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On the class struggle and the coming victory of the proletariat


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I never got why fantasy worlds don't all have an upper classes that consists entirely of mages and magic users.

 

You'd think in real life they'd be at the top for a long time until someone invents guns.

D&D used to straight-up give fighters land, title, and vassals as they levelled. It was one of those things (see also, better magic item access and more restrictive magic) that helped fighters keep parity with casters that eventually got discarded.

 

Nobody wants to work for some book-lovin' nerd.

Edited by Tamerlane
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I never got why fantasy worlds don't all have an upper classes that consists entirely of mages and magic users.

 

You'd think in real life they'd be at the top for a long time until someone invents guns.

D&D used to straight-up give fighters land, title, and vassals as they levelled. It was one of those things (see also, better magic item access and more restrictive magic) that helped fighters keep parity with casters that eventually got discarded.

 

Nobody wants to work for some book-lovin' nerd.

 

Thankfully D&D offered the charm, dominate and similar spells to get around that minor issue. :)

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^ It would be a brilliant plot. A mageocracy that ruthlessly tries to hunt down the practitioners of a deadly new science that threatens their supremacy. I remember an awful Keanu Reeves movie - they invented a wonder fuel that made petrol redundant and everyone tried to kill him.

a magocracy is rulership by teachers. Which btw, I am entirely for.

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Just as an aside... this is the american consumer / media at work.  The games story had nothing to do with any of that, or it was touched on lightly at best just to give you a reason to not like Comstock.  The story was actually about you and Elizabeth/all that that entails and the weird pseudo science time traveling alternate dimension nonsense.  I am not saying your gripes aren't legitimate.... only that the subject matter was nothing but a explanation for the setting and a cheap easy way to get the ball rolling and create conflict.  They were not trying to make a story that was a political commentary, hell by the time you got out the museum that stuff pretty much never got touched on again in any noticeable way.

So true. A game setting/story needs a conflict/issues, and the developer draws from real life and thinks "Hey, this real-life era had an interesting conflict and some interesting issues," and suddenly, the whole GAME becomes, in the media's eyes, just an elaborate political interactive article about the setting and its real-life inspiration.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Being ruled by teachers would be dull. Lots of learning times tables and stuff.

 

Being ruled by mages wouldn't be dull. Sorcerous experiments, enslaving nations with necromancy and stuff.

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I never got why fantasy worlds don't all have an upper classes that consists entirely of mages and magic users.

 

You'd think in real life they'd be at the top for a long time until someone invents guns.

That has bugged me too, however, Eternity is probably the only setting I can think of where this shouldn't happen. Thanks to the soul system, everyone with a powerful soul is essentially a magic user, so it's not just mages who get to be insanely powerful.

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^ It would be a brilliant plot. A mageocracy that ruthlessly tries to hunt down the practitioners of a deadly new science that threatens their supremacy. I remember an awful Keanu Reeves movie - they invented a wonder fuel that made petrol redundant and everyone tried to kill him.

a magocracy is rulership by teachers. Which btw, I am entirely for.

Hurlshot just creamed his pants.

"I am the expert, asshat." - Hurlshot

"I'm fine with humanity being wiped out" - majestic

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I never got why fantasy worlds don't all have an upper classes that consists entirely of mages and magic users.

 

You'd think in real life they'd be at the top for a long time until someone invents guns.

That has bugged me too, however, Eternity is probably the only setting I can think of where this shouldn't happen. Thanks to the soul system, everyone with a powerful soul is essentially a magic user, so it's not just mages who get to be insanely powerful.

 

 

And this subject related to the original subject also makes me wonder how social class might even function in a setting like PoE, due to the impact of magic. In the real world, an uprising of peasants might be put down because they tended to be poorly equipped and badly led compared to the army a king might be able to put together. 

 

What happens in a world where, with a little study, a peasant can learn how to throw fireballs or cast a charm that makes an opponent fight on his side? There's a democratizing effect when the most powerful weapons are available to anyone. Will the soul system mean that such is the case? Will those who want to maintain their power have some justifiable advantage in terms of magical power against those they're exploiting? 

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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A quote I'm thinking of from a 1945 George Orwell essay, You and the Atomic Bomb, seems to fit:

 

It is a commonplace that the history of civilisation is largely the history of weapons. In particular, the connection between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following rule would be found generally true: that ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon — so long as there is no answer to it — gives claws to the weak.

 

The great age of democracy and of national self-determination was the age of the musket and the rifle. After the invention of the flintlock, and before the invention of the percussion cap, the musket was a fairly efficient weapon, and at the same time so simple that it could be produced almost anywhere. Its combination of qualities made possible the success of the American and French revolutions, and made a popular insurrection a more serious business than it could be in our own day. After the musket came the breech-loading rifle. This was a comparatively complex thing, but it could still be produced in scores of countries, and it was cheap, easily smuggled and economical of ammunition. Even the most backward nation could always get hold of rifles from one source or another, so that Boers, Bulgars, Abyssinians, Moroccans — even Tibetans — could put up a fight for their independence, sometimes with success. But thereafter every development in military technique has favoured the State as against the individual, and the industrialised country as against the backward one.

 

 

Whatever you think of that, its food for thought in a world where someone might be able to harness earth-shattering power not through being born in the right class but simply through study and practice. Not sure if the developers would be willing to think things through to that extent, though. That would require some seriously extreme dissection of your typical fantasy setting.

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Divine right again, I think that's a realistic approach that the mighty would seize upon.

 

One thing that's always interested me is how a small warrior class may rule over the vast majority, say with the Norman warlords who rose to prominence in Britain, and how their culture basically comes to dominate the native race. Just as the Anglo-Saxons did before them I suppose, displacing, outbreeding and supressing the indigenous people who settled Britain by crossing the land bridge from Europe. I suppose the Britain's Celtic culture must have arisen from a warrior elite imposing that society upon them as well.

 

Have similar small groups of conquerors had such an impact on Poe's world I wonder, and have they been born of one racial group or simply a collection of spiritually potent individuals?

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I never got why fantasy worlds don't all have an upper classes that consists entirely of mages and magic users.

 

You'd think in real life they'd be at the top for a long time until someone invents guns.

That has bugged me too, however, Eternity is probably the only setting I can think of where this shouldn't happen. Thanks to the soul system, everyone with a powerful soul is essentially a magic user, so it's not just mages who get to be insanely powerful.

 

 

And this subject related to the original subject also makes me wonder how social class might even function in a setting like PoE, due to the impact of magic. In the real world, an uprising of peasants might be put down because they tended to be poorly equipped and badly led compared to the army a king might be able to put together. 

 

What happens in a world where, with a little study, a peasant can learn how to throw fireballs or cast a charm that makes an opponent fight on his side? There's a democratizing effect when the most powerful weapons are available to anyone. Will the soul system mean that such is the case? Will those who want to maintain their power have some justifiable advantage in terms of magical power against those they're exploiting? 

 

The average peasant probably wouldn't be able to learn how to throw fireballs, and if magic is genetic you'd be able to make it so the peasants can't possibly be able to learn anything if they never had any magic blood.

 

With the souls thing, you could have a strange type of meritocracy (soulocracy?) where people with "strong" souls are automatically placed in a higher position than someone with a "weak" soul, regardless of mortal lineage.

It can also still be just as unfair and stratified, probably even more so as you can't improve your soul if it's "weak" (versus the usual ways you can improve your station in a feudal society), as those with "strong" souls will just be naturally better than you at everything.

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*long piece of mostly BS from Orwell*

 

Whatever you think of that, its food for thought in a world where someone might be able to harness earth-shattering power not through being born in the right class but simply through study and practice. Not sure if the developers would be willing to think things through to that extent, though. That would require some seriously extreme dissection of your typical fantasy setting.

 

So I guess the crossbow, infantry discipline, rocket-propelled grenade, and portable SAM don't count for much then.  Jeez was Orwell ever a pompous idiot. 

 

Not to mention that the centralization of the state in most of Europe has proceeded on a upwards trajectory since the Renaissance, irrespective of weapons technology.

Edited by tajerio
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With the souls thing, you could have a strange type of meritocracy (soulocracy?) where people with "strong" souls are automatically placed in a higher position than someone with a "weak" soul, regardless of mortal lineage.

It can also still be just as unfair and stratified, probably even more so as you can't improve your soul if it's "weak" (versus the usual ways you can improve your station in a feudal society), as those with "strong" souls will just be naturally better than you at everything.

 

It would make for some interesting quests though. Perhaps a murderer with class envy choosing targets within the gentry, gangs of sewer urchins banding together to rob wealthy homes, or perhaps a "cutting-edge" Animancer devouring hearts and souls to gain their power. The list can go on. It would certainly be well within class-struggle context.

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I can tell none of you ever played Dark Sun....  Let the mages run the show and everything goes to hell :p.

Also (try to not go off the wall for me saying this) the Harry Potter books deal with this pretty well.  Everyone is a wizard but if you noticed when it came to "ranks" most of the top tier were established "families" not just people who happened to be powerful Wizards.  In fact many of the people in charge weren't even that strong.  It gives a great look at what a "gifted" society might run like because don't forget there have always been have's and have not's.  Money, politics, fame, all these things also go into determining who runs the show.  Even if you are the most bad ass dude around if no one likes you and a weak guy gets 50 people to come with him to fight you...  Well you are still probably going to lose.

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One thing that would be centrally important: how easy/necessary is it to get training in tapping the power of one's soul? Historically, there have been innumerable intelligent people who were held back by lack of education--if education is as necessary for soul power, then a class system could easily develop in which the soul powerful don't rule the world. If, on the other hand, formal training isn't essential, then it would make much more sense for there to be a preponderance of the soul-powerful at the top, all else being equal.

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I never got why fantasy worlds don't all have an upper classes that consists entirely of mages and magic users.

 

You'd think in real life they'd be at the top for a long time until someone invents guns.

That has bugged me too, however, Eternity is probably the only setting I can think of where this shouldn't happen. Thanks to the soul system, everyone with a powerful soul is essentially a magic user, so it's not just mages who get to be insanely powerful.

 

 

And this subject related to the original subject also makes me wonder how social class might even function in a setting like PoE, due to the impact of magic. In the real world, an uprising of peasants might be put down because they tended to be poorly equipped and badly led compared to the army a king might be able to put together. 

 

What happens in a world where, with a little study, a peasant can learn how to throw fireballs or cast a charm that makes an opponent fight on his side? There's a democratizing effect when the most powerful weapons are available to anyone. Will the soul system mean that such is the case? Will those who want to maintain their power have some justifiable advantage in terms of magical power against those they're exploiting? 

 

The average peasant probably wouldn't be able to learn how to throw fireballs, and if magic is genetic you'd be able to make it so the peasants can't possibly be able to learn anything if they never had any magic blood.

 

With the souls thing, you could have a strange type of meritocracy (soulocracy?) where people with "strong" souls are automatically placed in a higher position than someone with a "weak" soul, regardless of mortal lineage.

It can also still be just as unfair and stratified, probably even more so as you can't improve your soul if it's "weak" (versus the usual ways you can improve your station in a feudal society), as those with "strong" souls will just be naturally better than you at everything.

 

I agree, it could quickly turn into a meritocracy from hell.

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Be quite an interesting NPC (or perhaps even a protagonist) who has a weak sundered soul and yet is successful and driven, self motivated and ambitious with a keen mind and a strong will, who has none of the advantages of the spiritually potent and yet outperforms them through grit and cunning. Somewhat like the film Gatacca, a study in applying oneself versus natural gifts.

 

Obviously Obsidian could make such a character far more interesting than my clumsy prose can.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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One thing that would be centrally important: how easy/necessary is it to get training in tapping the power of one's soul? Historically, there have been innumerable intelligent people who were held back by lack of education--if education is as necessary for soul power, then a class system could easily develop in which the soul powerful don't rule the world. If, on the other hand, formal training isn't essential, then it would make much more sense for there to be a preponderance of the soul-powerful at the top, all else being equal.

Also... if effective power/potential-reaching IS dependent upon education/training, then you could see an interesting secret, smuggled "weapon" of the underground/revolutionary groups simply being books and training facilities.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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