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Old 01-17-2013, 12:27 AM   #41
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I suspect that dwarven law might be fairly uniform across different communities, subject to slow mutation through local judges making different rulings. Dwarves are pretty conservative, and might well not go in for much in the way of legislation.
I'd actually tend the opposite direction: dwarves have reams of law, most of it related to property rights. The archetypical dwarf is (a) very concerned with property, (b) unlikely to yield property to prevent conflict, and (c) stubborn. That's the sort of thing that leads to either interminable feuds or interminable lawsuits, and the latter leads to reams of very detailed law.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:07 AM   #42
Luke Bunyip
 
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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I suspect that dwarven law might be fairly uniform across different communities, subject to slow mutation through local judges making different rulings. Dwarves are pretty conservative, and might well not go in for much in the way of legislation.
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Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
This is especially likely to be true if Dwarvish lifespans are as long as Tolkien-influenced fantasy tends to make them. If your influential people can live to the age of 200 or so, it's a lot harder for new blood to move things along a different course (or for old traditions to be forgotten).
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I'd actually tend the opposite direction: dwarves have reams of law, most of it related to property rights. The archetypical dwarf is (a) very concerned with property, (b) unlikely to yield property to prevent conflict, and (c) stubborn. That's the sort of thing that leads to either interminable feuds or interminable lawsuits, and the latter leads to reams of very detailed law.
I've always envisaged dwarves as being politically decentralised, yet having a standard codex of laws. The nearest I can get is the way that the Commonwealth of Australia is a construct of it's constituent states, which predate it.

Potentially, the same or similar could be the case for dwarves. Dwarves, regardless of their political affiliation or loyalties to a particular king, could all abide to an over arching codex of laws, with cases being overseen by a nominated member of a centralised body of judges. These could be politically independent to all other dwarven polities, not dissimilar to the wizards in Le Guin's Earthsea, the Black Watch in GoTs, or (IIRC) weapon makers in historical Bedouin society. The legality of a suit "she and her family dug under my storeroom" could be determined by an impartial judge, who could then suggest a range of suitable punishments, but sentencing could be the responsibility of the relevant local polity, cartel, king etc.

That's my random thoughts on the matter. Not well thought through, but something I have admittedly been ruminating on a wee bit.

Mining rights and depth are a tricky issue. Here in Australia, land ownership titles exist only, with one exception* for the surface. subsurface exploration and extraction leases are issued by the state. Given Australia's economic reliance upon mining, you can guess who gets to push, and who gets shoved.

However, this can get messy when it comes to digging out multi level dwarven settlements. For non mining purposes, you may not have the right to dictate who digs above or below you, but merely for a particular depth (dependent upon rock type, and established localised geological stability). For mining purposes, I have no idea...

*The one exception I mentioned above: Cobb and Co Coaches used to have a series of coachhouses scattered across the Goldfields, and rather quickly miners would 'accidentally' tunnel under them, which was rather lucrative, given that their safes would be full of gold. Therefore, the only private dwellings in my state of Victoria which have clear properity rights "...to the centre of the Earth" are converted Cobb and Co coachhouses.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:42 AM   #43
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

Three thoughts occur to me about dwarf mining rights law:

* Once you have dug a tunnel, it's kind of hard to undig it; you can put the rubble back in, but you can't restore structural integrity to the rock. That more or less establishes an instant "adverse possession" process.

* Given that, dwarves are likely to be quick to take legal action if other dwarves start to undermine them. At the first sound of digging they'll be investigating who has a tunnel in the area and applying for injunctions.

* A fairly self-enforcing way of preventing careless undermining would be to say that if you undermine someone else, and their tunnel floor collapses into your tunnel, they become the owners of the new combined tunnel and everything in it. Kind of like the "commingling funds" rule for trustees and bank accounts. It puts the incentive to avoid problems on the one who's digging. (Though maybe it should be "the one who digs the new tunnel." It would be kind of nasty to encourage digging above another mine and thinning the floor until it collapses—or deliberately digging in from above. "The intruder loses" would avoid that.)

Bill Stoddard
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:10 PM   #44
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Mining rights and depth are a tricky issue. Here in Australia, land ownership titles exist only, with one exception* for the surface. subsurface exploration and extraction leases are issued by the state. Given Australia's economic reliance upon mining, you can guess who gets to push, and who gets shoved.
In Colorado, a property owner can sell the surface rights and the mineral rights separately, which can lead to a really tangled mess after a few generations. Professional "land men" make a good amount of money by going through the various records and determining who owns what mineral royalties. I can see Dwarves having a similar archivist, especially if they've engaged in multiple dealings with humans or gnomes on the surface.

(Exploitation of those mineral rights, I'll add, is regulated by the state here -- in fact, it's very jealous of that right and steps on attempts by local communities to do any regulation of their own. Which also seems very Dwarvish now that I think about it. :) )
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:48 AM   #45
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

Water and air rights also matter underground. If they hit a underground river that is used downstream or that now floods other tunnels that matters. If they change the air flow so that areas get less ventilation that matters a lot.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:54 AM   #46
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

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Water and air rights also matter underground. If they hit a underground river that is used downstream or that now floods other tunnels that matters. If they change the air flow so that areas get less ventilation that matters a lot.
Water is fun because it cuts both ways: in some areas its a valuable resource, and in others its a nasty hazard.

When working with water on the surface, plugging a channel is fairly easy (a lot easier than building it). How hard is it to plug bad channels underground?
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:47 PM   #47
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Default Re: Dwarven Governance & Economics?

Thank you one and all for your input. I've lifted nine pages of notes from this thread, and I think this will keep me busy for a wee while.

I am about to travel interstate for a while, and as much as I love my mum, one of the implications of visiting her is that I am effectively in an internet shadow. As a result, I will not be able to post here on the SJG forums, and that potentially means that this thread will sink down behind other more active threads.

Once again, I've got a bit to work on. Might post a follow up whence I return to the Republic of Insignificance.
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