One suspects the Slug would come across a lot less sympathetic if the books also noted that he periodically killed and ate his slave girls so that he could take their shapes.
I mean, slave prostitution is a big huge horrible thing, but murder-cannibalism is going to draw some attention even in societies that give that a pass.
Is pimping slave girls into early syphillitic graves really not as bad as eating the hearts of bandit leaders just because society tolerates the former and finds the latter distasteful?
Hm. I thought "Pretty much everyone in the world is a morally reprehensible jerk not worth saving," was one of the things 3e was moving away from.
Injecting more hope into the setting isn't just a matter of writing both rulers and outlaws as more positive and ethical, contrary to all historical and sociological precedent -- that's exactly the mistake 2e Lunars made, trying to strip out the more transgressive elements of Silver Pact society and present them as more benign, well-intentioned, and, uh, bland.
It's a matter of shifting focus.
The 2e shitdark problem stems from deciding that the virtues of the setting are boring to talk about and as much wordcount as possible should be spent reminding people that power-players -- that is to say, rulers, who effect change in society by leveraging it; and outlaws, who effect change in society by operating outside its precepts (these categories are fuzzy and I just made them up, by the way) -- tend to crush people in the process of effecting change, and typically are ignorant, callous, or both of the negative consequences, side-effects and costs in lives and liveleyhoods of the change they effect. In 3e, that's not going to stop being a thing that's true.
Injecting more hope into the setting is more about providing a few
contrasting examples -- power players who are not callous or ignorant -- and then presenting a setting that's interesting enough to seem worth caring about. Compass: Autochthonia didn't make Autochthonia appealing by making it less doomed, it made it appealing by making the doom more worthwhile to fight.