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A natural consequence of the inherent nature of all tabletop gaming, I think, is the quantification of people, with all the ethically troubling rearranging of priorities that that act implies. I think that helps to explain at least a part of why the stereotypical D&D adventurer (even a supposedly "good" one) tends to be morally freewheeling and casually homicidal - quantification facilitiates objectification.

(Of course, it also helps that the excitement in most tabletop gaming is centered around over-the-top fantasy violence, and as such, both the players and their characters must start with the assumption that over-the-top fantasy violence is fun, interesting, and morally justifiable. Also, it helps to live in a world where "good" and "evil" are obviously measurable forces, like magnetism. And, I suppose, the existence of magic that instantly heals the normally gruesome consequences of violence also contributes.)

Gaming as we know it would be nigh impossible if the answer to "How important is this person?" was always "Infinitely so.", as many ethical systems would demand.


(Wednesday, INT: Max's place, living room, MH and JH are on the couch, petting cats)

MH: Well, it's nice to see you don't have a negative Handle Animal.
JH: I know enough to pet a cat from front to back, if that's what you mean.
JH: What do you think your Handle Animal is?
MH: I think that would necessitate knowing what level character I am, and what my Charisma is.
JH: Not necessarily. We can work backwards from what you can do with your check, how reliably you can train a dog to sit or something.
MH: And, by working backwards, calculate what level I am and what my stats are?
JH: And, as a result, quantify your relative worth and merit as a human being.
MH: Well, I can see no downside to this little exercise!