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Monte Carlo

The World and the absence of the printed word...

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The first printing press, courtesy of Johan Gutenburg, appeared in 1450.

 

 

first-printing-press-rusnhz.jpg

 

This invention is right up there with penicillin, the Internet, the machine gun and all sorts of other, radical world-changing technologies and discoveries. The printed word allowed ideas to percolate up and down the social strata of societies in a way we might struggle to understand, or take for granted, right now.

 

In fact, the written word was a vehicle of the Reformation, and later Fascism and Communism. Like the Internet, it was a force for both positive and the negative. It accelerated education. It was instrumental in the emancipation of the oppressed.

 

In short: it was a Big Deal.

 

Now in Project Eternity we have a world where, for some reason, technology has developed unevenly. Imagine how much more dangerous that world might be --- where guns and mighty galleons, a world where Gods can inspire the development of bombs, coexist with dark aged superstition and dogma?

 

So this thread is about that. Start with a counter-factual if you wish, or perhaps how this fits in with the lore of the world.

 

And I know that printing presses aren't as sexy as swords, spells and loot but in the context of the setting I think it's an interesting topic.

Edited by Monte Carlo
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Huh, never thought about that actually. I just asumed there were some form of printing technique available (be it magic, technological or both) that were able to get texts out to the populace in books, pamphlets or what have you.

 

Certainly an interesting topic to discuss around.


"How was I supposed to know it was that stone that held the dragons at bay... I mean it just stood there looking dull anyway"

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I remember this from playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago.

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Oh sweet! I can totally see this as some sort of "artifact" in some cave, and one of your scholar-ish Magey-ish companions are looking for this thing, because it is enchanted in some way, the essence of magical runes, and if any word is written upon a sheet of enchanted papyrus through this machine (a specific papyrus too) it will create the best magical spell/scroll in the game.

 

^apart from all that gibberish, and in all seriousness, I think the OP is freaking sweet. Kudos Monte Carlo, this printing press is sexier than any sword (I'm a sucker for history).

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I think the lack of printing press is to allow the use of oral histories. In this manner, trying to find out what happened in the past or who is the bad guy(s) would be fraught with difficulty. It would be a mini-quest of its' own trying to gather all the different accounts of a certain events and try to make a coherent sense of it. Even then the PC can never be sure as to whether he or she is doing the right thing, but has to make a decision based on the facts available...

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There is no printed word so there are no publishers :w00t:

 

On a serious note, an absence of the printed word gives more power to the Chanters. "The history is made by story-tellers" and so on.

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There is no printed word so there are no publishers :w00t:

 

On a serious note, an absence of the printed word gives more power to the Chanters. "The history is made by story-tellers" and so on.

I like the absence, will create more conflict/oppression to fight or encourage!

 

in fact, I think it might create an immediate conflict between the priests and the chanters.

 

Without the printing press, the major translation of thought was either oral traditions or copying books in an abbey somewhere by dedicated Monks (who would/could suppress things that didn't fit their dogma).

 

There in essence becomes three ways to pass knowledge - knowledge through apprenticeship, rare knowledge from books and more common knowledge from shared stories.

 

Chanters may have stories that don't align with what the priests want to portray for their religions. Some wizard knowledge may cross the chanters and the priests. Lots of room for conflict between some of these groups who would, without a printing press, control the flow of the world's information.

Edited by Amentep
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What the lack of a printing press does, is make scribes a likely pseudo-religious sect unto themselves. I mean these mofos are the gatekeepers of knowledge, I would love to see PE do something with this -- maybe turn the scribes guild into a group something like the free masons during the middle ages?

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I think it's for cultural diversity at the verge of the modernization of Europe. Some thinkers are more accessible from modern mind than Scholar philosophers, too. For example, William of Baskerville in the Name of the Rose implies his influence from Ockham and Holmes (Baskerville rings a bell for the readers).

Form An interview with Josh Sawyer@Shadeheart

Personally, I take a lot of inspiration from history. Because Project Eternity is set during an era of exploration and colonization, I’m looking at the interactions, violent and otherwise, between colonizing and colonized cultures. I’m interested in exploring daily friction and the difficulties that people run into when they try to live in the area between two (or more) cultures. There are famous “great men of history” examples like T.E. Lawrence, but I’m more interested in figures of lesser notoriety like the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci or Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea. Also, I find some of the more contemporary “reverse” colonization trends like the French Congo’s La SAPE movement fascinating. I’m also starting to look in more detail at the state of epistemology and metaphysics in the medieval world prior to the rise of humanist thought, mostly exemplified by writers like Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham. The printing press doesn’t exist yet in the world of Project Eternity and academic disciplines still tend to be elitist and exclusionary. Popular movements, on the rare occasion that they do occur, tend to be driven by passion and basic human needs rather than any sort of widespread philosophical movement.
I think there needed for both continental/English thinkers, represented by Thomas Aquinas and Ockham, respectively (I still cannot imagine them without the influence of Christianity, or, at least, the presupposition of universe built in a way which can be logically comprehensible by human beings). Additionally, Matteo Ricci-like thinker may play a role of introducing a distant culture which may be similar to Chinese Confucianism. Monks have more influence from Zen and, as for this, Nietzsche (I know, he himself doesn't fit the setting) route would be good enough, I think. While Zen tend to be more personal philosophy, Confucianism is more of ethics in social context, which Ricci connected with Christianity. Also, while these methodological thinkers are most likely to be in big cities since there must be enough economy to let them engage in their studies, which can be contrasted to those who believe in more simple native religions rooted to daily lives (I think Morrowind did this well with some pilgrim quests).

 

Talking of Morrowind and possible monk-ish characterization,

From Interview: Chris Avellone On Project Eternity @1UP

1UP: Cultural themes from the real world added so much to Fallout: New Vegas. Negative and positive traits of the American government were reflected in NCR. Caesar's Legion wore the influence of the Roman Empire on its sleeve. Well, its shoulder pads. These familiar concepts were used as launching points to dig into the setting and its society. Have aspects of Project Eternity's world been similarly inspired by real cultures?

 

Josh, our project lead, is very interested in these takes, and it'll be apparent when more on the cultures are revealed. I tend to err on the side of not building on real world historical elements (which I'd argue is a failing) and instead focusing on extrapolating on the actual nature of the location where a people came to be as well as cultures that have been influenced by game-specific events or game-specific causes.

 

One of the best Game Developer lectures I attended (with Ken Rolston and Mark Nelson) outlined how he proceeds from creating an interesting, explorable, and potentially never-seen-before type of fantasy locale/dungeon, and then building a culture or area design around that cool region, which I don't think is a bad way to go... it's a lot of fun to build cultures and people when they live on a plane where matter is shaped by your thought (githyanki in Torment, for example). It lets you imagine how they would survive, hunt, feed themselves, and what they would focus on and deem their most important philosophies as a result (which we brought to the fore with the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon, the "bible" for the githyanki in Torment). That kind of creative effort really interests me.

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What the lack of a printing press does, is make scribes a likely pseudo-religious sect unto themselves. I mean these mofos are the gatekeepers of knowledge, I would love to see PE do something with this -- maybe turn the scribes guild into a group something like the free masons during the middle ages?

 

Hurrah for techpriests!


Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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A quest to destroy a prototypical printing press, because it is a heretical device of chaos, would be cool.

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Given that, absent printing, written books/scrolls/etc. would be rare and valuable items, basic literacy would presumably also be quite rare, unless there are countervailing cultural influences that we don't yet know of.

 

So, should it be presumed (as it generally is in these kinds of games) that our main character is literate, or should literacy vary depending on character background, race, class, and intelligence? And literate in which language(s)?

 

It would create some difficulties for the voiced-over portions of the dialogues, but I could envision a system where the player could be kept ignorant, where approriate, of things written/spoken in languages that the main character does not understand/read. It could even lead to some interesting roleplaying moments (e.g., asking Dak'kon to interpret Fell's rebuses).

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hm... guns and gunpowder are older then the printing press so I'm not quite sure what's the difference to the real world.

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I think "litetate" should definitely be a character creation trait (with mages and the like getting it for free). Gives my hulking barbarian Thavo Ukkonnen a reason to let a spindly, weakling wzard tag along.

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I wonder if the printing press never developed or if it was developing but outside forces suppressed the invention. I like to think of things that have happened fairly recently in human history with Beta Max and VHS and the whole controversy of mass distributing media. Perhaps the monks in this world (or maybe some other profession) had a lot to lose by giving up their profession. Except in this world, the monks are violent scumbags who have used multiple tactics including force to keep this world from developing these inventions.

 

Those who dare defy them will have their souls shattered and scattered across the world.


My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Given that, absent printing, written books/scrolls/etc. would be rare and valuable items, basic literacy would presumably also be quite rare, unless there are countervailing cultural influences that we don't yet know of.

 

So, should it be presumed (as it generally is in these kinds of games) that our main character is literate, or should literacy vary depending on character background, race, class, and intelligence? And literate in which language(s)?

 

It would create some difficulties for the voiced-over portions of the dialogues, but I could envision a system where the player could be kept ignorant, where approriate, of things written/spoken in languages that the main character does not understand/read. It could even lead to some interesting roleplaying moments (e.g., asking Dak'kon to interpret Fell's rebuses).

I wrote about this one of the history-related threads but, languages can be huge annoyance if they are not introduced properly. And, I'm yet to know a PC game which did this aspect properly. Also, there is vocabulary issues. For example, Middle English (post-Renaissance English) has many words common with Modern English but I wonder if we can role play with vocaburaries of Old English only. It must be like playing a low INT character. I've already written about INT. However, language skills may play too huge role if the cultural diversity has gone too far. Like in Gloranthan setting, focusing the stage of campeigns within small areas of the world may be needed.

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Oh, I certainly wouldn't argue for a diversity of languages that approaches that of historical Europe.

 

But it would be neat if, say, one of the advantages of having a Cipher or Monk in the party could be their ability to read the runic script carved into the walls of the ruin the party is investigating...

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Yeah, too much is too much, I guess. :p Details enough to create interesting game-plays are desirable. Hopefully, the designers will find a sweet spot.

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