There’s been some debate as to whether Deus is actually evil or not, I would suggest giving it a few pages before deciding. In my mind, good and evil can’t be absolutes, they exist on a spectrum. Is killing always an absolute wrong? In a hypothetical situation, killing one person to save two is objectively the better choice. Some people might debate that, to me it’s clear the best path is the one that does the least harm, so taking X lives to save X+1 lives is a no brainer. Of course there are rarely such clear cut choices in real life. What about killing two junkies to save one doctor, four kidnappers to save one scientist, or every televangelist to save one… anyone who isn’t a televangelist?

A Lawful Good Paladin kills a bandit, does that make him evil? What if the bandit only wanted the saddlebag of apples to feed his family? If the Paladin knew the bandit’s intentions and killed him anyway, then probably yes, if not, then no, at least not from the Paladin’s point of view. The son of the bandit might feel differently. Not only are good and evil not absolutes, they are relative values depending on the observer. That’s why bad guys rarely think of themselves as bad guys. Stealing from a bank that shattered the economy and took thousands of people’s homes, and the CEO not only didn’t go to jail, he got a massive bonus? Fairly easy to justify. The cops are working for the government which works for the banks and their job is to maintain the status quo. Are they good or bad in this situation? Robbing the CEO of his bonus would be easier to justify, and possibly more ethical, but does that then shift the value of the cops’ actions?

This is usually how Deus works, by miring people in semantic debates and inching their position ever closer to his, and I should add, with considerably more skill that I can legitimately muster. That’s why it’s difficult to write smart characters. There’s almost no chance the person writing them is smarter the character. An inventor or scientist, sure, throw out some technobabble and then show the thing they invented, but writing a genuinely intelligent character is tough. One of the few really good examples I can think of is Hannibal, or at least the first two seasons. Hannibal approaches situations in that show with forethought and planning that borders on Batman level absurd, but if you were really 65 IQ up on everyone else around you, things that seem like ridiculous foresight to someone else might come as second nature to you. Deus hasn’t really displayed this yet, since doing so either takes a lot of text or a long plot in which characters can reveal their machinations. I think that’s part of the reason why most smart characters come across as intelligent but unwise. They have flashes of brilliance but no long game.

Here’s the link to the new comments highlighter for chrome, and the GitHub link which you can use to install on FireFox via Greasemonkey.