Forums » Elder Scrolls

The Morality of Enchanting?

    • 50 posts
    March 16, 2017 10:05 AM EDT
    My new character has yet to touch enchanting because he is not clear on whether or not enchanting is morally right. I'm not quite sure on this issue. Is it okay to use someone's soul to booster you own power? It seems to me that it's okay to use animal souls because they are not rational creatures but it seems wrong to use the soul of a human( or an orc, khajiit etc.) and deprive it of an afterlife. This of course would mean that in game your enchantments will never be as powerful as they could be. What are your thoughts?

    Note: Whether you think there is such a thing as a soul in real life is not relevant, for in the Elder Scrolls it is taken as fact that there are souls.
    This post was edited by Decumus Scotti at March 16, 2017 10:07 AM EDT
    • 538 posts
    March 16, 2017 11:26 AM EDT

    My thoughts? Why, I think you've opened a can of Oblivion Worms, friend. It is never morally justifiable to capture or use a black soul. Moral relativism can suck it. No race and no culture can justify sending a sentient soul to the Soul Cairn, even only temporarily. 

    • 30 posts
    March 16, 2017 11:32 AM EDT

    Your enchantments will be as powerful with normal Grand soul gems just don't use any black ones that will trap souls of Men, Mer and beast races. Just get 4-5 grand soul gems and kill some Mammoths when you want to enchant your main gear and you 're done. Use petty, lesser, common, greater while leveling your enchanting.

    Now if it is morally right for your character to use white souls that 's up to you. Also regarding the undead they can be trapped in white souls so from that we can conclude that their souls have "degraded" and I don't think they get a ticket to go to Sovngarde for their afterlife because if not all of them then most of them were servants of dragon priests or served other people under the dragon priests.

    Also I think I saw somewhere that white souls after their use in enchanting they return back to the world but I 'm not sure.

     

    Edit: Trapping black souls doesn't seem morally right to me since you trap them in soul cairn after you use them and the soul cairn is not the most comfortable place to spend your time.


    This post was edited by Duvain at March 16, 2017 12:36 PM EDT
    • 50 posts
    March 16, 2017 12:34 PM EDT
    Legion said:

    My thoughts? Why, I think you've opened a can of Oblivion Worms, friend. It is never morally justifiable to capture or use a black soul. Moral relativism can suck it. No race and no culture can justify sending a sentient soul to the Soul Cairn, even only temporarily. 

    Yes that seems to make sense. Using a black soul is not justifiable because it is the soul of a human being. However I don't see any objections to using white souls.
    • 50 posts
    March 16, 2017 12:35 PM EDT
    Duvain said:

    Your enchantments will be as powerful with normal Grand soul gems just don't use any black ones that will trap souls of Men, Mer and beast races. Just get 4-5 grand soul gems and kill some Mammoths when you want to enchant your main gear and you 're done. Use petty, lesser, common, greater while leveling your enchanting.

    Now if it is morally right for your character to use white souls that 's up to you. Also regarding the undead they can be trapped in white souls so from that we can conclude that their souls have "degraded" and I don't think they get a ticket to go to Sovngarde for their afterlife because if not all of them then most of them were servants of dragon priests or served other people under the dragon priests.

    Also I think I saw somewhere that white souls after their use in enchanting they return back to the world but I 'm not sure.

     

    Edit: Trapping black souls doesn't seem morally right to me since you trap them in soul cairn after you use them and the soul cairn is not the most comfortable place to spend your time.

    Maybe I misunderstand but isn't the black soul gem the most powerful and the one that can create longer lasting and most powerful enchantments, better than grand soul gems? In any case I agree that it is not morally right to use a black soul.
    This post was edited by Decumus Scotti at March 16, 2017 12:38 PM EDT
    • 30 posts
    March 16, 2017 12:41 PM EDT

    Grand Soul gems and Black Soul gems give the same results in enchanting the only differense between them is that the black soul gem can also trap black souls (Men, Mer etc).

    • 322 posts
    March 16, 2017 1:41 PM EDT

    Decumus Scotti said:

    Maybe I misunderstand but isn't the black soul gem the most powerful and the one that can create longer lasting and most powerful enchantments, better than grand soul gems? In any case I agree that it is not morally right to use a black soul.

    Duvain is right, the only advantage Black soul gems have over Grand is that they're more versatile and easy to fill - bandits are everywhere but mammoths and other powerful beasts are rarer, not to mention hard to kill.

     

    I'm with the general concensus - capturing men or mer souls is wrong, and I've on the past had trouble convincing myself that capturing animal souls was bad. But somewhere someone said that because animals aren't as advanced (or something along those lines) as playable races, they don't get trapped in the Soul Cairn, so it's just like hunting but for a different prize.

    • 50 posts
    March 16, 2017 3:10 PM EDT
    Zonnonn said:

    Decumus Scotti said:

    Maybe I misunderstand but isn't the black soul gem the most powerful and the one that can create longer lasting and most powerful enchantments, better than grand soul gems? In any case I agree that it is not morally right to use a black soul.

    Duvain is right, the only advantage Black soul gems have over Grand is that they're more versatile and easy to fill - bandits are everywhere but mammoths and other powerful beasts are rarer, not to mention hard to kill.

     

    I'm with the general concensus - capturing men or mer souls is wrong, and I've on the past had trouble convincing myself that capturing animal souls was bad. But somewhere someone said that because animals aren't as advanced (or something along those lines) as playable races, they don't get trapped in the Soul Cairn, so it's just like hunting but for a different prize.

    That's an interesting point of view. Let me put another question to you. If animals did indeed go to the Soul Cairn if their souls were stolen, would it then still be morally justifiable to use their souls?
    • 57 posts
    March 16, 2017 3:45 PM EDT

    It could also be asked whether or not it's morally acceptable to trap the souls of animals, also. Even if they aren't sentient, they're plenty capable of feeling pain. Are mammoths' souls equivalent in power to man and mer souls because of the animal's size, or perhaps because of its intelligence?

     

    I've actually roleplayed a judgment-themed character who used the Staff of Hallfdir to trap souls before slaying enemies as a form of punishment. He did end up a master enchanter, using the power of the souls of those he'd found guilty in order to empower himself.

     

    I've also played a pure mage build who shunned the thought of enchantment, feeling it to be morally wrong. He instead relied on alchemical concoctions to boost his magicka and the overall power of his spells. 

    • 6 posts
    March 16, 2017 10:24 PM EDT
    Wait... Animals souls don't go to the Soul Cairn ? I'm pretty sure I saw a cow there... Also Arvak ?
    • 1207 posts
    March 16, 2017 10:35 PM EDT

    I think it's left pretty ambiguous, as dialogue in the questline kinda conflicts with itself. On one hand you are left with the impression that all souls get sent to the Soul Cairn if captured in a black gem, whilst on the other, we are informed that only those souls offered to the Ideal Masters end up there. I am inclined to favour the latter explanation. The animals we see, then, are like offerings. Skyrim has quite the traditions of using bovines as ceremonial sacrifices, and Arvak looks like he stayed with his master when he was trapped. Loyal to the end.

    As to the morality of it, well using black gems is pretty abhorrent even if sentient part of the soul gets released after the enchantment is applied, a matter which even now I think is still very much open to interpretation. I know Karver has researched a ton into the subject so could probably provide more insight. For me, trading with the Ideal Masters is a slippery slope and there is no justifiable reason for doing that, so offering up a soul is out of the question there.

    As for a regular enchanter using a black soul and no Masters or Cairns as part of the equation, I like to think there is a fetishistic interpretation to be had: Using the soul of a formidable warrior to increase an enchanter's skill with a sword holds quite an appeal on an RP level. If the sentient half of that soul makes it's way to Sovngarde after being released from the black gem, then maybe a brief period of incarceration is justifiable. From a certain point of view and in-character terms.


    This post was edited by Paws at March 16, 2017 10:43 PM EDT
    • 9 posts
    March 17, 2017 3:40 PM EDT

    Mercurias said:I've actually roleplayed a judgment-themed character who used the Staff of Hallfdir to trap souls before slaying enemies as a form of punishment. He did end up a master enchanter, using the power of the souls of those he'd found guilty in order to empower himself.

    Admittedly I haven't been consistent when using soul gems (though I'm more conscientious after my trip to the Soul Cairn), but in one instance I intentionally did something similar to this albeit with different motivations.

    My Breton stealth-archer-illusionist is a bascially moral character and doesn't make it a practice of outright murdering others. During the quest, Innocence Lost, she can an invisibility spell to enter Honorhall Orphanage undetected. Once inside Grelod's bedroom, she conjured a bound bow and used the mystic binding perk to capture Grelod's soul inside a black soul gem.

    Using the black soul gem filled with Grelod's soul, my character used it to enchant a gold ring with Fortify Restoration, naming the ring "Grelod the Kind's Ring of Fate". She left this ring in Riften's Temple of Mara, forcing Grelod to show for eternity the kindness which she failed to show in life.

     


    This post was edited by GailOlm at March 17, 2017 3:46 PM EDT
    • 50 posts
    March 17, 2017 6:00 PM EDT
    GailOlm said:

    Mercurias said:I've actually roleplayed a judgment-themed character who used the Staff of Hallfdir to trap souls before slaying enemies as a form of punishment. He did end up a master enchanter, using the power of the souls of those he'd found guilty in order to empower himself.

    Admittedly I haven't been consistent when using soul gems (though I'm more conscientious after my trip to the Soul Cairn), but in one instance I intentionally did something similar to this albeit with different motivations.

    My Breton stealth-archer-illusionist is a bascially moral character and doesn't make it a practice of outright murdering others. During the quest, Innocence Lost, she can an invisibility spell to enter Honorhall Orphanage undetected. Once inside Grelod's bedroom, she conjured a bound bow and used the mystic binding perk to capture Grelod's soul inside a black soul gem.

    Using the black soul gem filled with Grelod's soul, my character used it to enchant a gold ring with Fortify Restoration, naming the ring "Grelod the Kind's Ring of Fate". She left this ring in Riften's Temple of Mara, forcing Grelod to show for eternity the kindness which she failed to show in life.

     

    Wow...that's amazing. I actually would never have thought of doing something like that. That's really cool way to use the enchanting system in Skyrim. Most of my own characters, because of their morality, would not be able to kill Grelod however.
    • 30 posts
    March 17, 2017 6:49 PM EDT

    Decumus Scotti said:
    GailOlm said:

    Mercurias said:I've actually roleplayed a judgment-themed character who used the Staff of Hallfdir to trap souls before slaying enemies as a form of punishment. He did end up a master enchanter, using the power of the souls of those he'd found guilty in order to empower himself.

    Admittedly I haven't been consistent when using soul gems (though I'm more conscientious after my trip to the Soul Cairn), but in one instance I intentionally did something similar to this albeit with different motivations.

    My Breton stealth-archer-illusionist is a bascially moral character and doesn't make it a practice of outright murdering others. During the quest, Innocence Lost, she can an invisibility spell to enter Honorhall Orphanage undetected. Once inside Grelod's bedroom, she conjured a bound bow and used the mystic binding perk to capture Grelod's soul inside a black soul gem.

    Using the black soul gem filled with Grelod's soul, my character used it to enchant a gold ring with Fortify Restoration, naming the ring "Grelod the Kind's Ring of Fate". She left this ring in Riften's Temple of Mara, forcing Grelod to show for eternity the kindness which she failed to show in life.

     

    Wow...that's amazing. I actually would never have thought of doing something like that. That's really cool way to use the enchanting system in Skyrim. Most of my own characters, because of their morality, would not be able to kill Grelod however.

     

    In my previous and current playthrough while doing the college of winterhold quest line I kept some black soul gems for Ancano and his friend  :P .

    • 9 posts
    March 17, 2017 8:37 PM EDT

    Decumus Scotti said:Wow...that's amazing. I actually would never have thought of doing something like that. That's really cool way to use the enchanting system in Skyrim. Most of my own characters, because of their morality, would not be able to kill Grelod however.

    As a bascially moral character, I had a hard time making the decision of whether or not to kill Grelod (meta-gaming confession: I wanted the Marked for Death Shout and figured it would be "more moral" to kill just a couple of people rather than the entire sanctuary full of Dark Brotherhood members). As roleplay justification I considered the fact that my character is married to Balimund (though she sees him as more of a father figure, which is a whole different topic) and so her stepson is Asbjorn Fire-Tamer (who she considers more of a brother). Asbjorn was under the "care" of Grelod in Honorhall Orphanage until he was adopted by Balimund. It just so happens that Asbjorn shared with Estelle (my character) some of the atrocities he endured under Grelod's "care".

    Not only that but on her initial visit to the Orphanage, Estelle witnessed an alarming speech made by Grelod to the children. Of course, she then talked to all the children along with the assistant Constance Michel. Naturally while she was there she also observed the living conditions of the children, including the small room containing child-sized shackles. Needless to say, all these factors helped the usually moral Estelle in reaching her decision to kill Grelod.

    Along with Innocence Lost, so far there have been two other moral dilemmas that I've had to come up with similar work-arounds (game-wise and roleplay-wise), namely at the Abandoned Shack in With Friends Like These and the task involving Madesi's silver ring in A Chance Arrangement, but those are stories for another day...

     


    This post was edited by GailOlm at March 17, 2017 8:53 PM EDT
    • 108 posts
    March 18, 2017 5:45 AM EDT

    Light Of Aether said: Wait... Animals souls don't go to the Soul Cairn ? I'm pretty sure I saw a cow there... Also Arvak ?

     

    They do. Every soul you capture goes to the Soul Cairn.

    • 50 posts
    March 18, 2017 11:18 AM EDT
    GailOlm said:

    Decumus Scotti said:Wow...that's amazing. I actually would never have thought of doing something like that. That's really cool way to use the enchanting system in Skyrim. Most of my own characters, because of their morality, would not be able to kill Grelod however.

    As a bascially moral character, I had a hard time making the decision of whether or not to kill Grelod (meta-gaming confession: I wanted the Marked for Death Shout and figured it would be "more moral" to kill just a couple of people rather than the entire sanctuary full of Dark Brotherhood members). As roleplay justification I considered the fact that my character is married to Balimund (though she sees him as more of a father figure, which is a whole different topic) and so her stepson is Asbjorn Fire-Tamer (who she considers more of a brother). Asbjorn was under the "care" of Grelod in Honorhall Orphanage until he was adopted by Balimund. It just so happens that Asbjorn shared with Estelle (my character) some of the atrocities he endured under Grelod's "care".

    Not only that but on her initial visit to the Orphanage, Estelle witnessed an alarming speech made by Grelod to the children. Of course, she then talked to all the children along with the assistant Constance Michel. Naturally while she was there she also observed the living conditions of the children, including the small room containing child-sized shackles. Needless to say, all these factors helped the usually moral Estelle in reaching her decision to kill Grelod.

    Along with Innocence Lost, so far there have been two other moral dilemmas that I've had to come up with similar work-arounds (game-wise and roleplay-wise), namely at the Abandoned Shack in With Friends Like These and the task involving Madesi's silver ring in A Chance Arrangement, but those are stories for another day...

     

    So you used her backstory to influence her decision to kill Grelod. Interesting. I've never been quite good at role playing a character who isn't the model of justice because I always let my own sense of morality make the decisions instead of my character's.
    • 322 posts
    March 18, 2017 3:33 PM EDT

    Decumus Scotti said:
    Zonnonn said:

    That's an interesting point of view. Let me put another question to you. If animals did indeed go to the Soul Cairn if their souls were stolen, would it then still be morally justifiable to use their souls?

    Well on the surface it seems cruel - like a zoo but shit and purple. But then again animals don't have the same ability to comprehend where they are, so I'm not sure it would effect them like that, in fact there wouldn't be any predators or hunters trying to kill them, so it might not be that bad. But the whole premise of damning souls isn't cool with me, so I'd still avoid it.

    • 50 posts
    March 18, 2017 3:47 PM EDT
    Zonnonn said:

    Decumus Scotti said:
    Zonnonn said:

    That's an interesting point of view. Let me put another question to you. If animals did indeed go to the Soul Cairn if their souls were stolen, would it then still be morally justifiable to use their souls?

    Well on the surface it seems cruel - like a zoo but shit and purple. But then again animals don't have the same ability to comprehend where they are, so I'm not sure it would effect them like that, in fact there wouldn't be any predators or hunters trying to kill them, so it might not be that bad. But the whole premise of damning souls isn't cool with me, so I'd still avoid it.

    Well call me cruel, but to be honest I don't really care about sending animals to the soul cairn, if they do go there. Humans is a different matter, but because animals are not rational creatures I don't mind using their souls. Now I'm going to have all the animal rights activists after me.
    This post was edited by Decumus Scotti at March 18, 2017 3:50 PM EDT
    • 50 posts
    March 18, 2017 3:48 PM EDT
    Discard this comment. Accidentally sent the same comment twice.
    This post was edited by Decumus Scotti at March 18, 2017 3:49 PM EDT