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Crocc

Human Meat, Cannibalism and Brain Disease.

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Crocc    0

During several encounters I've found myself in a situation where I'm not sure exactly how to proceed in an RP sense, and I was wondering if anyone could help me out here. Hopefully this will lead to a constructive discussion.

Human Meat

I've come across a few people, or groups of people, sitting around a fire and as always, we RP it out a bit - we talk, trade, etc. After a bit, I look into the fire inventory screen, only to find some raw human steaks cooking inside of them.

I don't really know how to proceed after that. Do I (my in-game character) know that those are pieces of human steak? If it boils down to realism, then no, I shouldn't know - not unless I've somehow run across cleanly cut human meat before, and known what it was. But how do I avoid having that OOC knowledge/information influence my RP at the time? How far does the "realism" thing go? I mean, everyone in DayZ SA can skin and quarter an animal, we can all start a fire and somehow we all know how to create magical splints that heal broken limbs in a matter of seconds. Doesn't an ability to distinguish between animal and human meat come with that package too?

In every case I've come across thusfar, I've RP'd knowing that those steaks were indeed human. One person asked me "How do you know that those are human steaks?", and that's where I get stuck in an uncomfortable situation.

Cannibalism

I've heard/read several opinions on cannibalism, and most of them seem to lean towards it being too early in the apocalypse for survivors to have turned to cannibalism. I think I'd agree on that, yet we still see it, and there is no way to avoid it - it is a game mechanic. So, how long exactly until enough time has passed so that cannibalism is a viable RP route?

Also, how does one react to cannibalism? Isn't it a "crime against humanity"? If so, does someones cannibalism grant me a right to kill them? Food for though, and discussion of course.

Brain Disease

I recently read a report in which someone describes a situation where one person hears another person laugh/cry spontaneously and uncontrollably. The first person then reacts by accusing the other (correctly) of being a cannibal. The cannibal then responds by asking the first person how he knew that he was a cannibal.

What are the limits to this and how can we deal with it in an RP sense? If I hear someone cry/laugh suddenly, I know that they are a cannibal. But does my character know? Do we really have to have an extensive medical background in brain disease in order to know what that laughter/sobbing means, in-game? I mean, it's a game mechanic and we all know (OOC at least) exactly what it means, but how do we avoid having that information influence RP?

Discuss!

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Mikachu    26

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SweetJoe    389

Hello. Perhaps this article from the Smithsonian will help you. You can find it here.

This article is good to learn about Kuru Kuru. Here

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Nagita    0

Hey, I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can! :)

For the case of seeing human meat from an OOC standpoint, that can easily trun into some metagaming, if you recognise the meat because, to be honest there is no clear way to make a difference between human flesh and animal flesh. So if you have no clue around you (like opened human body), you can't make the difference, however, if you really don't want to go through cannibalism yet, you can just claim ICly you're not hungry at the moment, that can do the trick.

For the cannibalism itself, well, to me there is no time before cannibalism should be "authorized". I mean we are in an ongoing apocalypse, food is rare and so, you might starve at some point. If you see a dead body, human or animal, and starving like hell, you pretty much have to do it, and eat that body, just because you don't want to die. Apocalyspe will reveal instinct senses of lots of people and, cannibalism will be on of this, since they are starving to death, and there is one only thing to do to avoid the end of your life.

So I think cannibalism should be "OK", if it's justified with starvation ONLY. Other reasons will result to the person's madness from my point of view.

(^ this paragraph can be tough to understand, just let me know if it is ^)

The scene you describe is a perfect example of metagaming to me. Even if OOCly this guy is a cannibal because of the twitches he had (because game mechanics), I'm pretty sure anyone with common knowledge would guess he's got Kuru just with this sudden laugh/cry. First of all because I think there is some other diasease who involves twitches, and next, you need all the symptoms to clearly define if it is a cannibal or not. And to know all the symptoms, you have to be a pretty good doctor. The only thing I know to avoid metagaming from those twitches is to ask innocently why he is crying/laughing. You let the door open to your RP comrade to find an believable excuse to justify it and so, you can continue enjoying the session.

Here it is, I hope I could answer your questions, and if you have some more, feel free to ask! :)

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Skhmt    0

The disease you get in DayZ can't be Kuru.

Besides an asymptomatic period measured in years to decades...

1) you only get Kuru from someone who already had Kuru, meaning if you ate any one of 99.99999999999999999% of the human population, you would have a literal zero percent chance of getting Kuru.

2) you are 8-9x more likely to get Kuru from eating the brain than eating muscle, and in-game, you eat "steaks", which are indeed the muscle.

3) the second stage of Kuru, in which uncontrollable laughter or crying manifests, also has the symptoms of being unable to walk without support. Further, the first stage also brings slurred speech in addition to the tremors which do exist in-game.

For these reasons, whatever disease you get from eating people is probably tied to the actual zombie infection.

That being said... using the laugh/cry as indication of cannibalism is metagaming because you're using the in-game audio file heard OOC for information IC. Imagine the laugh or cry came from the person's direct-chat instead of the game's sound effects... would you immediately think cannibal? No, of course not. But that's how you should treat the game's sound effect - as if it came from the person's voice or typed it in action *s.

On meat... humans, specifically those from high GDP countries... tend to have a lot of body fat. The meat would be very well-marbled and probably have much more fat than we're used to seeing on most animals. And considering most animals in DayZ are found free-range, they'd be much leaner in fat content compared to similar animals from a grocery store. It's still a a huge leap from a high quality cut of meat to cannibalism, but it could be one factor of many. I also heard human tastes like pork.

My last point for now regarding RP is that cannibalism isn't always done by necessity. In Papua New Guinea, the birth place of Kuru incidentally, they ate their own tribesmen for religious reasons. If they could consume the flesh of their lost brother or sister, that brother or sister's power would remain with the tribe instead of returning to nature. So if you subscribe to a cult or non-mainstream religion that believes the flesh (or heart or brain) contains a person's power and also believes that by physically consuming that flesh or organ you gain their power, it makes a lot of sense to be a cannibal and doesn't necessarily make you a murderer nor morally corrupt.

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Crocc    0

Ah crap, sorry didn't see that thread (it's on the second page apparently). In any case, I ask questions rather than tell people to stop meta-gaming. Actually I think the person who started that thread is the same person who wrote a report out of which I based my example under "Brain Disease."

Both very informative, and slightly disturbing, articles. Thanks!

Thanks for the feedback, and I understood you just fine, don't worry =)


Ok so take this example, and this is taken directly from my experience in-game on DayZRP.

I ran into a Vybor military base and there were like 10 people in there and it was chaotic. Out of nowhere, a zombie runs in from outside the walls and lunges at someone. Somehow, that person instantly died. Another person then ran up to his dead body and said "well, if his meat is going to go to waste..." and proceeded to skin and quarter the body.

That person is not a murderer. Morally corrupt? I don't know. He kept saying how "his body meant nothing" since he was already dead, but I can't really see how anyone would argue in favor of what that person did. It was wrong, it would be wrong, very wrong, in real life.

We asked him to leave, but I would have killed him if it was just him and me. Would I have been wrong in doing so?

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Skhmt    0

Ok so take this example, and this is taken directly from my experience in-game on DayZRP.

I ran into a Vybor military base and there were like 10 people in there and it was chaotic. Out of nowhere, a zombie runs in from outside the walls and lunges at someone. Somehow, that person instantly died. Another person then ran up to his dead body and said "well, if his meat is going to go to waste..." and proceeded to skin and quarter the body.

That person is not a murderer. Morally corrupt? I don't know. He kept saying how "his body meant nothing" since he was already dead, but I can't really see how anyone would argue in favor of what that person did. It was wrong, it would be wrong, very wrong, in real life.

We asked him to leave, but I would have killed him if it was just him and me. Would I have been wrong in doing so?

Well you wouldn't have KOS rights according to the rules here, so... yes, you would be wrong for killing him. I think I was there for that incident actually!

From a completely objective point of view, yes, the body means nothing once the person dies. Whether it be from evolution or religion, the majority of societies have determined that it's better to not eat the dead. Perhaps that's because they didn't want to encourage murder for meat. Perhaps they saw too many diseases come from eating the dead. Or perhaps defacing a corpse prevents the soul from reaching the afterlife. Who knows? But in any case, society has made it morally wrong, but it is not objectively wrong by any means.

There are many stories of survival where a group was stranded and they were forced to eat those that died. And DayZ is a survival game. Off the top of my head, two of the more famous are:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donner_Party

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Andes_flight_disaster

Were they morally wrong to eat the dead? I say no. Some may say yes, that they should have died of starvation before becomming a cannibal.

In the example you gave, the idea of necessity isn't quite there because he likely wasn't starving and if he was, others had food to spare. But if it's ok when you're starving, why isn't it ok when you just want extra meat for when you get hungry in the future, besides diseases of course?

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ApepAbaddon    0

Unless your character was a farmer or a hunter, they probably shouldn't be able to tell what kind of meat they're seeing. You can tell what chicken looks like, but slabs of beef, pork, and venison all look fairly similar to someone who's not familiar with them.

As for the realism aspect, while everyone in game can make fires, skin animals, and make splints, not every character should be able to. My character is a doctor, and he has no idea how to skin a deer, and it would probably take him a while to get a fire going. People doing everything is just an example of metagaming.

As said before, it's probably too early for there to be groups of cannibals. If someone was lost and starving, that could easily be RP'd into becoming a cannibal. But going this way isn't a crime against humanity. If they started to skin a quarter one of your friends, then it would be acceptable to initiate on them to get them to leave the body alone.

I recently ran into a guy who was a cannibal. OoC, I knew right away when he mentioned being twitchy, and had a strange response when I told him that a different group was talking about eating people. IC, I thought that this weird dude maybe had a wounded arm, so I made him a splint. I traveled with him and his friends for a bit, and when we heard him crying, we all just asked him if he was ok (the other two in the group knew he was a cannibal). IC, I started thinking that he probably had PTSD. So, you can let the symptoms in game influence your RP, but you shouldn't automatically leap to "This guy eats people".

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Crocc    0

In the example you gave, the idea of necessity isn't quite there because he likely wasn't starving and if he was, others had food to spare. But if it's ok when you're starving, why isn't it ok when you just want extra meat for when you get hungry in the future, besides diseases of course?

When you pose the question of whether it is right or wrong to eat human flesh when you are starving, you can draw a direct parallel to whether it is right or wrong to kill another person in self-defense. Murder is wrong, and so is eating a human body. Whether or not you HAVE to do something in order to survive does not change that, at least in my opinion. I think most people would share that opinion. Including the people that were forced into cannibalism in the articles you linked. If I remember correctly, the survivors of the Andes incident themselves admit to it having been wrong in one of the documentaries I've watched.


People doing everything is just an example of metagaming.

Ehh, so we should all have to be taught or otherwise somehow learn to make a fire before we do so in order to prevent our freezing to death in-game?

Honestly, I don't really think that's meta gaming. You're taking that way too far.

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Skhmt    0

In the example you gave, the idea of necessity isn't quite there because he likely wasn't starving and if he was, others had food to spare. But if it's ok when you're starving, why isn't it ok when you just want extra meat for when you get hungry in the future, besides diseases of course?

When you pose the question of whether it is right or wrong to eat human flesh when you are starving, you can draw a direct parallel to whether it is right or wrong to kill another person in self-defense. Murder is wrong, and so is eating a human body. Whether or not you HAVE to do something in order to survive does not change that, at least in my opinion. I think most people would share that opinion. Including the people that were forced into cannibalism in the articles you linked. If I remember correctly, the survivors of the Andes incident themselves admit to it having been wrong in one of the documentaries I've watched.

Homicide, the killing of a person, is not itself considered a "wrong" act if you were to ask most people. It all depends on the reason behind the killing. Self-defense and murder are two types of homicide, but are not overlapping. Capitol punishment is another type, as is killing enemy combatants in times of war.

If the act itself of eating human flesh isn't strictly wrong, then we must look to the reasoning behind eating the flesh. In this case, it's the literal apocalypse. It appears that 99%+ of the population has died or become a zombie. There is little cattle left and most buildings have been raided of all preserved food. The only electricity that exists in game is the runway lights on the airfield. Yes, server resets bring food. Yes, you can possibly fish (if your character knows how), pick fruit (if you're lucky to find a tree that hasn't been picked clean), and farm (if your character knows how). So for someone living in-land with no access and no knowledge of how to fish and no knowledge of farming... his next meal may never be a certain thing. If someone was about to burn or bury 100 lbs of meat... I don't think it's too far-fetched that someone would want to save that meat from being wasted. If it's morally wrong or not honestly depends on the individual making the judgment. But I don't think it's necessarily bad RP. I think there's a very valid argument into not only being a cannibal when you are currently starving, but also when you realize that if you don't take steps now to prepare, you will be starving in the near future.

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Crocc    0

Homicide, the killing of a person, is not itself considered a "wrong" act if you were to ask most people. It all depends on the reason behind the killing. Self-defense and murder are two types of homicide, but are not overlapping. Capitol punishment is another type, as is killing enemy combatants in times of war.

If the act itself of eating human flesh isn't strictly wrong, then we must look to the reasoning behind eating the flesh. In this case, it's the literal apocalypse. It appears that 99%+ of the population has died or become a zombie. There is little cattle left and most buildings have been raided of all preserved food. The only electricity that exists in game is the runway lights on the airfield. Yes, server resets bring food. Yes, you can possibly fish (if your character knows how), pick fruit (if you're lucky to find a tree that hasn't been picked clean), and farm (if your character knows how). So for someone living in-land with no access and no knowledge of how to fish and no knowledge of farming... his next meal may never be a certain thing. If someone was about to burn or bury 100 lbs of meat... I don't think it's too far-fetched that someone would want to save that meat from being wasted. If it's morally wrong or not honestly depends on the individual making the judgment. But I don't think it's necessarily bad RP. I think there's a very valid argument into not only being a cannibal when you are currently starving, but also when you realize that if you don't take steps now to prepare, you will be starving in the near future.

... you wouldn't happen to be the guy that I almost got everyone to vote to execute that day, would you? xD

In any case, your argument is actually pretty good. It still doesn't make cannibalism something acceptable in my own eyes, but in my characters eyes...

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ApepAbaddon    0


People doing everything is just an example of metagaming.

Ehh, so we should all have to be taught or otherwise somehow learn to make a fire before we do so in order to prevent our freezing to death in-game?

Honestly, I don't really think that's meta gaming. You're taking that way too far.

Perhaps metagaming wasn't the word I should have used. I use metagaming in a broader sense than this server.

But like I also said, most people could manage to get a fire going given enough time. But this is also RP survival. Sometimes people just aren't able to survive.

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Skhmt    0

... you wouldn't happen to be the guy that I almost got everyone to vote to execute that day, would you? xD

In any case, your argument is actually pretty good. It still doesn't make cannibalism something acceptable in my own eyes, but in my characters eyes...

Nah, wasn't me. If it actually was the same event, I was the guy everyone blamed for killing the dude in the first place. I say blamed, because from my in game perspective, I ran up to a zombie and axed it once. I didn't even see a dead player until a minute or two later, likely due to a bug. It's possible my one axe swing hit both the zombie and an invisible player, and that idea makes the most sense since those who could see the player saw him die in one hit from the zombie. But I still don't know if an axe swing can hit two targets. Another idea is that the broken spine mechanic came into effect and the zombie did one shot the player. In dayzrp, our characters tend to live a very long time, so it's plausible.

I still have no idea what happened, but because of that I no longer fight zombies when I'm in a group, I let the group deal with it.

And yeah, regardless of how logical cannibalism can be, if religion or social stigma is too heavily engrained, it'll never be acceptable. I don't want to drift too far off topic, but another example might be incest where one or both parties are sterile or the same sex. Logically there's nothing wrong once you remove the chance of a child who will possibly suffer from congenital disorder. In some cultures, incest was even preferred by royalty to keep bloodlines "pure." But it's still such an engrained taboo in modern societies that very very few people will think it's ok under any circumstances. Much like cannibalism, although at least cannibalism can prevent death in extreme situations.

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Oh, one more point of interest, extended cannibalism can have adverse side effects aside from the brain disease. This can include ulcers, swelling of the liver (and various other organs), and in rare occasions causing pus to form inside the body. So if you are a cannibal already onto the second stage of the brain disease (Forced laughing/crying) I would highly suggest that you do not permit any medical checks on your person.

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