Punch-card villains sees the light & help the good guys. Should they get a reward? (long)

Correct. I don’t intend for her to be executed, just that she won’t be given her cure.

Light is the Left Hand of Darkness, and Darkness the Right Hand of Light.

I, too, like the options for Patricia: Go home and die, or stay here, be cured, and spend the rest of your life working to repair the harm you helped cause.

For Jim: As I understand it, he was originally deceived as to the nature of the conflict–he thought he was fighting monsters. Once he understood the situation, he found it morally unacceptable, and switched sides, ultimately helping to Save The World.

From an outside observer’s perspective, it appears that he screwed up, did harm, and then did his best to make up for it. If his aid actually tipped the scales, it could be argued that he actually saved far more people than he killed. Also, regardless of what Jim did, his daughter is innocent. Given what the cure is for, it doesn’t seem particularly time-sensitive, so they could in due course make more for any Pangaean who needed it, while this is the girl’s only shot at it. Under those conditions, I can’t see not providing the cure for her. (It also establishes at least two humans who are deep in debt to you, should you need to rebuild the portal and recruit human help for something else in the future.)

Of course, from a Pangaean perspective, he’s the bigoted asshole who killed Cousin Joe, so they might not be so forgiving–but the poll didn’t ask what a Pangaean would want to do, it asked what I thought they should do.

On a side note: I see elements from your old Fabulous Plane setting here, do I not? Would Jim and Patricia be the ones getting confused by shadows at noon and a “sun” that moves at at varying speeds across the sky?

Ah - sorry, then. My mistake.

I think this is a bit overly complicated, although it does raise many interesting questions. To me, it seems like, in general, we have decided that however seductive, it is better to made medical cures available or not, and not doled out to people we decide “deserve” them. Occasionally that leads to problematic results, but I think it’s better to stick to the principle.

That means, she’s treated exactly the same as an innocent Pangean with the same condition. If it’s generally provided by the govt or health insurer or whatever, she gets it. If it’s generally only available if you pay for it, she doesn’t get it – that’s very sad, but the prophet isn’t under an obligation to honour the vampire’s debts, even comparatively laudable ones.

And simultaneously, she should stand trial if necessary, and be executed, imprisoned, or released as appropriate. (Obviously, if she’s executed, the treatment doesn’t matter any more.)

But we don’t really need to go to a hypothetical world for these questions. In real life, we have people who do bad things, and then defect, from people from Nazi Germany to people blowing the whistle on business mispractice, or whatever. The general consensus is that you overlook stuff they went along with that wasn’t too heinious, since (a) otherwise far fewer people have the courage to do the right thing and (b) almost all people suffer a slow realisation in that scenario, and need some time to realise it’s wrong and do something about it.

Similarly, we have people like Patricia. Was she more like a rank-and-file WWII German army soldier, who might have sensed something wrong, but didn’t do anything worse than an allied soldier personally? Or like someone in the SS, even if she didn’t kill anyone personally? The scenario is silent on how MUCH she knew, which is why there should be some sort of trial, even if it’s just the prophet’s opinion, rather than a snap judgement of live/die.

Hmm. I had read your OP as the Priest-King pretty much making it out that he is the only one who can deliver this miraculous cure. Magic or tech, they laboured under the false assumption that only he could alleviate their woes.

I see these two as garden variety combatants during wartime.

If the Nazis decided to import “savages” from a lightly explored region of the globe to fight on their side in exchange for trinkets, would we have denied them simple medical treatment after the war? I would hope that we would at least have provided them with basic medical treatment that we would offer any POW, or other survivor from their side, before shipping them back home.

That’s my cutoff, if you would provide this type of treatment to a different Priest-King combatant (or side-switcher), then they get it too. If you would let other PK combatants die a miserable death without medical treatment, there you go, though I think that’s a pretty uncivilized way to deal with the aftermath of war.

Basically, the hypothetical devolves into: “Is it okay to commit atrocities for personal gain?” and “What if you stop halfway through, does that make you a good guy?”

The former is a blanket no from me. There’s always some excuse people can use for doing very bad things, and cancer isn’t particularly compelling as far as excuses go. Giving her the cure seems to be saying, “Survive to the end and you’ll get a big reward, no matter what you did to get there.” Note: I wouldn’t be a big fan of someone who went there and fought on the side of the Prophet for the sake of saving their own life, either. Mercenaries aren’t laudable, in my opinion.

Jim’s case is more dependent on resources. No one owes him anything. Doing the right thing isn’t praiseworthy; it should simply be expected.

I’m not seeing any evidence that these people knowingly committed “atrocities”.

The OP says that Jim killed 40-60 people. As noted he’s not a ninja, so he probably did something like blow stuff up. Given that the side he was on was intending to enslave and exterminate people based on their race, it’s pretty easy to say he committed atrocities.

Well, I make the OPs up as I go along, of course, and frequently stop to do actual work. Hence the incoherence. :slight_smile: But the PK could have truthfully said “I am a magician from Earth-analog 103956. Come and help me defeat the non-human monsters who oppose me, and I will provide you with a cure for your cancer/your kid’s paraplegia that is not available on your world.”

The crimes or actions involved are immaterial. Cure 'em both if you have the means to do so, no question. If they had ought to be punished in one way or another is a wholly different discussion.

Blowing stuff up in the middle of a protracted war doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary to me.

Except that Jim clearly disagrees. He switches sides, after all, when the side he is on is winning and when doing so is against his personal interests.

Nope. The protagonists in the Fabulous Plane story were a pair of 14-year-old kids, so I certainly hope neither of them has a kid. :slight_smile:

There was actually a subplot in he Fabulous Plane story like unto this, but the moral conflict was more clear-cut.

Well, it depends what he’s told. If it’s “people of nationality X are icky, go into this nunnery/orphanage and kill as many as you can”, then yes, definitely, atrocity. If it’s “this train is carrying vital war supplies, blow the bridge”, then even if there’s one or two civilians on board I am hesitant to throw around blanket condemnation.

I mean, yes, ANY killing of people, except in self-defence, can be viewed as an atrocity. Especially of civilians! But the current cultural norms put “slaughtering helpless people” on the “should know better” side of the scale and “killing people in war” mostly on the “sad but it’s how the world works” side of the scale. It would be very nice to change that, but if it’s something 95% of the people on both sides believe, I’m not sure executing people for it is going to do much good, or be fair, even if we wish people DID know better.

It seems like the answers I and everyone else instinctively give don’t tell us as much about Jim, as they do to the question “devoid of context, from the description given, do you think it more likely that he was knowingly participating in atrocities, or as innocent as any soldier on the wrong side of a war ever is?”

I don’t understand the Prophet’s role in this scenario. He’s forbidden to set down moral law, and he has a duty to respect mortals’ free will, which presumably includes that of the Priest-King. On what basis does the Prophet justify his fighting a war against the Priest-King? I can understand why other beings might violently oppose the Priest-King’s plans, but how is the Prophet not overstepping his bounds?

Jim gets the cure both because his daughter’s innocent and because he came over to the other side.

Patricia gets it because, ultimately, a civilized society executes war criminals and provides medical treatment to POWs and other captives, even after the war is over. Since executing her isn’t an option, and since she’s not obviously a war criminal, treatment it is.

The Priest-King is using magic, that’s why. Presumably he’s an agent of a rebel member of Pallas’s pantheon. And even if Pallas hasn’t specifically told the Prophet “Do not allow one of the sapient species I created to exterminate another of them,” that responsibility is certainly implied.

As I envison the Prophet, she’s* not simply allowed but required to oppose people using magic for evil purposes. If two nations were fighting using non-magical means, she’d be allowed to mediate but not impose her will.

Not setting down moral law means, well, not trying to establish a religion. Pallas is a god only in the sense that Q is; she’s interested in being worshipped. Okay, she’s more a god than Q as she and her pantheon created the mortal races, but she’s hardly Yahweh, or even Odin.

*Why, yes, I am deliberately refusing to append -ess to Prophet, just as I declined to append it to god when talking about Pallas. What of it?

The thing is, there is no way to consider Jim anything other than a mercenary. He was in no danger. His home and homeland were in no danger. He was not going to be conscripted or attacked. He had to go out of his way to participate in this war, and he did so because he wanted a reward. Admittedly his intentions were understandable, but even he clearly believes that the choice he made was immoral. Otherwwise why would he switch sides?