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Messages - Drul Morbok

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Subterranean sailing?
« on: January 09, 2018, 02:46:48 AM »
Yes, good point, if the cavern is high enough...maybe a domed ceiling with an upward shaft in the center...hot air will rise above heat sources, and if it is moist air - let's assume water meeting lava at certain intervals - there might even be rainstorms.
I guess even lightning is possible if you're creative about iron ore deposits and the like.

Such caves might not be the norm, but they might be the most likely ones to be inhabited and therefore most relevant for shipping.

But yeah, steampunk dwarves rock, so early steamboats would be a lot cooler than sails  8)
Or a complex system of mithril ropes pulling ships across lakes and along rivers...powered by waterwheels and able to pull ships upstream.

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General Discussion and Questions / Subterranean sailing?
« on: January 07, 2018, 01:36:27 AM »
Hi everyone,
reading the page about the dwarven race, I stumbled upon the following sentences:
"There are a number of underground rivers, lakes and even seas in the vast underworld of Khoras. The dwarves sail these subterranean waterways in squat, thick hulled vessels called durogars. These sturdy vessels have broad bellies, are typically three levels tall, are tiller steered and have two square sails."

This made me wonder about subterranean wind conditions.
I can easily imagine even strong winds in narrow tunnels, but I guess that a cavern would have to be rather huge to feature air circulation within it, and for air currents passing through a cavern, the narrow entrances should pose some kind of bottleneck for the amount of passing air, so in the wider sections of the cavern, there should be close to no wind.

But then again, my assumptions might apply only for rather regional underground complexes, and not for continent-wide underworlds, or I might fail to consider other wind sources like geothermal heat, magma reservoirs and the like.

As with all my questions, I aim for an open discussion about game world mechanics rather than for judging right or wrong.

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Announcements and News / Re: Merry Christmas
« on: December 26, 2017, 02:39:29 PM »
Merry Christmas and a happy new year also to you and everyone else.
I wish you all some peaceful days with your dears and a good start in the new year.

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Timeline of Khoras creativity process
« on: September 04, 2017, 05:41:12 AM »
BTW: On http://arsludi.lamemage.com/index.php/92/game-vs-world/ (I can totally recommend this site) I found a GM saying that for him, it feels less like creating his worlds, and more like discovering them.
Well said  :D

Just wanted to share...

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: September 04, 2017, 05:30:21 AM »
But I also have another idea that brings me back to my original post:

Since long I have the idea of giving orcs a slightly different reproduction cycle:
A female orc could either become pregnant with many female offspring. 4-7 being common, but as much as 12 not unheard of. They'd be born naked, blind and with only rudimentary limbs, like newborn mice. Few if any would reach adulthood, as it would be also common for male orcs to slay a female's existing offspring when mating (females would be possesions to fight for rather than individuals with any rights).
Or she could give birth to one single male orc, but this one would grow so big in her womb that she would not survive his birth.

This way, no orcish warrior (I guess it's not surprising that there's only male ones) would have a brother, and none would ever meet his own mother.
In some way, I think that this is an interesting background for a brutally paternalistic warrior culture...but than again, the words "interesting" and "brutally paternalistic" are no easy mixture, and I think many people would consider it tasteless. And yet again...having dozens of orcs being slaughtered by heroes is acceptable, but portraying them as sexist ist something I worry about? Morality is a bitch... ::)

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: September 04, 2017, 03:24:56 AM »
Yes, I totally agree - even talking about how much D&D alignment sucks can  be valuable for trying to find a way about how moral could be categorized.  ;D

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: September 03, 2017, 08:15:08 AM »
My main problem with D&D alignment is that I feel that different purposes got mixed up into a result that finally fulfills none of then:
- theoretical...giving words to abstract concepts, introduce some moral nomenclature. While not perfect, I also think it's not the worst attempt.
- metagame...character classes like the paladin and maybe the D&D 2nd ranger seemed to me to "balance" stronger classes against restrictions to what they could do ("no, a lawful good character is not allowed to ambush an enemy"). However  I think if you have to limit players that they do not behave out of character, the problem is deeper than rules. It also excludes what I consider valid choices (I can easily imagine lawful rogues or bards if I go beyond stereotypes, or evil priests that spontaneously heal others).
Everything about zones where good/evil/chaotic/lawful creatures are weaker/stronger and the like also is effectively mainly a tactical aspect.
- ingame...those ridiculous "discern alignment" spells often seem to guide players towards identifying the foe. The idea that your alignment is as identifiable as let's say your blood type is what I consider the by far most ridiculous idea. The whole legal system with trials and judges would get obsolete if you could just imprison every "evil" individual.

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: September 02, 2017, 03:06:58 PM »
Ah OK..in my case, reading the session summaries of the Pieces of Eight campaign was what actually gave me the idea that in a heroic campaign setting, I should not expect players to behave morally, but rather act as what I called avatars.

But oft course, tastes differ...

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Other creatures
« on: August 21, 2017, 03:12:33 PM »
Actually, I always liked the fact that this site does not generally mention standard creatures, especially those based on mythology, maybe because it fits with my personal decisions and preferences:
I for myself find that, when implementing such creatures and trying to define them, I often find myself caught between repeating the obvious/consense, and forced creativity. It also tends to make players feel a bit more familiar with the unexpected as they should - even if they do not make (valid) assumptions from knowing the Monster Manual, there will be some kind of "ah ok, a manticore" familiarity as soon as scorpion tail, lion head and leather wings are mentionned.

When it comes to elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls, ogres ..., I really do enjoy "forced creativity", i.e. using a well-known concept, but with an interpretation and some tendencies unique to my world.
On the other hand, for skeletons and zombies, there might be nothing wrong about repeating the obvious - they are animated corpses, and this might very well be all there is to be said. For this reason, I'd find it somehow strange if there was an entry for zombies or skeletons - unless of course they'd deviate a great deal from general assumptions. For me it's even more the same for unicorns, minotaurs, manticores.... those names raise certain expectations, and if this site just repeated those, I guess I might feel it as some kind of breach. So I think unless it's a deliberate play on standard assumptions, I think it's better not to get too specific about such creatures and leave open if they actually “exist” (the steel griffon inn could as well be named after an ingame creature of legends).

But this is just my opinion, as I prefer to think of mythological creatures as unique, or at least one unique population of them, having kind of a place in the world and in the story, rather than as “random roll encounters” …for example, if I decided to have gargantuan birds of prey in my game world, I surely would not name them Rocs if all I cared about was challenging stats. I’m also not too thrilled about of the idea of making minotaurs part of the ecosystem – I’d rather replace the bull part with let’s say a stag’s anatomy and give them antlers instead of horns, just to be sure players would not associate the creature with labyrinths.
On the other hand, if some high-security prison had some underground labyrinth with maximum security cells, for my taste it could be adding flavour if this labyrinth was guarded by a minotaur who was rumoured to be always awake, aware of anything happening in the labyrinth and the only one not to get lost in it (but of course in this case, there also would be no fauna entry).

But each to his own….

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: August 18, 2017, 12:04:20 PM »
Hehe, I can't wait to read about the Mandalar in the session summaries    ;D

Concerning what I said about heroic characters being amoral - I should have added "iin systems like D&D"
I think that moral is unique to living beings - that is, mortal beings. However, many RPG systems are essentially stripped of such needs as food, water, shelter, disease, reproduction..all I consider basic needs of a living being.
I'm not saying they are not mentioned (well reproduction rarely is, I guess), but the system effectively turns them into background notices, counting food rations or looking at skills -  and sooner or later, there will be spells or magic items produce food, generic cure spells get rid of anything that might befall a character...characters do easily become more like avatars than plausible parts of an ecosystem.

I think, moral is about treating your peers, those around and equal to you, and PCs and heroic NPCs aren't meant to be peers. So maybe I should rather call the PC-NPC relation amoral and not the character.

It takes a real good player to give an NPC the same respect and care for his life as for a party member...I mean in situations where ingame there is no reason to do so, like at the beginning of a campaign.

I'm not saying that there are no such good players - I would rather argue that they are not playing heroic characters.

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 :D Especially I'm really curious if the rumor about activities in dwarven tunnels below Asylum will ever grow into something big :D

This might well be my favorite loose end.

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Death Wish Ring?
« on: August 18, 2017, 09:54:54 AM »
Yeah, if the wish is undone, the wishmaker comes back - and has to stay until the wish is back in place...maybe with a geas upon him to work towards this goal.
This would be a terrible fate...a bit like the idea of ghosts bound to the mortal realm due to some unfinished business.

There might be rules shat no single wish shall ever be granted again to someone else, nor shall to wishes contradict or cancel out each other...this would work best in a setting where divine beings or cosmic entities interact rather directly with mortals.
Since long I have the idea that villages in my game world would feature a kind of blackboard where anyone can go and write a wish - which wold come true, but "at a price which all can pay, and which none should pay"... I never came up with what that cryptic warning could mean, but now I want to try what I can do in this direction.

I also start imagining a world where this is the story behind undeads. Rather than created by and infused with foul sorcery, they'd be tragic figures associated with pity and sorrow rather than horror.
Each one would have a story to tell...and maybe a potential adventure/campaign hook.

Or maybe, eons ago, there was a depraved figure who did not fear the effect of an undone wish, but used it as a means of gaining "live" after death, becoming the first lich and necromancer and still being the driving force behind all necromancy.

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: August 13, 2017, 03:43:54 PM »
At this point I feel that I, being a non-native English speaker, have used (and understood) the word "zealot" incorrect, i.e. different from how a native speaker understands it.

Up until now, I would not have called Jesus a zealot, or Mahatma Ghandi, but having read what you say about zealots, I think they'd qualify as epitome of zealots, considering personal devotion and impact on the world (as would many others I would not have called zealots) .

Considering this, I'll soon come up with a mr elaborate comment on the topic.

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: August 13, 2017, 09:31:55 AM »
I also thought about your mentionning of Hannah Arendt's banality of evil and the Eichmann trial.

In the end, I concluded that I consider all heroic RPG characters to be amoral figures, and even further, that their behavior, if displayed in our real world, would rise questions about personality disorder rather than about alignment or moral.
Here I beg to keep in mind my distinction between person, player and character...if someone said the same thing about me as a chess player, I might consider it unintuitive to have such thoghts, but to me it would be a valid judgement - it would not say anything about me as a person.... and about me as a chess player, it's natural that all I care about when moving figures is to win the game.
Judgements about figures as characters seem inappropriate.

I came up with the conclusion that players playing heroic characters (and even more so "evil" characters if a GM allows them) do not play that much different (and that they have every right to do so, it's their game).
Their behavior is driven by what they think (and learn) the GM and the system encourage and reward - and thats heroism. Sometimes, this reward is countable (gold and XP), sometimes its more abstract  - but for example, "spotlight time" and attention is also a (if not THE) ressource in RPGing, i.e. time when the character actions are the focus of the game, when other players comment on the action and talk abot it afterwards ("remember when this crazy bastard did THAT?")...all of this I consider reward for character behavior (and as many psychologists might confirm, even negative attention is attention).

Yet neither DM nor group talk, spotlight time and attention are ingame, so players are motivated by values and factors beyond the world they are supposed to live in.
Then again, this attitude of "I shall not be judged within your world, I'm only subject to rules beyond your comprehension" is often associated with some sense of mission....and if someone decides to base decisions on other people's life and death on this basis - well, I think we tend to call them zealots if this basis is at least somewhat integrated into society, and we start talking about personality issues when the basis only lies within the person itself...
I also tend to think this sense of mission is often rather prominent in people that were afterwards called ruthless dictators, but themselves might never had such thing as guilty conscience

In some way, I think such players banalize the world and every non-PC living being in it by never ever thinking of such a thing of peace of the death or reverence or any other kind of respect towards live and moral that does not translate into said rewards.

I just came up with an even more grim experiment:
I mentionned in an other thread that I intend some mission where players are sent to the Mandalar and might or might not doubt their orders.
I think about their mission being sent to Mandalar territory as advance party of a masterplan of mass deportation of Mandalar into detention centers in order to get new living space for the Empire's population, using ingame euphemisms that might initially make it seem a rather humane and sensible measure, where carrying out the order will be the most profitable way of character behavior.
I hope I can keep this one from getting tasteless, since the last thing I intend is some "genocide simulator", but rather some kind of parable (more or less the same way The Lord Of Flies is not tasteless for displaying children displaying fascist tendencies).

Edit: I mean...let it be argued that as long as the Border Clans remain "unclaimed", the Kingdom of Anquar and the Great Padashan Republic will fight for them, and such dispute will inevitably escalate into all-out war that neither of both contrahents (nor the Mandalar) will survive.
However as soon as both contrahents share a common border, they will enter into a "cold war stalemate", both sides grudgingly acknowledging that open confrontation will end in total annihalition of both sides.

I'm not saying this is "true" as far as the World of Khoras is concerned, but..ordinary soldiers would be sent into the Border Clans fueled up with propagand about glorious victory, while elite forces proving too smart for this propaganda (like the players might sooner or later), would be taken aside into a confidential talk where this argumentation would be presented...who are the characters to say this is "wrong", especially after they already are into it?

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General Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern values and Fantasy world
« on: August 13, 2017, 04:55:47 AM »
When I came of with that poor chicken-thief, I imagined the punishent as instant self-administered justice without formal trial brought upon someone caught in the act rather than as administration of a codified law that set that specific punishment for that specific crime...which in turn seemed more likely to me within the poverty scenario. Now I think that in that case, a hanging might be more plausible...but such details aside, you made a valuable point.
I intended the fat happily grazing cattle and the clean main road as romantization of rural medieval idyll, and while I think that romantization might be an issue of its own when it comes to roleplaying in pseudo-historical scenarios, I admit my argumentation tends to imply that high living standards and a liberal legal system are mutual implication ("if they lived under better conditions, they'd punish thieves less hard").

So slightly more precise, yet still generelizing, I might say that players with a "modern western background" might expect it that way. Other backgorunds (or even different interpretations of "modern western background") might find the flogging appropriate in the setting of happily grazing cattle, and expect that in the poverty scenario, theft would be common and even generally accepted or at least not fought hard enough ("If they punished thieves harder, they'd live under better conditions").


I like the GM experiment you mentionned, I also planned something like you said, and also had something else in mind:
An NPC scolding players along the lines of "Just who do you think you are, some moral imperialists, shedding your shining light down upon us unwashed backward natives who are yet unable to grasp the superiority of what your oh so fine history taught you to behave like in your oh so fine society" (I intend to generally not set my campaigns within the characters' background setting, just to avoid out-of-place morals as well as question like "what does my character know about this central cultural aspect").

Let's take slaves as an example...I expect you can go on for pages of historical knowledge where I can contribute smattering at best, but I think most of historical slavery was not as abhorrent as its current reputation (at least if compared to general living conditions in the same time, rather than compared to our living standards):
First of all, I think quite often it was even economic reason to treat slaves not too bad. Not equal of course, and replaceable, but too valuable to be wasted.
Empires might have masses of expandable slaves, especially when they were expanding/conquering...I think that in some phase of the Roman Empire, they would have had the knowledge and other possibilities to use rather complex machinery for construction, but slaves were more economically efficient. But still then, I would not claim that let's say a conscripted soldier could be envied in expanding/conquering empires.
Also slaves did not always perform menial labor or even get worked to death (and getting worked to death no only happened to slaves), but some were house teachers or in otherwise respected intellectual or artist jobs.
Last but not least, not all slaves were captured villagers (or "natives" captured by "civilized" intruders). Some were prisoners (who did not lose that much freedom compared to prison cells...and freeing them might be a somewhat doubtful principle for heroic characters), others were personally indebted which is regrettable but still not that condemnable if it means that in turn the debtor's familiy is spared a life in misery. Latter slaves might be horrified if "rescued", since this means they failed to fulfill their part of the agreement to equalize debts.

After all, I do not want to play the judge about realworld historic slavery, especiallly since my actual knowledge is somewhat lacking...But I also do not want player characters to judge my game world based upon their players' judgement on realworld historic slavery (maybe more precisely: modern history of western slavery), so that's why I came up with said NPC scolding.


Editing in one contribution:
Very recently, I heard that someone I know was sent to prison for failing to pay the fine for fare evasion.
It might be more of a mental issue than a purely financial one (handled properly, people do not get jailed that easily, but she seems to have ignored it entirely...but her behavior is not the point I want to discuss) and I'd assume diminished responsibility rather than criminal intent.
My main point why I consider it relevant here: As I understand it, the total debt is now at around 2000 Euro, which is multiple times the original fine...and around tousand times the price of one ticket (OK, it might have been multiple occasions).

Personally I think we move into some debt industry where debt collectors can get rich by charging debtors multiple times the original debt, preventing those that are poor (or sometimes naive) enough to get indebted from ever realistically becoming debt-free. It would be too polemic to make a too direct link to the slavery issue I brought up...but what I want to say is:
I do not agree with every aspect oft law enforcement, nor do I say it is unavoidable to maintain social stability. I also would not say this person (or many others) deserves prison, nor that she'd learn a lesson or something...and still, I would be horrified if someone would attack the prison, killing a few guards in the process, and free her - and expect some kind of reward from me.

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