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    RedWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8BitNinja View Post

    Plate armor being used in a world with widespread firearm use
    You know, it's actually one of those "erronious historical facts" that a lot of us got taught in school that armor stopped being a thing because guns could pierce it. The early arquebus and its relatives were not piercing plate armor. Pretty much anything with a non-rifled barrel that fired a spherical ball was not going to pierce plate armor. Armor was actually VERY effective at stopping a bullet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    No amount of "less war" and "more money for research" over all of human existence would give us mass converters and teleporters at this point in time... they're not easy and may not ever happen.
    And more to the point, if teleportation WAS developed, do you REALLY believe it wouldn't get military use before it spread to the civilian sector?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    I still donīt understand why we donīt have starships, can teleport or have mass converters, because in theory it is more or less easy to do....
    Starships on the other hand... That's mostly just money. And actual, effective radiation shielding. And a distinct lack of volunteers willing to live on Mars.

    As for the whole pyramid construction crew discussion, it was free laborers and loyal subjects. It was what everyone did while the Nile flooded and farming wasn't possible. Unlike some other great building projects, the worker fatality rate was fairly low, cause Egypt needed all of those farmers-turned-masons once the Nile receded and planting season began.

    At least, armor stopped early bullets as well as it stopped crossbow bolts. Decently at range, not so hot up close.
    Last edited by NRSASD; 2017-09-28 at 07:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Progress is easy: Just be the first to invent something and than put that something into practice.
    I still donīt understand why we donīt have starships, can teleport or have mass converters, because in theory it is more or less easy to do....
    We're not a hundred percent sure on the physics for this stuff. Like, actual teleporters that don't kill people? That'll probably be awhile, if ever, because finding the physics-tools to actually decide those things...not exactly a quick play process.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    on the flip side, warhammer. ok, ok, i know that magic in that game is to be shunned more than snakeskin boots at a vegan rally, but hear me out. there are a lot of very low level casters (hedge wizards, hamlet witches, basically strong enough to make you sleep or cure a toothache, not much more). there are very few borderline overpowered casters (elves, imperial wizards), and those guys take forever to get any small measure of control over their powers. magic make them age more slowly, but casting a fireball before age 60 without opening up a rift in the warp makes you a precocious apprentice. i understand there's less than 50 magic items in that world. most are lost to the mists of time, and the few remaining are in the hands of the elite. knowing the dangers of magic, i understand why there is so little of it in that world except on the battlefield. it feels like a gritty, low magic world. magic is feared. oddly enough, it feels more coherent for me.
    This was on the first page, so sorry for necromancy but I felt like writing a bunch of words:

    Not so much gain control, as to learn the specifics of how to work strong magic without going insane. All magic in the Warhammer world is naturally in three states - the raw mess of the Eight Winds blowing from the North Pole (using this raw magic with sheer force of will is called Dark Magic), coalesced-together Dhar (still ephemeral magic, gathers in graveyards, swamps, battlefields etc. The stuff of necromancy), or Dhar solidified into Warpstone. Neither raw magic or Dhar can be used beyond cantrips by a living being for an extended period of time without that being going mad, or in the case of improperly handled Warpstone just getting radiation poisoning or mutating into a pile of goop or worse. Vampires and daemons can, but, well, daemons. And vampires aren't exactly chosen from the most upstanding parts of society and turning undead isn't exactly a nudge towards staying sane.

    The speed of going mad depends on usage - cantrips are not very dangerous, real magic is very - and who the person is. Strong-willed people last longer, Elves last longer because they're built to do magic and can handle multiple winds, humans are decidedly not, and so on. Only way to avoid going nuts are some kinds of shield from the corruption (forest of Athel Loren for wood elves, channeling spells through corpses to delay the madness for living necromancers) or extensive use of ritual to purify the raw magic into something that can be handled and contained (religious rituals and gods' power, High Elven rituals used by High Elves and the sanctioned human mages of the Old World). Even with High Elven discipline humans can only handle one purified wind and that affects the caster's psyche - not to madness, but every responsible human archmage is still some kind of eccentric without fail.

    There's more than 50 magic items, but strong ones are indeed pretty damn rare and you don't see them all over the place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    I can't brain today, so feel free to share what this obvious third thing is supposed to be.
    Racism. You very rarely hear anyone saying the primitive Ancient Greeks couldn't possibly have built all THEIR monuments without extraterrestrial aid. But Egyptians or Mayans? MUST'VE had help!
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    I've always been faintly bothered by the 'ancient thing of power' that seems all to prevalent in fantasy. It seems to be an incredibly recurring theme: "Stuff used to be way more powerful back in the day, we can't hope to re-create it today." That seems to fly in absolute back-***wardness to any sense, unless you're living post-apocalyptically. Stuff from 5000 years ago are mild amusements compared to anything we can manage in a similar category today across the board, so why does it seem so many fantasy setting have all the ancient stuff exceed modern by miles?
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    @Necroticplague: 9 times out of 10 the standard fantasy world is a post-apocalyptic one, or at least one dragging itself out of a post-apocalyptic state.

    @Arbane: I'd say a lack of widely available translated Egyptian or Mayan literature detailing the construction of monuments might have more of impact than racism. That, combined with the fact that two otherwise extremely dissimilar cultures on separate continents millennia apart decided to build the same style of architecture.

    Or maybe the Greek wonders are boring and mundane in comparison
    Last edited by NRSASD; 2017-09-28 at 11:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    You know, it's actually one of those "erronious historical facts" that a lot of us got taught in school that armor stopped being a thing because guns could pierce it. The early arquebus and its relatives were not piercing plate armor. Pretty much anything with a non-rifled barrel that fired a spherical ball was not going to pierce plate armor. Armor was actually VERY effective at stopping a bullet.
    I had always heard that the thing about armor stopping because of guns was wrong for the opposite reason, namely that a good crossbow could already pierce it even before guns became popular

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    Quote Originally Posted by Necroticplague View Post
    I've always been faintly bothered by the 'ancient thing of power' that seems all to prevalent in fantasy. It seems to be an incredibly recurring theme: "Stuff used to be way more powerful back in the day, we can't hope to re-create it today." That seems to fly in absolute back-***wardness to any sense, unless you're living post-apocalyptically. Stuff from 5000 years ago are mild amusements compared to anything we can manage in a similar category today across the board, so why does it seem so many fantasy setting have all the ancient stuff exceed modern by miles?
    From a real-world perspective, it's a justification for having dungeons full of cool stuff. If the ancients' stuff is worse than our stuff, why go exploring?

    From an in-world perspective, it mostly is "because apocalypse", with the occasional side of "because aliens". Honestly, those are pretty cool reasons, and are an established trope I don't at all mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    Racism. You very rarely hear anyone saying the primitive Ancient Greeks couldn't possibly have built all THEIR monuments without extraterrestrial aid. But Egyptians or Mayans? MUST'VE had help!
    Nonsense. Greek architecture just isn't so impressive that we can't conceive how it'd be built without advanced technology. Or are you saying we're also racist against Anglos and Saxons and their ancestors? People make the same claims about the menhirs at Stonehenge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Necroticplague View Post
    I've always been faintly bothered by the 'ancient thing of power' that seems all to prevalent in fantasy. It seems to be an incredibly recurring theme: "Stuff used to be way more powerful back in the day, we can't hope to re-create it today." That seems to fly in absolute back-***wardness to any sense, unless you're living post-apocalyptically. Stuff from 5000 years ago are mild amusements compared to anything we can manage in a similar category today across the board, so why does it seem so many fantasy setting have all the ancient stuff exceed modern by miles?
    I can fully understand why this trope can be historically implausible (most historical "dark ages" weren't as "dark" as people tended to believe) but it adds an air of wonder and mystery. It's more thematically appropriate to dig up this wonder of ancient magic rather than picking up the newest bauble the Mages' College has come up with (unless that's the kind of story you want to create--then go for it). Plus, I think it's heavily inspired by Tolkien, where an age is ending in Middle Earth and things are generally declining--the Elves are going into the west, the Dwarves are becoming less and less populous, Men have outlived the glory of Numenor and are not living as long, etc. It's a story where magic is going out of the world, to justify it as a mythological past of our own world, with an alarming lack of magic Elves or crafty Dwarves.

    Plus, from an RPG perspective, it's an excuse for the DM to make super-powerful artifacts but not let the party wizard break them apart and start mass-producing them
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    Quote Originally Posted by Necroticplague View Post
    I've always been faintly bothered by the 'ancient thing of power' that seems all to prevalent in fantasy. It seems to be an incredibly recurring theme: "Stuff used to be way more powerful back in the day, we can't hope to re-create it today." That seems to fly in absolute back-***wardness to any sense, unless you're living post-apocalyptically. Stuff from 5000 years ago are mild amusements compared to anything we can manage in a similar category today across the board, so why does it seem so many fantasy setting have all the ancient stuff exceed modern by miles?
    Usually it is a result of magic slowly dying in that world. In the works of fiction where this trope came from it's because the world was implied to be OUR world just far far in the past.
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    Not an expert on Egypt or pyramids but my understanding is that building big pyramids was a thing for nearly 1000 years, so my guess is that the exact employment methods used probably varied over that time.

    In general it's difficult to make broad statements about ancient Egypt which were correct across the whole period (once we get away from comments like 'The Nile was a kind of a big deal') because it was in existence for so incredibly long.

    Take a look at England, what can we say about the politics or people's preoccupations which are both a) specific to England and b) hold true from 1000AD to today? Not much and ancient Egypt was a thing for a lot longer than 1000 years.
    Last edited by Mr Beer; 2017-09-28 at 06:45 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    Not an expert on Egypt or pyramids but my understanding is that building big pyramids was a thing for nearly 1000 years, so my guess is that the exact employment methods used probably varied over that time.

    In general it's difficult to make broad statements about ancient Egypt which were correct across the whole period (once we get away from comments like 'The Nile was a kind of a big deal') because it was in existence for so incredibly long.

    Take a look at England, what can we say about the politics or people's preoccupations which are both a) specific to England and b) hold true from 1000AD to today? Not much and ancient Egypt was a thing for a lot longer than 1000 years.
    That's true, but industrialization was a humongous gamechanger. Argument holds even with (post-)industrialization era removed, and would make the point better I think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkerer View Post
    Usually it is a result of magic slowly dying in that world. In the works of fiction where this trope came from it's because the world was implied to be OUR world just far far in the past.
    Or in the distant future, with the artifacts being modern technology. Examples include Empire of the East, most of Vance's stuff, The Book of the New Sun, and any number of others. Sometimes you see riffs where it's on a spaceship (the Jacob's Ladder Trilogy) or a colony world (the Darkover series, Lord of Light). John Ring has a riff that catalogs the collapse of the high-tech civilization into magic-ish barbarism (the Council Wars). Mark Lawrence seems to be particularly fond of the trope, with all three of his published series to date (the Broken Empire, the Red Queens War, and the Book of the Ancestor) taking place in worlds where a technological civilization collapsed leaving behind wonders both magical and technological. For more examples than you could possibly need, see Ancient Advanced Humans, After the End, or Advanced Ancient Acropolis on TV Tropes.

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    Magic with a Cost/Magic is Evil
    Blah blah blah whatever variant you wanna go with. Why for me in particular? I feel its a lazy cop out too remove magic from the setting well still including it too have the villains go ha-ha! I have magic!
    Not only is that a fair bit bothersome but I have only had Gm's use it for that exact reason.
    Game in Gm's custom setting they hated that I played a druid didn't say anything but any moment I used my area control to win a fight they would start too bitch or they would cut the size blah blah blah details they didn't want magic users besides paladins, bards and people only going up to 6th level spells.
    Not only this but often they just used magic as well its magic you don't know it despite having invested in Knowledge - Arcane rolling a +12 at level 5 and getting an 18 on the die nope you don't know a thing.
    Its a weak excuse too just say because magic and have magic have no limits but deny it too your players(all gm's I have seen also use it too go well you have no magic items and little things like that. I think we found a rare ancient Ork axe that was +1 which was returned to there kingdom... nothing else just +1 axe mind you)
    But yeah its this strange oh magic is so deadly and dangerous coming with such high costs but no one knows a thing about even experts.
    Its like how in things like Dragon Age or other systems where magic is a terrifying force that scorches the land terrifying those whom see it all most mages can do is a fireball.
    Not a fireball is all well and good but... they always have some crippling weakness or some ludicrous force out too destroy them.
    Templars, Daemons trying too invade your mind, the Winds of Magic and half a dozen other things. That is before touching on if your Gm lets you do any ritual stuff or just says no and thus your limited too only explosions when all the mysticism is hidden from your character behind the status of being a PC.

    Magic User's Being Feared is often a subtrope which I'll talk about in its own post
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBPuffin View Post
    Oh. Okay, yeah, this is a fantasy thread after all...I'm down for conlanging to make a language with its own homophones and whatnot to explain why a puzzle is the way it is. The norm involves a lot less work, though, so most times writers won't bother. A shame that's how things are.
    Just in case anyone's thinking "Hey, this is really cool, I'll use it in my next adventure!"

    I would lynch any DM that made me do any significant amount of actual linguistics to figure out a puzzle in dwarvish if my character knew the bloody language. In a movie or a book, sure, but that is not the kind of thing that makes a graceful crossover to a crew of 3-5 player-controlled murderhobos. I suppose if you know your players would be into it it might be fine, but in Role playing games I think it's generally better to skip over the nitty gritty elements of the linguistics.
    Last edited by Potato_Priest; 2017-09-29 at 12:22 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vknight View Post
    Magic with a Cost/Magic is Evil

    Magic User's Being Feared is often a subtrope which I'll talk about in its own post
    That's a trope I'm mostly OK with to be honest. Because the alternative tropes annoy me more. The whole world being the same except - oh yeah! You got casters who can scour an army off the face of the earth, no big deal. In your example I agree that it seems ludicrous, and I think if the DM was so anti magic he should have just not allowed casters in the first place. If it's just a deal of studying to become a caster, then it feels dumb easy.

    Magic users being feared I am actually a big fan of, because it makes sense to me. You've got folk who hold massive power in the palm of their hand, while most folk are just that - ordinary folk. Of course they'll be afraid that a man could walk into the tavern and kill them all. Or could go mad and set loose a stream of undead on you. They will feel like casters are chosen few, and that they can do next to nothing to stop them if the casters want to do anything. The natural reaction is fear of this list of superhuman beings when you are at the mercy of their every whim.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypersmith View Post
    That's a trope I'm mostly OK with to be honest. Because the alternative tropes annoy me more. The whole world being the same except - oh yeah! You got casters who can scour an army off the face of the earth, no big deal. In your example I agree that it seems ludicrous, and I think if the DM was so anti magic he should have just not allowed casters in the first place. If it's just a deal of studying to become a caster, then it feels dumb easy.

    Magic users being feared I am actually a big fan of, because it makes sense to me. You've got folk who hold massive power in the palm of their hand, while most folk are just that - ordinary folk. Of course they'll be afraid that a man could walk into the tavern and kill them all. Or could go mad and set loose a stream of undead on you. They will feel like casters are chosen few, and that they can do next to nothing to stop them if the casters want to do anything. The natural reaction is fear of this list of superhuman beings when you are at the mercy of their every whim.
    I disagree on that.
    Also we have plenty of settings with low magic where people still scour armies. A Song of Ice and Fire 1 man and his 2 sisters with 3 dragons brought a continent the size of South America too its knees.
    I think magic being able too be devastating to a huge army should be 'costly' or take time but the more small scale magic is in itself not.
    Sure the badass wizard can take on 10 attackers but so can a strong fighter the wizard is just faster but less loot etc.
    Follow me on this. Everyone can use magic, but it takes time/studying, training, and a bit of innate talent.

    Sorcerers are pure talent who then trained and maybe studied it but are relying on more there raw power.
    Wizards are studying and training too make the most of an innate talent to a high capacity.
    Bards are a blend of all three; not the power of a sorcerer, not the studying of a wizard but through training they have blend and use there magic.

    Training is for the more divine casters Druids/Paladins/Clerics. They have a spark of magic just like everyone but are focusing it towards a theme of a god and in doing so are blessed and can cast spells through training and the rigors of tenants.
    Be it a god, element, or nature as a bold concept. They seek and from it uncover training themselves too access there innate talent which is magnified by said god(which is why without there blessing the character when too far from the gods alignment loses the ability too call lighting down on there foes)


    Spark of magic doesn't mean everyone can cast spells though. If your innate ability isn't strong enough maybe it could take years too cast a spell or grow magically powerful enough too do simple magics.
    This all comes from the idea of Dresden Files.
    In Dresden the longer something lives the more magically powerful and capable it becomes, and thus further extends its own ability. The older a wizard the more scary they are. This is commented on by the fact one of the villains of the books Dresden comments was a novice talent 2000 years ago. But well when your alive for 2000years your innate spark grows.
    So these old wizards are able too shred an army sure but well he'd much rather be teaching another wizard then fighting in a war and whose going too water his cat or pet his cactus?
    Its also why Spell-Like Abilities exist in say D&D and Pathfinder. Or the strange powers of races in Elder Scrolls. Or the fact Templars can do crazy magic stuff and spirit warriors exist in Dragon Age.

    --------------

    Finally Warlocks and there ilk who do have it my stance and thought?
    They are lacking in one of the categories and thus just cannot use magic to be effective
    No Talent they are magically able too do rituals but it takes weeks or months.
    Trained they have the power but no ability too focus it into a cohesive spell or anything beyond bursts of magical power that are not destructive but more like huge globs of static electricity.

    So they resort too study too gain power or focus it. Maybe its weeks of slowly charging with your limited power the magical ritual or maybe its weeks trying too control the power to this time charge it instead of causing another house fire but the results are the same.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vknight View Post
    This all comes from the idea of Dresden Files.
    In Dresden the longer something lives the more magically powerful and capable it becomes, and thus further extends its own ability. The older a wizard the more scary they are. This is commented on by the fact one of the villains of the books Dresden comments was a novice talent 2000 years ago. But well when your alive for 2000years your innate spark grows.
    So these old wizards are able too shred an army sure but well he'd much rather be teaching another wizard then fighting in a war and whose going too water his cat or pet his cactus?
    Except magic does come with a cost in the Dresden Files. It's physically exhausting to use, for one, and there's forms of magic that have some major bad juju (it's been a while since I last read the books, a bit fuzzy on the details). While your ability grows--as it should, one major point of virtually all RPGs is developing your character in some way--you can still only cast so much before you're out of it or you risk pushing too far and injuring yourself. I actually like the magic is dangerous/exhausting/has some drawback more than standard D&D "you can cast precisely X number of spells every day, and doing so carries exactly no drawback or risk save for no longer being able to cast until you rest."

    Of course, your example is valid, and you have reason to be upset with that GM--but it's a case of bad GMing more than this trope. The GM didn't want magic that they perceived as too powerful or game-breaking, and prevented that in an extremely poor manner. I might not like Vancian spellcasting, but unless it's agreed upon well beforehand, if we're sitting down for D&D magic works like it says in D&D. That's basic respect for your players, and telling a player their abilities don't work as expected at the moment they try and use them "just because" is just crappy GM work.

    Also we have plenty of settings with low magic where people still scour armies. A Song of Ice and Fire 1 man and his 2 sisters with 3 dragons brought a continent the size of South America too its knees.
    Granted I'm not far enough in to know exactly what you're talking about, but I have a suspicion that was more due to the 3 dragons than the 3 people. And in a world like Westeros, dragons don't particularly need to be magic to be devastating.

    Also, your mix of "spark of magic" plus training/practice/etc. doesn't preclude magic from having a cost. Heck, even with Vancian casting there's a cost, just not in a format that I find particularly meaningful (you can cast one less spell today). Completely no cost magic means fireballs from dawn to dusk, if you want to. As I mentioned before, I personally like how it works in the Dresden Files--it's mentally and physically taxing to cast spells, more so for more powerful spells. You won't be exhausted from casting basic magic, but doing a -lot- of magic quickly or trying for something really big will have a fatigue effect. Push it further, and you risk more permanent damage. I find that a lot more compelling than arbitrarily declaring "you may cast three spells of third level today."
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    Here's another trope that annoys me.

    In settings that juxtapose law and chaos and good and evil, the idea that a balance between good and evil is somehow preferable or necessary.

    It's not. Good is better than neutrality, pretty much by definition.
    Quote Originally Posted by mephnick View Post
    Because stormin' through the forest, movin' rocks, bashin' doors and killin' monsters is true D&D.

    Leave that social and political **** to Game of Thrones and the Five Rings.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Just in case anyone's thinking "Hey, this is really cool, I'll use it in my next adventure!"

    I would lynch any DM that made me do any significant amount of actual linguistics to figure out a puzzle in dwarvish if my character knew the bloody language. In a movie or a book, sure, but that is not the kind of thing that makes a graceful crossover to a crew of 3-5 player-controlled murderhobos. I suppose if you know your players would be into it it might be fine, but in Role playing games I think it's generally better to skip over the nitty gritty elements of the linguistics.
    A good example is the gate to Moria in the "Lord of the Rings": The puzzle is "speak friend and enter". The answer is realizing that it's saying "say the word 'friend' to enter" and not "Hello, friend! Please say the password". If your character can read it, then they know what it says and the trick is based on the content of the message and not the exact text. The players don't need to know that the elvish word for "friend" is "mellon", because they can answer the riddle by saying "We say the word 'friend' in elvish as it's written on the door."

    A bad version would be "The password is a six letter word for 'ally' that starts with F". That makes no sense because the characters shouldn't be speaking English or writing in the Roman alphabet. It's a puzzle for the players but not the characters. Ideally, it should be a puzzle for both of them. If it can only be a puzzle for one of them, it should be aimed at the characters in the world

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    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Nonsense. Greek architecture just isn't so impressive that we can't conceive how it'd be built without advanced technology. Or are you saying we're also racist against Anglos and Saxons and their ancestors? People make the same claims about the menhirs at Stonehenge.
    I think it'd be accurate to say that the perceived racism isn't really a separate form of prejudice from the "ancient people were dumb" trope I already described.

    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Just in case anyone's thinking "Hey, this is really cool, I'll use it in my next adventure!"

    I would lynch any DM that made me do any significant amount of actual linguistics to figure out a puzzle in dwarvish if my character knew the bloody language. In a movie or a book, sure, but that is not the kind of thing that makes a graceful crossover to a crew of 3-5 player-controlled murderhobos. I suppose if you know your players would be into it it might be fine, but in Role playing games I think it's generally better to skip over the nitty gritty elements of the linguistics.
    ... I'll make a note to not invite you to my next game. (Spoiler alert: it might not involve constructed languages, but it may involve Japanese writing systems. )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Here's another trope that annoys me.

    In settings that juxtapose law and chaos and good and evil, the idea that a balance between good and evil is somehow preferable or necessary.

    It's not. Good is better than neutrality, pretty much by definition.
    From a moral standpoint and in the real world I agree with you here, but I do really enjoy a sort of cosmic balance in fictional worlds. It's similar to that popular blog post that talks for a while on how druids are not jolly tree-hugging friends but forces of nature, unforgiving and brutal.

    It's one of the few parts of the Star Wars prequels that I actually enjoy; that in a setting where the ostensibly good guys (Jedi) have political and military clout, there's a prophecy that someone will bring balance to the Force. Lo and behold, the prophecy comes true, but in the opposite direction than everyone expected. Honestly, considering the general quality of the plot, the subversive element was probably unintentional, but I still liked it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    Just in case anyone's thinking "Hey, this is really cool, I'll use it in my next adventure!"

    I would lynch any DM that made me do any significant amount of actual linguistics to figure out a puzzle in dwarvish if my character knew the bloody language. In a movie or a book, sure, but that is not the kind of thing that makes a graceful crossover to a crew of 3-5 player-controlled murderhobos. I suppose if you know your players would be into it it might be fine, but in Role playing games I think it's generally better to skip over the nitty gritty elements of the linguistics.
    For a tabletop RPG, which is a game as well as a story (if not a game FIRST), it is far more acceptable to have "language-the-players-speak" puns that in theory might not work in the mythical languages being actually used. Consider it a representation of a different, but at-least-as-good bit of word-play. Or, you know, a BETTER bit of word-play, since it takes your super-genius PC to figure it out rather than the wash of common demihumanity. Like it or not, most of us players are not as specially brilliant as our super special awesome PCs are; we're more likely to be extras amongst the unwashed masses who can't solve the super-hard eternal riddle than the PCs we're playing, who solve three of them per week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    I think it'd be accurate to say that the perceived racism isn't really a separate form of prejudice from the "ancient people were dumb" trope I already described.
    Eh, the perceived racism is, I think, inappropriate. The bias is about "ancient people," not about "brown people." Injecting racism into it is just being needlessly provocative, and cheapens legitimate claims of the problem. When EVERYTHING is racist because people will twist ANYTHING to make it seem so, it stops having any legitimate meaning, and that undermines any efforts to actually resolve racism. (It is, on the other hand, a great way to prolong and exacerbate racial tensions and ensure we'll never stop having racism be a problem. Which, for some, is a great business model. I doubt anybody on this forum actually makes their living as a race-rights activist, however.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Scripten View Post
    From a moral standpoint and in the real world I agree with you here, but I do really enjoy a sort of cosmic balance in fictional worlds. It's similar to that popular blog post that talks for a while on how druids are not jolly tree-hugging friends but forces of nature, unforgiving and brutal.

    It's one of the few parts of the Star Wars prequels that I actually enjoy; that in a setting where the ostensibly good guys (Jedi) have political and military clout, there's a prophecy that someone will bring balance to the Force. Lo and behold, the prophecy comes true, but in the opposite direction than everyone expected. Honestly, considering the general quality of the plot, the subversive element was probably unintentional, but I still liked it.
    I hate the "balance of good and evil is superior" nonsense because it always has to make Good contain non-Good elements to achieve it. Either it exaggerates "soft" traits until they actually more reflect things most moral systems define as sins than as actual reflections of Good, or it goes for "super-judgmentalism" and makes Good into fascists. Both are silly, at best.

    You can have a "cosmic balance is necessary" thing if you want, but you're going to have to go the Omelas route of saying that too much Good, while good for everybody, leads somehow to a collapse on a metaphysical level. It's a hard story to sell if anybody digs into it. Your best bet is to go for the "must needs be opposition in all things" route. There must be the POSSIBILITY to choose evil for good to have meaning. So it's not so much balance as agency. You can't eliminate the possibility of Evil; you can only achieve a point where people are all so diligent in seeking Good that Evil is a choice they never make. And that's never going to be a forever-won fight, because choice will always be there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scripten View Post
    From a moral standpoint and in the real world I agree with you here, but I do really enjoy a sort of cosmic balance in fictional worlds. It's similar to that popular blog post that talks for a while on how druids are not jolly tree-hugging friends but forces of nature, unforgiving and brutal.
    You can have moral conflicts without it being Good versus Evil. Looking at the Star Wars example, it's not really "Good" and "Evil", so much as "Discipline" and "Emotion", neither of which is entirely evil or entirely good. Having a conflict like that where both sides have justifiable positions that reasonable people could hold is a lot more interesting than having the Good Guys who are totally correct all of the time and the Bad Guys who are totally evil all of the time (notably, the real world manages to have complex moral issues without having an objective Good and Evil). Something like MTG's color wheel where different sides have different virtues, but are all capable of being good. Or something more Grimdark like Warhammer where there are a bunch of sides with different approaches, but they're all super evil.

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    On that subject...

    Good and Evil, or Chaos and Order, as actual cosmic forces. I loath that trope.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    A scarcity of inhumane punishments in an otherwise medieval society is a big one for me. Traitors, murderers, spies and a host of lesser criminals shouldn't be getting thrown in a cell for years without a good reason, they should be getting public executions. Strangely common quality among humans until fairly recently was horrific public executions for a host of crimes.
    Yeah.
    Quote Originally Posted by S@tanicoaldo View Post
    The fact that in most fantasy settings magic is consequence free.
    That's a problem that Jack Vance(Dying earth), Robin Hobb (Farseers), and Gordon R. Dickson (The dragon and the George) all handled nicely: there was/is a cost for using magic. (I am sure I recall others, but those three leap to mind). Robert Heinlein and other SF writers like to point out ...TNSTAAFL. Magic that follows that principle seems to me to fit into a story better.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    There are just brief pop-ups of the next world-spanning era that becomes the next golden age. And even then, the current golden age often looks back at the previous one. For example in Pax Renassaince, Pax Romana was still idolized.
    The trope is heavily influenced in Western Thought by the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the long struggle to get out of the dark ages. When you find ruins of impressive ancient architecture, as in Angkor Wat, or the Egyptian structures, and then see a civilization that seems to have "fallen form that high perch" it lends realism to the "Golden Age" trope.
    What's 'unrealistic' is a view that history only moves forward, with improvements in lifestyle. Or that Golden Ages don't end, usually after a few hundred years, followed by something less than Golden.
    Yean.
    Quote Originally Posted by 8BitNinja View Post
    Plate armor being used in a world with widespread firearm use
    Don't look now, but the US Army has been using flak jackets, and now other body armor, since about the 1960's. [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Good and Evil, or Chaos and Order, as actual cosmic forces. I loath that trope.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potato_Priest View Post
    It's not. Good is better than neutrality, pretty much by definition.
    Depends on your definition neutrality. And to a degree, your definition of Good.

    In a cosmic balance situation, where neutral means "balance of good and evil", yeah, you're correct.

    If your definition of Good is something like "the most desirable thing", then yeah, you're correct.

    But if neutrality is the absence of Moral Good or Moral Evil, then it's quite possible to view Neutral > Good > Evil. Especially if you think what constitutes "Moral Good" is nonsense, even if it's better than what constitutes "Moral Evil".

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    The trope is heavily influenced in Western Thought by the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the long struggle to get out of the dark ages. When you find ruins of impressive ancient architecture, as in Angkor Wat, or the Egyptian structures, and then see a civilization that seems to have "fallen form that high perch" it lends realism to the "Golden Age" trope.
    Absolutely. My point was, to view this Trope as somehow problematic, it takes:
    - a lack of awareness of history
    - viewing the Trope from living in a current Golden Age. (By any reasonable definition.)
    - viewing the Trope from living in an era when history is mostly forward progress.

    The last is arguably true for the last 1-2 hundred years, certainly technologically. There's the small issue of massive political revolutions and a few world wars, but Americans in particular tend to view those as something we kicked ass and took names in (including the Cold War), so we often don't count them as a lack of forward progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    My point was, to view this Trope as somehow problematic, it takes:
    - a lack of awareness of history
    - viewing the Trope from living in a current Golden Age. (By any reasonable definition.)
    - viewing the Trope from living in an era when history is mostly forward progress.

    The last is arguably true for the last 1-2 hundred years, certainly technologically. There's the small issue of massive political revolutions and a few world wars, but Americans in particular tend to view those as something we kicked ass and took names in (including the Cold War), so we often don't count them as a lack of forward progress.
    I'd argue that the world wars and the cold war are something we've seen general forward progress in spite of.

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