one of them, not that it matters.

Yes, humans aren't all nice either, and you may (depending on your definition) call some or all of us evil. But you're overly generalising here. Most humans alive today have nothing to do with the persecution of anyone.

Quote
The Ilwrath are fictional, no 'true evil' (as everyone so far has called them) will sustain cizilisation for long enough to survive past Dark ages, in my humble opinion.

If you must believe the Pkunk, the Il-Wrath weren't always evil; they only became evil after becoming too good.

Quote
Power corrupts. There is no issue. How evil would any one of us be if there were no consequences to our actions? THAT is why evil is an illusion. We are all evil in some way, and no one is perfect. Some just control it better than others.

It's all a matter of definition. If you don't have one, then it becomes vague and subjective, and can be considered an illusion.

With the appropriate definition, Zelnick can be considered pretty evil too. Genociding the Il-Wrath and the Thraddash, getting the Mycon slaughtered, stealing from both the Thraddash and the Mycon. Locking up the Talking Pet in the cargo bay when blowing up the Sa-Matra.
Even applying the solar manipulator on the proto-Chmmr without asking them can be considered evil. And maybe destroying an irreplaceable precursor artifact too.

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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2004, 06:00:39 am »

Most discussion of morality and ethics around a computer game will be sophomoric and silly, but even so...

Quote
I think Dungeons and Dragons says that evil (for game purposes) is
the hurting, oppressing or killing of others, regardless of intent. I tend
to agree with this definition more. Especially if we regard the UQM
universe. By that rule set, nearly every race is a little evil, but some
are more so than others. The Kor-Ah being near the top of the list and
the Pkunk (probably) near the bottom.

Here's another thought. Our hero goes about collecting life forms and life form data from planets. Really, isn't stunning, capturing and selling a creature slavery? Doesn't that make the hero pretty evil, selling poor, dumb creatures to the Traders for profit?


I don't particularly like a definition that excludes considerations of intent and sentience and such. It's the sort of thing that potentially makes it impossible to *not* be evil, since everything a person does has unforeseen consequences to something. (A butterfly flapping its wings can cause a hurricane somewhere around the world -- is it liable for the deaths it unknowingly caused?)

Though I'd separate "intent" from "value system" here. The fact that Kohr-Ah don't *think* exterminating all non-Ur-Quan life is a bad thing doesn't make it not a bad thing; the fact that they knowingly and wholeheartedly embrace it, in fact, makes them a lot more evil than a species that's deceived or manipulated into genocide. (The Ilwrath have a rather humorous conversation tree based around this topic: No really evil race thinks of what it's doing as "evil", which makes the Ilwrath a bit of a paradox.)

And no, I don't think Zelnick collecting non-sentient life forms for observation is any more evil than what naturalists on Earth do today (which it isn't). For one thing you're not taking all life from the planet -- it's pretty obvious that the samples that pop up on the survey screen are the most relevant or unique concentrations of life on the planet (please, no overly-literal interpretations about how your lander somehow removes *all* valuable minerals and *all* life forms from the planet, which is patently ridiculous). Secondly, what you transport isn't the life forms themselves but the biological data, with certain exceptions that only pop up for storyline purposes (the Evil Ones, ZEX's Beast). It's silly to think you really could cart around that many specimens, even in suspended animation, and not take up any cargo room; probably most of the time the specimens are brought back to the ship, analyzed, and then immediately rereleased.

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The Kzer-Za were destroying all of the precursor artifacts on Earth. The artifacts may have had the technology to break the slave shield, so they were destroyed.


Um, no. There's no particular reason to believe that Precursor artifacts would somehow be located in older *human*-built structures -- if anything most technological knowledge, Precursor-based or otherwise, would be housed in the newer buildings and facilities, and the Ur-Quan would've targeted labs and research centers and military outposts where such things would be stored, not monuments and old city blocks and libraries. Notice that it's not the cities and population centers that matter to the Ur-Quan, but the buildings themselves -- any structure older than a certain age. (The actual cities of London, Moscow, Beijing, and so on still exist, or else Hayes wouldn't make a big deal about Buenos Aires no longer existing.)

No, what the Ur-Quan were after was cultural history, despite the tantalizing hints about unknown areas being blasted (which I think were pretty obvious nods to traditions about lost civilizations -- Atlantis, the star-spawn kingdom in Antarctica, some secret Amazon civilization, etc.) They wanted to destroy Earth's national identities, identification with religions and ancient belief systems, and so on; to reboot Earth culture and make people forget they'd ever been anything but Ur-Quan slaves. A rather dark and cynical motive for them to have, but a quite plausible one if you believe they really are trying to build a lasting empire of willing slaves, and you believe that the only way for humans to survive is as willing slaves.

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With the appropriate definition, Zelnick can be considered pretty evil too. Genociding the Il-Wrath and the Thraddash, getting the Mycon slaughtered, stealing from both the Thraddash and the Mycon. Locking up the Talking Pet in the cargo bay when blowing up the Sa-Matra.
Even applying the solar manipulator on the proto-Chmmr without asking them can be considered evil. And maybe destroying an irreplaceable precursor artifact too.


Leaving aside the fine points, you ignore the fact that every single one of the races listed here (even the Chmmr) *dies* once the Kohr-Ah win the Doctrinal Conflict, and the moral thing to do is probably to prevent that, given those stakes.

The exception may be the Dnyaari, in which case leaving the Dnyaari alive to enslave and slaughter trillions is only the ethical solution in the most bizarre and twisted moral calculus.

And destroying one-of-a-kind artifacts may be tragic for those of us who love knowledge, but it's not truly evil, from my point of view. It's just a thing, even if it's an expensive and cool thing. Its existence doesn't matter the way sentient life does. Would you really let a child burn to death to save the Mona Lisa?

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BTW, SlaveShields are, in the really long run, a death sentence. Sooner or later, the nearby star will go Nova, crack the shield, and kill everyone on the planet. Also, what about species that have been so long in space that one world cannot sustain their population? Half of their population would starve in short order.



Most stars that support life don't go nova. Yes, they do eventually swell to red giants and roast their inner planets, but given the timescales involved I doubt even a spacefaring species would live long enough to see that possibility. In fact, the Ur-Quan may not plan that far ahead, given the possibility that their first slave shield naturally collapsed after a few tens of thousands of years (if the Utwig are descended from the Fahz).

But the Ur-Quan do seem to do their best to take care of the species in their control, as with finding the Syreen a home and preventing the Thraddash nuclear war.

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The Umgah are kinda weird. I think that they have a belief similar as the Ur-Quan. They're masters of bio engineering, and i personally believe they can preserve or even reincarnate anything killed. Look what they did with the Dynarri.


Um, but they don't. I don't recall engaging Umgah Drones in combat and having them reincarnate anyone that they killed. Not that it was particularly easy to lose to them, but once I got bored and kept playing till my Precursor ship blew up, and I don't remember them trying to help me.

Nor did any of the Spathi who got eaten by Evil Ones get miraculously reincarnated. The Talking Pet, if you remember, was in critical condition but never actually *died* before they fixed it. (It was healthy enough to have conscious memories of its trip to the Umgah homeworld afterwards, after all, and to consciously experience pain. Probably the Dnyaari equivalent of broken legs or a shattered ribcage, but not a true hovering-on-the-edge-of-death scenario.)

Even if they can reincarnate any killed creature, which I really doubt -- the Mycon can only sort of pull it off, and the Umgah claim the Mycon are *way* beyond them -- they don't bother to set up a nice controlled environment to play their jokes on endlessly reborn test subjects. They just throw their jokes out into the cruel world and let people get killed by them. Sounds pretty damn irresponsible to me.

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How are the Vux any different from us? We persecuted, enslaved, killed black people for hundreds of years. And we didn't throw up every time we saw one of them, not that it matters. Don't judge others before taking a long, good look at yourself.


"We"? Speak for yourself (not everyone here is descended from Europeans). But yes, there is a big difference from finding someone's physiology distasteful and using that as an excuse to oppress and enslave them and using that as a reason to systematically slaughter them. So yes, I find the system of Atlantic black slavery less depraved than Hitler's holocaust or the slaughter of the Tutsi by the Hutu.

Not the place to argue RL history, but you should also consider that while Europeans did have pretty wack theories about the genetic inferiority of sub-Saharan Africans, the main reason they used them as slaves was because slaves were the primary trade good African traders had to offer that they had any use for. Europeans *bought* slaves from coastal African and Muslim slave traders out of an existing slave system -- sure, the European treatment of slaves, once bought, was a lot worse than the traditional treatment of slaves in Africa, and their ability to buy slaves in huge numbers caused slavery to be a much bigger deal than it had been, but they didn't make the system up or force the African slave traders into it at gunpoint.

Moreover, the reasons for actual genocides like events involving Native Americans in the American West, or the Jewish Holocaust in Europe, or the Tutsi in Rwanda, all stemmed from old cultural conflicts that involved a lot more than distaste for a person's appearance. (Often one group of people was starving and needed a pretext to grab land, or one group of people was poor and oppressed and became jealous of another group that was wealthy, and so on.) The VUX are a silly caricature *because* few humans are *so* prejudiced as to embark on genocide because of simple visceral distaste at another's appearance. When has anyone ever seen a picture of something they've never encountered before and then and there decided to risk life and limb to murder all of them because they just look so gross? To say that human racism is like that *is* a silly exaggeration, and the fact that VUX embody this exaggeration is what makes them a funny concept, just as Ilwrath are a silly exaggeration of "holy war" religions, and Druuge are a silly exaggeration of callous corporate capitalism, and Ur-Quan are a silly exaggeration of imperialism.
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2004, 06:53:05 am »

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If you must believe the Pkunk, the Il-Wrath weren't always evil; they only became evil after becoming too good.


Even though the Pkunk revelation is played off as a joke, I can imagine a civilization deeply culturally hidebound by an enforced law requiring empathy, compassion and love for all other life forms. A race that still had a red-blooded urge to conflict and war trapped in it might eventually rebel against this social construct and plunge itself into all the cruelty, hatred and destruction its law had formerly forbidden. Hence the Ilwrath's eagerness to call themselves "evil" and have others perceive them as "evil"; they're like teenagers rebelling against a moral code that they had at some earlier point in time. It makes more sense than most other explanations for how the Ilwrath got to be the Ilwrath. (After all, they *made up* Dogar and Kazon...)

Obviously, the Pkunk can stave off the huge amounts of boredom, resentment and annoyance a race can build up from being forced to be wise and kind and loving all the time by mixing their lovingkindness with a hearty dose of sarcasm, mischief and humorous aggravatingness. It's the only way I can imagine being able to stand being a Pkunk...
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2004, 07:41:37 am »

You raise a lot of valid points. Especially about the Vux.

I agree with you, Art, on the 'exaggeration'.
Pretty much all of the races in SC2 are exaggerated notions or aspects of humanity. I think the best example of this is Utwig...I just always imagine them crying about the Ultron then breaking out with 'Always look on the briight side of life..." (Monty Python are the greatest =p).
What im getting to is that if most of the SC2 races are Exaggerated, then surely exaggerating to match them makes it even. I'm sure general Zex isnt the only Vux who doesnt hate humans.
The most intriuging notion is the Ilwrath, as a 14 yr old myself, I DEFINATELY see the possibility of the 'rebelliousness'  of being 'Evil'.
Of course, as the humourous conversations tree points out, Evil is the abberation from a norm that is being deviated from, in a 'bad' way.
That is where i say Evil is an illusion. One nation's terrorists are another nation's freedom fighters. Its all a matter of perspective.

As for the Umgah, I do still consider them the masters of bio engineering. The Mycon are PRODUCTS of bio engineering, they dont actually have the technology....theyre friggin mushrooms =p. I consider the Umgah to be sort of like the Borg (sorry, trek kicking in). As in they don't consider death all that bad. Maybe they are callous, but it doesnt mean they torture kittens.
Dont you guys laugh at Mr. Bean or all those skits when someone gets hurt in a humourous way?
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Re: Evil in SC2
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2004, 08:20:40 am »

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