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Dimthar
08-08-2007, 01:06 PM
Specifically the advancement of magic really appeals to me because I never understood how D&D civilizations lasted 1000's of years and never advanced beyond prestigitation for cleaning up or spicing food, i mean look at us, in the course of 100 years we've gone from no cars to flying in space and talking instantly over 100's of miles, why wouldn't a civilization based on magic (which can do more than technology) be able to advance the same way?

This comment made me wonder on how civilizations rise and fall in a Fantasy Setting.

Why are fantasy worlds plagued with fallen civilizations? Why start all over again?

I put the blame in this order: 1) Gods, 2) Magic, 3) Different Races, 4) Evil.

Gods: They will always try to punish mortals whenever we are getting to proud and confident, so they sent this cataclysms which pushes knowledge back a few hundreds or thousands of years.

Magic: Is Individual driven which at the end suggests there is little cooperation for the advancement of the "Art". Also power is controlled by the Mage and therefore Political rulers fear it and eventually will suppress it. At the end Magic is to unstable for only one person to handle and Kaboom!!!! There goes Netheril ... and the weave!!

Races: Goals and relationship with the world are different for each race, interracial conflicts will prevent advancement (which differs from war within a One race world).

Evil: There is way too more evil in a Fantasy Setting that in the real world.

These are my two cents.

Ed Zachary
08-08-2007, 01:15 PM
Evil: There is way too more evil in a Fantasy Setting that in the real world.

You need to get out more... have you been following domestic and international events?

Grimwell
08-09-2007, 01:40 AM
Look to the real world for some good examples:

Politics, lust, greed, incapable leadership, inability to govern the 'empire' at it's size, and more.

There is a mountain of work out there to find, even at used book stores. :)

Ed Zachary
08-09-2007, 02:51 AM
Why are fantasy worlds plagued with fallen civilizations? Why start all over again?

Human(oid) nature drives us to organize socially. Power structures emerge, and they tend to evolve into opressive monarchies.


I put the blame in this order: 1) Gods, 2) Magic, 3) Different Races, 4) Evil.

Gods: They will always try to punish mortals whenever we are getting to proud and confident, so they sent this cataclysms which pushes knowledge back a few hundreds or thousands of years.

Magic: Is Individual driven which at the end suggests there is little cooperation for the advancement of the "Art". Also power is controlled by the Mage and therefore Political rulers fear it and eventually will suppress it. At the end Magic is to unstable for only one person to handle and Kaboom!!!! There goes Netheril ... and the weave!!

Races: Goals and relationship with the world are different for each race, interracial conflicts will prevent advancement (which differs from war within a One race world).

Evil: There is way too more evil in a Fantasy Setting that in the real world.

Civilizations are like trees. They start out small, grow to be huge, rot from the inside, fall in a storm, then their decomposition allows new trees to grow where they once stood.

Dimthar
08-09-2007, 12:40 PM
You need to get out more... have you been following domestic and international events?

Hopefully I can keep this Thread on the right path.

Actually I just realize I did a mistake, Evil can not be by itself the cause, it is the "Clash" or Battle between "Good and Evil" which brings Chaos and Destruction (which as explained above it brings re-birth)

It looks to me that in a Fantasy Setting you have more "polarized" forms of Evil and Good, and like in physics, when two antiparticles collide they annihilate each other in a big burst of energy and new matter is created from it.

What I will call "Elemental Evil" has a more active role in a Fantasy Setting, in the form of Evil deities, Evil Sentient Races, Evil planes (Devils / Demons). Same can be said for “Elemental Good”.

In our real world in my humble opinion we rarely see a True Black Vs White conflict. We want to see them as that for our own peace of mind (yes nuke the bastards!).

The original purpose of my post was to try to explain why in a fantasy world there seems to be little technological advancement after several millennia. And looks to me that in a Fantasy setting (Dragon-Sword-Magic type) there are events that actually prevent the advancement of knowledge to the same degree as we have in the real world right now.

Moritz
08-10-2007, 08:48 AM
In the real world, I don't subscribe to the belief that 'evil' actually exists. To me, it's just a label created by the church to illustrate the so-called wrongs of mankind that will result in the eternal soul being cast into some mythological pit of fire so it can be poked by some trident wielding, pointy tailed, horned red guy.

But in D&D, Evil runs around making like rabbits and Chaotic Evil runs around in anarchy trying to destroy civilizations.

Evil is as evil does.

Ed Zachary
08-10-2007, 09:04 AM
It looks to me that in a Fantasy Setting you have more "polarized" forms of Evil and Good, and like in physics, when two antiparticles collide they annihilate each other in a big burst of energy and new matter is created from it.

Yes, and most good DMs will follow the law of conservation of good and evil, meaning that there is an endless supply of heroes and villians to be thrown into the story.


The original purpose of my post was to try to explain why in a fantasy world there seems to be little technological advancement after several millennia. And looks to me that in a Fantasy setting (Dragon-Sword-Magic type) there are events that actually prevent the advancement of knowledge to the same degree as we have in the real world right now.

The evil is more pronounced because of the existance of magic and monsters.

Magic is the technology of a fantasy world, and knowledge of it has been advancing.

In a free market, magic trumps technology.

Farcaster
08-10-2007, 05:29 PM
In the real world, I don't subscribe to the belief that 'evil' actually exists. To me, it's just a label created by the church to illustrate the so-called wrongs of mankind

I have to disagree. There is evil out there. Evil is a guy who kidnaps a child, repeatedly rapes her, and buries her alive in his backyard. Evil is a government that attaches electrodes to people's genitals or force feeds prisoners boiling water to torture information out of them. Evil is a band of militants traveling the countryside murdering and raping women and children. Evil is embedded in the deepest, darkest recesses of humanity. You can see it everywhere and it is ever present. It is up to each of us whether we strive to do our best or we give in to the the depravity that lies just beneath the surface.

shilar
08-11-2007, 11:46 AM
I have to disagree. There is evil out there.
You are very right farcaster. The difference between a fantasy realm and reality is that in a fantasy world there are static and polar examples of right and wrong. Evil is openly and freely chosen. In the "real" world we justify what we do. You think in a round about enough fashion anything can be justified, and excused by somebody else.

Moritz
08-11-2007, 12:01 PM
Evil - morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.

I do not discount the deeds of a man. I dispute the existence of 'an evil' deity, force, or substance.

You can label something 'evil' as an action or thought. But that is personal choice of an individual to do said action by which he or she can be labeled evil. Just because some man kidnaps, rapes, and buries a girl, it wasn't the 'devil that made him do it' or some evil forces that guides his hand.

While, in a fantasy setting, there exists an actual 'evil' or 'dark' force or beings.

In the real world, there is no evil. Only choices of man.

But wait, wasn't there a point to this thread?

Farcaster
08-11-2007, 12:07 PM
You think in a round about enough fashion anything can be justified, and excused by somebody else.

That's true. Evil is generally far more clearly defined in fantasy. In D&D, interestingly enough, it was the Book of Vile Darkness that outlined some possibilities for a variant view of evil fantasy like what you're talking about (The Relative Approach, BoVD pg 6).

Skylon
08-11-2007, 12:30 PM
Lest we forget entropy. A civilization can fall simply because it is allowed to.

You know, like Greenland.

fmitchell
08-11-2007, 05:16 PM
Lest we forget entropy. A civilization can fall simply because it is allowed to.

Or it allows itself to. While I haven't read it yet -- it's in the mail -- Jared M. Diamond's Collapse might offer some ideas. It's basic thesis is that societies collapse because their actions deplete or destroy natural resources.

Certainly you can name other factors -- political infighting, overextended military forces, a decline in self-discipline among the ruling classes, or an external invasion that overwhelms current defenses. For my money, orcs are a (possibly ethnocentric if not racist) metaphor for the "barbarians at the gates": Huns, Visigoths, Mongols, Turks, junk-bond traders, whatever.

Also, I like the earlier idea of magic enforcing societal stagnation: it's in the hands of a few talented individuals, it quashes technology and science which could slowly give benefits to nearly all, and because of its very power and mystery it can wipe out a city-state (or more) by sheer accident.

So, you don't need Dark Lords and evil gods to explain the rise and fall of fantasy empires.

Although, if you want pure destruction while keeping moral ambiguity, you could posit a species that kills humans for its own survival, or amusement, or as a side effect of its existence. Mind Flayers are a prime example: they have to eat humanoid brains to stay alive, they keep humanoids they don't eat as slaves, and they meddle in (free) human affairs just to watch what happens.

fmitchell
08-11-2007, 05:48 PM
For my money, orcs are a (possibly ethnocentric if not racist) metaphor for the "barbarians at the gates" ...

Actually, while I'm at it, I'll claim that "the gods" are really an explanation/excuse for blind luck or even predictable consequences. The Greeks rationalized every war as a conflict between their own gods. Tales of ancient gods parallel the ups and downs of their mortal worshipers: some believe Set went from venerated god to force of evil because he was the patron god of invaders whom the Egyptians finally drove away.

In the history of the world, how many civilizations have stagnated or outright collapsed because priests or kings mandated a return to the "old ways"? How many cultures praised their gods for every success and blamed their culture's impiety for failure? Not that this sort of thing happens nowadays ...

Dimthar
08-11-2007, 06:24 PM
When the Tsunami hit Asia about 2-3 years ago and killed 1/4 million people, I realized how easily could a civilization like Atlantis be wiped out of the face of the earth. Another example that comes to my mind is Pompey.

Fantasy Setting populations are small and therefore more susceptible to earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis, etc. Are the Gods always responsible of such events?

Has anyone played in a Cataclysm Scenario? Were the players in a position where they will have to let dozens die in order to save hundreds? To keep running while still being able to hear the curses of those left behind.

Dimthar
08-11-2007, 06:59 PM
Actually, while I'm at it, I'll claim that "the gods" are really an explanation/excuse for blind luck or even predictable consequences. The Greeks rationalized every war as a conflict between their own gods.

But for all purposes in a Fantasy Setting the Gods are "Real" and their struggle for supremacy the cause of many civilizations headaches. Either because a balance between Evil and Good (or Chaos and Order) must be kept, or like in overpopulated pantheons where the survival of the God itself is always at risk.

In my past campaigns, if we consider the relationship of Gods and their worshippers as symbiotic (more notorious on a specific race pantheon), when a God dies, his/her people dies with him (and vise versa), or at least those strongly attached like their clerics.

fmitchell
08-11-2007, 11:43 PM
But for all purposes in a Fantasy Setting the Gods are "Real" and their struggle for supremacy the cause of many civilizations headaches. Either because a balance between Evil and Good (or Chaos and Order) must be kept, or like in overpopulated pantheons where the survival of the God itself is always at risk.

Depends on the fantasy world. In RuneQuest's Glorantha, after a divine war that nearly destroyed the world the gods have made a pact against interfering directly; instead, they lend their power to mortals who do the fighting. In Robert E. Howard's Conan stories, gods were either vain idols or demons in disguise. (The RPG Iron Heroes takes the same approach.) Fantasy worlds more closely based on medieval Europe, or the Arabian Knights, assume a monotheistic religion with at best a Supreme Evil who works in the shadows. By contrast, Midnight assumes the only known god is evil, and other gods (if they exist) are powerless.

The default D&D treatment of gods isn't the only way, nor even the most sensible way. See "Keeping the Faith" (http://www.rpg.net/columns/kosher/kosher22.phtml) on RPG.net, as well as some musings (http://www.frank-mitchell.com/games/rpg-gods.html) on my web site.

Grimwell
08-12-2007, 01:04 PM
Thanks for sharing those links fmitchell - that went right into the 'handy bookmarks for gaming' folders. :)

spotlight
08-13-2007, 05:34 PM
WOW. How have I missed this dicussion? Try this on for size. Most of what I have seen every one write leads to one conclusion. Empires fall because EVIL abounds. However, EVIL only excists as a responce to good. While it is obvious that there are evil characters and/or real persons, EVIL is only a choice to rebel against morale standards of some sort. Thus EVIL is amoral or immoral. Now the question really becomes, "Who sets the moral standards to begin with?" Well, it must be some one who claims to be the ultimate GOOD.

So empires must fall, in real life and fantacy. As rebelion against GOOD always should lead to disaster. GOOD must always allow punishment for not following the moral standards, and EVIL appears only when someone thinks they are better than GOOD.

....and that cycle repeats....

Malruhn
10-14-2007, 05:03 PM
I won't get into the evil discussion right now - I'll stick to the other aspect of why fantasy civilizations survive, but don't get huge like ours.

Greed.

The one huge thing that the Western Renaissance did, was introduce the idea of peer review, and that one concept started the huge advances the West has made in the last 400 years.

The idea that Bob the Wizard would TELL the world how he makes his Magic Missile spell work is beyond the scope of most fantasy genre civilizations. Bob is too busy trying to get ahead of Tim the Sorcerer to share information. By sharing information, the real-life society has allowed ourselves to help each other along.

Bob the Wizard may not be able to do it, but by he and Sorcerer Tim sharing their information MAY allow Rupert the Prestidigitator to create a spell that will feed hundreds for coppers a day - allowing more farmers to do things like... THINK and maybe investigate their surroundings.

In most Fantasy realms, just like real life some 400+ years ago, 90+% of society was involved in food production. If Bob, Tim and Rupert put their heads together, they might discover how to make crop production more... productive... and allow more people to get involved in research.

That's my take on it. It's all about greed and personal fiefdoms that people didn't want to lose.

Moritz
10-15-2007, 08:23 AM
Why they survive? Well duh, this is a story. And without good a good storyline, it won't sell (or be played).

And if they don't survive, it just makes more story and ruins for your characters to explore.

Digital Arcanist
10-15-2007, 11:20 AM
Civilizations rise and fall because of man's need to conquer and control his world but his inability to do so.

Someone mentioned Netheril earlier and divine punishment. Netheril was destroyed because the weave was sundered and it literally fell from the sky. Karsus attained his godhead and immediately fought Mystara. She prevailed but was injured during the fight and the weave was momentarily destroyed. Mystra, the new incarnation of Mystara, was able to resurrect the light weave and magic was "fixed" until the Time of Troubles. For a complete accounting read the Netheril Trilogy by Clayton Emery.

CAD
10-15-2007, 06:02 PM
Most if not all of us blame the supernatural, because we find it inconceivable to blame ourselves: Gee, do you think the smoking mountain means something:confused: I don't know, maybe we should take a look at this pig's liver:p

When times are good people become self-absorbed, and over a prolonged period the population may loose the skills necessary to cope with stress! Aside from the use of mercenaries, it has been postulated that this was one reason for the downfall of the Roman Empire. Why should I serve in the legions when there are so many foreigners that are willing to do it? Now if you don't mind, I have an orgy to attend! There are a lot of parallels in our current era, e.g. let the illegals gain citizenship via military service, I feel terrible today: therefore I must be ill so I'm going to the doctor, because I have insurance, and he'll give me a magic pill(had nothing to do with that party last night!)

This may be an oversimplified interpretation, but the fact remains we only have ourselves to blame. We're always willing to let someone else do the job, and never satisfied with the outcome; people are inherently lazy and selfish! Magic as a real-world parallel for technology won't solve problems, people will! Cell phones didn't solve our inability to communicate with one another, they just increased the demand for resources.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't excuse the rise or fall of an empire on the tools, but incorporate the resourcefullness or short-comings of the citizens into your storyline; then you'll find the depth you're looking for, and won't have to rely on the suspension of disbelief.

As far as Good vs. Evil goes, when one speaks of moral or immoral behavior don't forget to include amoral behavior. Do we ask ourselves, am I going to steal it because it's wrong? Hardly, we steal it because we want it. To covet the property of another is an inherently selfish act, and rarely one of depriving another of it! It is still indecent, and evil, because it leads us to harm others! Relativism can often lead to cyclical arguments; while ethonocentrism is a well founded theory, rationalization isn't an end in itself!

fmitchell
10-15-2007, 08:03 PM
Aside from the use of mercenaries, it has been postulated that this was one reason for the downfall of the Roman Empire. Why should I serve in the legions when there are so many foreigners that are willing to do it? Now if you don't mind, I have an orgy to attend!

This post sparked a not-so-original idea: tie the rise and fall of religions to the rise and fall of their civilizations. More specifically, the power of a "one god" or pantheon depends not only on the quantity of believers, but the quality.

The best believers are, of course, the original prophets and founders, followed by clerics who actively channel the god's power. Lay people are more valuable when they're passionate believers, less so when the religion devolves mainly into a bunch of rituals and prayers; this correlates roughly to people who struggle for survival vs. people who have everything at their fingertips. The worst situation might be an upper class who has everything and pays only lip service to the gods, and a lower class who believes that their gods aren't listening ... another religion can steal the hearts and minds of the oppressed if it can promise something better. (Cf. Christianity in the Roman Empire.)

There's also the Small Gods option (SPOILER for Terry Pratchett's Small Gods): a religious hierarchy that becomes too powerful and fearsome might weaken their own god if people stop believing in the god and believe only in the hierarchy's power.

I can imagine a GM adding this as an element in their campaign: new religions, or "barbarian" religions with tough and fervent believers, have proportionally greater pools of divine magic than old or "civilized" religions whose people have gone "soft".

For that matter, this could be an interesting campaign where players are the patron gods of a civilization, challenged by foreign gods or each other. They can take only limited actions in the mortal realm, based on their "faith pool" (as outlined above) ... and if another god poaches their believers, their Faith Pool dwindles.

Dimthar
10-15-2007, 08:07 PM
Perhaps to reach an agreement, we have to decide first if "Fantasy Elements" such as "Humanoid Races", "Gods" or "Magic" are mere counterparts / analogies of "Real World Elements".

The thread itself was to see what differentiates a Fantasy Empire downfall from one in the Real World, and if that difference accounted for being the main reason of poor technological advancement.

It may be that there is no such advancement just because the ultimate "DECIDER" (A.k.a. author, writer or game designer) don't want it to happen.

I suspect most Players at some point in their adventuring careers would like to be part of a major event (e.g. War of the ring, Time of Troubles, War of the Lance, etc.), and if possible, from their point of view, be the key factor for the final outcome.

One wonders if a typical "Roman Empire Fall" would satisfy the players, or we as Game Masters do really need Darklords, Evil Deities, Cataclysms and Powerful Magics to destroy the world that our PCs inhabit.

fmitchell
10-15-2007, 11:56 PM
The thread itself was to see what differentiates a Fantasy Empire downfall from one in the Real World, and if that difference accounted for being the main reason of poor technological advancement.

We, like sheep ... have strayed.

I can see three broad possibilities to the lack of technology in fantasy worlds:


Gods, nonhuman sapients, magic, and capital-e Evil are really metaphors or reflections of ultimately human, "real-world" cycles of civilization and barbarism.


In a Conan-esque world, for example, there's always a new warlord to conquer a soft, decadent empire. Men are born lords or slaves, and only the bravest men (and possibly women) survive to become heroes.
Or, perhaps, as in The Dying Earth, The Book of the New Sun, Viriconium, and Moorcock's Hawkmoon series, men once created high technology, but through slow decadence or some cataclysm they lost the ability to produce and maintain their high-tech toys. All they have left are relics, wonders, "magic" that they care for as best they can, but could never duplicate.



Superhuman forces (gods, wizards, dragons, dark lords, invisible pink unicorns, etc.) use humanity as their pawns, holding back human progress.


In Lord of the Rings, after Sauron dies and the elves leave, the Fourth Age seems to blend into our known history.
In Midnight, a setting like LotR if Sauron won, the Dark Lord Isrador keeps all sapients in perpetual slavery: weapons are forbidden, magic is forbidden, reading is forbidden, travel is forbidden, knowlege of other gods is forbidden.



The laws of nature in Fantasy Land simply don't permit the kind of technology that we get in our world.


Glorantha, for example, recapitulates mythology instead of following physical laws as we know them. The sun rises and sets because Yelm died and was reborn.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld has a powerful magical field that prevents some technologies, and corrupts others into gateways for Things That Should Not Be. Some Discworld devices replicate technology through magic or known laws: cameras and PDAs have tiny imps inside, specially constructed signal towers replace telegraphs and cell phones (if you don't mind some rude bastard waving flags over your head at dinner), and so forth.

fmitchell
10-16-2007, 12:15 AM
Another possibility Dimthar brought up early on: maybe fantasy physics is really like ours except for magic ... but magic provides marvels that nascent technology can't match. If you can grow better crops with a spell, why bother with crop rotation? If magic can produce lightning, Leyden jars and waving magnets across wires seem pretty pointless.

However, that assumes that magic is as generally ubiquitous as in most fantasy RPGs. However, that would really screw up the whole "Middle Ages With Magic" assumption, since the Middle Ages a) actually had significant technologies like water-powered mills, and b) didn't have magical healing, flight, or fireballs. It sounds more like Oz than Medieval Europe.

Still, I can imagine a fantasy world with a bunch of oddball proto-scientists performing "useless" experiments that, given time, might challenge magic's place. And imagine Diviners forseeing that future ...

Digital Arcanist
10-16-2007, 01:10 AM
um......lest we forget Gond the Wonderbringer, god of Technology and Machines and Ptolus has several deities devoted to mathematics and the sciences.

I love playing a Paladin or Priest of Gond. In my Ptolus campaign I am Van Halen, Priest of the Metal God. I'm supposed to be a priest of the Iron God, but that precludes me from forging anything from the cool alloys in the game so I worship the Metal God, son of the Iron God.

fmitchell
10-16-2007, 02:55 AM
um......lest we forget Gond the Wonderbringer, god of Technology and Machines and Ptolus has several deities devoted to mathematics and the sciences.

Glorantha's Second Age has the God Learners who fused sorcery and technology, not to mention technophile Dwarfs throughout all ages. There's also the "gaslamp fantasy" of Girl Genius.

Nevertheless, the question is why typical fantasy societies stagnate culturally and technologically, which is why I posed the three explanations above. (Plus the original "we have magic, so why have technology?", which in my view hits a Catch 22: as soon as there's enough magic to supplant technology, there's also enough magic to supplant serfs, knights, and castles too.)

BTW, the Invisible God smote the God Learners for perverting the powers He gave mankind, and the robot-like Gloranthan Dwarfs consider individualism and "openhandism" (trading dwarf "secrets" with non-dwarfs) to be "malfunctions".

InfoStorm
10-16-2007, 08:57 AM
There are tons of examples through history of rises and falls of multiple civilizations. Pull out your history books and read them. Goggle will probably have all the answers you may want. Just one region, China, has had multiple dynasties rise and fall over all of recorded history, and gave birth to the theory of the Dynastic cycle, which has been described before. Many of their advances were born of the desired for eternal youth and vigor. That just that one nation from history, and add in magic, and stagnation will quickly grow in.

Even the British Empire can be used as an example. It used to span the world and is now quite reduced. Will the same happen to the United States? ::looks at political candidated and decides this is not the forum for it:: :)

Moritz
10-16-2007, 09:10 AM
Of course it'll happen in the US. We're but a few hundred years old and we already have significant troubles and internal conflict.

I'm still excited about the bird flu, the comet hitting the Earth, and the rapture. Those things will really weed out the weak.

Gamma world, here we come.

Dimthar
10-16-2007, 12:43 PM
However, that assumes that magic is as generally ubiquitous as in most fantasy RPGs. However, that would really screw up the whole "Middle Ages With Magic" assumption, since the Middle Ages a) actually had significant technologies like water-powered mills, and b) didn't have magical healing, flight, or fireballs. It sounds more like Oz than Medieval Europe.

Although Magic exists in Fantasy Settings / Civilizations, it looks it's not as abundant as one may think (exceptions apply). Per previous posts, Magic (spells, items) is typically monopolized by a few people who don’t want to share it (or at a very high price).

Also in some cases the Magic User himself is Tax (Mind and Body) for using his powers.

So the Non-magical factions will still be motivated to develop technology and science for direct applications like architecture, warfare, agriculture or medicine. I suspect that is one of the reasons on why the gnomes & dwarves are the ones associated to machine development in D&D.

I see both Magic Masters and Scientists competing for the few talented individuals intelligent enough to raise each field to a new level. Being the rewards higher in Magic, that may also cause stagnation for Science.

Dimthar
10-16-2007, 01:01 PM
Or, perhaps, as in The Dying Earth, The Book of the New Sun, Viriconium, and Moorcock's Hawkmoon series, men once created high technology, but through slow decadence or some cataclysm they lost the ability to produce and maintain their high-tech toys. All they have left are relics, wonders, "magic" that they care for as best they can, but could never duplicate.

This reminded me of "Planet of the Apes". Even if technically is not a fantasy setting, if we treat the "Apes" as different humanoid race, somehow when civilization collapses during the ape rebellion, knowledge (books, computers, etc.) is lost. Maybe Apes prevented humanity to recover it and in that effort they lost access to it themselves.

In a world were "They were not created equal", total annihilation of the other "Race civilization" is likely to happen. A great effort to erase all memory of the old empire glory will be conducted to prove your own cause and race superior.

InfoStorm
10-16-2007, 01:24 PM
Also, as written in one book I reciently reread, Saucer by Steven Coonts, held the quite applicable theory that population is the key factor to high technology, and that anything leading to greatly reduced population will prevent the upkeep of technology and reduce people to more primitive era's. Heck, this idea was even used in an episode of Babylon 5.

So, add in Mortiz's bird flu pandemic/comet/mega-volcano and we'll be back in the Dark Ages with computer's we can't use from lack of power.

fmitchell
10-16-2007, 03:24 PM
Although Magic exists in Fantasy Settings / Civilizations, it looks it's not as abundant as one may think (exceptions apply). Per previous posts, Magic (spells, items) is typically monopolized by a few people who don’t want to share it (or at a very high price).

Last night I skimmed quickly through A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe. Their kludge as I understand it is that there's one or two low-level spellcasters in each village who replace certain technologies with magic ... but, because it's magic, there's no advancement of the art. (D&D has an NPC class called the "adept", who has some lesser spellcasting abilities, although MMSWE referred to druids, clerics, and sorcerers.) I'll have to actually read the darn thing to see whether my understanding is correct, and how much of a kludge it actually is.

Still, the whole thing sounds kind of hand-wavy. If there are a few people with high-powered magic, even if there's low-powered magic as well, I'd expect something closer to the X-Men than typical D&D. That would mean one of three things:


Magic users rule the world, if not directly then by dominating a local ruler.

Mundane authorities have ways to neutralize magic users, which they agree not to use if magic users behave themselves.

Mundanes hate and fear magic users, and will do their best to kill them or drive them away if they use their powers in public.


If you look at pre-D&D fantasy literature, though, magic users are either benign mentors loath to use their uncanny powers except at need, or evil overlords whose powers, while formidable, have a weakness which a typical mighty-thewed hero can exploit. Didn't someone once say that Gandalf was only a 5th-level Wizard by D&D standards?

Even earlier, in the Arthurian Romances, the "PCs", if you will, are all knights. Magic users are few and far between; their powers come and go (as if they were mere plot devices), and none save perhaps Merlin can truly stand against a Knight of the Round Table.

Which is why I think magic in most fantasy games, including D&D and GURPS, is more of a modern power fantasy than an evocation of old stories. (Except for certain myths where everyone has supernatural powers.) Which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but I don't think a lot of games think out the consequences of either widespread magic or a few special people with magic.

fmitchell
10-16-2007, 03:39 PM
I'm still excited about the bird flu, the comet hitting the Earth, and the rapture. Those things will really weed out the weak.

OK, so first there's a massive pandemic, then a comet destroys several major population centers, and then all the True Believers disappear.

And you're excited?

(Mind you, the last one I might celebrate; no more turning off the lights and crouching behind the sofa. As long as afterward nobody comes down to burn our heathen flesh and melt our eyeballs in their sockets.)

(P.S. Sorry if I sound like I'm mocking deeply held religious beliefs ... but if the Dispensationalist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispensationalism) interpretation of Revelations is true, we heathens would only have a few years of Gamma World before we were all eternally damned. And if Dispensationalism is wrong but some religious enclaves got beamed up anyway, it would just be funny.)

Moritz
10-16-2007, 03:52 PM
Frank,
You've been watching Indiana Jones again, haven't you?


I'm just thinking it'd be a little less noisy around here.

Dimthar
01-14-2008, 01:37 PM
I put the blame in this order: 1) Gods, 2) Magic, 3) Different Races, 4) Evil.

Gods: They will always try to punish mortals whenever we are getting to proud and confident, so they sent this cataclysms which pushes knowledge back a few hundreds or thousands of years.


So the "New" Forgotten proves my point! :).

Ding! We are so full of cliches ....

Digital Arcanist
01-14-2008, 09:00 PM
See...there is a flaw in that statement though. All the problems in the Realms stemmed from Cyric and Shar's lust for power and not a drive to punish mortals. You won't be seeing much punishing going on if a deity wishes to retain his/her power. Ao tied a deities might directly to the number of worshipers he/she has. If you punish your flock, they may just give their support to a kinder god.

Now back to the cataclysm.... The Spellplague was caused by Cyric and Shar murdering Mystra in her home domain. This caused magic to go wonky and the Spellplague happened. Now if you read the novels then you know immediately why Cyric and Shar did it. Cyric hates Mystra because she reuked his intimate overtures and chose Kelemvor as a lover. Shar on the other hand sought out and mastered the Shadow Weave and seeks to take control of the Light Weave.

Gods, in fantasy settings, often precipitate the rise and fall of civilizations but the Realms is not great example of it.

tesral
01-15-2008, 07:02 AM
What really casues the fall of civilizations is the desire to get people to buy more books.

jayphailey
01-21-2008, 02:44 PM
History is littered wth fallen civilizations.

http://www.dancarlin.com/hhpage1.asp

I recommend episode #17 - "Judgement at Nineva"

Very cool stuff about Xenophon and the Greeks running across ancient cities in the desert

Jay ~Meow!~

tesral
01-21-2008, 06:24 PM
History is littered wth fallen civilizations.


And no one has cleaned them up?

Drohem
01-21-2008, 07:11 PM
A contributing factor the fall of civilization is the fact that people are no longer reading books.

I am starting to believe that reading comprehension, gammar, punctuation, and spelling are dying arts.

Digital Arcanist
01-21-2008, 10:21 PM
A contributing factor the fall of civilization is the fact that people are no longer reading books.

I am starting to believe that reading comprehension, gammar, punctuation, and spelling are dying arts.

Idiocracy anyone?

Drohem
01-22-2008, 12:52 AM
Idiocracy anyone?

I had to look this up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiocracy

I had never heard of this movie before. I have added to my Netflix list.

It sounds pretty cool. :)

jayphailey
01-22-2008, 08:49 AM
And no one has cleaned them up?


Litter --> Junk --> Antiques --> Archaology.

The world is a place for our stuff.

Jay ~Meow!~

jayphailey
01-22-2008, 08:57 AM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0143036556/ref=dp_olp_2/105-2692760-6111613?ie=UTF8&qid=1201010046&sr=1-2

Jared Diamond's "Collapse" has some interesting things to say about why civilizations fall.

Jay ~Meow!~

tesral
01-22-2008, 10:56 AM
A contributing factor the fall of civilization is the fact that people are no longer reading books.

I am starting to believe that reading comprehension, gammar, punctuation, and spelling are dying arts.

Dying certainly. Then the entire public school system is slowly, or not so slowly coming apart at the seams. I found out that my Friday DM a 20 year old college student does not know who Captain James Cook was. I was stunned. Jon the guy from Germany knew, but not Mike.

History and English are the foundation of the land. How far can we go when they are ignored or openly attacked?

tesral
01-22-2008, 10:58 AM
Jared Diamond's "Collapse" has some interesting things to say about why civilizations fall.

Jay ~Meow!~

It comes down to internal rot. Civilizations fall apart fron the inside first and are then pushed over by outside forces.

Maelstrom
01-22-2008, 11:08 AM
"Pride cometh before the fall"

Drohem
01-22-2008, 11:37 AM
Dying certainly. Then the entire public school system is slowly, or not so slowly coming apart at the seams. I found out that my Friday DM a 20 year old college student does not know who Captain James Cook was. I was stunned. Jon the guy from Germany knew, but not Mike.

History and English are the foundation of the land. How far can we go when they are ignored or openly attacked?

I agree completely. Now fundamental programs like art and music are being completely removed from the public school system.

What is the national reading average now?

It is truly shameful.

tesral
01-22-2008, 12:07 PM
We could easily wander off into politics here. I would prefer not.

RPGs are good for education. Let's see, subjects I have pursued mainly because of RPGs. Cartography, Sociology, several histories (for background) that I might not otherwise look into, arms and armor, old technologies, political science, farming, propaganda, historical medicine, graphic design and more I am not thinking of right now.

Maelstrom
01-22-2008, 02:15 PM
Indeed. Compare an RPG to a video game:

The video games that are selling large numbers nowadays require good hand eye coordination or are simple diversions. While they may be fun, the social skills you learn are minimal, and they lack a real mental challenge.

Take RTS games for instance... they once really required solid strategy to play. Nowadays it seems more and more the titles that sell the most are based around how quickly you can build up a killer force, and strategy is relagated to the background.

PnP RPGs however are a very social experience where creativity is encouraged. You must think through your encounters, discover hidden plots, and make moral decisions based on the role you play. You learn social skills as you work together as a team to solve problems, and act as a player or gamemaster in a way that adds to the fun.

The growing generation would be more ready to face the world and make positive changes if they used pen and paper instead of a joystick.

Malruhn
01-27-2008, 12:42 PM
Don't forget theology!! I began studying theology and history after I started playing so I could craft a world that made sense from a "realistic" point of view.

tesral
01-27-2008, 10:38 PM
Oh yes. Taking all the history I absorb through my skin and putting it to use. I love creating new societies by mixing two historical societies. You mix well and noodle out what the result would look like. That way you do not get predicable totally lifted from history worlds.

Dimthar
02-17-2008, 10:10 AM
Not exactly a Fantasy Theme but ....

I was reading in the "Dallas Morning News" an discussion about Carle Zimmerman (Family and Civilization).

For all purposes, Zimmerman believes that some "Advanced Societies" fell due to the lack of procreation. Large families are not longer the strong unit, and is more "Individual" driven.

Phillip Longman (The Empty Cradle) suggests that if Liberals want to prosper they should put their act together and start having kids, otherwise, they will loose the demographic war against the fundamentalists.

A society where children is not longer their main asset is doomed to fall.

I liked this articled, will try to read Zimmerman's book.

.

fmitchell
02-17-2008, 02:55 PM
For all purposes, Zimmerman believes that some "Advanced Societies" fell due to the lack of procreation. Large families are not longer the strong unit, and is more "Individual" driven.

I've heard this argument before, and I'm not sure I entirely buy it. Call me elitist, but in a small family the parents (or parent) can invest more time and resources in their children's education. In a large family, unless the parents have commensurate resources, those children will be at a social and economic disadvantage. Over a few generations, with wealth accumulating, and you end up with large families of poorly-educated have-nots and an elite of haves.

Note that this effect is independent of each family's cultural values. So, essentially, you're more likely to have a struggle among factions of "haves". In a democracy or republic, both sides might attempt to tip the scales by enlisting "have-nots" into their cause, perhaps using "patriotism" or "religion" as their rallying cry.

On the other hand, in armed struggles in the past, numbers tend to win. If the "culture war" escalates to actual violence, then only the "right sort of education" -- self-defense or military training -- will count in the war between populations. Again, though, I'd expect two or more ruling factions, or an already powerful wanna-be ruling faction, enlisting "have-nots" as footsoldiers more often than a true war between "haves" and "have-nots".

So, getting back to "cultural wars" in the real world (briefly), the real problem is powerful political interests on the Far Right using religious extremists to swell their ranks. These extremists then use hot-button issues to pull in moderates, or at least shame them into keeping quiet ... although there are signs that moderates are tired of being manipulated. Rather than a "breeding war" which would soon reach Malthusian limits, the goal should be to reach out to the current and future generations and defuse the war before it starts.

tesral
02-17-2008, 05:07 PM
A society where children is not longer their main asset is doomed to fall.


He has the wrong end of the stick. The demographic that shows the most in childbearing is prosperity and urbanization. Large families are only an asset in the faming communities were the labor is required on the farm. In city environments children are not such an asset.

The higher the general prosperity of an area the lower the birth rate as well. Children cost money. They are never a pure asset and always a liability.

With effective birth control sex and childbearing have become decoupled. In area of high prosperity were birth control is easy to get, the birth rate drops, often to below the replacement rate.

A low birthrate has nothing to do with the politics of an area and everything to do with where they live and how rich they are. Take a look at the number of children the leading Republicans have. It isn't many.

It also has little to do with how loved children are. Indeed if my means are limited, I would do better to limit my fertility to better enhance my means of raising a few children well than many children poorly.

Dimthar
02-17-2008, 07:29 PM
I can not give an educated review about Zimmerman’s point of view until I get to read the book. Now, he was a 1947 sociologist predicting a future crisis on western society.

I will try to make a super over-simplification:

Two PURPLE College-Educated Parents only have one PURPLE Kid, which in turn is most likely to become a College-Educated PURPLE adult. When the two PURPLE parents retire, there are 2 Job Openings which require a College-Educated person. Who gets the 2nd opening?
1) A BLUE Immigrant? (Look at the high number of Masters and PhD students in Science careers).
2) The Position is outsourced to a ROSE country (India?).
3) A College-Educated Adult from a GREEN large-family? (Scholarships)

The above assumption is based in a country which has a negative population growth rate.

The PURPLE’s just lost one Upper-Class Job. Now most likely the PURPLEs will keep moving up in the class-ladder, but for how long can they keep control, specially with their numbers dwindling? I don't believe the GREENs are doomed to be a 'Have-Nots.

Let’s use Germany as an example, who would think that after WWII there will be a growing Turkish population there. In a Long-Long Term Effect, who will be the minority in Germany?
How about France? Same thing.

----

I tried a Google search on Zimmerman, hehehe ... interesting.

.

boulet
02-17-2008, 11:25 PM
How about France? Same thing.

Hmmm. You're talking of my country here. May I step in and give you a slightly different vision of immigration from France. There we don't claim to have a melting pot thingy like the US and the U.K. The idea is anyone willing to fit into the French Republic values is welcome. First, you must speak French. There's no such thing as providing every text both in national language and one of the minority language. That's one big difference with America : even with 10 % muslim nationals we don't translate texts into Arab. Second, our society is really secular. For instance a political candidate who mentions his religious background is putting himself into a misfit position. I'm not saying there isn't xenophobia and racism in France, of course not. But the basic principle is that your religion and ethnic group isn't something you're supposed to discriminate. For instance : when applying for a job in France it's illegal to ask candidates any question about ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.

So if you ask me about the next politician who's taking power in France... I don't care if the name is Mohammed, Carlos or Ling Ling. My only question is : is she/he willing to abide French laws and values ? Is she/he going to keep France secular and democratic ? Has long as my country remains a democracy, I don't give a **** what ethnic group is a minority or a majority. And if the irony of History is that Algerian descent nationals are to lead my government while in the 60s they were considered terrorists because they fought for independence, I'll say "Insh Allah" !

We're living on a quite small planet. The different cultures and languages matter because it's the beauty of mankind. But at the end of the day we all live on the same Earth.

fmitchell
02-18-2008, 12:27 AM
Also, the original example was "liberals" vs. "fundamentalists". Ignoring the false dichotomy -- there's an entire spectrum of beliefs in the US, including "nonreligious" with myriad political beliefs, religious liberals, religious moderates, Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc. -- we're talking belief systems, not ethnicities. Beliefs can change: Michael Shermer of the "Skeptics Society" grew up as a fundamentalist Christian, for one, and many atheists and agnostics famous and not so famous grew up in strictly religious households. And, yes, according to testimonials some "godless" libertines converted to some form of strict religion.

So, more immediately effective counters to the threat of irrational social movements are a) educating the next generation, and b) exploiting divisions within a seemingly unified movement. Trying to outbreed them will likely as not end up as one faction of meat robots feuding with another faction of meat robots, with reason, liberty, and actual family values being the first casualties. "'Freedom'? It is a holy word. You will not speak it."

jayphailey
02-18-2008, 11:01 AM
There is a difference between culture, knowledge and education.

I support George Carlin's point of view on the issue.

Jay ~Meow!~

Dimthar
02-18-2008, 02:13 PM
So if you ask me about the next politician who's taking power in France... I don't care if the name is Mohammed, Carlos or Ling Ling. My only question is : is she/he willing to abide French laws and values ? Is she/he going to keep France secular and democratic ?.

Bear with me, I am trying to workout the few data that I have to see if Zimmerman thesis is valid. Remember everybody, We are just talking about 'Rise and Fall of Civilizations' (We are not saying that what is now is better or worse than what is going to be).

I think Boulet question has the meat and purpose of this discussion.


The United States is not the only western nation with a high fertility rate. Israel has a fertility rate of 2.84 children per woman (the highest in the developed world). This high FRT is due in part to the high fertility rates of the Arab citizens of Israel (4.2) and of its Ultra-Orthodox, Haredi Jewish citizens (over 8). The total fertility rate of Israel's Jewish residents is 2.7. The lowest fertility rate of any religious group in the country is among the Christian Arab citizens of Israel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub-replacement_fertility

I understand Frank's opinion that beliefs can change. But can people change their beliefs and substitute those persons lost due to a low FRT and keep a balance?.

Looking at the Israel Data, it seems to support Zimmerman point of view. Based on the Math the Arabs and the Haredi are currently minorities in Israel (Again, I am not saying that if they take over is good or bad, just that eventually they will take over).

Well it takes $13.0 USD to find out what data did Zimmerman use in 1947. At least the description in Amazon points that the book is interesting (talks about the fall of Greece, Roman and Medieval empires)



Phillip Longman (The Empty Cradle) suggests that if Liberals want to prosper they should put their act together and start having kids, otherwise, they will loose the demographic war against the fundamentalists.
.

Just to clarify that the "Liberal vs Fundamentalist was Longman and not Zimmerman (According to the Dallas Morning News).

.

Dimthar
02-18-2008, 03:35 PM
I found the original 'article' from the Dallas Morning News.

Why Western civilization must learn to procreate or perish

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/columnists/rdreher/stories/021708dnedidreher.3f7a36.html

Hope you enjoy it.

.

nijineko
02-19-2008, 05:09 AM
i lean toward the family is the core of a civilization camp. the us is in trouble, in any case. ^^ we never achieved a democracy like the law indicated we were supposed to, we've been sliding away from a federal republic into socialism or an oligarchy depending on who managed to take the hotseat last election, for years now. it's getting to the point where it will take another civil war or something equally drastic to put things back on track. no wonder the government is trying to draw us into wars in other nations. it's always worked in the past to jumpstart the economy and gloss over leadership faults. ^^

it's going to be an interesting ride. i would say, 'may we live in interesting times'... but it would be redundant.

tesral
02-19-2008, 03:24 PM
I think we know how to procreate. That isn't the issue.

What we need is to raise everyone's standard of living until the birth rate is slightly under replacement. We don't need more kids. India and China need less. We would have a higher standerd of living with less.

fmitchell
02-19-2008, 04:46 PM
Anyway ... back to fantasy ...

The D&D supplement Lords of Madness mentions that the Mind Flayers often engineer the rise and fall of surface civilizations just to watch what happens. Less exotic enemies can cause a civilization to rot from within as well, with social engineering, a little mind-control, or few well-placed assassinations.

Has anyone been in a campaign where preventing (or encouraging) rot from within was a major factor? It sounds more interesting than "my army can beat your army" or "my god can smite your god".

tesral
02-19-2008, 10:41 PM
Quite. I have had a couple of societies rotted out from within. The one was a demonic plot that was only partly successful due to the interference of the PCs.

They were able to stop most of the plots but three of them were too far gone to save. They quit the Rankeian Empire with the thing coming down around their ears, in a figurative sense. Two character cycles later the place is still in political chaos.

cplmac
02-20-2008, 12:36 PM
Quite. I have had a couple of societies rotted out from within. The one was a demonic plot that was only partly successful due to the interference of the PCs.

They were able to stop most of the plots but three of them were too far gone to save. They quit the Rankeian Empire with the thing coming down around their ears, in a figurative sense. Two character cycles later the place is still in political chaos.


Did you devise these scenerios yourself or were they taken from a premade adventure? Have you had more than one group of characters try the Rankeian Empire? If so, did the next group have to start from the same place as the one before them, or did they have to proceed from where the one before them left things?

tesral
02-20-2008, 02:00 PM
Did you devise these scenerios yourself or were they taken from a premade adventure? Have you had more than one group of characters try the Rankeian Empire? If so, did the next group have to start from the same place as the one before them, or did they have to proceed from where the one before them left things?

It was strictly home brew. the Party was tracking down twenty demons (There were outsider hunters) that had been turned loose to wreck havoc on the land. Most of these had chosen subterfuge. From a merchant selling cursed items to spread possession, a concubine urging her "master" into war, to a possessed ogre that was trying to destroy a country by direct confrontation. In each case the Demon had to be stopped.

I don't have the notes from that one handy.

One was stopped simply by sending a letter to the right person. In two cases the Demon was taken out by someone else entirely, the Ogre being one example. That was the Friday group's problem. The war came right to the capital city and fought at the walls and in the streets.

One Demon was an adviser working on the Greek states. They took out the Demon, but the damage was done. The United Greek states crumbled back into the usual city state squabbling.

The aforementioned Rankian war. It has dissolved into petty feuding between the half dozen "true Kings of Ranke".

They stopped the rise of a couple of possible tyrants, two rebellions from happening including one were the Demon was actually being double crossed by a Raksasha.

As to the Rankein Empire it has been 40 years since the breakup. Anyone going into that area would have to deal with the situation as it currently exists. When the Demon Hunters left the rebellion was tuning up for the long haul. That war is over.

nijineko
02-23-2008, 01:40 AM
We don't need more kids. India and China need less. We would have a higher standerd of living with less.


*shudder* that philosophy has led to the fall of more civilizations....



however, raising the standard of living for those that we have would be a good idea. curtailing population growth is a very dangerous tactic. without population expansion, we will never colonize other planets. enter next tk event, stage right. no thank you.

on the other hand, we need to figure out how to take care of those we have, world-wide, granted. ^^



i have a campaign where the first section deals with unknowns plotting attempting to destabalize a country in a critial geographical area blocking access to desired resources... the second section deals with the supposed return of a prophesied leader who is to unite the barbarian hordes for a war of conquest-which hordes control the aformentioned resources-again threatening said country... the third with an incursion of seemingly unstoppable beings of great power from another dimension.

all in all, the characters tend to get involved with the politcs one way or another.

tesral
02-24-2008, 09:53 PM
*shudder* that philosophy has led to the fall of more civilizations....

Farming civilizations, primitive civilizations that lived by the size of the labor pool.

You see I am not seeing Earth as pieces, each fighting for part of the pie. I am seeing it as a whole. We don't have the luxury of promoting one part of the planet over another. The rules have changed. Us vs. Them is an old game we can no longer afford. Planet full, we need less, not more.




however, raising the standard of living for those that we have would be a good idea. curtailing population growth is a very dangerous tactic. without population expansion, we will never colonize other planets. enter next tk event, stage right. no thank you.


When is the next colony ship leaving and how many does it hold? Oh, we don't have those yet. Nor are we in the near future. So for the near future we need to cut population growth. Believe me there will be no problem getting population if it is needed.

The last monster event killed a quarter million people. It didn't make a dent in the world population. At this point the world population is distributed in such a way that more people is simply more people to die in a major disaster.




on the other hand, we need to figure out how to take care of those we have, world-wide, granted. ^^

The planet is no longer big enough to play the politics of population. The game has changed. Us vs. Them is no longer zero sum, it is no win. There is only Us, Humans, and the sooner we buy into that and plan accordingly, the better chance we have for survival.




i have a campaign where the first section deals with unknowns plotting attempting to destabalize a country in a critial geographical area blocking access to desired resources... the second section deals with the supposed return of a prophesied leader who is to unite the barbarian hordes for a war of conquest-which hordes control the aformentioned resources-again threatening said country... the third with an incursion of seemingly unstoppable beings of great power from another dimension.

all in all, the characters tend to get involved with the politcs one way or another.


Great for games, it no longer flies in the real world.

Dimthar
02-26-2008, 03:06 PM
You see I am not seeing Earth as pieces, each fighting for part of the pie. I am seeing it as a whole. We don't have the luxury of promoting one part of the planet over another. The rules have changed. Us vs. Them is an old game we can no longer afford. Planet full, we need less, not more.

Garry, I understand your point, but Us vs. Them Is the name of the Game, and there is nothing showing that is going to change.

The statement "Planet Full" is also inaccurate, there are several untapped resources that we as humanity don't use due to conflicting economic interests, e.g.: Solar Power, Wind Power, Nuclear Power, Sea Water desalinization.

Add current resources allocation, just because there are thousands of people dying of hunger that doesn't mean they count as "Demand" for the food market, if they can not pay for it the market will throw away the excess in order to keep prices under a certain level for those who can pay. Can we produce food for everyone? Our technology level allows for it, is it good business? No, so we don't do it.

CO2? We could all live in tall buildings in "apartment size" residences, and leave room for the "trees". Oh! but again we waste space in big houses (luxury), Public transportation? Hell No! we want our gas consuming cars (luxury), Feed the children or a 42" Inch Plasma TV (luxury)?

And all these luxuries are a result of Us vs. Them. We are rich, they are poor. We are humans, they are orcs.

Now the question when the procreation topic was raised was: Will "We" eventually loose because there won't be enough of us?


So for the near future we need to cut population growth. Believe me there will be no problem getting population if it is needed.

Several European countries have now incentives for people to have more kids. Did suddenly everyone started to procreate there? No ...

I need people to pay for my social security benefits when I retire, right now the SS is telling me it will only afford 75 cents of each dollar I deserve. From where will that people come from?


The planet is no longer big enough to play the politics of population. The game has changed. Us vs. Them is no longer zero sum, it is no win. There is only Us, Humans, and the sooner we buy into that and plan accordingly, the better chance we have for survival

Will human ideas, philosophy, rules and beliefs survive against the rising numbers of Orcs?


Great for games, it no longer flies in the real world.

In God I trust, for someone else, show me the Data.

.

tesral
02-26-2008, 06:20 PM
\Will human ideas, philosophy, rules and beliefs survive against the rising numbers of Orcs?


What Orcs? There are only humans. The old game has to change or there will be no Humans, any Humans regardless of culture.

It can be done, the US has done it. We have killed tribalism. That is why tribalists fear our culture. Tribalism needs to die world wide.

Step one realize that only one race exists, the Human race. Nationalities and skin color are superficial things. Superficial things can be abandoned and should be for racial (Human) survival.

Two: Shun the tribalists. If someone starts shouting abut Us vs. Them, shun that person. Turn your back and ignore them. Their message is death.

Three: Raise the world standard of living. No one should be poor. Wealth is not a zero sum game. We can develop clean energy enough to feed, clothe and house every person on the planet. There is already enough food, politics, Us vs Them is killing children as I type.

The old game is deadly, to everyone, it cannot be won. The sooner we stop playing the better.

Dimthar
02-26-2008, 11:09 PM
First I apologize, I did introduce the Orcs as an analogy, you can say in a unsuccesful attempt to keep my post "Fantasy" oriented, hehehe.


What Orcs? There are only humans. The old game has to change or there will be no Humans, any Humans regardless of culture.

I am a little confussed in your position. Could you elaborate and detail the mechanism for the "Humanity downfall" you talk about??, if we don't stop playing the old game.


It can be done, the US has done it. We have killed tribalism. That is why tribalists fear our culture. Tribalism needs to die world wide.

I disagree in this point. Is my opinion that "Individualism" creates a "ME" Culture, in which the "Individual" has a complete disregard for others and future generations. Is this same "ME" Culture which promotes "Waste". Personal Satisfaction is the priority for this group. This group does not procreate to raise their children standard of living, they don't do it so they can spend more in themselves. Individuals think short term.

Tribes (call them Nations, Religions, etc.) goal is the success and survival of the group. Tribes respect their past and work for the future of those to come. Tribes think longterm.


The old game is deadly, to everyone, it cannot be won. The sooner we stop playing the better.

Other than a Nuclear Holocaust, I don't see the extermination of humanity, only the survival of the fittest tribe. Probably not mine.

.

tesral
02-27-2008, 08:25 AM
Other than a Nuclear Holocaust, I don't see the extermination of humanity, only the survival of the fittest tribe. Probably not mine.

.

You have no idea how precarious our position is, do you? How utterly dependent on technology we are even for the basic food we eat. Disrupt that technology and people start to die, in droves. Too much disruption could precipitate a total collapse. It wouldn't take much. The wrong natural disaster would do it. No point in worrying about that. We cannot keep natural disasters from happening, and some you cannot prepare for.

War however we can control. The whole tribal thing has to go. It is the cause of war and war is our species downfall. I think you sell the US short. We are the most generous and most tolerant nation on the planet. We are not shooting people for following the wrong religion per example, or even the wrong sect of the right religion. Violation of that tolerance are rare enough to merit national attention. The fact that Fred Phelps is walking a living being today is proof of that tolerance. Someone that goes out of his way to be nasty and he hasn't been shot yet?

If we form tribes they are friendly and accepting ones. Virtual tribes like Pen and Paper Games for example. Most of use belong to several tribes, a church tribe, a work tribe, several club tribes, but we are not trying to make war on the other tribes. We have sublimated the Us vs. Them into football and friendly competitions.

National identities are not the future. Not a successful future in any case. We have to create the Nation of Man and learn to live with each other, or we will not live at all.

Dimthar
02-27-2008, 02:35 PM
I keep my response on this thread because I feel we are still discussing the fall of a civilization, ours. And will refrain from giving my humble opinion on what is great and what is bad about the US (at the end I joined this tribe by my own will).


You have no idea how precarious our position is, do you? How utterly dependent on technology we are even for the basic food we eat. Disrupt that technology and people start to die, in droves. Too much disruption could precipitate a total collapse. It wouldn't take much. The wrong natural disaster would do it. No point in worrying about that. We cannot keep natural disasters from happening, and some you cannot prepare for.
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I think I haven't explained myself. I said ""Humanity Extermination" = Zero Survivals.

I agree with you that if things are not corrected, we are approaching "slowly" (others will say an "immediate") Crisis. Yes people will die, yes our way of life will collapse, but as a species I don't buy the idea we are facing "Extinction" by our own hand (But for Nuclear Holocaust).

Providing we don't all die at the same time, Knowledge has managed to survive all previous crisis and civilization collapses, and not just that, has been advancing forward after that. (Which if you read the very first post in this thread, the question was why the hell does this don't happen in a fantasy world).

We may loose the libraries, we may loose the computer data banks, but a lot of information will be kept by the individuals themselves (Just because I don't work in biotechnology, doesn't mean I don't remember how to mutate a bacteria). An average engineer sophomore college student has more math background (If not the genius) than Newton.

Survivors will resort to "Recycling" and let me tell you, there will be thousands of steel tons to be used.

If Humanity numbers fall drastically as predicted, other species (potential food) will recover and flourish (specially in the sea).

Who will survive ??????????? Numbers matter.

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Now back to the "procreation" topic,

As per my previous post, I also don't buy the idea of a "Full Planet". This crisis IMHO is not because we are 6 Billion People. Is because what we decided to do with the resources we were given (Food, Space, Raw Materials, Knowledge).

Which Beliefs, Philosophies, Ideas or Rules will Survive?, according to this guy Zimmerman, the "Natalist" ones, are the most likely to prevail, as he believed (and got me a little convinced) they did before in previous Crisis.

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tesral
02-27-2008, 03:49 PM
If Humanity numbers fall drastically as predicted, other species (potential food) will recover and flourish (specially in the sea).

Who will survive ??????????? Numbers matter.

Not quite, the ones best prepared to weather a technologically collapes. In this case those working with the least technology are the most likley to survive as they have the tools to deal with no technolopgy.

Ergo, the subsistecne farmers working with cattle power.

The most people at the start is not in your favor. Indeed if you are supporting those people with the very technology that collapes, you are in a bad way indeed.

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Now back to the "procreation" topic,

As per my previous post, I also don't buy the idea of a "Full Planet". This crisis IMHO is not because we are 6 Billion People. Is because what we decided to do with the resources we were given (Food, Space, Raw Materials, Knowledge).

Which Beliefs, Philosophies, Ideas or Rules will Survive?, according to this guy Zimmerman, the "Natalist" ones, are the most likely to prevail, as he believed (and got me a little convinced) they did before in previous Crisis.

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It is full enough that without our current farming technology we cannot feed the world. Without our current transportation technology we can't get the food to people, and without our energy technology we cannot support populations in some of the places we are supporting populations.

Zimmerman is forgetting a few things. One the rules of the game have changed. It is not how many you start with, it's how many you end with. The world is no longer a level playing field where survival is concerned. In a crisis the urban populations go first, they need the technology the most to survive. The last people that will fail are the subsistence farmers of the third world. By not enjoying our technology they are not dependent on it.

Increasing your population in our technological circumstances will not ensure that we will have more people if push comes to shove. We only push the technology further and increase the dependence on that technology. We need fewer people, less centralized, and all energy domesticated. The better to ensure the most survive post crisis.

If the Indonesian quake had been the collapse of one of the Azores (which could happen) and the 2004 12/26 tsunami had been on the Atlantic coast of the US what do you think the devastation would look like? How about New Orleans post Katrina, without any evacuation, repeated up and down the Atlantic coast without end. New Orleans has not yet recovered and may never fully recover. Take a look at India. They didn't look nearly as bad two years later. 30 meter tsunami hitting New York, or Miami, more likely both and toss in every coastal city in the east. The death toll would be in the tens of millions, no mere 240,000.

The local technology would be destroyed, no communication, no transportation, nothing. The survivors would be without food, water, medical help, or even a means of leaving the area. The death toll rises again.

That would be a moderately localized major disaster. What do you think aChicxulub level event would do? Any survivors that mannge to pull themselves from the rubble of the planet had better have some very basic skills, or they are not going to be survivors for long. Better hope for the sake of the human race the US gets it right in the nose.

gdmcbride
03-02-2008, 03:46 AM
Who would survive a disaster or social collapse is irrevocably linked to the nature of the crisis.

Subsistence farmers for example would not be well suited to survive an asteroid strike that completely baked the surface. The survivors there would be the vault dwelling scientists and their families who forsaw this disaster a decade in advance and had the resources to do something about it

But these city-dwelling scientists would be toast if a bio-weapon got loose and eradicated 99.9% of humanity in twenty four hours. Then it would be people in remote places who don't see another human soul for months who would survive.

But no matter how remote their environment if they lived on the slopes of the super-volcano that exploded and blotted out the sun for three years with ash, they would die first. The survivors there would people farthest away from the explosion who still got a small smattering of sunlight and managed to eek a pathetic living during the three years of hell.

I find the idea of a post-apocalyptic game that tries to be at least quasi-realistic a very interesting thought experiment at least and possibily a very fun campaign. But the first thing you have to do is choose your planetary poison.

Gary

agoraderek
04-29-2008, 06:21 PM
Testral: It is full enough that without our current farming technology we cannot feed the world. Without our current transportation technology we can't get the food to people, and without our energy technology we cannot support populations in some of the places we are supporting populations.

well, imo, technology and production isnt the problem, the US produces enough to feed the world if it felt like doing so, frankly. the problem is corruption in the crisis areas. to use a very real example, zimbabwe was the breadbasket of africa, with very efficient farming, until mugabe took over and destroyed that society.

the entire world population could have a quarter acre each in texas, with the rest of the planet used for food and material production. population isnt the problem.

the problem is humankind's inability to see how pointless religious, nationalistic and cultural differences, hatreds and jealousies are. its the inability of people to truly do what is in their own enlightened self interest. as long as some tribes have the attitude that others who do not want to live like them must die, as long as differences are seen as a reason for violence, then the cycle we've seen for the entirety of written history will continue to repeat.

of course, how this pertains to a fantasy setting is up to the individual dm/gm/storyteller, but conflict is the meat of the rpg experience. this may be why we rarely hear anyone playing White Lamb's release Cumbaya: the Enlightenment...

fmitchell
04-29-2008, 07:19 PM
the entire world population could have a quarter acre each in texas, with the rest of the planet used for food and material production. population isnt the problem.

Actually, it would be better to spread humanity evenly across the arable land, to minimize the distance food has to travel. This would avoid energy costs, the middlemen (who often succumb to corruption first), and the likelihood that a local disaster would imperil the world food supply.

But yeah, I agree about being able to feed everyone. So many hunger relief efforts failed because the food rotted on the docks waiting to be delivered, or got hijacked by militias and corrupt governments.

Now energy to power our computers, lights, air conditioners/heaters, cars, laboratories, factories, etc. might be a little trickier. But then again, a quasi-medieval fantasy society wouldn't need to worry about that.

Malruhn
04-29-2008, 08:30 PM
The problem with feeding an entire population off of Texas's land, is considering today's technology in agriculture and transportation. Please don't forget that in society in 1200 A.D. is that 96% of the population was involved in food production. Also, less than ONE percent of people ever traveled over 10 miles from where they were born.

There's a huge difference between life in the Middle Ages and today.

agoraderek
05-01-2008, 12:21 AM
The problem with feeding an entire population off of Texas's land, is considering today's technology in agriculture and transportation. Please don't forget that in society in 1200 A.D. is that 96% of the population was involved in food production. Also, less than ONE percent of people ever traveled over 10 miles from where they were born.

There's a huge difference between life in the Middle Ages and today.

oh, i agree, i was just pointing out that many of our problems in today's real world have less to do with population and resources than with corruption and conflict.

tesral
05-01-2008, 05:22 AM
oh, i agree, i was just pointing out that many of our problems in today's real world have less to do with population and resources than with corruption and conflict.

And that is the rub. We don't need more people. We need to eliminate the nationalistic urges behind the very idea that you can "out populate" the other nations and thus succeed. The enemy is not the guy over the hill it is the very idea that the guy over the hill is Them, and we are Us, and they are bad for being Them.

Political and religious leaders have been beating that old worn out drum for eons. "A tyrant...is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader." --Plato. I think it is high time we stop. The world is too small to keep playing that game. The spear in your enemy's side is a spear in your own side.

How much more could we accomplish if the resources turned to war were used say to occupy Mars? A second planet would be far more useful to the overall survival of human kind that fighting each other over who gets to control this one.

Saltonstall30
05-07-2008, 01:33 PM
Gonna head back to the original question in a moment, but want to address some of the "real" world notions first.

We seem programmed as human beings to see things in terms of binary oppositions no matter how often that idea has been shown to be wrong. Nothing yet discovered is a binary opposition. Social solutions, therefore, will of necessity be complex and klugy. There is no silver bullet, there is no one true path, there is no inherent, objective reason for one society to be on top and another to be on the bottom. Whig progressivism is a delusion no matter who espouses it. Humanity is quite capable of exterminating itself without resort to GTNW, but even with GTNW we are incapable of wiping out life itself. Even photosynthesis failed to do that and it poisoned the entire planetary atmosphere with an inundation of caustic free oxygen molecules. Global extinctions? Extinction seems as inevitable for every species as death is for every individual and humanity will die out regardless of whether or not a global extinction event occurs within its tenure. A catastrophic collapse of our high technology will not wipe out people entirely even in Tokyo; I don't know much about farming but necessity is a great motivator. Our ancestors were not stupider than we are. Civilizations "collapse" invisibly to their members, only later cultures can look at history and say "here XX collapsed," usually to advance their own status. Romans did not wake up one day and say "Alas Roma, she is no more!" They adapted to changes (lost wars, loss of slave populations, new taxation patterns, new overlords) and at some point ceased to think of themselves as Romans. They did not consciously mourn the loss of massive grain mills run on slave labor that allowed the empire to provide free bread to over a million citizens, they simply ceased to use technology on that scale. Religion causes nothing. No wars have ever been fought over religious beliefs, no cultures collapsed because of a religious change. Things are justified by religion, people will claim they did things because of religion, but that's all hand waving to cover up the real reason things were done. Humanity is not the dominant species of life on this planet, we are not even part of the dominant phylum, and (from a diversity perspective) we are a fragile remnant population. Vernor Vinge and co. notwithstanding, humanity will be extinct long before our planet becomes uninhabitable. For the millions of years there have been humans, our entire cycle of civilization is less than 10,000 years and our technological "dominance" has a contiguous history of barely over 600 years; there are archaeological remains of villages on the shores of Lake Tanganyika that lasted for over 500,000 years using indistinguishable fishing technology. Humans do not innately "progress," the belief that we do is more Whig Progressivism. The British Empire and the Pax Americana are not an example of one civilization collapsing and another arising, they are the same civilization with a slight movement of the seat. In his Hero System writings, Steve Long writes that when designing a world a GM should keep macro-economics in mind; his example for this is to show that because climate zones run north-south continents with an east-west orientation will have more trade and be wealthier than continents that have their major axis running north-south. It's a fine explanation for current economic realities, but fails utterly to explain the economics of the 13th century (when Africa was, by far, the wealthiest continent on the planet and South America was far wealthier than North America). We are not history's teleological goal, nor does such a goal exist. Oh yeah, Chomsky's wrong: emperors protect us from pirates and therefore we submit to their rule even at a cost; pirates give nothing back for what they steal.
:focus:

The question "why do civilizations collapse in fantasy worlds?" is a conflation of different questions. The primary one seems to be "Where did all those ancient ruins come from in the typical DND campaign?" The answer to that is easy, from a sick and boring game system that is built on encouraging the virtues of pillaging, murder and parasitism in its players. Another question seems to be "Why doesn't magical technology lift the general standard of living in fantasy worlds?" which has many different answers. In DND the answer seems to be, "Because magical innovation has been exhausted. Everything that can be done with magic has been done with magic and, in truth, what our ancestors did is beyond anything we could understand, let alone replicate. We survive on the rotting crumbs of those who came before us." In other fantasies it is mostly because there just isn't enough magic; and maybe that wasn't always true, maybe it's only true because some earlier civilization squandered the world's manna supplies. To the extent that civilizations actually do collapse it is generally a matter of economic changes. Every barbarian who conquers Rome becomes a Roman emperor and perpetuates Romona culture, but when disease devastates the population of slaves, the empire basic support system is no longer tenable and it morphs into a successor civilization (feudal Europe) over time. I suggest you keep magic scarce, keep history long, and have living ancient civilization as frequently as you have dead ones in your games. Remember, that pig-faced boy isn't a half-orc, he's your brother.

Malruhn
05-07-2008, 04:20 PM
killjoy.

;)

Tony Misfeldt
05-07-2008, 06:59 PM
Civilizations rise and fall because of man's need to conquer and control his world but his inability to do so.

Someone mentioned Netheril earlier and divine punishment. Netheril was destroyed because the weave was sundered and it literally fell from the sky. Karsus attained his godhead and immediately fought Mystara. She prevailed but was injured during the fight and the weave was momentarily destroyed. Mystra, the new incarnation of Mystara, was able to resurrect the light weave and magic was "fixed" until the Time of Troubles. For a complete accounting read the Netheril Trilogy by Clayton Emery.

I thought Karsus took Mystara's godhood with his 12th level spell Karsus's Avatar, but couldn't control the power he had which caused the (literal) fall of Netheril. Granted, I'm quoting the entry on Karsus from the 2e book Powers & Pantheons. And I haven't read the Nethril Trilogy.

tesral
05-07-2008, 11:58 PM
We the DM need ruins. So we invent fallen civilizations to create ruins. Funny, but Earth it seems is covered in ruins from late civilizations. One can hardly turn a spade of earth in some parts of the world without turning up the remains of the past. Part of England for example, Modern street over Victorian ruins on top of renaissance ruins over medieval ruins over Norman ruins over Anglo-Saxon ruins over Roman ruins. And they built on top of the Picts.

So we create layers of civilization, but we do so consciously, not over time as it was done for real.

As for myself I created a natural disaster and a lost golden age. However, I have the world blooming into a new golden age the equal of the old. It is not a case of the past always having been better.

Malruhn
05-10-2008, 11:29 PM
There are ruins of French, Spanish, English, hundreds of Native American (First Nation) Tribes, and even Aztec, Maya, Inca and Toltec available - and then there are other ruins that we haven't been able to date/place, such as possible Knights Templar tombs, and standing stone circles that aren't part of any known native civilization. Then we can get back to the really ancient and get to the Neandertal and Cro Magnon living/burial ruins that we've found... and that's just in the Americas. Go to Europe and it gets even more... ruined. :D

There's stuff all over, if we consider it.

And I've done the same thing as Tesral, I have more ruins than my players can shake a stick at - if they stop for a moment to consider them real ruins. I love it when players in my campaign slow down enough to consider the history I've built into the system.

Tony Misfeldt
05-13-2008, 10:54 PM
I have read several theories on this thread, and it looks to me as though there are three main issues being discussed here. One, how and why civilizations rize and fall. Two, why civilizations never seem to grow technologically beyond the dark ages in fantasy settings. And three, the existance of evil. So I figured I'll add my two cents worth.

1) The Rize And Fall Of Civilizations: All the reasons given in this thread are valid and true. None of them is more or less valid than any other, as they can all be seen in the annals of history, literature, film, mythology, and folklore. Civilizations have crumbled from internal and outer political turmoil, wars, or simply getting too big for it's britches (Myth Dranor, the Roman and British empires and the USSR for example). They've crumbled from the wrath of God/s (Sodom and Gommorah, or The Gods War in FR for example). They've been destroyed by natural disasters (Pompei and Atlantis for example). And they've been destroyed by man's own stupid pride (Netheril, The Matrix, The Terminator, as examples). All are ligitimate in a fantasy setting.

2) The Lack Of Technological Advancement: There is a comic fantasy book series called Ironwood, written and illustrated by Bill Willingham and published by Eros Comics. There's a great paragraph about this in Issue #1, page #1. "This is still a fairly primitive world, over all. Unlike Earth, Magic never died here, so we never had the need of an Industrial Revolution. Why go through all the trouble to invent the steam engine to power your boat, when you can hire a summoner to imprison a minor sea elemental for the same job? The boat goes where you want it to, but without stinking up the air in the process."
This holds true for many other technological advancements too. Why invent peneciline or the polio vaccine when a priest could just cast Cure Disease instead to do the same job? Why invent exploding rockets when a bunch of wizards casting Fireball and Melf's Minute Meteors can do the same job? Why invent new irrigation techniques, firtilizers, or artificial insemination technology when you could simply get a druid to make it rain with a Control Weather spell, or cast a Fertility spell on the fields and/or livestock to ensure a bountiful harvest. Anything we can do with technology can be accomplished in D&D worlds with magic. So why invent the technology?

3) The Existance Of Evil: This debate started when one person posted that he didn't believe in the existance of Evil. Another cited a man kidnapping, raping, killing and then burying a child as evidence that there is truly evil in this world. I say both are correct. There is no invisible magical force, "Devil", "Boogie Man", or whatever you want to call it causing evil acts to be taken, only man's own choices and the actions he takes. But if a man chooses to perform an act of evil, and he does so without concience or remorse, then he made the choice to be evil. In such an instance, evil truly does exist. I suggest you read Mind Hunter by John Douglas, the founding father of the FBI's Criminal Profiling Unit. After reading some of the cases he's worked on over the years, I'd bet you you'll believe in the existance of evil.

tesral
05-14-2008, 12:36 AM
2) The Lack Of Technological Advancement: There is a comic fantasy book series called Ironwood, written and illustrated by Bill Willingham and published by Eros Comics. There's a great paragraph about this in Issue #1, page #1. "This is still a fairly primitive world, over all. Unlike Earth, Magic never died here, so we never had the need of an Industrial Revolution. Why go through all the trouble to invent the steam engine to power your boat, when you can hire a summoner to imprison a minor sea elemental for the same job? The boat goes where you want it to, but without stinking up the air in the process."
This holds true for many other technological advancements too. Why invent peneciline or the polio vaccine when a priest could just cast Cure Disease instead to do the same job?

Good points. Necessity is the Mother of invention. Ergo, no necessity would be the Mother of Sloth. We went some 50,000 years with no better technology that the wheel and animal power.

Just because we the modern world have "great" technical advances does not mean such things are inevitable. How many thousands of years passed with stone and bone as the only tools?

I don't see that "our world" is a forgone thing. The march of progress is not a straight line that must be followed. Rather is is a staggering path that one can sit and idle away, or eve fall off entirely. We see what we have as natural development because we have it. Hindsight is in this case blinding.

Reading old Science Fiction is enlightening in this matter. Keep in mind that Science Fiction is more about the time it was written than it is the future. Jules Verne wrote a perfectly awful book called "Paris in the 20th Century." It moldered in a locked safe for 85 years, and his publisher rejected the book at the time of it's writing. However, the book is highly enlightening to the art of futurism. Verne got 1963 totally wrong. He missed such little inventions as the typewriter among other things. He has everyone using highly refined dip pens. Movies are not present and so forth. Verne didn't see the things that were invented later, and changed everything. SF of the 50s and 40s never included powerful desktop computers for example, but they are ubiquitous in our lives.

So it is possible without resort to unbelievable quirks in the world to have a fantasy setting were technology does not erupt.

agoraderek
05-17-2008, 03:42 PM
i think, ultimately, in a fantasy setting, the reason things are why they are, and why civilizations fall, shouldnt follow "real world" logic, and just exist as a reason to tell a good story and create a compelling world with a rich history for the players and their avatars to explore and interact with.

taking the time to create a paradigm that explains the ebbs and flows on a fantasy world may be beyond the time commitment or skill level of most dms, and, in most cases, probably isnt strictly neccessary to run an effective game, but, if you have the time, adds a richness to a setting that can take a good game into the rarified air of greatness.

this thread HAS, however, given me much food for thought and some excellent ideas for making my homebrew world more "alive", and i thank all of you for taking the time to post here and help me think outside the box a bit. :biggrin:

tesral
05-17-2008, 04:31 PM
i think, ultimately, in a fantasy setting, the reason things are why they are, and why civilizations fall, shouldnt follow "real world" logic, and just exist as a reason to tell a good story and create a compelling world with a rich history for the players and their avatars to explore and interact with.

taking the time to create a paradigm that explains the ebbs and flows on a fantasy world may be beyond the time commitment or skill level of most dms, and, in most cases, probably isnt strictly neccessary to run an effective game, but, if you have the time, adds a richness to a setting that can take a good game into the rarified air of greatness.


Other end of the stick. If you start with real world dynamics and only change as much as you must to make the fantasy parts fuction you do a lot less work. It isn't necessary to explan the majority of things, they are explained and real world methods and means describe them. You only need consdier how the magic of your world alters that dynamic.

It is not necessary to invent a world from whole cloth when we already have one you can edit. Sure you create the political structures, but you need only give new names and places. The politics, the social dynamics and modivations will be things familar and understandable.

nijineko
05-21-2008, 08:52 PM
earth is literally a graveyard of the fallen and forgotten. we live in a tomb of past peoples. our planet's features are largely resulted from past disasters.