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Which historical elements to you want to see in Project Eternity: the Poll

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63 replies to this topic

Poll: Just how historical should the setting of PE be? (208 member(s) have cast votes)

Which historical social issues would you like to see?

  1. Misogyny - Women are subservient to men (91 votes [8.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.90%

  2. Voted Disease - Diseases are common and potentially deadly (145 votes [14.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.17%

  3. Brutality - Harsh punishments and torture are common (148 votes [14.47%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.47%

  4. Class differences - The poor are serfs or have no say in society (170 votes [16.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.62%

  5. Intolerance - Religious and ethnic divides are more pronounced (166 votes [16.23%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.23%

  6. Colonization - "Modern" societies are exploiting more "primitive" ones (150 votes [14.66%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.66%

  7. Religion - Religious institutions have real influence on the governments (153 votes [14.96%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.96%

How big impact should magic have made on the society?

  1. Huge - Societies are nothing like their real- world historical counterparts (25 votes [12.02%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.02%

  2. Large - Societies differ a lot from those in the history books (97 votes [46.63%])

    Percentage of vote: 46.63%

  3. Voted Medium (61 votes [29.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 29.33%

  4. Small - Societies are by and large similar to historical ones (22 votes [10.58%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.58%

  5. Tiny - Societies are exact analogies of historical ones (3 votes [1.44%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.44%

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#1
Rostere

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So, I saw the thread "How 'medieval' do you want the world of PE to be?" and decided to make a poll out of it. Here's what was originally written by the OP there:

The description given of the game heavily implies a late medieval-ish kinda world. Most fantasy games and stories, however, don't take their medieval setting much beyond 'people fight wearing armor, use swords and bows, and there are some vaguely medieval-ish rulers and political systems around with titles like 'Lord' and 'Prince' and 'King'.' Medieval sensibilities and culture and customs and beliefs can crop up, but are much less emphasized.

Of course, there's a reason for that. The culture, sensibilities, customs and beliefs of the late middle ages were (in many cases) really, really awful by modern standards.

So the question: how much 'Medieval' do you want in your Medieval European Fantasy? Would you like to encounter cultures which more or less reflect the real late middle ages....that is, overflowing with misogyny, brutality, religious intolerance, disease, famine and all the other sordid unpleasantries that remind you why you should be happy to live in the 21st century? Or would you prefer that sort of thing be toned down in favor of the surface feel of the medieval without seriously delving into the worst of it?


This aspect of the game is very important for me. I want the setting to discuss all the issues resulting from it's various premises.

So, from what we know from interviews and such:
  • The general technology level will be roughly equivalent to Late Medieval Europe
  • The printing press has NOT been invented
  • Gunpowder has been invented, but guns are still primitive
  • We will see colonization, probably roughly similar to what historically happened in the 16th century
  • Iron is common enough to allow adventurers access to plate armor
Thus we have a basic understanding of technology, but we are more in the dark about the societies in the game. Also, we don't know how magic has impacted technology and society. Magic can act as an equalizer between women and men, for example. This would result in high- magic societies following more closely today's feminist ideals, while notably the same is not true of low- magic societies.

If magic is easy to learn and comes to a person naturally (if D&D- style sorcerers are common), it might serve to flatten out class differences (because it's hard to have serfs if one of them can throw a fireball in your face anytime). On the other hand, if it takes a lot of time and resources to learn, then we might see magocracies where class differences are even more pronounced than historically. Also, if magic is hereditary the magocracies will probably look like traditional kingdoms in their government structure, if not, well, they won't.

Healing magic can serve as an explanation to why plagues and diseases are not more common - on the other hand, plagues could perhaps also be magically engineered.

Intolerance is actually a topic that is often treated in fantasy games. Too bad that it's often extremely black and white, where the "bad guys" are intolerant of everything except their race/ religion, and the "good guys" are tolerant of everything. It's naturally a very, very easy plot device. A more realistic approach would be that intolerance should be more spread out. Here, magic adds the dimension of intolerance of magic users.

Colonization could be vastly impeded by magic, if the colonized areas had a magic- using population.

Arcanum was a setting which gave magic(k) and fantasy races a very serious treatment. No matter how historical Obsidian wants to make the setting of Project Eternity, I hope they will copy Arcanum in offering serious explanations to why the societies look like and work like they do.

Edited by Rostere, 06 October 2012 - 12:25 PM.

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#2
Monte Carlo

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I am most interested in...

1. Tech versus Faith

2. Colonization and brutal exploitation of primitive societies

3. An explanation of developmental synergies without the written word.

I don't want 10,000 word essays about all this stuff, just a plausible explanation. The printing press absence issue is huge.

#3
Rostere

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I don't want 10,000 word essays about all this stuff, just a plausible explanation. The printing press absence issue is huge.


Well, they don't have to shove a book in your face and force you to read it all. Taking Arcanum as an example again, the manual had lots of text, but most of the stuff I talk about was in-game. For example, details like the scarcity of female physical fighters, the Gentleman's Club, the Orc slums and factory workers, and so on were all there to enforce the feeling that this wasn't just a LARP where modern people put on old clothes but a believable setting.

And yes, the absence of the printing press is huge.
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#4
Jaesun

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No Religion option?
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#5
Rostere

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No Religion option?


Well, I guess I kind of merged that and intolerance into one...

EDIT: Happy now?

Edited by Rostere, 06 October 2012 - 12:26 PM.


#6
Monte Carlo

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On the tech versus faith issue, I didn't think about it at the time, but the priestess NPC is armed with the most hi-tech weapon available.

Maybe there is a tech-friendly deity?

#7
Rostere

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On the tech versus faith issue, I didn't think about it at the time, but the priestess NPC is armed with the most hi-tech weapon available.

Maybe there is a tech-friendly deity?


I wonder a lot about how deities will work in PE - since we know there will be "real" deities, will they also have real power over the world? Or will their power over the world be limited to what their followers can do?

#8
Wirdjos

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On the tech versus faith issue, I didn't think about it at the time, but the priestess NPC is armed with the most hi-tech weapon available.

Maybe there is a tech-friendly deity?


I wonder a lot about how deities will work in PE - since we know there will be "real" deities, will they also have real power over the world? Or will their power over the world be limited to what their followers can do?


With what little has been released so far I think the deities will wrap in with souls and be the focus of the game.

As for content, I'm interested in anything that makes it a believable world. I would imagine they would have to go a little light on the misogyny just to avoid making a female adventurer's entire game revolve around it. That would get old quick.
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#9
Lord Balgeron

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I chose everything, becuase i think all of those should be in.

Sorry girls, but we had enough of fantasy games where the males and females are equal. Gendre choice should have bigger effect on gameplay and story. However i am for it to work both ways as well (like Amazons or Drows are matriarchal or women only).
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#10
Rostere

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On the tech versus faith issue, I didn't think about it at the time, but the priestess NPC is armed with the most hi-tech weapon available.

Maybe there is a tech-friendly deity?


I wonder a lot about how deities will work in PE - since we know there will be "real" deities, will they also have real power over the world? Or will their power over the world be limited to what their followers can do?


With what little has been released so far I think the deities will wrap in with souls and be the focus of the game.

As for content, I'm interested in anything that makes it a believable world. I would imagine they would have to go a little light on the misogyny just to avoid making a female adventurer's entire game revolve around it. That would get old quick.


I agree somewhat. I think making too many obstacles for female characters would really be sad. However, I'd like to see gender inequality being there, but not as a part of the story, just there as a backdrop to reinforce the setting. Also, I think it should be possible (very optionally) for female characters to really stick it to the worst misogynists.

Most important of all, I'd like to societies with different perspectives on gender equality.
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#11
Wirdjos

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With what little has been released so far I think the deities will wrap in with souls and be the focus of the game.

As for content, I'm interested in anything that makes it a believable world. I would imagine they would have to go a little light on the misogyny just to avoid making a female adventurer's entire game revolve around it. That would get old quick.


I agree somewhat. I think making too many obstacles for female characters would really be sad. However, I'd like to see gender inequality being there, but not as a part of the story, just there as a backdrop to reinforce the setting. Also, I think it should be possible (very optionally) for female characters to really stick it to the worst misogynists.

Most important of all, I'd like to societies with different perspectives on gender equality.


Actually the different societies bit solves my issues with the misogyny implementation. If only one, smaller (in terms of game importance) society was extremely misogynistic, then you'd get all the wallop of misogyny without severely restricting female adventurer's games.

#12
Rostere

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Actually the different societies bit solves my issues with the misogyny implementation. If only one, smaller (in terms of game importance) society was extremely misogynistic, then you'd get all the wallop of misogyny without severely restricting female adventurer's games.

I'd prefer if you get the feeling that the greater part of society has Middle Age opinions on women's rights, but the protagonist being a hardened adventurer or mercenary makes most people think twice before blurting out their prejudices...

Edited by Rostere, 06 October 2012 - 06:15 PM.

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#13
Death Machine Miyagi

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In regards to misogyny, I'm hoping for a more realistic approach...that is to say, you won't find an equal distribution of male and female people dressed up in plate armor and wielding two handed swords...but without making the game excessively frustrating for women.

Thinking of Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire, Brienne 'the Beauty' and her treatment might be the kind of treatment you should expect if you play a female warrior or some-such. People will snigger at you behind your back, act confused and ask why a woman is dressed up like a man, and otherwise express varying degrees of surprise and disapproval about such an odd sight as a woman dressed as if she's ready for a battle.

But regardless, I think encountering a world with its own gender roles, whichever those may be in a given culture, will make for a much deeper and more immersive experience than men and women being treated exactly the same.

#14
lordgizka

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I'm interested in this game not being basically a topical show talking about negative things in our culture (well, western culture). Fantasy worlds are supposed to be imagined from the ground up with inspiration from certain elements from our world, not mirrored from them directly. If you look at DnD worlds, they still have all the "mature themes" they like, but they don't hammer things in like "our elves are slaves now, look how it relates to what folks on the news talk about".
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#15
Gyges

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Haha, i think a lot of people seem to have voted for most of the choices. We all want this game to challenge us with issues that we face in the real world but are often powerless to do anything about. The escapism of it is that in the game, we have the means to act towards these issues in a way that lets us make a real impact on them, permanent or not. Of course, current-day political issues can take a hike, but i would like to see moral and humanistic ones be a set-piece here. Not good vs evil, but consequences.

Edited by Gyges, 07 October 2012 - 06:13 AM.


#16
Wombat

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Yeah, if the designers can pull it off - as many as possible as long as a certain qualities are assured. Some factions/regions may be tolerant or intolerant to the same factor. At least, there should not be a perfect embodiment of goodness or evilness.

I thought "misogyny" may make some players unhappy but, thinking of it after a discussion, now I think they may simply have hated the limited selection for character stats. :lol: There may be a faction which treats women like the Legion in FONV while, there were, indeed, woman rulers in the Middle Ages (Let's see how each NPC react each other from such cultures).

I'm interested in this game not being basically a topical show talking about negative things in our culture (well, western culture).

Well, I' be surprised if Obsidian made monks the perfect examples of goodness. Any culture should have its own dirty little something either by itself or in its relationship to a certain culture(s). That said, Western Middle Ages absent of the influence of Christianity? It's quite hard to imagine. :ermm:

Edited by Wombat, 07 October 2012 - 06:33 AM.


#17
TheTeaMustFlow

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Some of the issues suggested don't (from what little we know) seem to have any relevance to the PE world. Like Tech VS Faith - I'm not seeing a reason so far for religions to have any opposition to technology. In real life, religious opposition to technology (which was and is a lot more nuanced than common knowledge suggests) was mainly based on contradiction of doctrine. Since in PE the existence of Deities seems proven beyond all reasonable doubt, why should technological development change that? And disease - given that we've got healing magic that can mend a great-sword wound in a moment, that might suggest disease to be something less of a problem.

Also, I've never really liked misogyny being a massive theme in fantasy. Not least because a female mage can reduce you to dust just as well as a male one.
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#18
Wombat

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Some of the issues suggested don't (from what little we know) seem to have any relevance to the PE world. Like Tech VS Faith

Yeah, IIRC, Sawyer mentioned this somewhere.- no arcanum style. I'd like to see everything should be placed in a way they make sense and have their solid roots, too.

My time as a history undergrad was pretty heavily focused in witch-hunting. The reasons for accusations were... pretty complicated and changed a lot over hundreds of years.

In the cultures of PE, it is not common to think of wizardly magic as being any more or less malefic than most other forms of soul-tappin' power. Many cultures view it pretty neutrally/as being "natural". Also, in case anyone was wondering, there is not an inherent social struggle that pits magic against technology.


Edited by Wombat, 07 October 2012 - 06:56 AM.


#19
Azzy

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What we've heard so far reminds me of Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny, in relation to the gods, so I'm expecting jerks for gods.

History is good for ideas but so long as the setting is internally consistent they can have a society based around Rimmers parents faith as Seventh Day Advent Hoppists. So long as its interesting it doesn't matter if its a historically based or based on more recent stuff or based on random fiction.

#20
rjshae

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One possibility for a medieval society that follows a different track could be a type of magitech culture. For example, a society where the economy is based on manual labor, but much of the work energy is supplied by enslaved summoned creatures controlled by wizard masters. This could occur, for example, in a byzantine-type region with a long, historical legacy of magical power combined with gross cultural decadence.

Some examples:
  • Earth elementals are used to power giant treadmill wheels for winches and elevators.
  • Caged air elementals drive indoor windmills.
  • Fire elementals heat forges and baths.
  • Dragons are bred for their scales and as components for potions.
  • Ice dragons are used to create ice for cooling during the long, hot summer.
  • Mind-enslaved trolls are used as shock troops.
  • Supervised animated skeletons perform much of the loading and unloading of ships.
  • Hill giants are used to clear heavy debris and tow plows.
  • Hippogriffs pull the royal flying carriage.
&c. :cat:
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