Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#1
Since this is clearly a "literary" wonderment, since killing a goblin can't really happen (maybe I have a lot to learn yet?):

Is there a visceral reaction to an antagonist who brutally kills a human victim... that does NOT exist in other genres like, say an antagonist brutally killing a competing creature, goblin, what have you?

Does fantasy, LitRPG draw the same or similar responses as does traditional fiction? 

Is "dead human" worse that "dead elf"?

Curiosity moves me. 

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#4
It all depends on their origins or levels of sentience. It could be like your typical video game like Breath of the Wild, where the enemies are brain-dead servants of evil only meant to slow progress. Or, they could be fully sentient creatures enslaved to some dark being, creating sympathy for them. Or perhaps they're completely independent, living in villages and building families. It all depends.

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#6
I think it depends on the sapience and ability to co-exist with that species.  For example, I wouldn't feel bad about killing goblins in the Goblin Slayer universe.  But, those creatures were tailor-made to be ethically killed off by humanity: they can only reproduce via assault, they eat humans, they are designed to be chaotic evil, they reproduce rapidly, and they have no ability to produce their own resources, but rather rely on theft and raiding to survive.

To me, it all depends on how able you are to co-exist with that species.  Humans start in a position of coexistence with other humans.  We can learn each other's languages, experience sexual attraction to each other, have built-in empathy towards others, etc. etc.

So if you're in a world where goblins can peacefully coexist with humans, then no I don't think there is a difference between killing the two species.

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#7
VladThatGuy Wrote: Since this is clearly a "literary" wonderment, since killing a goblin can't really happen (maybe I have a lot to learn yet?):

Is there a visceral reaction to an antagonist who brutally kills a human victim... that does NOT exist in other genres like, say an antagonist brutally killing a competing creature, goblin, what have you?

Does fantasy, LitRPG draw the same or similar responses as does traditional fiction? 

Is "dead human" worse that "dead elf"?

Curiosity moves me.
In most cases I'd say no. Most settings goblins look nothing like humans and are viscous, murderous, baby eating bastards that before the protag ever encounters them they will have had this idea and line reinforced and beaten into them. The protag will know heart and soul that the goblin is not a good person if they even consider it more than we would consider killing a wild boar or croc killing a human. Most fantasy settings, especially ones with goblins are much more use to and close to death so they would not suffer the visceral reaction that our modern society where people can 'forget' death exist for a while. I see this reaction being even more muted for LitRPG settings as there people are in a world that actively encourages death so that unless the dead is someone they were personally close to they would likely shrug it off, and a goblin, wouldn't care at all.

Now if he'd seen said goblin as a person, seen it acting in a very human manner for a time and come to consider it a small human he might react strongly like we would if a favorite dog died. Similarly to a dead elf, a dead elf might be a tragedy due to the lost knowledge and link to the far past, but unless that elf was an active part of the community most would probably react with little more than a 'What a shame' and move on with their life because said elf wasn't seen as 'part of the tribe' and therefore they move on with trying to survive and protect their own.

That will probably be the largest deciding factor over all with how people will react to a death, how much was the one who died 'part of the tribe' how important were they to 'the tribe' and were they a threat to 'the tribe'. Because humans, at least here, are still very much wired for a tribal hunter gatherer lifestyle and despite a slather of 'civilization' and domestication over that we are still a pack species. 

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#8
After a goblin tricked my childhood friend to fall to their death I feel no remorse! Now with my harem I shall not slay the demon lord who is also part of my harem. Not that I like any of them because they will never be my childhood friend.

Humans are all evil except me who, being reincanated, from 21th century earth into a fantasy world makes me morally superior except when it comes to slavery which I have no issues with and will glad buy a cute slave or whatever gender(s) I am attracted to... so there is no difference! Hahahahaha 
FancyDrakan

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#9
If they are mindless creatures who just know how to make some tools and are aggressive to everyone around them without reason, then I would compere them to animals. Its on you how brutally you want to kill animal. I think in our world, if monkeys, who are intelligent enough to use some primitive tools, were to constantly attacking humans on sight, they would be killed to the extinction. And nobody in the vicinity would think bad of it.

And even if it is intelligent creature, but it is stupid enough to be aggressive to others around them without reason, then it is nothing more then animal.

Normal intelligent creature but different race ,by the standard morals, would be bad to kill. 

So it depends how racist you/MC/the-one-killing is. How aggressive the victim is. And on the situation under which you/MC/the-one-killing is killing.

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#11
VladThatGuy Wrote: Is there a visceral reaction to an antagonist who brutally kills a human victim... that does NOT exist in other genres like, say an antagonist brutally killing a competing creature, goblin, what have you?

Does fantasy, LitRPG draw the same or similar responses as does traditional fiction?

Are you suggesting that there is a visceral reaction to killing another human? For everyone, every time, regardless of circumstances? Or, at least, if the killer is a "decent" human being? If so, I disagree with your premise. Some people would likely become deeply disturbed by killing another human, even if the deceased were clearly evil and the action was taken to protect one's own children. Others - equally "normal" and "well-socialized" might feel little remorse or agitation from putting down an individual who had proven themselves a threat to society. 

On the other hand, "sentience" likely does not go into it all that much. Many people would be upset by killing a deer, certainly if they had been coerced by peer pressure into such an act as part of a hunting outing with friends. Same for slaughtering hogs, killing chickens, etc. 

I don't think it's profitable to ponder overly much on "generic" reactions when there really are very few. Any "activating event," to use the terminology from cognitive psychology, can result in a wide array of thoughts about the event, and those thoughts will drive distinct emotions. That's true of killing another human being just as much as it is of having a flat tire on the way to work. Those are VERY different things -- I'm not drawing a moral equivalence here -- but they are alike in one way for an author. It is YOUR CHARACTER who is reacting. That character's thoughts and emotions should flow naturally out of that character's make-up (strengths, values, personality, prior experiences) and the situation in which the activating event occurs. Otherwise, you're going to throw readers out of the story. I've read more than one where an overwrought response to some action, even a first kill, has been a jarring passage in the story. Usually they read like the author could not separate their personal makeup, beliefs, values, and situation (sitting and writing) from what was going on in the story. 

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#12
Interesting array of responses.

I suppose I could have posited the question (or wonder) more in reference to a READER, reading a story, and the VICTIM, was a regular Joe - be it a Goblin Reg Joe or a Human reg Joe... each going about his business.

Bad things befall him/her, bad vile creatures of chaos KILL, brutally, to advance their realm, power, whatever.

So, from a reader's perspective, is the killing of a man/woman more vile than an atagonist killing an innocent creature of fantasy creation?

Better stated - from a reader's perspective, as I see a good bit of debate response over the WRITER'S perspective when tied into his story-building. 

My view is this: When one identifies with, that group is the favored lamb we will mourn and be bitter about (readers).... now, I suppose a reader can fully subsume goblinhood and feel empathy for that victim... sure, when immersed in your lit. But really? We can feel this as a similar defilement as an aimless victim buying his newspaper?

BOTH in works of fiction.

As in I think we ALL feel a more atrocious offense if a woman is killed over a man... and a nothing more vile than a child being killed.

I suspect the immersion into characters and genre have influence, but I'm guessing we all more or less have a similar stratification on this matter. Good fiction can direct our responses, but I'm still guessing, an elf and a man are side by side, they both toil in the world, live their best life... and wrong place, wrong time... Boom.

I'm gonna feel for whom I most identify with, I guess. 

Interesting perspectives, thanks.

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#17
It depends on how much readers are encouraged to empathise with the goblin.

In a litRPG or an RPG itself, killing goblins en masse is mostly treated as fine. But that can vary depending on how the goblin in question is presented. A greedy, gold-obsessed goblin is often portrayed as a hindrance or a good source of loot, but a more 'humanised' or idealistic goblin might be considered sympathetic.

Re: Is killing a goblin any different than killing a human?

#19
It seems to me it would depend upon the world system the author has created, more specifically the general morals, often based upon some form of spirituality or theology. Even in a region or world that is without spiritual beliefs, there would likely still be some philosophical or governing bodies which would dictate morals on a public level while individual morals would be just that, individual, though possibly influenced by the broader morals of a society or culture.

It could also depend upon the creation back story of the goblins, or what most believe it to be. The slayings of sentient, somewhat intelligent goblins would likely cause emotional strain and revulsion in others. However, if the goblins existed purposefully to be evil, somewhat similar to common ideas concerning demons and most undead, then most likely there would be people who not only believe it their duty to fight and slay goblins, but they might even revel in such.