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Author Topic: Slavery, morality, and changing times  (Read 16662 times)
simon_hibbs
Member

Posts: 678


« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2003, 03:54:33 AM »

Quote from: Donald

Not really, the beast would just have to HeroQuest to alter the outcome of the contest. Probably either by cheating or catching the humans cheating. Not easy but certainly easier than changing the lifestyle of the entire region. Perhaps this is what the Morocanth did or what Gern are trying to do now.


And there would be nothing revolutionary about that, sure ;)

I don't think that's at all feasible. An individual beast might be able to quest to reverse it's personal status. That would make for an interesting character, but quest for yourself and the rusults only affect you. Changing that for all the beasts in prax would take a major community supported quest. Trouble is, the other beasts are in no possition to offer support, even if they were remotely aware of the issue.


Simon Hibbs
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Simon Hibbs
epweissengruber
Member

Posts: 311

I like games! and theory! and The Forge!


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« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2003, 04:55:13 AM »

Quote
I'm not sure a slave player character is going to be much interest any more than a serf farmer is - there's to much restriction on what the player can do. A runaway slave though could be very interesting.


Not Necessarily

A slave has to do something extraordianary to win manumission.
In this case, the player has to make choices regarding safety/sanity/sanctity vs. liberty.  Or, like Terence the Roman/Carthaginian playwright, he could be assebling some kind of cultural production while balancing his duties as an enslaved schoolmaster.
[not every slave is a brutalized farm labourer]

Heck, the desire for manumission is the motor driving a number of Roman comedies (and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum)


An escaped slave is tempted to return


- can't find the original, but I remember reading about a slave narrative who escapes from a South American plantation, spent some time on the island of Haiti, but ended up returning.
- If a slave's condition is closer to a European peasant than to an enslaved African in America, freedom might not be worth the loss of kin, religious support, or even social support.  A person with no allies or resources might find their old servitude less demanding than liberty.

Take to the hills and make the Bastards Pay

- The Maroons, escaped Jamaican slaves, formed free communities in the mountains of their island and made life hell for their former masters.
- Sounds like a good heroband concept to me








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Donald
Member

Posts: 69


« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2003, 04:22:12 PM »

Quote from: simon_hibbs

And there would be nothing revolutionary about that, sure ;)

I don't think that's at all feasible. An individual beast might be able to quest to reverse it's personal status. That would make for an interesting character, but quest for yourself and the rusults only affect you. Changing that for all the beasts in prax would take a major community supported quest. Trouble is, the other beasts are in no possition to offer support, even if they were remotely aware of the issue.
Simon Hibbs

So they have to get support elsewhere, the Lunars strike me as a good bet even if there isn't a Gloranthan equivelent of the Animal Liberation Front. The Morocanth are another possibility while a Bolo Lizard might be able to get help from the newtlings of the Zola Fel. And they don't have to change all the beasts in Prax at once, just a single clan at first then a whole people. Reduces the problem from difficult 1w9 to 1w5.
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Donald
Member

Posts: 69


« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2003, 04:43:37 PM »

Quote from: epweissengruber

A slave has to do something extraordianary to win manumission.
In this case, the player has to make choices regarding safety/sanity/sanctity vs. liberty.  Or, like Terence the Roman/Carthaginian playwright, he could be assebling some kind of cultural production while balancing his duties as an enslaved schoolmaster.
[not every slave is a brutalized farm labourer]

No the other main occupation in the ancient world is miner which is even worse. Certainly there were educated slaves but they were relatively rare. They occurred when the educated population of a city fell into the hands of a conquerer and rarely lasted more than a generation after that.
Quote from: epweissengruber
An escaped slave is tempted to return
- can't find the original, but I remember reading about a slave narrative who escapes from a South American plantation, spent some time on the island of Haiti, but ended up returning.
- If a slave's condition is closer to a European peasant than to an enslaved African in America, freedom might not be worth the loss of kin, religious support, or even social support.  A person with no allies or resources might find their old servitude less demanding than liberty.

There were slaves in medieval Europe and there was a very big difference between them and serfs. Even so many slaves did accept their place in life because the alternative (outlawry) was even worse without the ability to live as a hunter/gatherer.
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simon_hibbs
Member

Posts: 678


« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2003, 02:18:46 AM »

Quote from: Donald
So they have to get support elsewhere, the Lunars strike me as a good bet even if there isn't a Gloranthan equivelent of the Animal Liberation Front.


Apart from the obvious question (what's in it for them?), I'm not sure that a completely foreign power with no mythic association with your religion can offer very effective social support for a heroquest.

Quote
The Morocanth are another possibility


Again, what's in it for them? You'd have to present a pretty solid case that the resources and risk were worth it. Also they are herders too, so they might view any such mucking with the status quo as much of a rsik for them as it would be for the humans.

Quote
while a Bolo Lizard might be able to get help from the newtlings of the Zola Fel.


I don't see why, I mean newtlings aren't even members of the same phylum, let alone being a related species. Again, what's in it for them?

Quote
And they don't have to change all the beasts in Prax at once, just a single clan at first then a whole people. Reduces the problem from difficult 1w9 to 1w5.


Oh sure, the beast riders are going to just sit back and watch the show.

I don't think of myself as a negative person, the basic ideas here of a liberationist sentient herd beast character are great. That doesn't mean it's aspirations, while cool motivation, are actualy even remotely feasible. Liberating a small herd and heading off to a remote 'lost valley' would be great, perhaps setting up a shangri-la style colony of free beasts up in a mountain pasture. That would make for some cool gaming.

I think heroquesting can add a lot to a campaign, it can highlight the way the myths relate to individual lives, but to me the trick is to keep it personal. I find it hard to relate to 'resurecting genert', or 'redefining Humakt' to the daily lives of my characters and the people they live with.


Simon Hibbs
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Simon Hibbs
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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Posts: 16490


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« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2003, 07:40:00 AM »

Hello,

Simon, I'm becoming profoundly frustrated with your input in this thread. Maybe I'm alone in this. But if you're inclined to take pity on me, please consider the following.

No one is suggesting world-shaking, continent-redefining, slavery-abolishing-for-all consequences for heroquesting ... except you, in order to attack the idea.

You wrote,

Quote
Liberating a small herd and heading off to a remote 'lost valley' would be great, perhaps setting up a shangri-la style colony of free beasts up in a mountain pasture. That would make for some cool gaming.


Which if I'm not mistaken, is exactly the sort of thing that Simon (simondale) is proposing in the first place. Again, no one said anything about revolutionizing slavery across a grand scale. You seem to have gone into a "protect the integrity of Glorantha from the crazed heroquesters" mode of discussion without any perceivable provocation to do so.

Regardless of your intentions, your role in this discussion has been to wave around "Glorantha this" and "rules that," in order to criticize the proposal. The text I quoted above is a big surprise in that context - all of a sudden, it appears that you're all right with what was being discussed after all.

It's like trying to read some postmodern so-called novel. Help me out; I'd rather read something with a clear point and a cogent presentation, not be bounced around from snap-reply to snap-reply, trying to figure out what the point is.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


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« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2003, 08:02:37 AM »

I find the whole question of "what's in it for them?" to be entirely unhelpful when applied at the global level.  This is a question you can ask of individuals and determine answers.  Its not a question you can ask of an entire people.

History books (and headlines) are full of "The French wanted", and "The English people thought", and "The Italians reacted" and the like.  But its all poppycock.  In the best of cases its shorthand for "Certain individuals with the power to make decisions on the matter... wanted or thought or reacted".

Take the Morocanth idea.  I have no clue who the Morocanth are.  But I can guarentee that if they are any kind of realistic society they will have members all over the spectrum.  Societal norms are just a construct created by anthropologists so they can write papers and sound impressive.  Any GM worth his salt should be able to come up with a reason why some member of Morocanth society to some degree would be willing to help such an undertaking.  Often the reason will be selfish and self serving.  The individual may even be considered "evil" by the Morocanth at the same time he's a "hero" the herdbeasts.  Hell such a dichotomy is the whole point to play in Glorantha.

Within an hour of reading up on the Beast Riders I could come up with a completely plausible reason why some powerful faction of the Beast Riders WOULD for issues of personal ambition go out of his way to make sure the under taking worked...as long as it undermined his rivals more than it threatened him.  He may even be planning to betray the cause later to set himself up as the salvation of his people.  He may completely underestimate the tidal wave he helped unleashed and be completely overwhelmed by.  An ambitious person setting in motion something that spirals out of control...sounds pretty plausible to me.

I think you're on the right track with the idea of hero questing being personal.  Glorantha is all about keeping things personal.  The thing is the whole world is designed to take those personal issues and spiral them into world altering events.

The biggest danger in the encyclopedid tome that is Glorantha lore is to start thinking that things have to stay the way they were.  The whole purpose behind the Hero Quest game is predicated 100% on things NOT staying the same.  

The whole YGMV idea that "what should" happen is thrown out the window to be replaced with "what the players make happen".
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Donald
Member

Posts: 69


« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2003, 05:21:11 PM »

Quote from: simon_hibbs

I think heroquesting can add a lot to a campaign, it can highlight the way the myths relate to individual lives, but to me the trick is to keep it personal. I find it hard to relate to 'resurecting genert', or 'redefining Humakt' to the daily lives of my characters and the people they live with.

If an obscure warrior from an occupied land can call himself Argrath, gather an army from half the continent, defeat the largest and most powerful empire in the world and pull down the Red Moon I see no great improbablity in an awakened herd beast reversing the result of one peoples contest.

Whether a particular group wishes to play at that level or not comes under YGWV in my view.
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Donald
Member

Posts: 69


« Reply #38 on: November 08, 2003, 05:31:14 PM »

Quote from: Valamir

Take the Morocanth idea.  I have no clue who the Morocanth are.  But I can guarentee that if they are any kind of realistic society they will have members all over the spectrum.  Societal norms are just a construct created by anthropologists so they can write papers and sound impressive.  Any GM worth his salt should be able to come up with a reason why some member of Morocanth society to some degree would be willing to help such an undertaking.  Often the reason will be selfish and self serving.  The individual may even be considered "evil" by the Morocanth at the same time he's a "hero" the herdbeasts.  Hell such a dichotomy is the whole point to play in Glorantha.

Within an hour of reading up on the Beast Riders I could come up with a completely plausible reason why some powerful faction of the Beast Riders WOULD for issues of personal ambition go out of his way to make sure the under taking worked...as long as it undermined his rivals more than it threatened him.  He may even be planning to betray the cause later to set himself up as the salvation of his people.  He may completely underestimate the tidal wave he helped unleashed and be completely overwhelmed by.  An ambitious person setting in motion something that spirals out of control...sounds pretty plausible to me.


I should have realised some of this was going to go over the heads of newcomers to Glorantha. Very briefly the beast herders of Prax (Bison Riders in the HQ book are one example) made a covenant to survive in the dawn of time. Each tribe of men gambled against their animals - the winners herding and living off their losers who could live off the poor grazing in Prax. Man won all the contests except one, that against the morocanth (A tapier like creature which can stand on two legs) so man herds bison, rhinos and several other creatures but the morocanth herd unintelligent humans called gern. There are various allegations of cheating in the contests which justify all sorts of prejudices. It is possible with strong magic to 'awaken' herd beasts (including gern) and to reduce intelligent creatures to beasts.
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simon_hibbs
Member

Posts: 678


« Reply #39 on: November 09, 2003, 05:31:05 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Simon, I'm becoming profoundly frustrated with your input in this thread. Maybe I'm alone in this. But if you're inclined to take pity on me, please consider the following.

No one is suggesting world-shaking, continent-redefining, slavery-abolishing-for-all consequences for heroquesting ... except you, in order to attack the idea.


Yes, I'm sorry about that. I realise my last post was overly argumentative.

Simon Hibbs


Quote from: Donald
If an obscure warrior from an occupied land can call himself Argrath, gather an army from half the continent, defeat the largest and most powerful empire in the world and pull down the Red Moon I see no great improbablity in an awakened herd beast reversing the result of one peoples contest.


Which is a very good point, and one I'm hard pressed to deny.
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Simon Hibbs
soru
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #40 on: November 10, 2003, 04:12:15 AM »

There's definitely something to be said for the idea that some problems are tragically unsolvable, the PCs can't make everything right with the world with one or two HQs.

Certainly they should be made aware that there are more people in need of help than helpers.

The way I would most likely use this theme is an awakened herd-man desperately approaches the player's hero band for help after having been turned away by the other praxians, the lunars, argrath, etc. And the smart move is for them to turn him away too, because no matter how tragic his cause, he happens to be epically screwed.

Of course, if you wanted to make his problem one of the parts of the universe that are fixable, its not that hard. Just say that the awakening of the herd-men would be mythically linked to the opposite happening to the sable riders (the praxian tribe that collaborates with the Lunars). Suddenly, every lunar-hater would be queueing up to give him magical and practical support

soru
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