The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Abilene, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default The Celestial Courts - Psychologically Realistic RAW Societies

    The Celestial Courts: 3.5’s Extrapolated Governing System
    This is is an attempt, however brief, to explain what I think the natural end state of 3.5’s governmental systems. It has, as all such theories do, several baseline theories:

    • All the domains in 3.5 are available and any cleric may have any combination that seems fitting to that cleric - Combinations spread where they are appropriate, forming philosophies/religions around the domains. Domains with alignment requirements still require those alignments.
    • The setting begins at level one, civilization grows from this early foothold as opposed to receiving all 20 levels of casting from the beginning.
    • Groups follow their interests, which can include aesthetic and ethical as well as material interests.
    • In “natural” populations, L/N/C are equally predominant while G/N/E have a 2/5/3 spread. One in ten Good characters are exalted and one in ten evil characters are vile.
    • No effort is made to incorporate either rule by the undead or rule by non-mortal powers powers (e.g. no angels, demons, or dragons)
    • All rulebooks are available.
    • Prehistory begins with factions of approximately 100 people.

    The very first tribes begin to settle down to semi-sedantry lifestyles, building pilgrim sites and starting to farm crops. A broad array of the historical tribal anarchies exist, warlike and pacifistic, led by elders or chieftains, either elected or by blood. The first PC classes begin to appear - Most commonly, barbarians, rogues, and fighters (or variations thereupon) but also clerics, druids, bards, more occasionally, sorcerers, wizards, rangers, and monks, and finally and most rarely of all - paladins. (These are the demographic predictions of the DMG - Only one in three villages will contain a paladin!)

    In any given village, this or that PC class character forms a “winning coalition” - Many clerics claim divine mandates and druids likewise claim the rightful place of leadership, getting them nestled firmly into the top of the hierarchy. Bards, Sorcerers, and Paladins leverage high charismas into popularity and assent in their own clans. People learn paladins have to be honorable or else they lose their powers (and no atonement spells exist in this setting as of yet!). Eventually, larger coalitions of factions occur - But neither the bards nor sorcerer nor the clerics have any shared natural interest with each other (i.e., a Cleric’s village has no more reason to co-operate with another Cleric’s village than a Paladin’s). Their coalitions are more fractious as a result. By contrast, both Paladins and Druids have stronger shared ideological interests to supplement their material alliances. Eventually, druids or paladins become the default leaders of their coalitions as the benefits of coalition enlarge. Most paladin villages contain druids and some druid villages contain paladins. While almost all druid villages have a druid, some paladin villages lack one and instead are lead by Good or Law or Celestia domain clerics. Both sets also contain a motley array of lower level coalition partners who might be ostensibly lead by another class (even rogues, barbarians, ectera) but are heavily influenced by the advisors of the appropriate class.

    Druids and paladins still rely on the assent of their coalitions, which are no longer villages of about 100, but broader alliances that number in the thousands centered around villages and farming hamlets. In these alliances, large percentages of druids are evil or chaotic and undermine the coalitions through self-interest whereas all paladins are obligated to behave honorably towards one another and respect the coalition’s rightful authority. Character levels are going up! Conflicts within the druids are wounding them. Paladins are weaker, but managing to get along perfectly in their Perfectly Honorable ways as well as attracting the occasional deserter faction from the druids who’d just rather live under the obligated holy warriors than the tree huggers (the reverse also occurs). Druids are encouraging Animal/Plant domain clerics, and Paladins are fostering Law, Good, and Celestia domain clerics throughout their region, especially Celestia domain as it is a) readily identifiable thanks to Aura of Menace, b) provides Sense Motive as a class skill (invaluable to leaders!), and c) requires they be lawful good.

    Keep in mind that I am describing broad, global trends. In reality there is no “Paladin Coalition” and no “druid coalition” but rather, these two coalition-types make up the vast majority of early, large scale coalitions. These coalitions are numbering in the low thousands for their own population, but tens of thousands world-wide.

    At some point, a cleric with Caster Level 5 creates the Everful Larder and suddenly vast numbers can be formed together in a single location. Druids and Paladins alike take advantage of this event, forming massive cities that soon have population explosions and number in the tens of thousand. The old ways are abolished completely, the people depart from the land and begin to live in massive sprawling cities. Laws must be established and enforced. The Paladins and the Celestia Clerics are well-suited to this task - They are themselves Lawful Good and the paladins are bound to “protect the innocent” by their own code. The administrative adjustment took time and was quite painful, with the Celestia clerics trained many cloistered clerics to facilitate the legal system.

    By contrasts, the Druids handle the transition to cities much as people in the real world did - Which is to say that it was a complete disaster. The population churn is genuinely disastrous and violence is common. Many in these cities were soon visited by Celestia Cloistered Clerics come as missionaries, offering a new and better form of government. In desperation, many druid cities threw up their hands and threw in with the paladins. Other druid cities destroy themselves invading this or that paladin city and getting smacked by wide-spread crusades. Some druid cities simply gave up on being cities and reverted to earlier societal forms.

    Modern cities will compete between each other for high-level adventurers, resulting in a dual power structure where adventurers are accorded special privileges. These special privileges might come in the form of explicit legal protections, such as the right to trial within special guilds or orders as opposed to by the clerics, or they might come in the form of extravagant salaries and incomes.


    The Servants of Heaven:
    The Servants of Heaven, or Servants, are the ruling class within human society. Whereas the elves, Orcs, and Dwarves venerate their own racial deities, humanity has no such patron. This orphanhood has been made to work for them, in that they espouse the doctrines of a universalist moral philosophy - the Doctrines of the Celestial Courts - which are held to be the ultimate truth about morality in the universe. When foreigners refer to those who believe in these doctrines they call them Archonites when they need to refer to adherents, but to a human the idea of not believing (in some sense) in the Doctrines would be almost crazy. The Doctrines are the truth about morality, the universe, and the afterlife, proven by regular contact with supernatural power, by the divine mandate and inclinations of the Servants and the graces of paladins and exalted characters. The Doctrines are not revelatory in origin, instead being an organic result of Celestia Clerics and Paladins tradition and refinement but there is an authoritative collection of relevant case law and legal theory called the Precepts and Precedents which is updated by an occasional counsel referred to as a Magisterium. They are not enjoyable reading.

    Races familiar with humanity’s melting pot of moral character might find it surprising that humans universally ascribe to a Lawful Good philosophy while themselves not being particularly lawful and actually most not good. But the Servants are revered and loved precisely because they are good in a mostly non-good environment. The Servants serve as able referees for humanity - They are fair-minded, just, wise, and easy to like.

    The Servants recruit anyone who evidences one of the following traits, as well as training for them:
    • An Aura of Menace as a Cleric of Celestia
    • The ability to use Detect Evil at will
    • A Sacred Vow
    • The display of any other exalted feat
    • Good Auras of Moderate Strength

    Although the Servants are a lawful religion, they lack any overarching structure - Having organically emerged within a number of independent places, they failed to form large organizational structures. Instead, each city organizes its own Servants according to local custom. When a Magisterium is called, each group of Servants elects from its own number a delegate and sends them to the Magisterium.

    Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of Servant. Lawyers are generally Contemplative Clerics or Experts with Sacred Vows and they tend to the regular clerical duties of making laws, passing judgments, teaching ethics, healing illnesses and similar. Agents, by contrast, are generally Militant Clerics or Paladins, whose primary duties are leadership in combat, defense of the city, and counter-balancing the opposition.
    Vincent Omnia Veritas
    Bandwagon Leader of the Hinjo Fanclub

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WhiteWizardGirl

    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: The Celestial Courts - Psychologically Realistic RAW Societies

    The only major objection I have to this is the idea that Everfull Larders are going to be the thing that causes a demographic shift.

    The vast majority of people are going to be Commoners who get both Craft and Profession as class skills. Both of these make about the same amount of money, but the people who randomly get better Int are going to want to be artisans (with Craft) while the ones who randomly get better Wis are going to want to be workers (with Profession). For humans, this means that roughly 45% of the population is artisans, 45% are workers (mostly farmers), 5% are warriors, 4% are experts and 1% are assorted others.

    (Nonhumans don't have guaranteed skill points like humans do, so some fraction of of their population end up as either unskilled labourers who either live awful lives or take up their clubs and go become bandits or raiders. For Int neutral races, this is 25% of the population. For Int -2 races like the orcs, wood/wild elves, gnolls and lizardfolk, this is 50% of the population. For the really stupid -4 Int races like ogres, it's 75% of the population, which is probably the point at which nobody bothers even trying to make a peaceful living because there are more bandits than farmers.)

    At the same level that Everfull Larders become a thing (if they become a thing - they're quite expensive compared to simply importing food), Druids develop the ability to cast Plant Growth, a spell which increases crop yields by 33%. This translates to 200cp to 300cp per farmer per week, which is effectively a 100gp to 150gp annual subsidy to any farmer willing to stay out in the rural parts with the druids. While this doesn't effect the artisans any (they get no direct benefit from Plant Growth and will prefer to centralize), it does mean that a good chunk of the population is going to stick to the traditional rural lifestyle simply because it makes economic sense for them to do so.

    Instead, I imagine you'd see the large Servant cities as locuses of Lawful Good, with shades of chaotic and/or evil druidry cropping up as you get further and further into the boonies. While the Celestial Court missionaries would decry both sides as pagan heathenry, the cultural divide between the non-Adherent societies who are ruled by chaotic leaders (barbarians and bards; lots of elves, halflings and gnomes) and those ruled by evil rulers (no particular emphasis on class, but racially full of the 'monstrous' races, like goblins, orcs, kobolds, gnolls, etc.) It should be noted that while the 'evil' faction produces a good number of orcish raiders, the elves produce just as many elven 'foresters' who live out in the woods and shoot foreigners with homemade bows. Trade between the servant countries and the pagan wilderness is at once dangerous (because of a tremendous bandit problem) and incredibly important economically (until you have enough Larders for everyone AND enough magical production capacity to keep up with population growth, you're still importing food even if Larders are the long term infrastructure goal), meaning armed caravan guards and trade envoys.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Abilene, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Celestial Courts - Psychologically Realistic RAW Societies

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    The only major objection I have to this is the idea that Everfull Larders are going to be the thing that causes a demographic shift.

    The vast majority of people are going to be Commoners who get both Craft and Profession as class skills. Both of these make about the same amount of money, but the people who randomly get better Int are going to want to be artisans (with Craft) while the ones who randomly get better Wis are going to want to be workers (with Profession). For humans, this means that roughly 45% of the population is artisans, 45% are workers (mostly farmers), 5% are warriors, 4% are experts and 1% are assorted others.

    (Nonhumans don't have guaranteed skill points like humans do, so some fraction of of their population end up as either unskilled labourers who either live awful lives or take up their clubs and go become bandits or raiders. For Int neutral races, this is 25% of the population. For Int -2 races like the orcs, wood/wild elves, gnolls and lizardfolk, this is 50% of the population. For the really stupid -4 Int races like ogres, it's 75% of the population, which is probably the point at which nobody bothers even trying to make a peaceful living because there are more bandits than farmers.)

    At the same level that Everfull Larders become a thing (if they become a thing - they're quite expensive compared to simply importing food), Druids develop the ability to cast Plant Growth, a spell which increases crop yields by 33%. This translates to 200cp to 300cp per farmer per week, which is effectively a 100gp to 150gp annual subsidy to any farmer willing to stay out in the rural parts with the druids. While this doesn't effect the artisans any (they get no direct benefit from Plant Growth and will prefer to centralize), it does mean that a good chunk of the population is going to stick to the traditional rural lifestyle simply because it makes economic sense for them to do so.

    Instead, I imagine you'd see the large Servant cities as locuses of Lawful Good, with shades of chaotic and/or evil druidry cropping up as you get further and further into the boonies. While the Celestial Court missionaries would decry both sides as pagan heathenry, the cultural divide between the non-Adherent societies who are ruled by chaotic leaders (barbarians and bards; lots of elves, halflings and gnomes) and those ruled by evil rulers (no particular emphasis on class, but racially full of the 'monstrous' races, like goblins, orcs, kobolds, gnolls, etc.) It should be noted that while the 'evil' faction produces a good number of orcish raiders, the elves produce just as many elven 'foresters' who live out in the woods and shoot foreigners with homemade bows. Trade between the servant countries and the pagan wilderness is at once dangerous (because of a tremendous bandit problem) and incredibly important economically (until you have enough Larders for everyone AND enough magical production capacity to keep up with population growth, you're still importing food even if Larders are the long term infrastructure goal), meaning armed caravan guards and trade envoys.
    Well, a given Larder is going to produce at least five meals per minute (conservative estimate). Even if we assume that this production were only done at the major meal times (6-8, 11-1, 5-7), that'd be 1800 meals per day, which sold for the price of bread would be 36 GP per day, about 2k short a year for replacement costs. The next year, though, with a second one, they'd pay off both, and then it snowballs. Population of 600 can support that and the requisite CL 5 cleric, but probably the larders would accumulate first in metropoles (large cities, in DMG 3.5 terms) that could support 15k GP limit items. They might accumulate via sale of service or taxation, but obviously that'd be feasible economically. It's also easy to increase production rate by hiring people with Profession (Delivery) that would let you move food from 4-6, 8-11, 1-5, and 7-9.

    I think you are right, though, that many would choose to remain under the auspices of the druids in the rural areas. Nothing would stop this from happening, since the imperial ambitions of the Celestial Courts are basically null. Profession (Miner) would probably make cities appear closer to large scale mines and such, Profession (Teacher) could also work as would Profession (Deliveryman), though Profession (Streetcleaner) could also be a noble profession if you wanted. Shepherds and goatherds similar would make money through Handle Animal, providing for clothing and the occasional meat to spice up diets. Then you'd have the craftsmen. (All races have guaranteed 1 skill point, so most humanoids would be fine but races with racial class levels probably wouldn't ever be able to settle down, since their class skills are like... spot.) Of course, you might have Educated commoners with Knowledge skills or people with Apprentice feats, but much like the 2% of the population that would be exalted, no point looking into it.

    The thing about the rural population is that it would be small. Living off the land requires substantially more land area than living off the magic food-and-water supply of the cities. The metropoles wouldn't need to press them out - They'd just balloon to oversize them.

    And I do agree that if a race has substantially different moral distributions, such as canonical orcs/elves/gnomes would have substantially different government systems/
    Vincent Omnia Veritas
    Bandwagon Leader of the Hinjo Fanclub

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: The Celestial Courts - Psychologically Realistic RAW Societies

    100 person starting groups is very small. Small enough that a huge number of factions will see their population drop below viable reproductive thresholds or just hit zero outright due to random fluctuations, especially if there are any aggressive monsters at all (even just something like a Dire Tiger can slaughter one hundred level ones in short order).

    Likewise the swingy-ness of XP advancement suggests that someone, perhaps only a single individual, is going to skyrocket up to high-levels during generation one and therefore become a veritable living god. A druid is the most likely candidate, as they do not need to research spells and are the least limited by a lack of magic items. This druid probably recruits a bunch of other druidic minions, possibly but not necessarily limited by alignment, and then leverages their power to essentially eliminate non-druidic religion as a going concern. Clerics and paladins would then disappear.

    More broadly, DMG demographics presume an already extant system that has a stable class balance inherited from the last apocalypse that knocked back but did not destroy civilization. Your alternative starting point is not going to end up in the same place, because regions will tend towards exclusivity.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Abilene, TX
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: The Celestial Courts - Psychologically Realistic RAW Societies

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    100 person starting groups is very small. Small enough that a huge number of factions will see their population drop below viable reproductive thresholds or just hit zero outright due to random fluctuations, especially if there are any aggressive monsters at all (even just something like a Dire Tiger can slaughter one hundred level ones in short order).

    Likewise the swingy-ness of XP advancement suggests that someone, perhaps only a single individual, is going to skyrocket up to high-levels during generation one and therefore become a veritable living god. A druid is the most likely candidate, as they do not need to research spells and are the least limited by a lack of magic items. This druid probably recruits a bunch of other druidic minions, possibly but not necessarily limited by alignment, and then leverages their power to essentially eliminate non-druidic religion as a going concern. Clerics and paladins would then disappear.

    More broadly, DMG demographics presume an already extant system that has a stable class balance inherited from the last apocalypse that knocked back but did not destroy civilization. Your alternative starting point is not going to end up in the same place, because regions will tend towards exclusivity.
    1. Players gain XP through combat, NPCs do not.
    2. I assume that classes represent talents, that they don't need to be taught beyond the most basic of elements.*
    3. Historically, 100-140 was the population size of most nomadic hunter gatherers. The number wasn't arbitrary, it was the pre-civilization human population size. Yes, lots of them will die. I don't think that any particular group of ECL 1-5 characters are more or less likely to die.
    4. It's true that druids benefit from the lack of magical item needs. Certainly, this gives them a strong edge early on. But if we assume that, as I did, they aren't immortal, sooner or latter all these high level druids die if only of old age. The distribution re-settles, perhaps with a disproportionate number of Nature Clerics.
    5. That's an interesting interpretation of the DMG demographics, which has no textual basis. Regardless, we could accede to this plan and (if the fact of the paladins remains true)

    * Re: Paladins on this subject, the Player's Handbook says, "No one ever chooses to be a paladin. Becoming a paladin is answering a call, accepting one’s destiny. No one, no matter how diligent, can become a paladin through practice. The nature is either within one or not, and it is not possible to gain the paladin’s nature by any act of will" So it's not actually possible for a random, highly powerful character or monster to wipe Paladins off the map, any more than they can wipe out rogues or fighters. They are simply called - Unless the Druid eliminates all Warriors and thus all martial training, the Paladin isn't going anywhere.
    Vincent Omnia Veritas
    Bandwagon Leader of the Hinjo Fanclub

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •