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Old 03-01-2021, 01:04 PM   #21
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

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Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc View Post
I've also been kicking around a DFish setting idea for a while in which Good and Evil are matters of personal taste but Order and Chaos are of Cosmic Import, with all the deities aligned toward one or the other in ways that ignore G vs E entirely. Rather than pro- or anti-magic, however, the divide is over stability vs change, with the laws of mortals caught in the crossfire like everything else (eg: The local God of Death is Order all the way, the local Goddess of Love is Chaos on steroids - The only one who straddles the line is the God of Invention, patron of the Artificers, but he's been in a coma since the last Gods' War, my stab at explaining why the setting has been frozen at DF TL for a looooong time now).
Change for change's sake has never worked for me as an ideology. You need a direction for your desired changes. Otherwise you are just randomly wiggling around. That's why I picked more versus less magic.
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Old 03-01-2021, 01:22 PM   #22
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

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Change for change's sake has never worked for me as an ideology. You need a direction for your desired changes. Otherwise you are just randomly wiggling around. That's why I picked more versus less magic.
No sane in-setting mortal sees Chaos as an end in and of itself, and Fanatics of any of the Gods tend to be trouble. In case you can't tell, I was re-watching B5 when I started the project. :)
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Old 03-01-2021, 01:26 PM   #23
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

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Change for change's sake has never worked for me as an ideology. You need a direction for your desired changes. Otherwise you are just randomly wiggling around. That's why I picked more versus less magic.
Well, there's the question of whether your oppositional poles are supposed to be self-contained ideologies, or whether they're just extremes of a particular component decomposition of ideologies.

Insofar as DF has such a thing it seems closer to the former. But the Other Game influence often leans to latter sometimes. ISTR that the fictional antecedents for Order vs Chaos had it as the sole great cosmic polarity and turning it into a two-axis structure originated in gaming, but I could be mistaken there.
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Old 03-01-2021, 02:03 PM   #24
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

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Well, there's the question of whether your oppositional poles are supposed to be self-contained ideologies, or whether they're just extremes of a particular component decomposition of ideologies.

Insofar as DF has such a thing it seems closer to the former. But the Other Game influence often leans to latter sometimes. ISTR that the fictional antecedents for Order vs Chaos had it as the sole great cosmic polarity and turning it into a two-axis structure originated in gaming, but I could be mistaken there.
Order vs Chaos originated with Poul Andersen and Moorcock. In Andersen "Order" consisted of keeping the world habitable for humanity while "Chaos" was monster-infested wilderness where his version of elves could survive thanks to their magical powers but things like agriculture were impossible. In Moorcock, when Order had the upper hand you could have advanced if not necessarily realistic technology, while Chaos allowed magic. But if the balance tipped too far, as in the end of Elric, every mortal dies.
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:53 AM   #25
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

Order vs Chaos depends very much on how you interpret those terms.

Order can be safety, predictability, morality. It is the community that protects each other.

Chaos can be destruction, opportunism, hedonism, insanity. It is the escaped fire that burns down the city and its inhabitants alive.

Or on the flip side...

Order can be tyranny. Uncompromising arcane laws. An elaborate spider-web of highly organised corruption. Or turning humans into something lesser; mindless cogs in a machine. Or death itself as time itself goes into stasis.

Chaos can be innovation, flexibility, the necessary force topples tyranny of evil Order and prevents evil from ever getting prefect hold of the world. Chaos is often said to be the origin of all that exists, and Chaos might the force of life itself.
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:06 AM   #26
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

I think even the D&D morality can be made interesting, but generally the bias of the authors tends to ruin it. (Hurr, dur, Chaos is random/stupid/extra evil. Or all the various "Lawful Stupid")

Example:

Lawful Evil. The count of a corrupt domain. He tries to bind down everything with rules to keep all those under him in line and play them off against each other. He himself will cheat rules, but claim otherwise and his corrupted court of law will make sure he always gets away clean.

Lawful Good. The count of a fair domain. He tries to promote good productive behavior through an elaborate array of laws and rules to which everyone must obey without fail. When faced with corruption the count will try to handle it in the most legal manner.

Chaotic Evil. The count of a ruthless domain. He uses displays of force to keep those under him in line, and makes violent displays of those who might appear to challenge him. Laws might exist, but everyone knows that they are meaningless; what matters is who you are useful to, and whom you might offend.

Chaotic Good. The count of a idealistic domain. He tries to promote the ideas of 'doing the right thing'. There might be rules, but ultimately what matters the most within the domain is essentially a popularity contest; whether or not someone seems to be 'decent person' and 'good for the community'. Obeying the rules isn't considered terribly important as long as you are 'good', and a person seen as 'bad' who obeys the rules will find they provide little shelter.
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Last edited by RedMattis; 03-02-2021 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:40 AM   #27
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

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Order vs Chaos originated with Poul Andersen and Moorcock. In Andersen "Order" consisted of keeping the world habitable for humanity while "Chaos" was monster-infested wilderness where his version of elves could survive thanks to their magical powers but things like agriculture were impossible.
That didn't originate with Anderson. It's an extension of the medieval world view to include more elves and such and fewer demons.

Medieval thought tended to see 'chaos' as being a tool of evil, or as being functionally the same thing.
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:59 AM   #28
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

Not a specific DF expert but my anthropological studies are kicking in... Many great writers and historians weighted in on what a "fantasy" and its underlining myths are and, while there is no clear answer, there are a lot of good thoughts on the subject, in very short and very incomplete version:
- For Furio Jesi, fantasy was a "technical mith": a rebuilt of a never occurred past that was serving (willing or not) a very clear ideology: since some of the most common tropes are divine right, hereditary rule, good vs evil, strength as solution, you can see what he was indicating.
- Umberto Eco was even more drastic: since he was one of the greatest experts on both medieval history and popular culture he added mainstream fantasy in his "Ur fascism" myths: a tale of a never happened "golden age" that was useful both as a tale of a "make back again" myth and as a fabled representation of the future past.

Now I don't personally think that every "Fantasy" is automatically a right wing fantasy (Even if Tolkien studies are attracting literature slackers since the '50 and the main defense against this idea are his personal history and the very troubling fact that he didn't believe in metaphorical readings of his works) but for sure you can point out that the genre has very skewed stereotypes, some of which were already pointed out in this topic.
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Old 03-02-2021, 04:29 AM   #29
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

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Originally Posted by RedMattis View Post
I think even the D&D morality can be made interesting, but generally the bias of the authors tends to ruin it. (Hurr, dur, Chaos is random/stupid/extra evil. Or all the various "Lawful Stupid")

Example:

Lawful Evil. The count of a corrupt domain. He tries to bind down everything with rules to keep all those under him in line and play them off against each other. He himself will cheat rules, but claim otherwise and his corrupted court of law will make sure he always gets away clean.

Lawful Good. The count of a fair domain. He tries to promote good productive behavior through an elaborate array of laws and rules to which everyone must obey without fail. When faced with corruption the count will try to handle it in the most legal manner.

Chaotic Evil. The count of a ruthless domain. He uses displays of force to keep those under him in line, and makes violent displays of those who might appear to challenge him. Laws might exist, but everyone knows that they are meaningless; what matters is who you are useful to, and whom you might offend.

Chaotic Good. The count of a idealistic domain. He tries to promote the ideas of 'doing the right thing'. There might be rules, but ultimately what matters the most within the domain is essentially a popularity contest; whether or not someone seems to be 'decent person' and 'good for the community'. If they are the rules are generally ignored, if they aren't they'll be poorly treated even if technically lawful.
I never liked D&D morality as it was too vague and tried to shoehorn 20th century western values into situations where they made little to no sense.

It didn't help that Deities and Demongods had many of the deities of the evil races in Hell. Or the fact that the battles between Gruumsh' and Maglubiyet where the two sides were revived at the end of the battle read like an Orc-Goblin version of Vahalla (each race claims the other loses these battles)

It reminded me of a comic where this doctor dies and goes to heaven but is bored and so takes a stairwell to Hell and does what he did in life - crusade against medical issues. He drives the Devil so crazy that he sends him back to earth. When asked about his near death experience the last panel has "his thoughts go to the brimstone fires and sulphur smoke" and his reply - "It was Heaven." (Basically an inversion of Twilight Zone's It's a Nice Place to Visit)

Even D&D effectively admired that one person's Heaven is another's Hell.
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Old 03-02-2021, 01:22 PM   #30
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: [DF] What's Distinctive About the Default Worlds of DF?

A big one for me is that Dungeon Fantasy seems a lot friendlier to shade of gray than D&D (certainly earlier editions, I guess Wizards has moved in the same direction with 5e?). This is somewhat related to the discussion of bunny-aligned creatures—Sense of Duty (Nature) is fairly restrictive and going to frequently put characters who have it at odds with most humans. But even "good" and "evil" as they exist in Dungeon Fantasy are ambiguous. "Evil" only needs to have Social Stigma (Excommunicated), and can technically have Honesty and Sense of Duty and so on. Meanwhile a "good" cleric might have Sense of Duty (Coreligionists) while also being a fanatic who wantonly slaughters members of other religions. There's nothing particularly "good" about dwarves (if anything, their Greed makes it seem like they'd be prone to evil), and there's nothing particularly "evil" about goblins.

Beyond that though, it depends a lot on what you emphasize. In fleshing out my setting, I put a lot of thought into the roles of specific types of sapient beings (DF3) and gods (DF7) but decided the vast majority of the occupations from books other than DF1 are rare to nonexistent, with the exception of the Assassin. But you could just as easily create a setting that really emphasizes Artificers, Demolishers, Musketeers, and Psis.
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