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Messages - Drul Morbok

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1
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: December 17, 2021, 02:55:51 AM »
Well, more precisely I'd compare roleplaying to improvisational theatre.
And while I've certainly watched great movies and plays about delicate topics, there are good reasons not to recommend those topics for an improv setting.

After all, acting within the setting requires a consensus about the setting, which is much harder for "evil" or dystopian settings, lest they turn into shallow parodies or "because I can"-actions without in-character motivation.

2
Reading this topic again made me remember some ideas I'd like to share:

Maybe 10 years ago, some friends and fellow roleplayers and me went on a hiking trip, and late at night around campfire, we had a discussion about moral values of Orcs.

I claimed that "the history of Orc and Men is a history of misunderstanding".
I elaborated that Orcs are a bit like wolves...they have deadly weapons, so among themselves they develop a culture of NOT using them lethally.
Survival of the at-least-not-that-stupid...

So the Orcs have developed almost a language of its own in ritualized presentation of weapons. One way of holding a club could be translated as "I accept your claim on this territory, but will pass through it as I please", another gesture as "nobody defies my will".
Unfortunately, the rudest gesture of all Orcish gestures is - waving a bare hand. An Orc will translate it as "I do not consider you a warrior".
Unfortunately for those Humans that thought they'd be polite.

But Orcish reputation for attacking helpless travellers in wild fury has now been established as Human history.

3
I often thought that news/rumors about successful Huridian translation would make for a great adventure hook - or for a great background for a "sequel setting" some decades later!

I guess if Duthelm made serious progress, or even succeeded at translating, this might trigger a huge war, either with Duthelm attacking with new force, or by a huge anti-Duthelm alliance attacking.

Or rather the plot of the hapless commoner/thief/... stumbling upon a vital key to translation, not recognizing it as what it is, ending up hunted by agents from countless factions?

I guess if I was to implement such a setting, I would use the Mandalar (like I often would)....they guard the secret without knowing it, and now just about everyone wants to invade them...

Khoras is a world full of inspiration :D

4
General Discussion and Questions / Re: Pre-sundering cultured races
« on: June 27, 2021, 10:44:12 AM »
Wow, thanks a lot, this is really informative, once more I'm deeply impressed by the coherency of your creation, and how it all fits together, even if I don't grasp it at first glance (to be honest, often not even after 10+ years of glancing).

Should you ever need an idea for a future spotlight, I totally encourage you to incorporate this into the site, as I did not find such an exhaustive overview.

And I had similar thoughts about classification, I already considered asking about the classification as lesser versus greater race.
I noticed some lesser races seem to be variants (aberrations) of other races rather than races of their own, and while I admit that it doesn't really matter (after all, lesser versus greate race seems to be a metagame classification rather than an in-game aspect), I did e.g. not quite understand what makes ogres a greater race, and orcs a lesser one...numbers? Whether they have their own society or blend into other races' societies? Maybe a bit of all, and yet a lot more to consider?
Also right now there's a page for lesser races and a page for greater races, plus a page for an overview with a list of some of either.

While in itself, the classification lesser/greater would not have been important enough for me to really be an issue, I would really be interested in reading anything you publish about origin and classification of races :)

5
I think I forgot to consider the "single genius explanation", which seems to be a common narrative aspect (not only) in fantasy.

If as an analogy, we assume that Alrem Evarel combined the genius and ideas of Newton, Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg and others in a single mind, in a scientific background struggling with Copernicus, it seems plausible that nobody else understood his ideas, so they never became actual scientific theory.

6
I got the flat Khoras belief from http://www.khoras.net/chat/index.php?topic=28.0 where you stated that most commoners, serfs and mariners believe Khoras is flat.
I thought it was a bit odd, considering that over 2000 years ago, the Greeks already tended towards a round earth.

But then again, when I say "the Greeks", it probably actually means a few philosophers/scientists, not the commoners (although I don't know for sure).
Also Khoras had some tremendous backlash, the Sundering, which goes far beyond any real-world equivalent, so I considered a widespread flat Khoras belief somewhat conceivable.


I think what fascinates me most:
While the general technology on Khoras is obviously (more or less) medieval, there are some achievements that even go beyond what modern science could achieve, by means of magic.
Like the creation of the secambru, the morphians or the phellysians.
Or the stiffening. It seems beyond plagues available to modern biological warfare.

And since "Magic is a force of Nature. Like gravity or inertia, it is bound by physical laws as are all aspects of the universe" (as stated on the article on magic), In my imagination, those creation acts were scientific achievements, based on profound scientific knowledge.
I tend to assume that if a modern scientists was to examine Khorasian life forms, he would find an equivalent to real-world DNA, and live would be based on cells, even if nobody on Khoras knows that.

So I just imagined that to create the secambru, you would need knowledge as sophisticated as CRISPR or the like.


While this might not be of any interest for most campaigns, the implications are totally intriguing for me as a World Builder.


And of course this would be knowledge of the past, which now is lost.
I just wondered how much is lost, and what remains.
And how it would differ from historical reference, which has no such advanced knowledge in the past (unless this knowledge is lost in a way we don't know about it....but of course many cultures had an astounding knowledge on astronomy, line the Maya).


But none of what I assumed, wondered and imagined is a necessary conclusion within Khoras ;-)

7
General Discussion and Questions / Re: How Big Is Khoras?
« on: June 23, 2021, 02:57:04 PM »
Just wondering if you got a more recent number...would be interesting to see how it developed.

Also I'm not sure if I understand the challenge of counting words...with all html files in a directory (or its subdirectories), I think it shouldn't be too difficult via bash/cygwin.
Getting those files in a directory in the first place... don't know about that...

But maybe now, 13 years later, a Notepad++ plugin could do it...

8
General Discussion and Questions / Pre-sundering cultured races
« on: June 22, 2021, 03:57:59 PM »
Assuming the term race as "defined as any intelligent species which has developed language and culture" I'm uncertain about which (if any) races came into existence "naturally" on Khoras and before the sundering.

Elves, dwarves, ogres and others "splintered" from humans due to massive radiation after the sundering.
Other races where created/bred by human magic (i e. not "naturally"), like saurians, baenites, mandalar, secambru.
Not sure about vaullians, or saridians.

And some races came from other planets or dimensions like the xorian.

This seems to be summed up as "Originally, only humans lived in the world."


But at least one race seems to have developed on Khoras independent from humans and before the sundering - the sarthak/trossoli, as they are described as the only race not to change their calendar after the sundering.
And as I understand it, when the (maybe not-yet) dwarfs met them, it was a first contact, they were unheard of.

Did they still evolve from humans, and if so, when did they seperate?
Or is it truly seperate evolution? If so, when did they first exist?


Or the thallasians....they "seem to have evolved from a crustacean life form".
Also after the sundering?

9
While the Khoras page seems to be written for people with our modern western knowledge about science, I wonder what scholars and commoners within the game world know (or believe) about such topics

For example I read in another thread that most people believe Khoras is flat rather than spherical. So they probably don't know about plate tectonics.
How would they explain tidal patterns?

And I guess they don't know about a thing such as an atom model...what would they believe instead?

Or do they know about evolution, do they know/believe simple life forms started in primordial soup, and more complex life forms evolved from them?
Or do they believe live forms where created the way they are now? Designed to develop into what they are today?
Do they even have a biological taxonomy, or would they for example think rats, bugs, worms to be of the same "category vermin", without further classification?

In our world, people long believed in (what we today call) abiogenesis, i.e. non-living matter turning into life forms, like cheese actually turning into maggots (if I remember correctly, some scholars even stated that native Americans grew out of the soil this way, but this might be a myth in itself).
The idea that living things come only from living things (or cells only from cells) is a historically rather recent one, so might not have yet come up in Khoras.


I'm not expecting a definite answer for every Khorasian society - I'm mainly fascinated by thinking about how people in Khoras would explain certain things, based on what they observe.
I think it's possible to have a lot of (maybe a bit nerdy) fun with outdated knowledge, or even made-up yet plausible in-game explanations, in a pseudo-historical fantasy world..


Oh, one final notice: What I wrote is pretty eurocentric - when I say a theory/discovery is rather recent, I'm implicitly limiting to "in western society" without adding it every time.
And even so, I sometimes might be wrong, and being corrected is appreciated as a chance to learn  :)

10
Miscellaneous / Re: Gaming Inspiration from Material Culture
« on: March 01, 2021, 03:35:12 PM »
Well, the more I think about it, the less I think the D&D scenario ist fitting for what I aim for - and I tend to assume you will at least have to go for either a rather complicated system, or a thoroughly reduced world.

Of course I do not have the factual knowledge you have, not even close, so please correct me where I'm wrong:

I think that the armor and weapon choices of D&D and similar systems represent rather specialized unit types meant to be deployed in squads in a stone-paper-rocks-logic.

Spears and lances would be erected against charging enemies, two-handed swords could chop of the heads of erected lances, axes would chop down wooden shields, maces or hammers with a spike are devastating to armor.
Those unit types where not meant to be fight in mixed teams like a party, which would be closer to a modern small team of elite forces.

So I think many weapon-armor-combinations do not make much sense in an "open" setting of "one weapon fits all", to be employed against a wide range of threats.
D&D-like systems tend to pitch opponents from different historical and geographic settings, but aim to be "balanced" by doing so.

Things get even more complicated when non-human opponents are involved.
I guess from a historical realistic point of view, there's close to no evidence of fighting a pack of lions or wolves with a two-handed sword, so a "realistic" system should exclude many fights from happening in the first place.
Even more so for beasts like horse-sized spiders or a hippogriff or a Hydra.

In a world where ogre raids are common, ogres would not be fought with melee weapons, but by archers on horseback circling around the brute, never allowing it to get close... totally different unit types and fighting styles would develop rather than applying historical units against in non-historical fights.

I think this is a common problem of many fantasy settings...the world looks pseudo-historical (the "typical" look most people associate with a castle is an idealization of later ages anyway, like slim marble towers reaching into the skies), and then the fantasy part introduces components that make those elements close to obsolete.

11
Miscellaneous / Re: Gaming Inspiration from Material Culture
« on: February 27, 2021, 12:58:38 PM »
I'd be interested in seeing your thoughts about a different combat system, as I have many problems with the D&D combat system.
Essentially I consider it
- stationary
- repetitive
- unsuited for duels

a) combatants don't seem to move much. They seem to stand where they are and exchange blows. Monks don't fight like Bruce Lee, swashbucklers don't fight like Jack Sparrow or D'Artagnan, Samurai don't fight like in Tiger&Dragon. A giant with a club doesn't chase light-armored combatants all over the place, an agile swordfighter doesn't tumble and dodge through a horde of minor opponents, hitting all of them. There's no jumping on tables, no staying out of reach and jumping in for the deciding attack...
b) Most often, if a strike with an axe and an arrow don't fell a giant, many blows and arrows will. There's no waiting for and preparing the one tricky, coordinated attack.
c) as a result, combat effectively means piling on damage. There's no point in "step back, let me handle this guy". There's no honor in a 1-on-1 the fighter of a party and the opposing chieftain, it's always encouraged to fire arrows from the second row (piling on damage).

Those might not be realism issues but rather narrative issues. But for me, roleplaying IS a narrative issue.
Tastes differ, but I once said "a good roleplaying fight ist a Fight I'd like to watch in a movie", and I couldn't name a movie where an interesting fight boils down to reducing hit points step by step.

Of course aa good DM can turn D&D fights into interesting fights, but most of the time, he does so by going beyond the rules rather than by applying the rules...

12
Miscellaneous / Re: Pilgrimage
« on: February 04, 2021, 11:52:24 AM »
Unfortunately my remaining Dropbox Space is (by far) not enough for all the pictures I'd like to share, but I can give a link to at least some of the pictures via PM or mail.
I started with pictures of buildings, I omitted landscape and just about any other thing that makes for a nice memory (but I realized my fairphone photos of landscape did not turn out well...might be a general smartphone (plus me) issue)...

Or does someone know an alternative to Dropbox? My recent filesharing experience ist very limited....

And concerning your "Hobbit" quote - well in my case, the farther I travelled, the more normal the food in taverns got  ;D

13
Gaming Tales / Re: My game world
« on: September 21, 2020, 04:30:44 AM »
Yeah, I often build my fantasy worlds around the idea of introducing one change to mechanics as we know them from Earth, thinking about what It might have changed in Earthen history, and than build the fantasy world around it.
I like calling it the "Star Trek approach"  ;)

For example, I think many things about racism, colonialism, slavery....would have occurred differently if invaders/settlers/colonists/abducted slaves/refugees/... looked the same as the native population after two generations...

I'm not saying it would be a "better" world, i.e. more tolerant ore peaceful...as can be guessed by that fact that I intend to introduce the players to the world with a mission to slay costal population because of rumored mutations, which might be an affliction they can't really be blamed for...

14
Gaming Tales / Re: My game world
« on: September 20, 2020, 07:15:02 AM »
I announced the game world to be continued, and here we go...

I used the setting for some one-shot adventures. I introduced a Mercenary Guild that sent the players to different "islands", and I keep the concept for later sandbox games...the Guild would have something like a "mission board", with missions and rewards on it. Players can have different characters and select which one they take for a mission.
There could be more players than go on a single mission - whenever enough players announce a date to gather around the table, they select a mission beforehand and I prepare the adventure, which ideally should take just one session, although 2 or 3 sessions might be ok.


But for my next long-term campaign, I intend to advance the setting some centuries.
Now there is a "World Government" that reigns over all "islands" and which is represented by a clerical caste.
The setting I described above is more or less the official doctrine of what the world was like before it was "civilized" by the World Government.
Nowadays, the (former) islands are stationary and are more like ordinary hills or mountains, the steppe is more like ordinary plains or grass-/woodland, and the barbarians are gone.

Still (what is considered) civilization only exists on the hills that once where called islands. Those hills feature a fountain, lake or spring in the center, with villages or cities around it. The water is running down the hillsides in a system of both water supply and sewerage, and runs down to irrigate surrounding fields and farms.

It is believed and taught that those hill-cities are the natural (or rather God-given) way to live for humans, so people do not ask many questions about how this actually works or who built it.
The clerical caste is maintaining the water system, any interference is harshly punished, and there is no way to enter the caste.

People stay within the cities and almost never travel between them, so while the world is kind of unified, people live as isolated as before.

There are facilities outside the cities, like lumberjack villages or mining communities, and people started living there as families.
It is accepted that some people live outside the hill-cities completely on their own, like self-sufficient fishing villages; this is considered a weird choice rather than heresy.


Humans are the only humanoid race - with a world-defining "but", which I elaborate below.
Typical fantasy races like orcs or elves are somewhere between a myth and a story from the past, before the World Government. In any case, they never coexisted with Humans...there was a cataclysmic event that wiped out those old races and brought Humans to the world (according to the doctrine), this event might be worth a post of its own.


So here comes the "but" about Humans:
The whole thing about phenotypes is working slightly different: Bodily characteristics are defined by the surroundings rather than by the parents - once again, this is the doctrine, but undoubtedly, real-world genetics like Mendel's could not explain bodily characteristics of Human children in the game world.

Children born within the hill-cities look "normal", which goes well with the doctrine that this is "normal" human habitat.

Outside the hill-cities, ome children bear characteristics of the old races - they resemble elves when born in the woods, dwarves when born in mining communities, orcs when born in military camps.
This is considered useful, but has a taste of "working class".

Things are different fo children born close to the shore in the fishing villages: They will likely have webbed feet and hands, or a second set of transparent eyelids. First generation children tend to have only some of those characteristics, but second generation children's characteristics converge towards having all such characteristics.

But there are no hill-cities close to the shore, and people only started to move to the shore recently, so this phenomenon is rather new and not much is known.
People in the hill-cities tend to see it as further proof that living completely outside is not natural - if they know about it at all.

However, word is spreading about horrid mutations among third generation "shore children" which are born with scales and a stench of rotten fish. They have bulging eyes, gills at their necks and narrow hard lips unable to cover a protruding semicircular mouth with first needle-like teeth.

Those news are really recent, they came up in the hill-cities closest to the shore (which is still about 20 kilometers) during the last few months.
People are really upset, and the general opinion is that living outside the hill-cities should be outlawed, and all such communities should be wiped out.

The World Government is not above such hard measures, but by doing so they would admit that allowing such settlements was a mistake in the first place - which they would never do.
They would prefer some kind of "self-inflicted tragedy" that befalls the settlements - and somehow, the player characters come in as the ideal source of "self-inflicted tragedy"....

15
Miscellaneous / Re: Pilgrimage
« on: September 20, 2020, 02:00:12 AM »
So far it's definitely a great experience, and experiencing surely beats knowing and imagining  :D


For example, it's one thing to know that the North of Germany is rather flat, the center is more hilly with average mountains, and the South features a high mountain range...or that socialism in the GDR has lead to agricultural cooperatives with huge fields (for German standards at least...the Southern agriculture I'm used to is more defined by distribution among heirs, leaving fields fragmented and earning them the nickname "towels")...

But that's totally different from walking on straight field paths between harvested grainfields for days, hoping for the next few square meters iof shadow cast by the rare hedge, reaching a road or passing a village every few kilometers...
And then reaching and following a river running between the gentlest slopes, walking in the shadows of trees lining the river, spotting the first vineyard and seeing the occasional castle or fortification on hills... turning away from the river, traversing the first hill (more for the beauty of the path than for necessity), then getting more and more ups and downs on the path following a small creek, with increasingly more up and less down...with the path suddenly leading from between fields and the edge of smaller deciduous forests into coniferous woodland, on side of the path going up in a steep slope, a real natural creek finding its way on the other side...than gaining altitude from 300 to 800 meters within a few hours, going down again the next day with beautiful views from lookouts in between...

All of it accompanied by the change of the menus of the restaurants I sometimes decide to afford, the different building styles, seeing one-street villages being replaced by nucleated villages...


I mean, I know some of the places I've been from earlier holidays, but reaching a mountain ridge by train and hiking up there is by far not the same as crossing said mountain range as part of a 1-month journey...and experiencing the difference is a great...uhm, experience, so I'm so glad I decided to take the trip.


Oh, and I also spend much time thinking about the fact that for me, an 800km trip is a, maybe once-in-a-lifetime, one-month project, and if on the journey I go to a supermarket to supply myself with fruits and vegetables, chances are that those products already travelled 10 times the distance of my whole journey...
But as for right now, today is a day off in Coburg, and walking in yesterday, I already saw fascinating buildings...I read Coburg has one of the largest and best preserved castle complexes in Germany, so I will go there now  ;)

PS: Sometimes I got unsure about terminology, so I trusted some online resources for terms like "nucleated villages", so feel free to ask or correct if what I wrote seems strange or unclear!

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