The Moral of the Story:
We all progress through life with moral obligations; we all have duties to our family, friends, jobs, religion, etc. When these duties conflict with each other we have to decide which we value the most. The Order: 1886 is a roleplaying game with a story about the inner struggle of deciding which of our obligations we are willing to give up in order to follow what we value more. The story is also a lesson on how these types of choices shape the course or lives take. As the game progresses a theme of duty and sacrifice stands out, shaping the moral of the story.
The Story and the Moral:
The strongest evidence for a theme of duty and sacrifice in The Order: 1886 is found at the critical decision points of the story. Throughout the game various characters are motivated by a sense of duty to family or friends as well as the ideals of the Order. To provide some background, The Order is an organization of men and women founded to fight werewolves, vampires, and in general protect London. Most of the story’s characters belong to the group and are referred to as Knights.
The first critical decision point in the game is when the main character chooses disobey his superiors to seek out the truth. He sacrifices his obligations to the Order because he values truth and justice over the organization. The consequences of his choice lead us to the second example. The former lover of the main character, also another Knight, chooses her duty to the Order over her friendship with the main character. Instead of seeking out her friend and demanding answers, she remains dutiful to the Order and begins to hunt the main character. She accepts the information from her superiors, that the main character is a traitor, as truth because she values the ideals and her obligation to the Order over her relationship with her friend. The final example occurs at the end of the game and is the climax of the story. The ending chapter reveals that one of the Knights is secretly a werewolf. The father of this character has known this for quite some time but could never bring himself to kill his child. Instead he kept the secret buried even as the werewolf worked to destroy the Order from within. In the end the father chooses family, his blood, over the ideals of the Order. Even if it means sacrificing the very organization which he has dedicated his life to.
All of these examples share the common theme of duty and sacrifice. Each time the characters must decide which obligation they value the most and what they are willing to sacrifice to keep it. These critical decisions shape more than the final outcome of the story, as each choice has a profound effect on the character’s lives. As such, the moral of the story for The Order: 1886 is this; when a decision between two obligations requires one be forfeited, it can change the course of one’s life.
Life and the Moral:
We cannot ignore the moral of the story from The Order: 1886 simply because the choices shown in the game are not ones we will ever have to make. This is simply not true, at some point during our lives we are going to be faced with impossible decisions. There will come a time when obligations will conflict with each other and we will have to choose what we value the most and what must be sacrificed. The lesson to be learned from The Order: 1886, is one day, like the characters in the game, we will be faced with these decisions. When that time comes we need to be ready to make a choice. We need to ask ourselves what out of the things we value would we be willing to give up. By conducting this self-examination we are better prepared for these “impossible” choices between obligations. Instead of being paralyzed by indecision, we are able to make a choice because we already know what we value most. That does not mean it will be easy because no amount contemplation will make these decisions pain free due to the sacrifice they often require. However, since we have learned from the moral of The Order: 1886 the choices will become less impossible, our thoughts less panicked, and as a result the final outcome will be a thoughtful and deliberate choice.