The Gammaverse Group 62 members · 7 stories
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Howdy folks!

Glad to see a group for this 'verse set up, Option: Gamma being a favorite of mine. :twilightblush:

Despite my complete lack of writing capabilities, I figured I would take a look at the rules of the 'verse just so I could get a more solidified understanding as what sorts of constraints in which writers might find themselves, and one particular rule stood out as potentially needing clarification (At the very least, on my end).

3; Gryphons are good guys. ALWAYS. I don't care if you don't like this one, go somewhere else if you don't like it.:flutterrage: The species gets enough bad rap elsewhere (all lies and heresy) and in my world they are always good, noble, and strong. Period. Don't even think about trying to subvert this either. We feathered nut-jobs have our dark side and weaknesses, and its ok to show that, but never let it be said we acted evil or wimped out.

Not disagreeing at all of course, it's the rules of the verse. :) But I was curious, What would you consider "Good" and "Bad"?

At the moment, my base assumption is that there is a clean distinction between being "Evil" and being willing to perform actions which could be perceived as "evil" if the situation demanded.

Mainly I make this assumption based on your past posts regarding Gilda. Her actions may have been perceived as evil, or bad. But in the Gammaverse, this is defined due to the cultural misunderstanding. A "proper" or "good" action that is either misunderstood or unappreciated by those outside of the gryphon culture.

So I'm curious as to if this rule applies to the perception of an action, the intention of the action, or the outcome of said action. I fully admit that trying to destroy the world or something akin to it, is an obviously evil act, despite how a character may be deluded, but what about more moral grey areas? Is it permitted to portray gryphons as performing what may be viewed as villainous actions as long as the meaning of their actions is clear? As long as it is explained to the reader?

-Example (And COMPLETELY unrealistic of course!)-
An innocent is in front of a gryphon, if the gryphon kill this man, a dead-man's switch will trigger, de-activating a bomb, saving thousands. If he does not, well, the consequences are there.

Is this type of scenario (And I apologize again for the hyperbolic situation, it's late and I can't think of a more reasonable one at the moment) something to be completely avoided? Something that as long as the readers understand the difference, it's alright? Something wherein if there were an unassuming crowd, they are allowed to view the gryphon as villainous, but only if it is clarified later?
(And yes, in that situation, the ideal would be the gryphon takes option C, save everyone)

Or rather, is your definition of "Bad guy" or "Villain" more akin to a more supernatural sense of "evil"? Doing something villainous for selfish reasons, or for the sake of performing a villainous action?

I find myself torn, as actions which may be perceived as evil may be sometimes necessarily, especially given the sharper edges of a warrior culture. But is it important that the reader understand the difference (Either immediately or given time for explanation)? The characters in the story (Either immediately or given time for explanation?).

I do apologize if this infringes on the "No subverting" policy. I was just hoping for a clear ideal (or hard rule) to be defined, or is it to be judged on a case-by-case basis?

Anyway, hopeful to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Oh, and apologies for not getting in touch with you Gryph, I'm afraid my enthusiasm for writing died off for quite some time, and I didn't want to waste your time. It is only now starting to grow again XD


(Should add, apologies for any rambling above... I wrote this while tired and brain-dumb, so there may be some repetition there).

Group Contributor

As I understand it, a gryphon won't harm an innocent. A gryphon would never for instance, kill a pony foal. They'll do anything up to their own death in order to ensure an innocent is saved. The caveat is that gryphons display a species preference, they'll save a gryphon chick before they save a pony foal. If they could save both at the cost of their own lives, they'd do it.

When a gryphon does something that might be considered "evil" it can be more accurately construed as "overly cruel". For instance, a diamond dog pack that kidnaps and abuses a pony (what happened to Rarity over a longer period of time, with even worse conditions) will find the gryphons flay the adult males alive, kill the females and pups, and then leave the carcasses in the territory of the next diamond dog clan over. Gryphons are big on "Justice", to the point where it can be considered bordering on cruelty. However, they don't pull stuff like that unless its been earned.

Group Admin


Interesting scenario you have put forward. I'm certainly not the expert here, for that we'll have to wait for GG to wake up. But in this instance I imagine the gryphon would shoot the guy. This is only after exhausting all other options...and knowing for sure that the bomb exists. The least evil option here would be shooting him. As i see it, Gryphons have an ingrained sense of morality, but its impossible for any moral person(or gryphon :P) to have 100% coverage. Morality comes with the decisions that require them.

Hmm, im not sure if that paragraph even meant anything...Its late and i cant sleep.

Also i look forward to your future story Shaiden! If you plan to include dragons shoot me a pm and ill help you out. :pinkiehappy:

Group Admin

Okie doke, so this is actually a good time to lay out a few of the illustrations I've used to explain this to others. Its a very interesting question indeed. :twistnerd:

So our Gryphic brains work on this very simply principle;

God > Nation/Species > Family > Other Gryphons > Other non-Gryphon innocents > Self > Other non-innocents but not necessarily bad guys > possessions/worldly replaceable materials etc > bad guys

This means that we will over-ride anything and everything to follow religious faith, which itself really defines this ordering in the first place. We place our families at the height of the totem pole for individual beings or groups of beings, the only thing higher is species/nation.

To illustrate;

A Gryphon's family is held hostage by an extremely powerful (and stupid) force. They demand defensive information that would allow them to destroy a large part of the Kingdoms. The free Gryphon is going to try to save his or her family by other means, but will absolutely not negotiate or give up any information in order to save his/her family. (He/she will also obliterate this force before its over, regardless of outcome. Even the middle-of-the-road A-moral dragons know that futzing with Gryphic families is like flipping God off; it never ends with anything but hell.)

Now on the flip-side;

A Gryphon father is presented with an un-winnable scenario; two young beings in burning vehicles at separate ends of a very long bridge. He does not, for all his strength and speed, have time to save both, no matter what he does. One is an innocent foal, one is his fledgling. He will save the fledgling, every time, claws down.

Now let's adjust;

*Let's say he *could* save both, *but* he would die in the process; he will gladly sacrifice his life to ensure both are saved.

*Lets say its a fledgling, but not his; he will save the fledgling still

*Lets say its a fledgling he doesn't know, and a foal he does. he will still save the fledgling first.

*Say it was two non-Gryphons; then the question is purely pragmatic; which of the two innocents is younger?
And/or which is more likely to survive?

Now this arrangement creates some interesting results. For one thing, we accept moral gray areas exist, but *operate* as if they don't in most actionable cases, which means we round up and down to determine when someone is on the bad or good side of a line.

We also believe that if you have the ability to stop an atrocity but do not, or do not disavow the evil actions of people connected to you actively, that you are equally complicit in those actions.

So back to this one;
Gryphons? We don't care if we're villified in people's minds. We prefer not to be, but we will accept that as a consequence if the action saves lives.

So in your scenario, which isn't so far fetched, the Gryphon would seek all other alternatives but if it came *right* down to it, he'd kill the man without hesitation, but certainly with a great deal of remorse.

A couple other points;
*If there was a viable non-lethal alternative, but the Gryphon did not *know* about it, then his failure to find it is not evil, just tragic.

*Our emotions can cause us to take the more just course over the more moral course when such action is not flatly evil. EG; a Gryphon has a non-Gryphic non-evil friend who commits some horrible one-time overtly evil act. The most moral course is to first try to convince that friend to endure a trial and proper punishment, and support them through it. The most *just* (and more painful) course is for the Gryphon to hunt this friend down and kill them.

A Gryphon who has unusually good emotional control may do the former, but the average Gryphon will be far more tempted and likely to do the latter. This is one of the few ways a truly ingenious bad guy might manipulate a Gryphon for his or her own ends.

The caveat here is that a Gryphon will NOT cross a moral line while doing all this; say either of those above courses reach a point where, to get to a certain ends, a Gryphon must use evil means. The Gryphon will find non-evil means, or find different ends, rather than caving to evil means.

The main things to take away are these;

1; Its important that the *reader* and the *Gryphon* understand that killing that trigger-man was the right thing to do. What others think is no biggie, but remember that this only really applies to the sheeple in the public on Earth; for everyone in higher-up positions, and in Equestria, it is household knowledge that Gryphons are inescapably bound by an internal moral base-code that is part of our identity.

2; The Gryphic definition of evil is when you intentionally/willfully commit, or *fail* to commit an action that as a consequence allows/causes an evil/terrible course to play out that could have been avoided. This means that both selfish acts in the clutch, and purely villainous acts for evil's sake, fall in the same bucket of evil.

So why did we nearly exterminate a race?
The Diamond Dogs are a special case. You're looking at a species who are governed by pack mentality. Pups imprint on their parents' mentality from the womb, and the parents are bound to the Alpha's mentality. (This is their major flaw, and what Conversion stands to help them balance by salting in human individualism)

This means that if anyone in the pack harmed a Gryphon, they're all automatically predisposed to the same mentality and course of action, and thus since we value our species over others if forced to make that choice, the best course is to exterminate the *whole* pack to avoid reparations for our own fledglings down the road.

This is why, given the choice, most people would rather face three Wyverns than one angry Gryphic parent. Sure the three Wyverns seem more dangerous... but the Wyverns will *only* kill you...

The angry Gryphon father or mother may well torture you, then exterminate your entire family line and all related associates of yours, assets of yours, and benefactors of yours if they present a credible threat of retaliation over your death.

(Yes torture. We believe its acceptable to torture someone who is unquestionably convicted of a serious crime if such torture will either get us information we can use to stop innocent suffering, or will serve as an example to frighten other evil-doers.)

I do apologize if this infringes on the "No subverting" policy. I was just hoping for a clear ideal (or hard rule) to be defined, or is it to be judged on a case-by-case basis?

This is not an infringement. :twilightsmile:
An infringement would be if you were trying to intentionally make an 'evil' Gryphon character in some subtle way to try and subvert the spirit of the rule and spite it. I *appreciate* what you're doing here, which is trying to search out and define boundaries from a sort-of engineering perspective.

Oh, and apologies for not getting in touch with you Gryph, I'm afraid my enthusiasm for writing died off for quite some time, and I didn't want to waste your time. It is only now starting to grow again XD

Hey, we all have to live with real life intruding. :rainbowlaugh:
No worries!

The Tl:dr summary;
1; Gryphons believe in an absolute standard of God-defined truth and morality.
2; We operate based on;
God > Nation/Species > Family > Other Gryphons > Other non-Gryphon innocents > Self > Other non-innocents but not necessarily bad guys > possessions/worldly replaceable materials etc > bad guys
these priorities.
3; We value the actual consequences of an action well over the perception others have of us.
4; We can be manipulated, by others or our emotions, into doing morally gray things, but never *truly* evil things.
5; Evil is defined as; "When you intentionally/willfully commit, or *fail* to commit an action that as a consequence allows/causes an evil/terrible course to play out that could have been avoided in favor of a less evil/terrible course."
6; We have an always-on non-circumvent-able understanding of morality and whether our actions fit into it.
7; This binding does have caveats, dark sides, and sometimes painful results, but in the end means there are no Gryphon bad guys.

I think the attempted genocide of the Troll culture of the Diamond Dogs could be an example of why gryphons need pony diplomacy to get them from getting in over their heads. To keep them from doing things that they feel are right at the time, but might later regret.

But what about more petty stuff? Do gryphons throw each other in jail for a day or two for crimes like disorderly conduct/brawling/whatever (say arising from some insults etc.) How about honest differences of opinion on what they should do, as a group? (Which links back to something I mentioned much much earlier (months back) about guns improving pony military more than gryphon military.)

Also also, I just added 'gryphon' and 'gryphons' to chrome's dictionary so I get less annoying red lines. I'm swapping over to that spelling over 'griffon' for various reasons.

Group Admin

Gryphons rarely regret doing something, just perhaps the timing of it.
None of the wars we've ever fought in have been lost, but we could not have handled them *all* at the *same* time and that's where Ponies come in.

But what about more petty stuff? Do gryphons throw each other in jail for a day or two for crimes like disorderly conduct/brawling/whatever (say arising from some insults etc.)

No, if a Gryphon does something against the rules in a context like that they usually end up punished by things like added physical training, or double monetary reparations. We simply don't do truly jail-worthy things like major theft, and the other issue at play is that taking away physical freedom is so far beyond tabo that its nearly a death-worthy action on its own.

We have killed members of other races for physically detaining us. It simply is never ever done.

Brawls are kinda funny tho; usually they are allowed to happen so that aggression gets fully worked out in a non-lethal non-long-term-harmful fashion. Usually there is no harm, no foul; you brawl? your punishment is the bruises and cracked ribs and potentially hurt pride. You're expected to move on and act honorably.

On major moral issues, we never have differences of opinion since we're all born with the same morals.

How about honest differences of opinion on what they should do, as a group?

Purely a question of rank and situation. Case-by-case. This is why the highest qualities we value in leaders are wisdom, and the ability to engender trust from underlings. These are mandatory indispensible expected qualities of a leader, and it allows that leader to properly convince others to follow him or her even when there is not total consensus.

...guns improving pony military more than gryphon military.

Yes and no. At first possibly, but we are an inventive sort and Ponies have the non-violence thing.
I doubt they will actually make much use of guns to shoot anything, but as a psychological tactic Royal Guards will probably carry musket type weapons as a deterrent.

After a century or so hybrid blade/rifle weapons will inevitably replace most bows for Gryphons, and it will be vastly to our advantage since as the range/accuracy goes up, we can take huge advantage of this with our eyes. We have always been the best weapon makers out there, and that's unlikely to change long-term. :rainbowlaugh:

Thank you kindly for the post Gryph :)

I think in my mind I was trying to Separate a clear definition as to when an action can be perceived as "evil", which can be difficult, as typically when I consider fictional "Evil", it generally comes down to three things. A differing perspective (So not necessarily evil), a mental disorder (Which in a sense is a hyperbolic expansion of a differing perspective), or true supernatural "evil". The Type where villains twirl their mustaches, or want to destroy the world just because it's there.

Definitely appreciate the weighted line of reasoning too. Makes it very clear (Though, I can definitely see some very heavy personal torment occurring if placed in the "grey" area as you described. Not remorse, but a hell of a lot of feelings of loss).

Glad the questions went over well! I was a bit worried I was breaking a rule on the FIRST DAY the group was made :P

This might be a topic for another thread, but do you plan on filling out the "religion" aspect of the Gryphon culture? Being that it's weighted that highly, it sounds like it's something that could intrude on every aspect of a newly converted gryphon's life. Do these beliefs generally get accepted by converts? Is the weighted line taught to converts pre-conversion, and thus is part of the screening process?
(Oh so many questions!)


And thanks Rigomi! I definitely will :)

Group Admin

Yes I'll do *some* fleshing on the religion, but I like to be more subtle with faith in my works than just directly presenting stuff as exposition. You get *too* preachy and people shut you out. :derpytongue2: I got about as visible as I usually go with Fyrenn meeting someone who's already passed on in the end of OG.

Converts are 'obligated' as Gryphons to follow the morals, but its not mind control. In-fact you quickly stop even wanting to buck them because that part of you, as long as its not integral to your identity, is being literally re-written for the better.

Interestingly, Gryphic potion has an antimony-lock. If you can adapt to be moral without compromising your identity, then it will convert you. If your evil is a deeply rooted part of you, or a hatred of these morals? It immolates you instantly because it can't reverse the Conversion, but also can't finish it as to do so would be to break your fundamental identity. Which Potion can never do.

This is one of the scarier secret reasons we have an application process on our program. On the lighter side we want to make sure we're not unduly stressing people, on the darker side we're trying to not kill anyone by accident.

Converts and Natives alike are *not* forced to follow any one religion legally, but the societal pressure is rather subtly strong. Its not in-your-face, its just virtually impossible to get outside the under-girding undercurrents since faith defines most Gryphons' identities, and has such a tight connection to the built-in morals.

The faith is not forced in the screening process, but since shortly after OG they started to make an explanation of it a thing within the application process, so that converts know exactly what they're getting into.

Most tend to be accepting; alot of people need a worldview given that their world is being consumed and that tends to make you ask big questions.

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