DISCLAIMER: Because some players just play games for fun and not to sit through lessons on Morality by Puritans.
This thread is a brief "thought experiment" to help us all better understand the diversity of ideas. Because if we close our minds and only accept what we believe is the "One True Path", then we fall into that "supposedly righteous" trap that surreptitiously leads to Corruption.
(a) Heroes are not always Saints
(b) Villains are not always Monsters
The above are very important reflections for us all to consider when we play games, even games of the swashbuckling genre that includes Pirates (not all pirates are nice guys).
And because most of us here also love 7th Sea as a game that entertains friends and strangers, even with its Corruption mechanics, we should feel emboldened to experience great stories without Puritanism and without being shamed for having diverse heroes who are not all Saints.
TAKING INSPIRATION FROM FICTION
Let us call our hero D'Artagnan. Let us call his employer L'Empereur.
Usually, our hero does not come from a noble background. This is important to ground the hero with some experience of what common folk may have suffered in 17th Century France (that probably inspired 7th Sea's Montaigne). When we first meet D'Artagnan, he is ambitious and cocky, which is understandable because he is young. He is idealistic, many youths are.
D'Artagnan aspires to be a Musketeer; he thinks it offers a life of heroism. But when D'Artagnan finally joins the Musketeers his salary will be paid by L'Empereur, a payroll boosted by taxes on the suffering innocents living in poverty. So in a way D'Artagnan's salary is paid from the State's infliction of a crippling tax burden upon many impoverished citizens.
OUR 7th SEA INSPIRATION
So let us model a 7th Sea hero called "Darta" upon the historic Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan: Our D'Arta like historic D'Artagnan also works for a King of a nation.
(a) Here is our first Corruption test. if D'Arta eventually finds out that his lifestyle is funded by the King's crippling tax upon the poor, should our D'Arta suffer Corruption if he refuses to resign after learning of this? Does protecting some citizens on the street from the Cardinal's guards absolve our D'Arta of complicity in the oppressive State tax system if our D'Arta still remains directly employed by that same State? Should he suffer Corruption for living of taxes that punish the weak?
(b) Next Corruption Test
(this is not inspired by the D'Artagnan romantic literature, but still a plausible scene).
Our D'Arta is off duty and rides into a village. He notices a badly bruised and beaten old woman about to be hanged. She is surrounded by a large contingent of Cardinal's guards, just too many of them and they hate our hero deeply. A little girl is crying pointing to anyone around her to save her mommy. Some villagers shrug helplessly, others shout "kill the witch". He has seconds to shoot the hangman's noose. Will ignoring this scene and riding away earn our D'Arta Corruption?
(c) Assuming our D'Arta saved the old woman from hanging and conversed with her and learnt she was a traveling healer helping cure disease, but he never learnt the truth that to cure a child, she must kill another. Days later a vehement Cardinal convinces L'Empereur to summon our D'Arta for a berating and he then learns that the old woman he saved days ago was a notorious witch who traveled the lands stealing mostly orphan children for magic rituals. Should our D'Arta earn corruption for his rashness interfering with the law of the land and letting loose a notorious villain? One way to explore "morality" is understanding that regret for past actions is a thing, even if those actions seemed heroic earlier. And yet, we being told that such retrospection does not earn Corruption in 7th Sea because our table of players are not encouraged to punish heroic acts retrospectively.
(d) The King and Cardinal agree to offer D'Arta a chance at redemption for letting lose such a terrible villain. He is ordered to ride out, apprehend, and if necessary execute her. During the days in-between a few more innocent children go missing and presumed dead. Should our D'Arta suffer Corruption for the deaths of these additional innocents caused by his earlier interference with the law? Will apprehending her clear all the Corruption incurred so far?
(e) Finally our D'Arta corners that villainous witch, and they both engage in one of those climatic dialog sequences with the witch explaining that she only targets terminally sick children to cure other children. Her daughter is present at the scene and begs D'Arta to spare her mommy because she cannot survive without her mommy's magic. If D'Arta captures and returns the witch to the King and Cardinal, she will be surely executed for causing the deaths of many children. Another twist to this tragic tale is that the witch eventually succeeds in convincing D'Arta through the goodness of his heart to hatch a plan to fake her death. Will D'Arta suffer Corruption if he accepts this bargain?
(f) Several weeks later, more child deaths are reported and D'Arta is summoned before the King to explain why the witch that was supposed to be dead is still killing children. D'Arta defends the deaths as those of terminally ill children but then lies that this must be another one witch. Does he suffer Corruption for this?
(g) D'Arta with great anger in his heart, goes out of his way to personally hunt this old witch with a vengeance,for her betrayal of his trust, and a failure to protect so many innocent children but most especially for his complicity in letting her escape. He finally confronts and kills her without remorse and thus, leaves her daughter an unprotected orphan who will die without her mother's magic? Is our D'Arta free from Corruption for killing the villain? Does he suffer corruption for condemning another child to death now?
TAJ-07: Technopriest And Justicar Of 7thSea2e