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Some ideas for books, scrolls and bookstores

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^ Right but my point was something else entirely: namely that magic changes the world in much more intricate ways than we can imagine: therefore it might not be a stretch for this world to be at the Renaissance era without a printing press.


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

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

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this is where gnomes come into fantasy games. does magic do everything we need? well yes but who doesn't want a steam powered toaster that could one day kill us all?


None of this is really happening. There is a man. With a typewriter. This is all part of his crazy imagination. 

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People are also judging the availability of books based on a European perspective ... If we consider that china had the printing press 400 years before Gutenberg, then lots of books are not impossible ... The Mideast also had superior art and sciences to Europeans of that time ... If you don't constrain yourself with some of our history (destruction of Minoan civilization and dark ages) then you have a lot more flexibility ;)

 

No, just no. China did not have "the printing press 400 years before Gutenberg". By that argument you could say that 4th century Egypt had the printing press. The printing press of Gutenberg was not the printing press of Bi Sheng (a movable type press). Gutenberg's invention was high quality, durable, and created uniform printing. It allowed faster printing and creation of books than any previous invention.

 

To put it another way, there were cars before Henry Ford, but it took Henry Ford to make them quickly and cheaply.

 

Foul Knave ... ye would use my own words against me ... taste the steel of my iron quill ... hmmmm, that doesn't quite have the right ring to it :)

 

My point was that project eternity is NOT set in our pre-renaissance it is in a parallel universe of sorts ... or a mythical Hyborian Age (if you prefer the Robert E Howard approach) ;) ...

 

Western history was colored by two very unique events ... the destruction of the Minoan civilization (that gave rise to many of our myths concerning Atlantis) and the dark ages that resulted after the destruction of the Roman Empire ... in a world without those events it might be possible to land a spaceship on Alpha Centauri in the 1500's (at least of my Civ games are an indicator :p )

 

Books provide an easy and inexpensive way to add depth to a game ... some of the alternate ideas presented are also interesting but books are easy ... and there is a lengthy fantasy tradition of books in "primitive" cultures ... Hyboria (Conan) ... Middle Earth (those Hobbits would have worn my iron quill to a nub :) ) ... and many others ... SO THERE :biggrin:


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” ― Robert E. Howard

:)

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There are no printing presses in this world, which relies on tribal memory and myth.

 

Books would be hand-illuminated and very rare.

 

What? Have I missed something?

16th century technology level would give us loads of books. I really hope there are books because, well, the written word is as elementary for the world as it gets. As much faith I have in Obsidian - there are some things that should not be tried to circumvent. No books would mean a gigantic hole in the world that had to be filled with another equally "technological revolution". I mean the printing presses were one of the greatest technological achievements ever. A total game-changer.

 

The same thing goes for the lore: Don't try to reinvent a philosophical, because that seems silly very fast for anyone who's into philosophy and literature. There are so many concepts in our world that we can borrow from without making it too obvious. It's basically the same discussion with "historical" weaponry and armour. Fantasy armour is silly, so are artificial concepts to make something "innovating"

 

...wtf?

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Teleportation is presumed to be clean, renewable, and friendly to the environment.

 

Fixed it for you. :)

 

The problem with most game portrayals of magic is they never really consider the unintended consequences of magic compared to the body of literature on the subject. Also I really dislike teleportation in general. It allows poor writers to get away with the poor writing. Take NWN2 and just see how many times a villain teleports a bunch of creatures into the room (more than the rules of the game allow) and then teleports away. Teleportation takes away the difficulty of travel and when taken to the logical conclusion become the ultimate weapon.

 

Teleportation needs to have tight limits and consequences. Otherwise, it is just a lazy trope.

 

An interesting variation would be to allow teleportation, but every time someone teleports it creates the opportunity for an undesirable creature entry into the world.

 

The book Master of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy was built upon the concept there was consequences for summoning creatures into the world -- both for the summoner and the world in general. Each branch of magic had some drawback or limitation to it that created an interesting dynamic.

 

To quote Terry Pratchett:

“That's what's so stupid about the whole magic thing, you know. You spend twenty years learning the spell that makes nude virgins appear in your bedroom, and then you're so poisoned by quicksilver fumes and half-blind from reading old grimoires that you can't remember what happens next.”

 

There is also a bit in one of the discworld novels about how most mages never use magic because each spell inevitably ends up costing more than it is worth, and only fools go around using magic to accomplish something that they could ever accomplish without magic. Then again, discworld is a rather unique fantasy setting - at least, unique in some aspects, and rediculously cliche in others.

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Remember that PE does not have to fit exactly into a medieval European historical context. This is a work of fiction. The value and availability of texts would depend entirely on the type of culture that they're creating, within the established constraint of "no printing press." The Villa of the Papyri is an interesting example of a culture that revered texts, knowledge, and past cultures.

 

You cited an example of an institution in the city of Herculaneum in the ancient Roman Empire, not some unique culture of super literates where everyone was given a free education. It even says in the article (which you apparently failed to read at all,) that it was owned by Julius Caesar's Father in-law. A powerful man in Rome who had served as Consul. This is not an egalitarian school for the poor and orphans we're talking about, it's an upper class repository of texts for upper class people who posses the ability to read and write. i.e. The personal library of an elite noble.

 

Which was the same as a library in medieval times. The ancient world was full of scholars, writing and libraries, and surprise surprise, so was medieval Europe. Even then they needed scribes to copy everything and you had to be literate to write something down in the first place. The majority was still either illiterate or barely/functionally literate.

 

Yes, it's a work of fiction, but they've been saying from the start that the setting is based around Renaissance Europe. The idea of bookstores implies a high rate of literacy, widespread literacy is impossible without the mass-media provided by the printing press.

 

 

 

With magic holding a significant presence in this world, I'd like to see some other types of record keeping. For example:

  • A sea shell you can hold to your ear that contains an extensive recorded message.
  • A glass ball that contains a memory, which you can experience by holding it up to a light.
  • A magical font that stores glimpses of historical events as seen by the people who experienced it.
  • A magic scroll that tells a different part of a story to each person who reads it.
  • A legendary tapestry that re-weaves itself into a new pattern each night.

 

...The written word is not a form of magic. They were keeping meticulously detailed census records in Britain during the time of William the Conqueror and even before. This is not magic. It's simple administration for the purposes of taxation and the levying of soldiery. The written word is as mundane and un-magical as you can get.

Edited by AGX-17
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This post has been turning into a discussion about modern written history of mankind ....

Where are the new ideas to my original post? :getlost: :getlost:

It`s sure some of you have great brains .... Squeez those brains :w00t: :w00t:

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This post has been turning into a discussion about modern written history of mankind ....

Where are the new ideas to my original post? :getlost: :getlost:

It`s sure some of you have great brains .... Squeez those brains :w00t: :w00t:

 

My point before all the tangents was that books and literacy should be limited to characters of certain classes or backgrounds. That's not to say an educated companion couldn't teach an illiterate/minimally literate player character to read, though.

 

Edit: Touching on what the person talking about "legendary tapestries" said, the reason such things like the Bayeaux Tapestry exist is to communicate stories to the illiterate masses (in the Bayeaux case, a revisionist history of William the Conqueror's, uh... conquest of Britain,) Romaneque and Gothic cathedrals were covered with frescoes, sculptures and stained glass images relating biblical stories for the illiterate masses. Besides that, during the middle ages, the Catholic church restricted sermons and bibles from being any language but Latin and cracked down hard on anyone who translated the bible (a threat to the church's great power,) a stranglehold that ended with, YOU GUESSED IT, that infernal machine.

Edited by AGX-17
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Just want to add my opinion as well. I LOVE in game reading material such as books and scrolls; especially for fleshing out the lore of the world and as the OP mentioned sometimes rewarding the adventurer who takes the time to search through the dusty old bookshelves with a skill point or two! As for the person who said that books/scrolls cannot be in the game due to there being no printing press...WTF? My good friend, the art of writing, scribing and such was developed and practiced far before the printing press! I do agree however with said person that books and scrolls should not be lying around everywhere, libraries and tomes should be rare and special (almost mystical and wondrous) places akin to a place such as the Library of Alexandria. But yes, I am all for good reading material in the game that does not solely involve dialogue with other characters. If Obsidian could perhaps somehow give incentives for people to go book hunting that would great as well, perhaps some perks for wizard classes (perhaps only wizards can read certain books for example and augment their abilities with such) or perhaps you could have a private library in your stronghold displaying your collection of found tomes! So many possibilities.

 

-phil1982

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As was pointed out before, lack of literacy and a printing press didnt stop BG, IWD, or other games from having plenty of books with great world lore, history, and stories. The educated/rich would always have them, along with bookstores, in most worlds or history settings.

 

The books are mostly there for the player to read and enjoy, it doesnt have to mean that the character can read them. They could be found and enjoyed by the player, while being a piece of loot for the character.

 

There is also an interesting option with the PE magic being based on souls, as in-game 'reading' by illiterate PCs or NPCs could be achieved with magic 'writing' on books or items that could be understood by the souls and thus the person using it. Also, possibly being able to extract or copy knowledge, memories, and experiences onto books/items.

 

As for realism, in fantasy games I feel that after a certain point (where depends on the series/game) it stops becoming a good point and starts detracting from the game. Just because PE is being 'more' realistic doesnt mean it it cant include things that wouldnt happen in real life or have different levels of society development. This is a fantasy game with magic after all, not a game focused on hyper realistic detail and game-play.

 

Edit:

Also for lack of bookstores in a low literacy world, for the game it wouldnt necessarily HAVE to be a traditional bookstore, scribe shops would make more sense in low literacy world with no printing press, as they were around historically and sometimes had excess orders or common books in stock.

Edited by MosaicOfSouls

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With magic holding a significant presence in this world, I'd like to see some other types of record keeping. For example:

  • A sea shell you can hold to your ear that contains an extensive recorded message.
  • A glass ball that contains a memory, which you can experience by holding it up to a light.
  • A magical font that stores glimpses of historical events as seen by the people who experienced it.
  • A magic scroll that tells a different part of a story to each person who reads it.
  • A legendary tapestry that re-weaves itself into a new pattern each night.

 

...The written word is not a form of magic. They were keeping meticulously detailed census records in Britain during the time of William the Conqueror and even before. This is not magic. It's simple administration for the purposes of taxation and the levying of soldiery. The written word is as mundane and un-magical as you can get.

Mmm... true. But completely besides the point.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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You cited an example of an institution in the city of Herculaneum in the ancient Roman Empire, not some unique culture of super literates where everyone was given a free education.

 

Sorry, I didn't mean it as an example of a widely literate society, more as one that had a different idea of the value of the written word, as compared to medieval Europe. My understanding is that texts were not often appreciated as anything but religious objects in much of Europe during the dark ages, and that in a culture like that the written word has little inherent worth. This is as opposed to Ancient Rome, or Renaissance Europe, when words and the enlightening information contained therein were more highly prized and more in demand. Not book store demand, certainly, but upper-class library demand is a step up from locking texts away in monasteries. I now feel like I have no idea what I'm talking about, however, so please feel free to correct my false impressions.

 

How this applies to PE, in any case, is that I don't think we know for sure exactly what kind of culture this fictional early renaissance is beginning to move away from, and without that we can't say for sure where it's going. I could be wrong, of course, and they could be grounding their worldbuilding in a strict historical context, or they could just as easily be moving in a very different direction. I see this as a good opportunity to speculate.

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