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  1. - Top - End - #811
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by starship1 View Post
    this would be impossible, because there are only 2 sponsers for the apprentices: the chieftan and the overseer, if there are 2 mantle bearers, than it is highly unlikely for this to happen at the same time
    Pardon me if I'm misreading this, but it seems to me that if some young apprentice of the shaman gets two sponsors, he undertakes some quest to become the shaman right?

    So when he succeeds, what happens to the shaman? (and for that matter, what happens to the shaman's other apprentices?)

  2. - Top - End - #812
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    This really depends on the apprentice, most don't try to surpass the master without extreme motivation such as the old shaman not performing his duties. an aspiring apprentice only needs one sponser to become Mantle Bearer who then remains mantle bearer into a suitible act of magic is performed, (usually the effect any spell of 5th level or higher will suffice)

    When a change does happen, George usually reverts to an elder, the group of old elves who act as advisers to the Chief. If the Phil is a real cheeky SoaB than George is "Offered" a chance to become the apprentice of Phil. This usually results in the Phil's immediate death by flame-strike. George then reverts to his former position and find a new apprentice.
    Last edited by starship1; 2012-11-08 at 10:43 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #813
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Sounds pretty good. I can see all kinds of interesting dynamics, politics, and conflict coming out of this system. It should make for all kinds of good rp situations.
    For instance, how happy is the relationship between an ex-shaman (with or without spells) and the chieftain who supported his replacement?

  4. - Top - End - #814
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    usually the deplaced shaman, (who does have spells) supports a challenger to the chief (and uses buffs to help him), and then pressures him to sponser another apprentice who the Ex-shaman approves of.

  5. - Top - End - #815
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    What would happen if the sun was somehow frozen in place in the sky? Would you end up with a desert (the intuitive result, which immediately makes me suspect that it's wrong)? What would happen to ocean currents, wind patterns, and precipitation? What about areas where the sun was frozen low on the horizon, or where it was night? How much solar energy would be diffused to the dark side of the planet? What plants and animals could or couldn't adapt?
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  6. - Top - End - #816
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    If the sun were frozen in the sky, that would mean the planet is tidally locked, I think, like the Earth's moon.

    I've read a lot of conflicting articles on what life on an earthlike, tidally-locked planet would be like; some scientists think it would be completely uninhabitable, others think that there's a decent chance that life could continue, although the ecosystem would definitely be drastically altered.

    Assuming you're going for the "maybe habitable" option:

    The gravity of the sun would cause the sun-facing side to bulge outward, which would likely cause stress on the lithosphere. There "day" side might be plagued by intense earthquakes and volcanic activity. On the "night" side, a sizable amount of the earth's water might be locked up in an ice cap.

    There would obviously be a temperature difference between the day/night sides, and there would probably be a great number of extinctions, especially among plants. But the difference might not be as great as you might think. A strong atmosphere convection current would keep warm air constantly flowing from the day side to night side. The winds would probably be pretty intense, and the "twilight" area (the ring between day and night) might be plagued by constant intense storms as the cold and warm air collide.

    Of course, I'm not a xenobiologist/exoplanetary astronomer/whatever, so that could be entirely wrong.

    ETA: I think the biggest problem would be plant life. The sweet spot for plants to thrive would be around the twilight ring, but I don't think many plants could deal with the constant gales and storms.
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-11-16 at 08:01 PM.

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  7. - Top - End - #817
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    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Those assumptions are all based on the scenario that our Earth would be tidally locked to our sun. If you have a planet of different composition, at a different distance from a star with a different output of radiation, everything changes.
    There are millions of variables and while the vast majority of configurations result in nothing but a dead rock, there are still far more than just one that could allow for Earth-like life.
    If a planet is far away from the sun and recieves little radiation, life might be possible only directly in the center of the sunward side and a non-locked planet of the same size at the same size might be completely inhospitable. Though for tidal locking, the smaller body needs to be "relatively" close, so instead make it a very small star perhaps. Or make it that life is only possible on the night-side.

    With stars and planets, almost everything imaginable is possible if you don't make specific statements about the stars size and age, the orbital distance of the planet and its internal composition. For a fantasy world, it's entirely enough to say that these things are just as they would need to be to make this world possible.
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  8. - Top - End - #818
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    So I have a question about farming. About how much of a population of roughly
    300,000 need of farmers/fishermen to sustain the nation with a small to moderate amount of surplus food. If it helps the area the nation is in has a mix of forests, plains and hills. It also tends towards the cooler side. I'm thinking more or less at least 1/3rd of the population needs to be dedicated food gatherer's. Is this roughly correct?

    Thanks, Dragonfire
    Last edited by Dragonfire; 2012-11-19 at 11:43 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #819
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfire View Post
    So I have a question about farming. About how much of a population of roughly
    300,000 need of farmers/fishermen to sustain the nation with a small to moderate amount of surplus food. If it helps the area the nation is in has a mix of forests, plains and hills. It also tends towards the cooler side. I'm thinking more or less at least 1/3rd of the population needs to be dedicated food gatherer's. Is this roughly correct?

    Thanks, Dragonfire
    I asked this a while ago, and someone referred me to this awesome site.

    Long story short, no. In the example given on the site, 97% of the population lives in rural areas, and most of those are going to be farmers.

    Edit: Though, of course, magic could change things dramatically.
    Last edited by Jeff the Green; 2012-11-20 at 12:14 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #820
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Green View Post
    I asked this a while ago, and someone referred me to this awesome site.

    Long story short, no. In the example given on the site, 97% of the population lives in rural areas, and most of those are going to be farmers.

    Edit: Though, of course, magic could change things dramatically.
    150 years ago, if memory serves, >90% of American population were farmers. Now, <5%. Arthur C. Clarke's saying comes to mind....
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  11. - Top - End - #821
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    150 years ago, if memory serves, >90% of American population were farmers. Now, <5%. Arthur C. Clarke's saying comes to mind....
    Exactly. Plant growth alone reduces the required percentage by 25%.

  12. - Top - End - #822
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    I'm actually not so sure magic, as commonly portrayed, can actually help with that much. Sure, if magic is ubiquitous and can do literally anything with little risk. Then yes, it will affect the size of the agricultural population. But otherwise it requires magic to do a number of very specific things.

    For instance. It is simple to say that increasing how much the ground yields will mean less population is needed to farm. But if 97% of the population works around the year to feed a little more than 100 % then it suggests to me that the primary limitation is not so much yield, but labour.
    Multiple harvests will help, certainly. But if the increased yield does not have enough people picking it up before it rots then it didn't really matter, did it?

    This is perhaps also what has revolutionized agirculture the most the last century. These days we use machines to do what we needed to do by hand before. We have -also- increased yield many many times over, but most importanly we have freed up people that previously had to do manual labour on the fields.

    So in order for us to feed as many, or more, with less people, then magic needs to be able to duplicate labour and do so on a massive scale. It needs to do the same job as the massive machines we use today do.
    This puts two requirements on our magic. First of all it needs to be utilised on basically a infrastructure level. Secondly it needs to be at the disposal of the farmers.

    Essentially... magic has to be common enough for there to be wizard farmers. Magicians who has ended up on what basically is one of the lowest steps in the social ladder (no disrespect to farmers meant). And these wizards still needs to be able to pull off magical feats of an amazing scale. (What does that tell us of what high society is capable of?)

    Even things like undead (which I, personally, would not like to touching my food) or golems or summoned servants are tricky to pull off. Because they are at their core rather valuable for other tasks as well. Especially warfare. So now we need enough of them to staff up fighting forces, serve as guardians of difficult to access stuff, possibly ceremonial things and on top off that enough of them to take thousands of people of the field. Even just maintaining them temporarily for the harvest means keeping thousands, if not millions, active every day (and night?) for a handful of weeks.

    This still means we have a lot of wizards doing the magical equalient of manual labour.

    A second or third harvest, would of course mitidgate this by a fair bit. Since now the population will have more food each year. It won't free up as many people. But on large enough scale it'll free up a sizeable chunk of the agricultural population anyways. You still need a vast population to bring the harvest in and process it, but probably not as many as otherwise.

    The problem is of course that you need to do this on a massive scale here as well. It's not enough to do this on a single field, but rather over several percentages of the total farmed land. Which means we likely have a lot of wizards doing nothing but bosting growth.

    Having magic help with preservation helps a little bit as well. It's not as significant, but every little bit helps. Same thing really applies to creating magical logistics. It doesn't really free up much of the population, but might adjust the curve one or two percentile units. Again, this requires it on a massive scale or it'll basically be a drop in the ocean.

    So to summarize. Yes, magic can probably free up population from agricultural labour. But for it do so effectively it needs certain assumtions that might not fit every setting.

  13. - Top - End - #823
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Agreed. Though I have to ask how effective "mindless" constructs would be at farming or other forms of work, as in my setting the most common type of construct is not unlike an Eldar Wraithguard from 40K. The ritual that is used to create these constructs when it's preformed successfully only works about 9/10's the time. Since the ritual involves binding the spirit's of the dead this 1/10 are basically really fancy skeletons, and I was wondering how useful in construction and farming they would be. I figured that having about 30,000 tireless workers that can follow simple commands would be pretty useful.
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  14. - Top - End - #824
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    In addition no real world farmer has had to deal with a sounder of dire boars digging up his field
    So having large portions of your crops wiped out may be something that happens on a fairly regular basis

  15. - Top - End - #825
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfire View Post
    Agreed. Though I have to ask how effective "mindless" constructs would be at farming or other forms of work, as in my setting the most common type of construct is not unlike an Eldar Wraithguard from 40K. The ritual that is used to create these constructs when it's preformed successfully only works about 9/10's the time. Since the ritual involves binding the spirit's of the dead this 1/10 are basically really fancy skeletons, and I was wondering how useful in construction and farming they would be. I figured that having about 30,000 tireless workers that can follow simple commands would be pretty useful.
    It depends on just how autonomous they can be. Animating these 30k is a monomentous task on it's own, but it can be done over a protracted period of time.
    But just how mindless are they? Do they basically require people looking over their shoulders all the time or they'll ruin themselves and/or what they work with? Can they follow a simple instruction? Can they follow an advanced instruction? Can they take their own initiative?

    It's all fair and good if they can scoop hay. But will they keep scooping onto the cart until it breaks? Because if so, they will need people to oversee and being able to command them. Which means they free up far less people than they make up. Not to mention that they still can't work nights because the people overseeing them have to be able to see and sleep.

    Secondly, what does it cost to make them? Which is more or less directly translated to: how many day's work of food does each and every one of these "consume" while being constructed. If they cost more than they can produce then it's not worth it. Remember, peasants multiply on their own and feed themselves, at no extra cost on the ruler's/artisans' part. These things can't be cheap to make.

    Thirdly. Pride, remember pride. Do you think the King (or other rich influental people) would like to have their, sadly mindless, favourite uncle sent out to the fields to do farmwork?

    Not to mention that 30 000 tireless mindless beings might actually be better doing sentry duty or guarding inhospitable borders in far off regions.

    At the very best, they'll take out peasants on a one to one and a half basis. So 45 000 people for 30 000 mindless automatons. But that means they're pretty much people in deathless bodies that cannot be bored or distracted. Far more likely they'll be 30 000 mindless for 15 000 people or even 6 000 people. Depending on how selfguiding they are.

  16. - Top - End - #826
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    also check whether they wear out a human body heals naturally does an undead one? in the long run you might be able to get a lot of concentrated work out of a zombie having it work tirelessly but if it wears out quickly then it might be a net loss or resources depending on how many resources it take to make one.

    in regards to intelligence even in fairly mindless tasks their are often tricks to do them more effectively even if they can work unsupervised they still might be worse then humans doing the same menial labor.

    on top of all this is the political aspect if your country is going to lose trade because no one wants to associate with the icky necromancers the gain from potentially cheaper goods may be quickly off set.

  17. - Top - End - #827
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Well they are more akin to animated statues than undead but I see your point. The successful one's are more or less warforged with some fluff differences involving necromancy and spirit binding, while the ones I was talking about here are the failures which require instructing and are more akin to mindless undead.

    Now combining a few of the sentient ones to over see the mindless ones would be much more effective than having normal people watching over them. For the nation im talking about pride is not a really a problem, they go the hubris beat out of them a few centuries before. It's part of the reason why they have a surplus of corpses to build these constructs.
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  18. - Top - End - #828
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Since RPGs are games, the work that magic does is pretty impractical. No real agriculture, logistics or communication. In a real world situation, wizards would have the magical equivalent of cell phones or comm links, highways, trucks and refrigerators. There's a spell for preserving corpses, but not crops? Really? What's more important? One dead body or one or more living ones?
    But hey, it's a game, and it's fun:)

  19. - Top - End - #829
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    it still a matter of numbers gentle repose is a 2 or 3 level spell that preserve 1 corpse for level/ days even if it applied to crops it would be ineffective over the long requiring constant attention from caster who could be better spent elsewhere.

    I might expect kings, temples, and wizard towers to have such items but not regular people.

    in regards to long distance communication thatís either inefficient or high level so again unless the setting has a lot of extremely high level wizards it's still just located in the hands of the elite.

    Trucks are nothing but an animated object.
    Logistics are teleport, and so on.

    dnd has logistics and communication they just require more magic then itís worth
    Last edited by awa; 2012-11-21 at 09:12 AM.

  20. - Top - End - #830
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    And my point is that if you were looking at the world thinking "hey, I can do magic! What does the world need? What can I do to make life better?" You might look at everybody slogging through the fields, and turn your attention to food and its distribution, rather than figuring out a way to preserve a corpse long enough to cast even higher level magic to revive it.
    I get using magic as a weapon, but surely somebody in all the history of magic thought about using magic for food, shelter, and the other necessities of life as well.
    I'm thinking items more than spells. Teleportation is cool, but how about conveyor belts, roads, construction, etc.
    Edit:
    Joel Rosenberg, in one of his books, came up with the idea of the wood knife- basically a sword that only cuts wood, but cuts it like a hot knife through butter. It would make sense to have this, and a stone knife, a stone shovel, a dirt shovel, etc. What about a pump? Easier and perhaps more useful than an endless decanter. What about mills and tools hooked up to an endless pump/decanter? Can you say factory? With a perpetual motion machine.
    Why aren't there countless ever burning torches? They never quit, so all it takes is one 5th level caster on a mission, with a pile of stones, and you've got cheap, permanent lighting, forever. Etc, etc.

    Don't get me wrong, I like my high fantasy the way it is. It just doesn't make sense, that's all. Of course, it is *fantasy* :)
    Last edited by Grundy; 2012-11-21 at 11:12 AM.

  21. - Top - End - #831
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    magic items are incredible expensive all those thing cost more than their worth.

    Using move earth to build a road cost thousands of gold pieces hiring a bunch of commoners to do it cost a fraction as much.

    a regular torch costs 1 copper an ever burning torch costs 110 gold thatís more than 10 thousand times more expensive

    a big city might feel this is worth it but your average village or town is not going to worry about it.

    their are a number of spells that create shelter either directly such as the tiny hut type spells or indirectly such as shape stone again it's cheaper to just do it normaly.
    Last edited by awa; 2012-11-21 at 11:22 AM.

  22. - Top - End - #832
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Iirc, a torch burns for 1 hour. And it's a fire hazard, health hazard and dirty. A lamp or candle is better, but not much. An ever burning torch will pay for itself in 10,000 hours, or less than 7 years if only used 4 hours a day. If used for security, it pays off in 2.3 years, can't be put out easily, and won't light your stuff on fire. That's a bargain for anyone with a few hundred gold to spare- basically any and all nobility or wealthy commoners. And all their children. And all temples, mercenary halls, inns, etc.
    I can see homes not having them, but all public spaces should.
    As far as magic items go, if they don't have charges they last forever. Longer lived races in particular should appreciate this, but everyone should get the benefit.
    You might lose money on the first project, but over the course of building a barony, say, you'd come out way ahead.

  23. - Top - End - #833
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    for the vast majority of people they wonít go through even one torch a day much less need 4 or more.

    It's dark people sleep with no tv or books thereís very little reason for a common person to want a torch.

    Torches arnt as good as lanterns for security because the lantern shines 50% more(for hooded) or 3 times in one direction (for bulls eye) also they are less likely to be stolen.



    if your going to have tons of magic items worth over 100 gold just sitting around in public places people will steal them.

    so again wealthy people will have them but they wont make any kind of meaningful impact on society.

    100 gp is a lot of money very few commoners will every see that much money in there entire lives.

    Maybe a extremely wealth merchant might consider buying one but it would likely be a precious heirloom not something you would let the servants touch and certainly not something you would hang up like light bulbs. (Similarly priced items are gold vestments and silver chalices studded with gems)
    Last edited by awa; 2012-11-21 at 03:46 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #834
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    If magic is cheap, common, lasting/durable and safe, then there is, as you say, little reason that magic isn't at least influencing parts of the infrastructure. But again, consider that those four factors are actually pretty rare together in a setting.

    An everlasting torch sounds like a good idea. But even if we limit it to the rich and public instititutions, defences and larger businessness that is still hundreds if not thousands of torches. If the local region only has one wizard and his apprentice? And only one of them can reliably cast this?
    For this to be even a remotely practical venture there actually needs to be a fair bit of magicians with spare time on their hands.

    Similarily, if a magical item is a pretty hefty one-time cost (not neccessarily monetary though), that too might put a wrench in the machinery. Because when it comes to infastructure, private individuals are very unlikely to start recieving money back. This means our magical infrastructure/public works will either have to be rather expensive donations or contract work. Which again, puts rather specific requirements on the setting.
    Moreover, it also requires the investors to think on the long term rather than the short.

    Not to mention that if you cannot create permanent magical items. That things either have to rely on temporary activations (like magical weapons) or that the spell fades out over time/animated servants get worn out. Then we're talking about some sort of magical industry to replace them. Perhaps even factories with magicians working the floor.

    And finally, and most crucially, safety. If magic cannot be guaranteed to be safe then it will not be used for infrastructure. If teleportation has a 1% chance of sending you to the home of demons, then common traders won't be using it. If evelasting torches has a small chance to explode every hour used, consider how often that statistically would happen 8 hours a night for 600 torches.

    Those factors are far more influential than capability when it comes to magical infrastructure. However, if you do make a setting where those four are true. That magic is cheap, common, safe and lasting. Then there's no reason not to have magical infrastructure.

  25. - Top - End - #835
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Actually, if magic is safe and lasting, and its been around for centuries, them its going to add up. What library wouldn't want an ever burning torch? What stronghold wouldn't want an endless decanter? What mill wouldn't? These would be prized possessions, to be sure, but on a dnd scale of wealth (since that's the specifics we're using), I think the upper classes at least would find them commonplace. Including temples, libraries, colleges, guild halls, and so on.

  26. - Top - End - #836
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    in a pseudo medieval setting where books are extremely rare and only people of a certain economic level are allowed to partake then a small amount of ever burning torches would make sense.
    But a modern style library where people just come in and there are no guards, no the ever burning torch is to valuable itís sale would feed a man for several years.

    a mill runs into the same problem the library does
    First Iím not certain the gyser is strong enough to operate a mill a river has a lot more then 5 gallons a second.

    second the 9,000 gold price tag means no commoner could ever hope to purchase an item like that and they would need a 24 hour guard because a commoner who stole that would never need to work again.
    Heck 9000 gp would be well above average for a 11th level encounter so the guys guarding your mill need to be tough enough to stop high level adventures
    Last edited by awa; 2012-11-22 at 06:54 AM.

  27. - Top - End - #837
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    I think most of you know about my setting Dungeonworld Well, I need help with a few concepts for it from those forumers more learned in history than I.

    Firstly, for the "Decadent, cruel Rome-falling-esque" minotaur empire, I need some nasty bits from Roman culture (especially as it was crumbling later in the Empire's lifespan) to add to them to flesh them out, because for now all I have is their love of making their cities as mazelike as possible, their really unpleasant enslavement of the Ormyrr that I will discuss later, and one other thing that I'm worried about. Could you help me out with that?

    And that other thing I'm worried about their culture is that they encourage male homosexuality and discourage heterosexuality out of pure mysogyny, that women are unworthy and gay is the only worthy way to go.

    I based this off actual Roman culture (At least, what I remember learning about it, please correct me if I'm wrong), but I'm worried about people getting angry about it.

    It's not meant to be homophobic, the things that are supposed to be repulsive about it are the misogyny and the pederasty, not the gay (Indeed, I have an idea for two shopkeeper NPCs who happen to be a gay couple who find the minotaurs behavior abhorrent). Could you give me some advice on how to handle the issue?

    And thirdly, does anybody have some interesting tidbits from various real-life criminal organizations to add to Dungeonworld's biggest criminal organization, the Undead Mafia? Their base would be your stereotypical Godfather-style Mafia headed by a group of powerful undead called The Crazy 8, but I'd also like to add the interesting bits from other criminal syndicates (IE, the Yakuza's pinky-chopping, the Columbian Necktie, ect.), so I need help with that.

    To give you an idea of the tone of the Undead Mafia, two of their most significant ground-level enforcer NPCs are named D.B. and Cooper and are essentially based on Team Rocket, and one of the Crazy 8 literally has the inverse motivations of Macheath from The Threepenny Opera*

    *(IE, he's a mummy member of the evilly capitalistic/aristocratic Deva race who realised that crime & extortion was the logical extension what they were already doing, so he decided to get into the "Business" with an almost religious fervor).
    Last edited by tbok1992; 2012-11-22 at 02:17 PM.

  28. - Top - End - #838
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    HeadlessMermaid's Avatar

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by tbok1992 View Post
    And that other thing I'm worried about their culture is that they encourage male homosexuality and discourage heterosexuality out of pure mysogyny, that women are unworthy and gay is the only worthy way to go.

    I based this off actual Roman culture (At least, what I remember learning about it, please correct me if I'm wrong), but I'm worried about people getting angry about it.

    It's not meant to be homophobic, the things that are supposed to be repulsive about it are the misogyny and the pederasty, not the gay (Indeed, I have an idea for two shopkeeper NPCs who happen to be a gay couple who find the minotaurs behavior abhorrent). Could you give me some advice on how to handle the issue?
    Tricky. My advice is to de-demonize the issue, so that you don't turn it into a caricature (which bears no real resemblance to Rome in any case).

    So, institutionalized pederasty. Sounds awful. Let's figure out how it happened, then, starting from what actually happened. Because if you imagine that 8-year-old boys were regularly at the mercy of any adult that passed by, you're way off.

    It's a fact that mentor/student relationships were often sexual in nature, and this was considered acceptable. But:
    1) The students were not little boys, they were at least adolescents.
    2) It was, as a rule, consensual. The teacher didn't have the right to just do as he pleased, he was expected to try and convince the student.
    3) It was only acceptable if it didn't lead to actual sex (sexual acts yes, penetration no). Did sex happen, nonetheless, behind closed doors? In some cases, probably. But they didn't advertise it, or make it sound like a good thing.

    Now, something to bear in mind. The concept and definition of a "minor" was totally different then than what it is today. Citizen rights might be gained later, but manhood/womanhood would be reached at 12~14. Adolescence was perceived as early youth - an age of frivolity perhaps, but not without responsibilities, or without accountability.

    The mentor wasn't considered to "take advantage" of the student, because the student - at 15 - was considered a man grown. He could say no. Therefore (they figured), if he said yes it was because he wanted to, for the kicks or for the benefits - and there were a lot of benefits, especially if the mentor was rich and powerful. That's not how you would judge any modern situation, of course, but we're talking about the antiquity and we can't use modern standards.

    Note that, both in theory and in practice, a young boy had much more freedom in choosing a teacher//(sort of) lover than a woman choosing a husband. And that brings us to misogyny. Yes, ancient Rome was supremely patriarchical. But put this in its historical context: at that time, which society wasn't? (None.) Which society gave full rights to women? (None.) Which society had true gender equality? (Are you kidding me? We don't have that now!)

    By the time Rome started to collapse under its own weight, women had managed to gain some rights (owning/inheriting some property, initiating a divorce, being able to represent themselves in court with no need for a "guardian" etc). Earlier (in less "decadent" times) it was much worse. In Athens it was much much worse.

    In short: If you want to make your decadent Empire's pederasty repulsive (without resorting to homophobia or anything similar), you must make sure that the rest of the world considers 15-year-olds minors, who can't legally give consent. (Or, laws aside, considers them too young for sexual experiences, so anything of the sort would be abominable.) And if you want to make your decadent Empire's misogyny repulsive, you must make sure that the rest of the world is - relatively - advanced in gender equality.

    As always, context is everything.

    EDIT: You seem to be under the impression that pederasty and misogyny were symptoms of the Roman Empire's decadence, in contrast with earlier and nobler times. That's not the case. They were present during most of its history (and weren't a Roman invention either, they could be found in many civilizations at the time). If anything, they became less pronounced towards the end. Fun fact: some writers found definitive proof of the Empire's corruption and impeding doom in the scandalous novelty of women participating in public affairs...
    Last edited by HeadlessMermaid; 2012-11-22 at 04:40 PM.
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  29. - Top - End - #839
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    in a pseudo medieval setting where books are extremely rare and only people of a certain economic level are allowed to partake then a small amount of ever burning torches would make sense.
    But a modern style library where people just come in and there are no guards, no the ever burning torch is to valuable itís sale would feed a man for several years.

    a mill runs into the same problem the library does
    First Iím not certain the gyser is strong enough to operate a mill a river has a lot more then 5 gallons a second.

    second the 9,000 gold price tag means no commoner could ever hope to purchase an item like that and they would need a 24 hour guard because a commoner who stole that would never need to work again.
    Heck 9000 gp would be well above average for a 11th level encounter so the guys guarding your mill need to be tough enough to stop high level adventures
    Two points:
    1) continual flame can be cast in any object- so cast it on something not easily stolen, like a stone wall, or part of the ceiling.
    2) your shower head puts out 1.5-2.5 gallons per minute. Harnessing 5 gallons per second would be a significant source of power. That's 60 office water cooler bottles a minute.
    3) of course it's long term expensive thinking- that doesn't make it bad or illogical, just not practical for most RPGs.

  30. - Top - End - #840
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    Default Re: Random Worldbuilding Questions (Biology, Geography, Society, etc.)

    If you want to make the minotaurís sex practice repulsive just remove consent.
    People in charge take what they want.

    In regards to repulsive roman habits i recall reading about a battle between Rome and carthage. The Romans had taken the town but the enemy soldiers were in a fort the roman commander ordered his men to begin killing ever thing man woman, child, and animal in the city until the enemy commander surrendered. It was brutal it was cruel it was effective.

    Rome was also fond of religious persecution first they persecuted Christian, druids and The Bacchanals
    Then once the Christians were in charge they persecuted everyone else
    Last edited by awa; 2012-11-22 at 07:43 PM.

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