Friday, November 27, 2015

Technology 12

This is the eighth in a series of posts intended to provide a technological framework for my world. The purpose of this framework is to create unique, regional settings for player interaction. A realistic simulation of the actual world is not a goal of this system and will not be given credence when approving comments.

Regions with a technology of 12 will have an average population density of 12,851 to 23,958 per 20-mile hex.  This includes the following regions, shown on this table:


141 regions.  This technology accounts for 2,178.3 hexes of my world, occupied by 37,731,822 humanoids.  Only 59,072 of these are non-human - half-orcs, from Sumi.

But then, I will probably adjust that, region by region, following the logic of the last post.  But that will have to wait.

Available Technologies

See tech 11.  I've been looking forward to tech 12, because it includes a tremendous social reconstruction compared to the previous tech, established by just three developments.  Let's get right into it.  Tech 12 technologies are as follows:

Guilds.  To end discord and bring about a measure of social change, professionals and artisans create a set of confraternities designed to end competion and stabilize the economy.  Guilds co-opt specific parts of towns or cities as their own, denying occupation by anyone not specifically approved.  In turn, efforts are made to consolidate processing to manage it, bringing about a healthier and more efficient environment, making less labor for the masses.  Through the fixing of employment and banning of unacceptable persons (while making wage slaves of the remainder, who will be blacklisted upon leaving their work), the guilds help drive out many persons who would support the town or city's vice-ridden entities.

Theology.  A unification between the clerical faction and the governing body produces a third state within the region, empowering clerics with a legal right to stand up to lords and the nobility on behalf of morality, religious practice and welfare, making their voice a powerful challenge to the corruption that exists at lower tech levels.  This also helps to greatly clear up the red-light district, as the clerics possess the power to shut down such dens on the principles of their virtue.  Slums become merely housing for the lowest strata of workers, relatively clean and primarily functional, with a minimum of corrupt officials and self-imposed thugs.  Residents can appeal to both religious leaders and the guild for safety, so that while living in poor circumstances the life is reasonably peaceful and safe.

Code of Laws.  Influenced by both the above factions, courts are cleaned up and a set of clearly written, established laws, free from corruption and balanced by more than one entity responsible for incarceration and pardon are put in place.  Clerics, able to cast spells that will determine intent and malevolence, as well as penetrating disguise, replace secular judges and produce a legal system that can establish guilt or innocence - along with potential threat to society - in a roomful of people at one time.  With the formation of an inquisition, whole areas of trouble will be imprisoned and a single cleric with a detect malevolence spell will turn slowly in a room full of cells and determine who should be properly held for trial and sentencing and who should be immediately let go.  The code, a guideline for behaviour, ensures that everyone within the region knows precisely what they will be judged upon.

On every level, these three developments allow for considerable corruption in themselves - but unlike the corruption found on tech levels 9 & 10, these are inwardly corrupt, where the majority of citizens are not challenged because their presence is necessary to the guild and where the majority of citizens are paid well enough to ensure the benefit of the religious orders.  Law courts are there to winnow out poor workers and those who would give their coin to the wrong entities - and this, in turn, remakes the social order into one based on moral contract, where 'freedom' is defined by not making trouble.

Added, however, is one more general technology, not included in Civ IV:

Druidism.  This will not go over well with those people who feel that all druids, absolutely, must be born to animals in the wild, raised by centaurs or otherwise the product of a totally natural culture - in turn learning everything they know about magic, ceremonies and whatever else one wants to include by, apparently, osmosis.  This is not my conception of the druid and certainly has no rationale anywhere except in the worst sort of present-day fantasy literature.  In old fairy tales, most wise men of the forest tended to begin their lives as a prince or some other well-educated soul, who chose to retreat to the forest.

I don't see druids wandering the back country of tech 11 and lesser regions (right down to tech 0, something I haven't begun to discuss) with the intention of changing the culture in those places.  There may be a 14th level druid wandering the backwoods of Siberia, the deserts of Arabia's Empty Quarter or the deep jungles of India, but I feel that this presence wouldn't impinge on any culture except that of the druid's origin - that origin being one advanced enough to give the druid the knowledge that druid would need.  For my world, that's a minimum of a tech 12 area.

Lifestyle - Rural

Throughout the region, every small village and large hamlet has built a church, large or small - and the leaders of these churches now act as a liaison between peasant and lord.  The monetary oppression against the poor is relieved considerably by this, but in its place is a moral oppression that has made the attitude of the individual more heterogeneous and fixed.  This has been complimented by the presence of more villages than has ever existed before (with up to 65 persons per square mile), so that municipal borders have broken up the large estates that existed on the tech 10 level.  Many of these villages were created by manors that expanded, that now have the numbers to elect of burghers, madhus, imams and a host of petty warlords who exist to challenge the overarching power of the lord, either through local guilds or religious orders.

Criminal behaviour in the hinterland survives through quiet, secret patronage.  As the state has chosen one religion as the face of the region, various cults and other religions struggle to maintain their practices or to carry forth a religious war against the populace.  Guilds of one town pay mercenaries to circumvent the practices of other similar guilds in other towns or to secure resources in their favour (so competition continues, just on a wider scale).  Lords maintain brigands to put down agitators.  The church maintains spies to weed out non-believers.  It is supposed that any stranger that is met off a major highway is likely one of these persons.

However, the region is highly stable where it comes to open crime.  Roadhouses - inns and taverns without an accompanying town - can be found on every major road, meaning that lodging can be found easily by anyone.  Opportunities for supplying the guilds with raw materials abound and most villages will welcome any strong character that proves their sincerity.  Foreigners are treated fairly well, for they bring in money and can be expected to mind their own business, for the most part.  The player characters, of course, rarely mind their own business - but then that mindset makes room for many adventures beginning with the players being persecuted for being nosey.

What influence would druids have?  They might provide refuge for the victims of all this morality and oppression in the hinterland, but they may not.  A druid dwelling in such a backcountry may very well ignore refugees moving there, concerned mostly with what the refugees do rather than why they've arrived.  Perhaps the druid's motive would be to just keep them moving, perhaps frightening them with animals or bad weather or whatever might be in the druid's power.  The higher the druid, I should think, the less likely they'd be to have anyone enter an area under their protection.  Lower level druids might dabble a bit in culture - acting as medicants or teachers - but I think the higher orders would have learned their lessons about dealing with people.

Lifestyle - Urban

I've already made it clear that towns and cities at this tech are cleaner, less overtly corrupt and possessing of less vice and immediate threat.  I'll add that areas of the town where congestion would have been common in the past have been knocked down and avenues built, as well as squares and a re-institution of public greenspace (for sitting parks rather than herding animals, as in much less civilized regions).  With open space, advancement of general literature, town criers, thoughtful cases brought before law courts and a host of other public interests, discussion between the citizenry has become the order of the day.  Sports events take the place of vice, as do religious festivals and the occasional performance.  These latter do not take place in theatres, however - that is left for a higher tech level.

Taverns are open, comfortable spaces, supported by storytellers, jugglers, jesters and itinerant musicians.  Politeness towards the staff is expected and policed.  Brawls and brawlers are treated with great disdain, so that those who start such fights will not find the patrons willing to 'join in.'  Business is banned from discussion in taverns but political debate is encouraged.  Those who wish to communicate regarding business dealings must do so upon the open street, in daylight hours, for it is presumed that there's never any reason to hide one's motives in this regard.

Of course, this means subversive business discussions take place at someone's private residence (inns in my world do not offer private rooms at this tech level or any up to this point).

There's probably more, but this gives a good idea of the atmosphere.

Government & Military

There is a new militia in the town, wearing the garb of the local religion.  These exist to keep the peace, enforce edicts, challenge the power of any other military force where 'corruption' may be taking hold and on the whole to keep peace and order.  These troops will join with the state military in times of war.

Guilds, too, strengthen the town watch in a manner that produces dozens of private constabularies whose area of control extends along streets, lanes and processing areas controlled by the guilds.  At the borders between these areas there is sometimes conflict between one watch and another.  Various large taverns and inns - sometimes agreeing to joint constabularies - also employ a private watch.  Each private watch may number from as few as one person to four score, depending on the size of area to be controlled.  Most of these watchmen are quite unreasonable when dealing with citizenry during the daytime; at night they can be downright rude.

No armed force - not the religious, the watch, the town guards or the military - has the right to kill any person that has committed a crime, even trespassing or treason.  These persons are, by rule of law, meant to be brought before a judge.  However, 'resisting arrest' and 'self-defense' become a thing, as a way of getting around such edicts.

Conclusion

In some ways, this sort of environment gets harder to run for a lot of DMs.  There's very little wiggle-room for the typical irrational D&D party.  However, it is hard to argue that a huge city of several hundred thousand persons could last very long without this sort of ordinance-driven restrictive culture.  It is one reason why many DMs simply deny that any adventure can take place in a town, since such adventures are lean on treasure and high on trouble.

Lean on treasure is only proper.  Ultimately, a long campaign could yield a profoundly rich haul - particularly if the players are wise enough that they could get themselves put in charge of a whole palace that they then cleaned out - calmly and 'legally' - over a couple of game weeks.  With the local guard and the local guildmaster giving them a hand while they did it.  That would be hilarious and could net a hundred thousand gold pieces or so . . . but most players wouldn't know where to begin with an adventure like that.

In the meantime, such regions of my world (and higher tech ones) will likely be places where parties will go because the markets there have the best, cheapest stuff.  But adventuring?  Probably not.




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