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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
4064 Posts

Posted - 28 Sep 2020 :  11:17:57  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yes lol

The Old Grey Box and AD&D for me!
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2249 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  18:44:55  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Master Rupert,

Sorry about the delay in responding to your kind reply to mine comment! You know the insanity these days with work, and everything else amidst the mess. That being said, I hope this response finds you well!

quote:
No, a more accurate analogy would be that your E-5 is told to work side by side with an officer, and that he could get his own commission if he chose. But he declined, so he is not an officer, and does not have the pay or ability to command enlisted people that are higher than E-5. The requirement to work with the officer was not contingent on the offered commission.


I can see why that would initially appear as a reasonable argument. I can see the appeal to it. I feel something has been overlooked however, that I would like to address in juxtaposing your rebuttal against my earlier analogy.

There is an oversight about consequences here that exists in your rebuttal, Master Rupert.

There came a time, chronicled in the Sage of Shadowdale trilogy, when Manshoon was given a direct and public command by Mystra to work with Elminster, in furthering her causes. In effect, she treated him as one of her Chosen.

https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/manshoon-manyfaced#:~:text=The%20Manshoon%20Who%20Faced%20Down,as%20one%20of%20her%20Chosen.

The oversight made in your rebuttal to my Army analogy is that there was a requirement. Sure, Manshoon can say no, but he is then saying no to the deity of Magic, and he may have to possibly deal with some serious consequences that come his way. It is the same as the cadet. Can the cadet say no? Sure. Would there still be consequences for saying no (as determined by the powers that be)? Of course. As I articulated with my Army example that UCMJ still existed for the Cadet, even though a cadet is not in the Army, the same went for Manshoon when he was ordered to work with Elminster. He was acting as if he were, and when he didn't continue to do so, is when he exposed himself to consequences for defying the order of Mystra.

The point is that in the end, Mystra commanded that arrangement, and when Manshoon rejected that, he exposed himself to her "Uniform Code of Military Justice", if you will. ;)

Best regards,


Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2249 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  19:06:30  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Learned Scribe bloodtide_the_red,

quote:
So...you can't really "treat a person like a Chosen"


You could be correct there; however, you'll have to take that up with Ed, as he stated, unequivocally:

In effect, she treated him as one of her Chosen.

If Ed were to clarify that statement to comport with what you are saying, I would certainly retract my earlier assertion about that part, and agree with your part, as well as Master Rupert. To whit, the reality is that Manshoon was in fact treated "...as one of her Chosen." Below is a URL to the evidence that corroborates my point:

https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/manshoon-manyfaced

quote:
So would not the Army example be more like: You have General Grant who has high security clearance, command of a battalion and access to tons of military hardware. Then you have Leroy, who lives in a double wide trailer and has a shot gun and a pick up truck. So then you walk over to Leroy and say "you are now General Leroy" and then you...um...."treat Leroy like he is a general" and say have him "invade the back 40".


I believe I understand the nature of your analogy, but I believe it does not possess merit, and this is why.

The idea that there is such a comparable nature between Mystra and Manshoon, such that the analogies of 'General Grant' and 'General Leroy' are valid, appears to be unreasonable. A more valid comparison I feel would be to assign a General status to Mystra, and a Lieutenant or Captain rank to Manshoon (as well as Elminster) due to the power differential. At that point you have a more comparative relationship in power and authority between the two (since the idea of the rank of General is clearly intended to invoke power, authority, and hopefully skill) and can see relate the relatable (Elminster and Manshoon) in their respective capacities as powerful arch-wizards.

I have to say as well: I absolutely love the 'back 40' quip! lol I literally had to stop for a minute and actually stop picturing what a back 40 invasion by Manshoon would look like. It included a bard with a banjo, I'll have you know. ;) haha

Best regards,

Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2249 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  19:46:17  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader sleyvas,

quote:
Wow, I wish I had never gotten distracted about Manshoon and wondering about if he'd ever been imbued with any of Mystra's power.


Yeah, I get your point regarding Khelben. The only reason I mentioned him is to provide an example of how governments can go astray and how understanding ethics is important in determining how a government would operate. In this example with Khelben, he was a very powerful, I'll call it 'executive' leader in the Harpers. The Harpers did have 'government' if you will: it was the master Harper's that had a Code of the Harper's as the legal instrument to inform people of how they should behave. Unfortunately, Khelben chose again (long history of this) to be the criminally horrible person he is, and flaunt the agreed upon Code of the Harper's.

quote:
But, this thread was meant more to discuss how governments function, and not how vigilante justice occurs in the realms.


On to your other points now... ;)

quote:
In the end, there will be outliers in any system, but the "day to day" basics of how to handle prisoners, surrendering folk, refugees requesting asylum, etc... should be something that the average person has an inkling of how THEIR people (as in government model A versus government model B) think it should happen. For instance, I can't see our modern day American prison model functioning anywhere in the realms, because noone has the money or want to basically pay for someone's food and housing without gaining something from it. The idea of punishment, which would fit the model of basically slavery, would be part of the criminal system in a lot of these cultures. The one big difference would be the selling of the slaves, but then again, some governments may "sell the services of slaves/criminals/work details" to private individuals for profit/taxes. This was one big factor to a degree in Mulhorand, btw, is that the Mulhorandi didn't own slaves, the government in the form of the church did, but then again their slaves were taken from out of country. Chessenta on the other hand had private slave ownership, but most of them were criminals being punished. But what would other cultures do with their prisoners that they take? For instance, in the scenario I had given for some... let's just use gnolls... and let's say in Amn... they accept said creatures surrender. They put them in jail. They can EITHER use them in a work detail and provide the security for said work detail (which likely does crappy work) OR they might sell those gnolls to a passing slave trader to get them out of the country and those gnolls end up in Thay working some mines. I can see that happening in a mercantile state like Amn, with the official in charge pocketing the money, saving the costs of feeding the individual, providing security, etc... Make that same call but change the country to someplace like Impiltur, and I instead see them keeping them in country, working them in a work detail to pay off the cost of feeding them, and at any misstep killing them over risking the lives of the security officer.


I completely agree. Your points are very well made. The idea here appears to be that something is causing the differential in decision making about what is and what is not, appropriate in taking actions in a variety of ways in policy as how to best govern.

For example, if a nation took an 'Ethics of Care' approach, such as ethicists like Tove Pettersen argue for, you would see a drastically different approach to how government contends with these issues. To take a quote from that discussion on the ethics of care,

One characteristic feature of the ethics of care, and also a reason for its swift growth and applicability, is its relational ontology. The ethics of care depicts the moral agent not primarily in terms of independence, equality of power and influence, enjoying almost unrestricted freedom to enter and dissolve contracts. Rather, it conceives agents as mutually interconnected, vulnerable and dependent, often in
asymmetric ways. This approach lets us visualize the moral agent as a ‘‘mother–child-dyad’’, for example, instead of the ‘‘autonomous-man-model’’, coined by among others Sarah Ruddich [27] and Virginia Held [11].
[Pettersen, Health Care Anal (2011) 19:51–64 DOI 10.1007/s10728-010-0163-7]

Imagine a nation in the Realms applying this kind of ethic to government and what it may mean for their day-to-day interactions internally, and what that would mean for foreign policy! It could lead to alliances for people that value such notions, while also inviting wolves to the door perceiving weakness that could be taken advantage of in that situation.

A specific example of ethics in government in the Forgotten Realms, is out of Wa and Shou-Lung with role ethics. The idea that the role a person has, and how well that person facilitates that role, is central to being ethical, and you can see how governmental policies in Wa and Shou-Lung could reflect as much. An excerpt from Confucian Role Ethics [Rosemont/Ames] provides an interesting outlook on how governmental policy in Wa and Shou-Lung can be specifically considered:

quote:
We both came to Confucian role ethics as an alternative to autonomous individualism through our study of classical Confucian texts, and then later when we worked closely together over a number of years on Confucian translation and interpretation projects. The concept of role ethics had its genesis in a paper Rosemont wrote in 1991 for a Festschrift in honor of Herbert Fingarette wherein he suggested that seeing the Chinese as flesh and blood role-bearers rather than potential candidates to be abstract rights-holders might give Western-trained philosophers a better background for reading early Confucian texts. Ames then began to work with the idea for developing an ethics of roles in some depth, contextualizing it within the centrality of family as the governing metaphor in Chinese culture.


Now, that I feel is the perfect description for how some would consider the ontology of Eastern society in an ethical framework, and of course, how government would create and apply policy relative to that.

quote:
Given the above two options, I can see creatures being likely to surrender to a place like Amn, but I can't see them surrendering to a place like Impiltur as much.... which is odd, because our general "noble" sensibilities would say it to be the opposite.


Assuming the lower socially tiered creatures were even aware of such sociological and political differences between said nations, I would agree. However, it bears consideration as to why we feel, in certain nations in the real world, why one ethical approach to governance is better than the other. America is extremely individualistic, whereas nations such as China and Japan emphasize collectivism more than individualism.

In medieval worlds, where there is usually a very real difference in education, power, and status in general, the powers that be are generally quite reticent to offer great autonomy to citizens (if they are even viewed as citizens) as that autonomy can lead to different thinking, and therefore, unrest of some degree or another. So, again, looking at the ethics of society, and thus the governmental policies to implement such an ethic are necessary to understand the underlying reasons for decision making.

Best regards as always,




Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2249 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  19:52:55  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Learned Scribe bloodtide_the_red,

I agree with most of what you say, and my sole point of minor disagreement only arises from some specific points from a very interesting academic article about surrender, of which I must say, are rare indeed in the study of warfare!

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/zhukov/files/2017_lehmannzhukov_surrender_201706.pdf

The primary point I look to expound upon (and I say it is minimal here overall to your valid points) is only the military consequences of surrendering being demonstrated with significant regression based analysis in the aforementioned article, indicating the "contagious" nature of surrender. Giving in and accepting domination over ones self is one of the most destructive things a being can do, and thus as is evaluated in this peer-reviewed article, it indicates with evidence as much. Other than sharing that, I feel you hit the nail on the head beautifully, and thank you for making those points!

Best regards,



Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2249 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  20:45:24  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Master Zeromaru X,

quote:
I guess I have a very wrong idea of what alignment is in D&D... but, alignments in D&D, as stated in the sourcebooks (since 1e, IIRC), are not philosophies or points of view. Rather, they are actual in-universe cosmic forces with definite opinions about what constitutes their alignments. So, in D&D there is no "shades of grey" when sentient cosmic forces actually state what is good, evil, lawful, chaotic, or neutral.


You make a very central, and interesting point with your statement above. However, I feel it is inconsistent with facts from lore based references from the Forgotten Realms, as I will evidence below:
  • Khelben Arunsun stealing the Scepter of the Sorcerer Kings
  • The Emerald Enclave is with evidence provided by myself known to have murdered between 713,000 and 2.8 million people of the Realms


Evidence:


quote:
So, "good" in the Realms is not what we consider to be good, neither what the younger generation consider, or what people believed what was "good in medieval times". Neither what NPCs in the Realms believe, for that case. "Good" is what the concept of Good believe is good (and this definition is what is stated in the sourcebooks).


The issue here is the following excerpt from The Vilhon Reach game accessory, page 26:

quote:
The only requirement that the Enclave enforces upon its members is that they not be inclined toward good or evil. Theirs is a narrow road best traveled only by those who can walk between light and darkness.


Now, if the "only requirement" for the Enclave forces is to not be inclined towards good or evil, then how exactly is it that the Emerald Enclave can justify either situation when they are responsible for the mass murder of,

quote:
a startup community in Chondalwood in 1362, which was actually performed by the Emerald Enclave


Additionally, if that is the case, then how does it stand as not good or evil when,

quote:
That group's violence and ruthlessness are as legendary as the plagues that swept through the Vilhon. The teachings of the church of Silvanus dictate that those who serve the Enclave do so with Silvanus#146;s approval. If that approval did not exist, those druids would lose their spellcasting abilities. And the clergy of Silvanus cares little for the wellbeing of a particular government or political ruler. All they look at is the big picture; for them, that view encompasses the entirety of the Vilhon Reach.


You really don't need anymore evidence of it than what I have provided here, as what I have provided above in quotes is from my two arguments dealing with both Khelben and the Emerald Enclave.

The reality is that while the sourcebooks say that "there is no "shades of grey" when sentient cosmic forces actually state what is good, evil, lawful, chaotic, or neutral", the empirical evidence I just provided above in quotes and links to my earlier robust arguments, demonstrate, unequivocally, that alignment is in fact relative. If that wasn't so, those druids of Silvanus committing mass murder in a clearly evil way, and Khelben Arunsun being a co-conspirator to mass murder, war, and more would have had consequences they never received.

quote:
So, Mr. Thay Slaver may believe slavery is good cuz "I'm stronger and more civilized than you" and "it was good in RL medieval times" (lamest excuse ever to condone something that was considered evil by some cultures even in medieval times, btw), but this goes contrary to what the PHB says "is good" and in fact fits thr definition of Evil in the PHB.


Master Zeromaru X, I want to ask before I make an assumption here: are you implying that I am personally condoning slavery, or is the implication inferred back to "Mr. Thay Slaver"? It appears you are implying I personally condone it based on your partial statement, "it was good in RL medieval times." Is that the case?

Best regards as always,


Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2249 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  21:03:08  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Master Zeromaru X,

This is the very quintessential arena of ethics though. That has been my point throughout this scroll and the inherent implications of ethics in governance. Great Reader Ayrik and Master Rupert, as well as myself, have provided empirical evidence to affirm that reality.

As to your point that,

quote:
But it's really hard to say that there are "shades of grey" in a universe where, if you have enough power, you can go to the planes and ask the very embodiments of "Good", "Evil", etc. the definitions of such concepts


Just because "might = right" exists doesn't mean it is mutually exclusive from the other concepts of ethics in governance as it relates to "alignment." You're assertion is an apriori argument that power presupposes the definitions of good, evil, etc. Again, they are not mutually exclusive.

quote:
It doesn't matter that they hardly go and bother mortals, the fact that they exist makes the opinion of mortals on the matter basically irrelevant.


Your assertion predetermines outcomes for mortals in consideration of good or evil insomuch as the outside influence has no prohibition in response to the will of the mortals relationship with good, evil, etc. This is completely contravened by empirical evidence from the Gathering of the Gods at the Dancing Place in 720 DR. Those deities eventually made decisions that were contradicting in how certain "good" deities maintained chosen powers of their chosen, when clear "evil" acts were undertaken, all relative mind you, to the pact reached on that day, Flamerule the 27th.

Best regards,




Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
9898 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  21:04:05  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cpthero2

Great Reader sleyvas,

quote:
In the end, there will be outliers in any system, but the "day to day" basics of how to handle prisoners, surrendering folk, refugees requesting asylum, etc... should be something that the average person has an inkling of how THEIR people (as in government model A versus government model B) think it should happen. For instance, I can't see our modern day American prison model functioning anywhere in the realms, because noone has the money or want to basically pay for someone's food and housing without gaining something from it. The idea of punishment, which would fit the model of basically slavery, would be part of the criminal system in a lot of these cultures. The one big difference would be the selling of the slaves, but then again, some governments may "sell the services of slaves/criminals/work details" to private individuals for profit/taxes. This was one big factor to a degree in Mulhorand, btw, is that the Mulhorandi didn't own slaves, the government in the form of the church did, but then again their slaves were taken from out of country. Chessenta on the other hand had private slave ownership, but most of them were criminals being punished. But what would other cultures do with their prisoners that they take? For instance, in the scenario I had given for some... let's just use gnolls... and let's say in Amn... they accept said creatures surrender. They put them in jail. They can EITHER use them in a work detail and provide the security for said work detail (which likely does crappy work) OR they might sell those gnolls to a passing slave trader to get them out of the country and those gnolls end up in Thay working some mines. I can see that happening in a mercantile state like Amn, with the official in charge pocketing the money, saving the costs of feeding the individual, providing security, etc... Make that same call but change the country to someplace like Impiltur, and I instead see them keeping them in country, working them in a work detail to pay off the cost of feeding them, and at any misstep killing them over risking the lives of the security officer.


I completely agree. Your points are very well made. The idea here appears to be that something is causing the differential in decision making about what is and what is not, appropriate in taking actions in a variety of ways in policy as how to best govern.

For example, if a nation took an 'Ethics of Care' approach, such as ethicists like Tove Pettersen argue for, you would see a drastically different approach to how government contends with these issues. To take a quote from that discussion on the ethics of care,

One characteristic feature of the ethics of care, and also a reason for its swift growth and applicability, is its relational ontology. The ethics of care depicts the moral agent not primarily in terms of independence, equality of power and influence, enjoying almost unrestricted freedom to enter and dissolve contracts. Rather, it conceives agents as mutually interconnected, vulnerable and dependent, often in
asymmetric ways. This approach lets us visualize the moral agent as a ‘‘mother–child-dyad’’, for example, instead of the ‘‘autonomous-man-model’’, coined by among others Sarah Ruddich [27] and Virginia Held [11].
[Pettersen, Health Care Anal (2011) 19:51–64 DOI 10.1007/s10728-010-0163-7]

Imagine a nation in the Realms applying this kind of ethic to government and what it may mean for their day-to-day interactions internally, and what that would mean for foreign policy! It could lead to alliances for people that value such notions, while also inviting wolves to the door perceiving weakness that could be taken advantage of in that situation.

A specific example of ethics in government in the Forgotten Realms, is out of Wa and Shou-Lung with role ethics. The idea that the role a person has, and how well that person facilitates that role, is central to being ethical, and you can see how governmental policies in Wa and Shou-Lung could reflect as much. An excerpt from Confucian Role Ethics [Rosemont/Ames] provides an interesting outlook on how governmental policy in Wa and Shou-Lung can be specifically considered:

quote:
We both came to Confucian role ethics as an alternative to autonomous individualism through our study of classical Confucian texts, and then later when we worked closely together over a number of years on Confucian translation and interpretation projects. The concept of role ethics had its genesis in a paper Rosemont wrote in 1991 for a Festschrift in honor of Herbert Fingarette wherein he suggested that seeing the Chinese as flesh and blood role-bearers rather than potential candidates to be abstract rights-holders might give Western-trained philosophers a better background for reading early Confucian texts. Ames then began to work with the idea for developing an ethics of roles in some depth, contextualizing it within the centrality of family as the governing metaphor in Chinese culture.


Now, that I feel is the perfect description for how some would consider the ontology of Eastern society in an ethical framework, and of course, how government would create and apply policy relative to that.

quote:
Given the above two options, I can see creatures being likely to surrender to a place like Amn, but I can't see them surrendering to a place like Impiltur as much.... which is odd, because our general "noble" sensibilities would say it to be the opposite.


Assuming the lower socially tiered creatures were even aware of such sociological and political differences between said nations, I would agree. However, it bears consideration as to why we feel, in certain nations in the real world, why one ethical approach to governance is better than the other. America is extremely individualistic, whereas nations such as China and Japan emphasize collectivism more than individualism.

In medieval worlds, where there is usually a very real difference in education, power, and status in general, the powers that be are generally quite reticent to offer great autonomy to citizens (if they are even viewed as citizens) as that autonomy can lead to different thinking, and therefore, unrest of some degree or another. So, again, looking at the ethics of society, and thus the governmental policies to implement such an ethic are necessary to understand the underlying reasons for decision making.

Best regards as always,




You have obviously studied more on ethics than myself, and I think you're bringing some good thinking to the table. I also admit to not following all of it as some of it makes some assumptions that we're familiar with some of these studies (and maybe some folks are familiar with such). Thus, I tend to use more of "layman's speak" when it comes to these arguments. That being said, let me give a few responses.

On creatures responding a certain way only if they understand the way a certain type of government functions. That is a darn good point, and unless a government epitomizes a certain "type", perhaps its fair to say that creatures won't know HOW to react. Certain countries however do have very "caricature" like reputations (i.e. Amn and Sembia are mercantile state, Cormyr and Impiltur are noble entitled kingdoms, Halruaa is a paranoid magocracy, etc...), so perhaps we should mainly consider these extreme cases.

On powers that are in charge not granting the common person autonomy, that's something I hadn't thought to consider. But it IS worth talking about. One thing I'd stress that's different from our world to the realms is the ability of ANYONE pretty much being able to suddenly gain respect and power by simply gaining literal class levels. Whereas in our world, the idea that there's a handful of individuals who rule the masses is very common... rulers in the realms are tiptoeing around not overly upsetting adventurers who may decide to oust them from power OR whom they may need a favor from in order to keep their seat of power. These adventurers rise from all classes of life. Add to this fact that danger in the realms REQUIRES adventurers everywhere, or literally your children will become the meal of some wandering monster. As a result, I see the common folk of the realms having greater autonomy and respect than what we would typically find in our own world. Now, high level adventurers may not give them that respect (because they are asshats at times who forget where they came from), but the ruling class recognize that today's outspoken peasant might be tomorrow's hero. They also KNOW that the gods are real and the gods have a fickle nature that might suddenly grant powers to some "nobody" and entirely overlook "the grandeur of Lord Nobblyknees who should have been imbued with godly power instead" simply because the god likes that commoners attitude this week. These are factors that don't exist in this world (or exist to a lesser degree), and so we should bear them in mind in arguments.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 20 Oct 2020 21:23:06
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cpthero2
Great Reader

USA
2249 Posts

Posted - 20 Oct 2020 :  21:31:00  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Great Reader sleyvas,

quote:
You have obviously studied more on ethics than myself, and I think you're bringing some good thinking to the table.


I appreciate the compliment: thank you. Though, I do want to be clear in my hope that I have not come across in a manner as to be condescending, as that is not my intention. So, if I have done so, please accept my apology in advance! I very much appreciate, respect, and enjoy greatly people's free exchange of ideas as it all leads to one place: better thinking and personal growth! :) Thankfully, I've had some great people in my life that got me on the path to start studying this kind of soft science.

quote:
I also admit to not following all of it as some of it makes some assumptions that we're familiar with some of these studies (and maybe some folks are familiar with such). Thus, I tend to use more of "layman's speak" when it comes to these arguments. That being said, let me give a few responses.


No sweat. I do read a lot on this subject matter, so I completely appreciate where you are coming from. Your input is very much wanted: thank you! :)

quote:
On creatures responding a certain way only if they understand the way a certain type of government functions. That is a darn good point, and unless a government epitomizes a certain "type", perhaps its fair to say that creatures won't know HOW to react.


This was mostly regarding my time overseas in other countries, especially in the far East, where the degree of understanding of the 'individual self' insomuch as Americans understand and experience it is very misunderstood. That's not a judgement on that culture, so much as it is a recognition of a different cultural reality: it is what it is.

quote:
Certain countries however do have very "caricature" like reputations (i.e. Amn and Sembia are mercantile state, Cormyr and Impiltur are noble entitled kingdoms, Halruaa is a paranoid magocracy, etc...), so perhaps we should mainly consider these extreme cases.


Yes, you are of course, correct. I feel that the caricature of said cultures is simply the easiest way to water down a very complicated sense of subject matter areas, i.e. sociology, religion, ethics, government, politics. If you can sort of lay over the top of Mulhorand, Egypt, you've saved a ton of work of writer's to have to get into a range of material that would likely bore 95% of people, when it can be easily encapsulated through caricature. I see an interesting issue though arising now days with considerations of "cultural appropriation" when we look at changes that have come about regarding Ravenloft as a recent example. How is a company or writer in general suppose to provide depth to a nation, people, religion, etc., without doing one of two things: a) likely utilizing what will amount to caricature as a means to quickly (but not to accurately) bring a viable definition to 'x' nation, and b) having to produce such voluminous material that the production costs and likely minimal sales disincentivize production of said materials. This in the end, with both options (I recognize this is a possible false choice fallacy, but I could think of no other options) ends up with the conundrum of how would these nations, people, religions, etc., be created and defined without running afoul of both my options presented? It is an interesting issue.

It does make me wonder with the dearth of "fluff" material from WotC, if they are simply considering what I have presented above and decided it isn't worth their time. It may be easier for them to just say what is done, is done, and to leave the existing material for consumption, than to own what they currently produce in the current climate.

quote:
On powers that are in charge not granting the common person autonomy, that's something I hadn't thought to consider. But it IS worth talking about. One thing I'd stress that's different from our world to the realms is the ability of ANYONE pretty much being able to suddenly gain respect and power by simply gaining literal class levels. Whereas in our world, the idea that there's a handful of individuals who rule the masses is very common... rulers in the realms are tiptoeing around not overly upsetting adventurers who may decide to oust them from power OR whom they may need a favor from in order to keep their seat of power. These adventurers rise from all classes of life. Add to this fact that danger in the realms REQUIRES adventurers everywhere, or literally your children will become the meal of some wandering monster. As a result, I see the common folk of the realms having greater autonomy and respect than what we would typically find in our own world. Now, high level adventurers may not give them that respect (because they are asshats at times who forget where they came from), but the ruling class recognize that today's outspoken peasant might be tomorrow's hero. They also KNOW that the gods are real and the gods have a fickle nature that might suddenly grant powers to some "nobody" and entirely overlook "the grandeur of Lord Nobblyknees who should have been imbued with godly power instead" simply because the god likes that commoners attitude this week.


I do partially agree with what you're saying, but with my need to add a caveat with explanation in there.

The idea of "ANYONE pretty much being able to suddenly gain respect and power" is a point of diminishing returns on how that power and respect can be directed and with efficacy, utilized. History is replete with examples of warlords or other power players coming into existence and being understandably seen as a future problem. That future problem has to be dealt with swiftly, or legitimate threats to the current power base occur and that is an instability that most rulers are not willing to allow happen. A few examples:

  • General Sun Yat-sen of Ghuangzou in 1917 assumed a warlord position in China. Other warlord powers rose to significance, and forced the General into self-exile.
  • General Chen Jiongming helps overthrow the then replacement warlord power that caused General Sun Yat-sen into exile and helps establish the Chinese Communist Party
  • General Sun Yat-sen is proclaimed president, and General Jiongming conspires with other warlords to overthrow President Sun Yat-sen


The idea there is just that respect and power are themselves a fluid interpretation of a very dynamic environment. Since respect is itself an outcome of an agreed upon ethic (we don't respect Manshoon, because he is a piece of crap, like Khelben Arunsun is as well), and power has a necessary relationship with respect, we have to therefore consider the impact again, of ethics playing into this, and how that affects governance. I think my CCP example of China back in 1917 through the early 1920's demonstrates that well, as we consider ethics in government.

Best regards!


Higher Atlar
Spirit Soaring
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