Just as a fun hypothetical question, which Virtue would most justify warcrimes? (Mass civilian casualties, biological warfare, destruction of land/culture, ect)
My first thought is ambition but I might be wrong?
Why ambition? I guess “break the record for most barbarians killed” is a decent ambition.
Pride could so easily be twisted to war-crimes; that perfect ritual you were told never to use, the tactics which work so well, the ‘awful atrocity’ which ended a war and left a whole nation terrified to ever challenge you again.
In the real world though, it’s all too often a twisted version of Loyalty. Loyalty to one’s nation, or even to the empire, can become nationalism, othering those outside your group. It’s so easy to justify Quickening Cold Meat when you can tell yourself that the enemy are not human or that they are not civilised. Collateral damage to another imperial nation? Oh, they’re just Varushkans or Wintermarkers, practically barbarians. You might have killed tens of thousands of them, but you saved tens of thousands of League soldiers in the process.
And what about Vigilance? So easy to do unto others before they can do unto you. Yeah, we wiped half of Asavea off the map, but they were about to declare war on us! Even if you know that they were about to attack, even if you are preventing a war which will claim thousands of lives, it’s still brutal.
When it is all over, when the casualties are tallied, the virtue of Wisdom is a voice in the back of your head telling you that you need to live with what someone did in your name, so you pardon them for the good of the empire and for peace; you tell yourself that it is wise to prevent a schism in the faith, to prevent Senate and Synod from coming to blows or just to keep a nation from taking offence at your condemnation of their armies or tactics and splitting the empire.
Cause of the principles of ambition which are :
Consequences are the price of Ambition; no price is too high to realise your dreams.
Despise the weakness that comes from pettiness and lack of vision.
I mean, if your dream/goal is to murder all the barbarians due to your tragic backstory and what not then there you go. Don’t have to be gimli counting the kills to be ambitious I don’t think.
So Vigilance has this exemplar who’s entire schtick was "You do whatever is necessary, screw the law, screw morality screw ethics. If they’re a threat, take them out and deal with the consequences.
Anyone inspired by Berechiah could almost certainly justify killing thousands now to save tens of thousands later. (Whistles innocently and goes off to check the costume for his vigilance priest he’s starting at E4)
There’s no such thing as a warcrime,
Until I commit it.
Come to Varushka. Talk about cruelty and war crimes!
You could start the
Venomous Lout Accosting Detachment ?
Be an agent of VLAD
Very Loud And Dangerous?!
It’s worth noting that there isn’t really a concept of “war crimes” in Imperial Law. Most acts would be committed against barbarians, who in general do not enjoy the benefits of protection under the law. It’s possible that an egregious enough act of butchery might constitute subverting an agency of the state, depending on circumstances, but that’s unlikely. War crimes are generally a politcal rather than a legal problem, although I suppose that it’s still useful to have a virtue argument up your sleve when people start complaining.
However I do not speak for PD and cannot guarantee it will work this way on the field. The Imperial Magistrates are always happy to chat about the likely legal consequences of any “purely hypothetical” trouble you are considering getting into.
I would say that it takes Courage to do what must be done. let others mewl about cruelty and atrocity while the bold act and triumph
you know what i might make that my character quote.
Entirely possible to act Courageously to actively fight against injustice inflicted by the cruel as well, though! I love Virtue.
Note that Loyalty is not quite about othering others. Doing whatever is necessary to keep the innocents in your in-group safe from outsiders with peculiar ways is the preserve of a different spiritual force.
I think it’s entirely situational and down to your character. Any virtue could be the motive in the right situation for the right character, including several naughty ones.
I mean, the malign spiritual presences of hatred or fear are also some of the strongest justifications for actions that would in a world with international law be considered war crimes. There’s a whole debate in the Empire right now about whether all is fair in war, and various National Assemblies have definitely taken stands on the topic.