Friday, December 4, 2015

Technology 17

This is the thirteenth 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 17 will have an average population density of 409,531 to 990,000 per 20-mile hex. This includes the following regions, shown on this table:

I should say that many of the places in the previous tables probably deserved to be described
as 'urban' on those tables rather than 'parkland.'  I admit that the distinction had not
occurred to me until just yesterday; but then, this tech thing is a work in progress.

A mere 8 regions.  This technology accounts for 6.7 hexes of my world, occupied by 5,357,634 humans.  There are no non-humans.

This works out to an average of 2,311 persons per square mile.  For a little perspective, this is a little more than twice the density of a typical urban fringe in America.  It is about the density of a tight suburb, the kind that show up around Riverside and San Bernardino counties in Southern California or English boroughs like Eastbourne in East Sussex or Epsom & Ewell in Surrey.  It is nowhere near as dense as we're used to in a modern city (compare with this chart).

Despite what most depictions of medieval/renaissance cities show, in fact they were much more open than the reader might imagine.  Greenspace, large yards for raising a few animals, private-yet-communal parks and wide city squares offering plenty of elbow room were common.  Most towns were surrounded by wide spaces, inside the city walls and yet used for plowing and grazing.

Available Technologies

See tech 16.

I think the reader should laugh at the tiny area this tech level actually represents in the my world.  Players could easily walk right by such an area and fail to consider it worthwhile investigating - particularly since nearly 2/3rds of the area is in one part of India (mentioned in an earlier post).

Yesterday's long and meandering post was an attempt to discuss the Liberalism of the tech 17 culture - along with Constitution and Democracy.  But, one at a time . . . and for the record, I'm just going to incorporate my post conclusion with the last one:

Liberalism.  For each of these I have to pick and choose elements of the philosophy that best fits my world.  I see the entities listed above (and those of tech 18) opting out of the militarism of tech 16 while retaining a more nuanced form of the mandatory service.  Rather than every person of the realm (city state) being required to commit themselves to the armed forces, there are opportunities for the people to apply and serve their time as members of the civil service, the foreign office, the advancement of culture, expeditionary and exploratory ventures into the unknown and so on - creating a more rounded and flexible viewpoint on the responsibilities of the individual towards the state.  At the same time, combat training can still be obtained by everyone - but pure military service, for many, is a three-month affair rather than something lasting for two to three years.  In kind, the expectation may be as much as four or five years of civic duties - and in the case of some of those duties, ultimately more dangerous than military service.

Constitution.  While tech 14 incorporates Nationalism and Divine Right as a means to bring together members of the region as a single people, those technologies do fail in some degree because they are dependent upon sentiment - either the sentiment of the general population of the sentiment of a single monarch.  The technology of a constitution is an effort to see past sentiment, to see past the circumstances of the moment and to unite the present with the future of the nation - to ensure that the sentiment that people feel today does not compromise the overall welfare of the state for the next generation.  By codifying the principles of National Character and Social Responsibility, a nation strives to achieve a greater stability over time.  This in turn makes the people view the state as a living, corporeal entity, one that demands the individual put their faith in the state itself rather than in individuals who run that state.

Democracy.  This is the hardest philosophy of all, because it says, unlike every technology that has gone before, that everyone is worthy of inclusion in the state.  Not just the majority, but the minority as well.  Not just the domestic representative population of the state, but all populations, of all states.  The American constitution does not state, "All Americans are considered equal" but that "All men are created equal."

(now, that is an issue, since at the time the English language was constructed in such a manner that the masculine declension of the noun was used to refer to all persons, something that both genders inherently understood, even though of course we know there was a fail where it came to assigning the vote to one of those genders.  We can get into this for a very long time, but the sentiment I'm going to argue would be fundamentally unchanged if the Constitution correctly stated "all men and women are created equal - okay?)

The passion expressed in those words applied to all persons, everywhere, regardless of nationality - because the American colonies at the time of the constitution recognized that the people dwelling on the Atlantic's western seaboard had come as a mix from many places - a great many of the soldiers or citizens who fought or died for American freedom and ideals were not born in America.  Similar passages in other constitutions gave acknowledgement that the point here was not to selectively choose a group of people based upon their nation but upon their humanity.  That is what Democracy strives to do - to establish an understanding that a human being is entitled to certain rights and respect based upon their personal level of need, will to live, degree of suffering or the level to which they deserve sympathy.

I don't happen to think any of those things includes the right to have a personal opinion respected - which is why I go after personal opinions freely, like a pit bull.  I do believe, firmly, that the physical person that an individual possesses is inviolable . . . that every person deserves to eat, deserves education, deserves health care, deserves recognition by the state, deserves the right of innocence and ultimately deserves to choose which battles they will fight for or against.

I see this recognition as a very high level of intelligence (in the tech system, a 17 intelligence) - one that, it can be observed in the public discourse daily, just doesn't exist.  When I refer to people as fucking stupid, it is because I am prejudiced towards respecting every individual human's comfort level on the basis I've described, to the best of our ability as a species - and I am well aware of the number of people in the world who are quite ready to let other people starve and die because this is just too expensive and too much trouble.

But I digress.  I'm proposing that 6.7 hexes (7.7, including tech 18) of my world are societies prepared to put in a constitution that they believe this vision as well.

My world is, after all, designed for fantasy role-play.


JB said...

: )

graham said...

I wonder, are these places known widely throughout the rest of your world? You did mention that players could easily travel past these places without ever noticing them. This blog aside, would your players have any way of knowing about them? I don't imagine that progressive social policies are the stuff of whispered gossip in the taverns of neighbouring regions

Alexis Smolensk said...


I would think that most people outside such places would view them as little more than 'them people in the city.' After all, these smaller islands would be surrounded by people who, being of a lower tech, wouldn't really understand what those ideas and goals meant. How does a present-day ruralite describe this apparent need of city-dwellers to donate so much of their time to art shows, sitting in libraries reading or even going to school?

My outer relatives are all farmers. They could not understand why I would want to read a book. Imagine this in a very heavy Russian accent: "Everything you'll learn will come from work and suffering. Not from dreaming on your ass."

I agree with you Graham.