Recently, cookiemonger and I watched an episode of Burn Notice that used a term I was unfamiliar with, “rendition.” When I read up on the term via Wikipedia, it turned out I actually knew what it was, … but I’m sure you know how it can be when you’re keeping track of gazillions of words and definitions. I just forgot.

So, yeah, this is relevant how? Well, while I was looking up the word, it got me thinking about bounty hunters, sanctuaries, and the right of asylum. (I wrote about the concept of asylum back when I started this blog, in conjunction with hospitality.)

Back when I started work on the five different tactical styles, I started putting lots of things into groups of five, which worked for some things, and not for others. I don’t think I talked about any of those other groupings, such as the five competing philosophical concepts I came up with to represent a sort of philosophical … pie.

Rendition got me thinking about asylum, which got me thinking about law and justice, which got me thinking about mercy and compassion, which led to thoughts about pragmatism, honor, peace, selfishness, favoritism, worldliness, altruism, vengeance, and a other big, abstract concepts. I got back to work on my five philosophies.

They are, essentially: honor, truth, nobility, favor, and sense.

When I was working on them before, I got lost in trying to define each one of them separately, and further lost when I tried to define them in contrast to one another. Finally, I did some more reading about the different concepts, and came to an interesting realization about honor and justice, and how they’re at odds.

You’ll have to forgive me for being naive on these subjects, I’m trying to make game mechanics out of abstract philosophical concepts. Anyway, as I understand them, both are ethical concepts, related to society and social expectations. Which suggests that they don’t really exist without people. This is important to character interaction.

While justice and honor aren’t mutually exclusive, they are somewhat combative concepts. Justice takes the view that punishment must be meted out by an arbiter, someone or something impartial to the situation, and it requires that people subject themselves to law, making a promise to one another that they will respect the law.

And also submitting themselves to punishment when they transgress.

Honor, on the other hand, assumes no one has agreed to follow the unspoken agreement, and that everyone is responsible for dealing out justice by their own hand. Just vengeance is handed down by a system, while honorable vengeance is carried out by the wronged, or a related party in behalf of the wronged.

Honor and justice are often seen in competition with one another, but they aren’t mutually exclusive by necessity. Most people just aren’t clever enough to follow the laws of the land and their code of honor at the same time. Following one path to its logical extreme tends to cross the other and cause unpleasantness.

More on this to follow.