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Old 07-12-2018, 09:16 AM   #31
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

When I am talking about social and economic realism, I am generally talking about people who have realistic social and economic responses to the events in the campaign. For an example of social realism, everyone has their own complex motivations that underlie their actions (even if they do not realize that they have those motivations), so villains should have a reason for their villainy other than just being evil and heroes should have a reason for their heroics other than just being good (and the plans of villains should logically reflect their reasons for villainy and the methods of heroes should logically reflect their reasons for heroism). For an example of economic realism, societies where wizards are capable of generating high quality light for cheap will not hunt whales for lantern oil and societies where anyone is capable of contributing to ceremonial magic should not have widespread poverty (as the availability of magical energy allows for massive gains it economic productivity and the ability of anyone to contribute to ceremonial magic should allow for a baseline Struggling income).
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:40 AM   #32
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
When I am talking about social and economic realism, I am generally talking about people who have realistic social and economic responses to the events in the campaign. For an example of social realism, everyone has their own complex motivations that underlie their actions (even if they do not realize that they have those motivations), so villains should have a reason for their villainy other than just being evil and heroes should have a reason for their heroics other than just being good (and the plans of villains should logically reflect their reasons for villainy and the methods of heroes should logically reflect their reasons for heroism). For an example of economic realism, societies where wizards are capable of generating high quality light for cheap will not hunt whales for lantern oil and societies where anyone is capable of contributing to ceremonial magic should not have widespread poverty (as the availability of magical energy allows for massive gains it economic productivity and the ability of anyone to contribute to ceremonial magic should allow for a baseline Struggling income).
That's not the part that I found worthy of elaboration. I'm more interested in the nuances of the earlier-indirectly-mentioned view that those who would be playing in something not socially/economically realistic are robots and not people, e.g. fans of classic supers, Captain Planet, Snow Crash etc.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:44 AM   #33
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

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For an example of economic realism, societies where wizards are capable of generating high quality light for cheap will not hunt whales for lantern oil
Using whale oil lanterns may be considered a status symbol, or may be a cultural thing (it's not like the Japanese really need whale meat, but they keep hunting whales regardless). Alternatively, if theft of magic lanterns is common, it could actually be more economical to use whale oil instead in some areas (in The Stormlight Archives, certain gems can be charged with stormlight - essentially mana - and will produce light for some time, but as these gems are also used as currency and thus such lamps are targets of theft, in many poor areas oil is burned instead).

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societies where anyone is capable of contributing to ceremonial magic should not have widespread poverty
I don't see this as a given, either. If there are more unskilled people available than are needed to work whatever magic is needed, there are going to be people who are not always employed. Also, some humans will refuse to work alongside some other humans (due to race, religion, age, behavior, appearance, smell, or whatever), and more than just "there aren't jobs available" can contribute to poverty (mental illness, drug use, etc). You could also have a setting where the pay for participating in magical rituals is below what's needed to stay above the poverty line, meaning while you can supplement your income by doing it, you (or someone else) need to make money elsewhere to avoid falling into poverty.

Certainly, in either case I'd expect whale hunting/poverty to be less common than historically, but in a setting with social/economic realism, I wouldn't expect them to be completely absent (although I wouldn't shoot down a setting where they are absent as outright unrealistic).
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:54 AM   #34
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

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Certainly, in either case I'd expect whale hunting/poverty to be less common than historically, but in a setting with social/economic realism, I wouldn't expect them to be completely absent (although I wouldn't shoot down a setting where they are absent as outright unrealistic).
An idea I have played with for some years is the utopian campaign: A campaign set in a world where there is general agreement on an ethical code, where all but a few people actually live by that code, and where the result is an increase in happiness and a decrease in conflict. Of course conflict is the basis of narrative and thus of gaming! I think a utopian campaign could certainly have Man vs. Nature; it could have Society vs. Society, if it's threatened with attack from outside; it's possible it could have Man vs. Man or Man vs. Self, though both of those would be much reduced in a lot of utopias. In some worlds it might have Man vs. God/Fate; Olaf Stapledon sort of went there in his cosmic history books, though I don't think they could easily be turned into rpgs.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:02 AM   #35
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

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I take umbrage at the notion that a utopian socialism like Star Trek is economically or socially unrealistic... (it hurts my idealistically utopian communist soul)

C-Punk is close enough to 'real' I don't even need to do any work.

I agree that Soaps and Supes are completely 'unrealistic'. The suspenders get a lot of work.
Where it matters, meaning where the episodes take place, the Federation has notably not accomplished any such thing. It engages in power politics, law enforcement, gunboat diplomacy, and sometimes full scale war. Whether or not that was a sarcasm and whether or not true utopia is possible, a real literary utopia has no conflict. Most serious narrative attempts end up giving you an Omelas.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:13 AM   #36
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C-Punk is close enough to 'real' I don't even need to do any work.
I don't think this is right. It seems to me that cyberpunk is an SF version of noir that presents many of the same tropes (and this goes back to 1960s precursors of cyberpunk such as Dick and Delaney). That is, it's not realistic but a cinematic rendering of the "realism" trope. Grimdark fantasy and iron age supers are other examples of this approach, to my mind.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:41 AM   #37
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

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I don't think this is right. It seems to me that cyberpunk is an SF version of noir that presents many of the same tropes (and this goes back to 1960s precursors of cyberpunk such as Dick and Delaney). That is, it's not realistic but a cinematic rendering of the "realism" trope. Grimdark fantasy and iron age supers are other examples of this approach, to my mind.
Speaking of Noir, I have heard it said that Casablanca is part Noir and some parts of it are not so far from the truth. There were real Victor Lazlos, real Cafe Americains, and unfortunately, real Captain Renaults.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:36 PM   #38
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

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This argument is usually presented within fifteen seconds of any mention of unrealistically depicted female armor, for example.
For me I always see it right after hearing someone loudly exclaim something like "But if elves had wings the wingspans would need to be..." or "How do the sea creatures have metal armor and weapons? Don't you understand how steel and salt water operate?"



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Most serious narrative attempts end up giving you an Omelas.
Omelas was about scapegoatism. For me The Dispossessed represents a 'true literary utopia'.



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I don't think this is right. It seems to me that cyberpunk is an SF version of noir that presents many of the same tropes (and this goes back to 1960s precursors of cyberpunk such as Dick and Delaney). That is, it's not realistic but a cinematic rendering of the "realism" trope. Grimdark fantasy and iron age supers are other examples of this approach, to my mind.
I said "close enough", by which I mean my Players are prepared to accept that corporatism, globalism, and tribalism have ruined the lives of the man on the street and their Characters are either there 'to do something about it' or 'do what they need to do to survive'.

Not that C-Punk is realistic, but it's 'close enough' I don't have to do any work. Unlike with Star Trek, which would be hard to depict a Trekian homeworld well and give the Players the sense of it's utopianism in the face of the wild-west fringes with out them having a hefty buy-in.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:53 PM   #39
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

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An idea I have played with for some years is the utopian campaign: A campaign set in a world where there is general agreement on an ethical code, where all but a few people actually live by that code, and where the result is an increase in happiness and a decrease in conflict. Of course conflict is the basis of narrative and thus of gaming! I think a utopian campaign could certainly have Man vs. Nature; it could have Society vs. Society, if it's threatened with attack from outside; it's possible it could have Man vs. Man or Man vs. Self, though both of those would be much reduced in a lot of utopias. In some worlds it might have Man vs. God/Fate; Olaf Stapledon sort of went there in his cosmic history books, though I don't think they could easily be turned into rpgs.
We're getting dangerously close to a tangent here, but I'll note that your opening description has the seeds for the conflict the characters would need to deal with - the few who don't play by the rules. Such could be the villains, the heroes (although this will lean toward anti-hero), or both. A decent example, although I'm not certain I'd go so far as to state the society in question is a true utopia (but it at least comes close), would be the superhero webcomic Star Power. The conflict there involves criminals who refuse* to play by the rules and belligerents from outside of the Millennium Federation. I could easily see a campaign built around a Galactic Defense (or even Void Angel, one of the criminal groups) squad.

*Many of whom, admittedly, sort of got involved in crime by accident. If you opt to read the comic, make special note of the histories of Grex and Burke.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:05 PM   #40
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Default Re: What do we mean by "Realistic"?

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This made me instantly think of my absolute most unfavoritest form of unrealism: "This setting features wizards, therefore it is completely immune to complaints of unrealism or inconsistency."

This argument is usually presented within fifteen seconds of any mention of unrealistically depicted female armor, for example.
Heh, yes I've come across that as well



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Amazing how fantasy tropes seem to coincide with other types of fantasy, its like Halloween were female characters seem to automatically multi-class as Slutty-XXXX
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