In many settings there are characters noted to be very distant from the concepts of humanity ("you shouldn't kill", etc.). In Vampire: The Masquerade there are plenty of such creatures, and in most cases when someone tries to roleplay such a thing, it looks... funny. A humane player will almost always fail to understand how is it like to be inhumane. To understand vampires of very low Humanity one may try to learn about serial killers from our world -- but even this barely helps. And I have totally no idea about what to do with those who abandoned their Humanity long ago, and follow a Path of Enlightment, especially those that use Conviction and Instincts. Players just can't understand how does it feel when Humanity doesn't bother you at all, and even if they strictly follow guidelines of their Path, they still strive to keep following Humanity even if they don't understand that they do.

For now the only way to solve this problem that I found was to simply disallow players to start on Paths of Enlightment or on low Humanity, except for those few players that I know of as distant from Humanity in real life, so they have no problem in roleplaying inhumane characters. But it's not good to just cut off a huge portion of the game, and characters may lose their Humanity while playing.

This problem wouldn't be that strong in tabletop, where the GM has a direct control over everything going on, but I mainly deal with LARP, where GM shouldn't interfere in most interactions, and hence has almost no way to deal with it when it is happening right now.

Long story short, how to deal with roleplaying characters who follow moral codes that are very different from players' moral code? I would like roleplaying methods over mechanical methods as a solution.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It seems that roleplaying something the actual player isn't is is big part of our hobby. Can you elaborate why you have more problems with humanity than with all the other aspects (using magic, flying spaceships, being a pink alien blob) players have no experience with in real life? \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 10 '16 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think this question is going to be definitively answerable in it's current form \$\endgroup\$ – Robin Dec 11 '16 at 10:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Baskakov_Dmitriy You are still tiptoeing around the actual question I asked. Please describe the problem you are having in more detail. How are they not inhumane enough? Are the actively humane, helping poor innocent victims for no gain? \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Dec 11 '16 at 10:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am removing the system-agnostic tag. Just as we're not using the rules-as-written tag as a hard override over question content (we instead expect questions to describe their RAW needs such that it's obvious the tag shouldbe there), I do not believe you should be using system-agnostic as a hard override. Please specify what you want in the question that you think system-agnostic will give you. For now I've added that you want roleplaying methods, which is the clearest thing I can imagine you may be referring to. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 11 '16 at 10:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question looks to be LARP focused, and the question is how to teach people to do method acting. Am I on the right track? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 11 '16 at 13:30


Whether it's "evil" or "humanity", keep in mind that both is not an absolute guideline for every single action somebody takes. It's more like a drop of ink in a bottle of water. Just one little drop taints the whole bottle's contents.

A person can live a peaceful life, be nice and helpful for 50 years to thousands of people they meet, but if they rape and kill someone once, they are a vile beast. This is how our morality system works.

An SS prison guard (an example I think we can agree on as both inhumane and evil) will have photos of him with his guard buddies, wife and dogs, being a happy family at a barbecue. People that didn't suffer from his cruelty might tell how good a comrade he was and how helpful and cheerful.

Being inhumane and/or evil is not something you are every second of your life.

So don't expect players of inhumane or evil characters to be that way in every interaction and with everybody. Remember the ink. A single drop is enough.


So you have this game and you actually want people to play according to their alignment/humanity score/empathy value or whatever it's called in-game?

Well, don't let them start out with anything but neutral. Let their actions speak. Make it easy to change that value and then have them change it through their actions. If the evil assassin wannabe only helps princesses find their lost kittens, he'll always stay the neutral rogue. If your vampire is only helping in hospitals doing a faster dialysis for sick people, he'll always be at humanity 10.

Just make sure that switching is easy. Remember, killing a single innocent is be enough to be branded "evil" for life in our world, don't make people do more evil things than normal just to be able to be "evil". Same goes for inhuman. You only need to be openly inhuman once in a while. All your neighbors will say "but he was such a fine young man, always helped me with my grocery bags", that's not enough for "humane", that still leaves plenty of space for inhumane.

Possible Explanation

I have never been at a LARP, but at a table, evil or inhumane actions mostly target fantasies. People only existent in the minds of the players. It's easy to be evil then. Being evil or inhumane at a LARP might come at the expense of a real human being. Of his or her fun at this event, because it's not fun if one's character is betrayed or killed in the sleep or whatever heinous deed one might commit. So maybe inhumane or evil just don't work too well at LARPs, where you are always hurting a real persons fun or feelings.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Of course, an inhumane character won't always do inhumane things when he is able to do them just for the sake of doing them. But if he may benefit from them (and there is noone to punish our wanna-be maniac) -- why not? \$\endgroup\$ – Baskakov_Dmitriy Dec 11 '16 at 23:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Of course, an inhumane character won't always do inhumane things when he is able to do them just for the sake of doing them. ...unless you're talking about demons in early editions of Storyteller's Guide to the Sabbat. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Uueerdo Dec 16 '16 at 18:27

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