September 22, 2014
Further Thoughts on Murder Hoboes
In an earlier post, I linked to this piece which, using Medieval Europe as a template, discussed the probable economic ramifications of an adventuring party in the D&D universe.
My friend BOB!1! disagreed with the premise and attempted to comment but was thwarted by a comments glitch. He has an interesting take which I'll attempt to relay and expand upon here.
Emily Dresner makes the case that bands of adventurers gaining large rewards for services rendered\ and then spending their gains in small towns disrupts the social and economic order. Furthermore this activity risks a sharp inflationary cycle that will further wreak havoc on the society.
BOB!1! points out that the Middle Ages (and the D&D world) were characterized by a severe deflationary cycle associated with a civilizational collapse. Money was tightly locked up in savings and held largely by feudal lords. It was not in circulation except to pay for rotating debts and wars. Travel and trade were hindered by roving bands of orcs (or Vikings, bandits, wolves and occasionally Arabs) and there was little pressure to invest in infrastructure or mercantile projects.
Into this come our adventures who as Ms. Dresner points out. shake things up mightily and put gold that has been squirreled away into circulation. This does indeed shake things up and it will eventually cause considerable upheaval in the social order....
...BUT THE SOCIAL ORDER SUCKS!
Feudalism boasts impressive stability and a certainty of ones place in the world....because one's place in the world is almost certain to never ever ever change. Like the Subcontinent's caste system and myriad other systems considered exotic or 'indigenous' it has certain undeniable merits if one is a nobleman or a passing hipster tourist, but is rather less appealing to those who sustain it.
However, given the premise put forth in D&D, the adventurers and the craftsmen they trade with are a blossoming middle class, which is a good thing.
Note too that the corollary between Medieval Europe and D&D is not precise. Dragons are a deflationary pressure not present historically. (The inflationary potential they represent if slain might be analogous to the Aztecs however.)
Likewise. the dungeons themselves are vast, incredibly numerous, and indicate a far more advanced precursor civilization than Rome. Once cleared of monsters, traps and megalomaniacal necromancers they represent vast tracts of useable (though probably not arable) real estate. The release of such infrastructure to settlement and the introduction of the monetary hoards within into the economy would mirror on a smaller scale the effect of the black death on land availability and money per person in circulation, but without the near total disruption of what trade there was. On the contrary, by reducing the threat of orks and bugbears the 'murder hoboes' would greatly facilitate trade even as the huge injection of gold into the economies would cause an inflationary spiral that would encourage investment in various enterprises. No longer could wealth be best managed by hoarding it. Rather, with the value of gold dropping, one must use it or loose it. Investment would be the key to riches. Ms. Dresner uses the example of 1500s Spain to suggest that this would be a disaster. However, Spain encountered difficulties due to micromanagement and regulation of the economy in an attempt to keep the feudal order in place rather than the more trade oriented one Spain's gold had made possible. It's worth noting that other countries embraced the change and ushered in a rising standard of living and ultimately the enlightenment.
Finally, since the adventurers in D&D tend to be polyglot associations, and demonstrated the advantages of various races working in consort, and since financial success comes from appealing to the largest demographic possible, prosperity would tend to favor kingdoms that take a tolerant view of racial equality and miscegenation and a dim view of provincialism. This could conceivably even be extended to some of the orks if the analogy of the Vikings is used. This means that the kingdoms that emerge from this time would be well on their way to an equivalent to the Renaissance and/or Enlightenment that might well outstrip the historical one.
Dresner is correct that the adventurers make the feudal D&D world they start out in unsustainable in a few years if they are at all successful, but far from being unwitting agents of chaotic evil, the adventurers are likely to end up being forces for chaotic or lawful good...whatever their alignment.
September 20, 2014
Yeah. I Didn't Think She Had One of Those Either.
From Sabagebu! Survival Game Club episode 5. This was an even more unexpected plot twist than the revelation that
This show is, in some ways, almost as gonzo as Nichijou.more...
Watson.... Well, the new Ace Attorney game is a period piece set mainly in Victorian London. The plot revolves around a Meiji Era Japanese law student studying in London and Sherlock Holmes is a major character in the game.
This is actually pretty interesting.
This is actually Pretty Watson.
Yes. Watson is an 8 year old girl genius.
OK it's a video game, and a Japanese game to boot so extreme liberties, re-imaginings and gender-bending should come as no surprise whatsoever.
Nevertheless, Shu Takumi, the director of the game, states that he wants it to be quite true to the original.
As for the character of Holmes, Takumi, who is also in charge of the game's scenario writing, has stated that he is a fan of the original series and hopes to maintain the sort of Sherlock that he grew up reading about.
On the other hand, that Watson fellow, must have really bugged him as a kid.
There's more here.
Be advised that that link goes to Kotaku, so there could be payola, including the kinds that carry social diseases.
September 14, 2014
Current Watch List I've been quite busy of late but I am watching a few things in between schoolwork and work-work.
RWBY has been mentioned quite a bit. It's the only show I actually am able to watch weekly and keep up with in part because its twelve minute run time is easy to justify as a study break. It's really hitting its stride and is amusing me far more than it ought to.
Tonari No Seki Kun is an older series that likewise can be consumed in 7 minute doses. I'm watching one or two a week. It has remained cute and refreshing.
I was quite thoroughly traumatized a while back by Stella Women's Academy Emo Paintball Fight Club With The Ridiculously Long Name That Started Out Really Cool but Despite its Message Of Redemption Was REALLY Depressing and For Some Reason Ended in C-3, so I had judiciously avoided the latest 'cute girls doing cute things in survival club' show. However, despite the subject matter (CGDCT+Guns) it is based on what is ostensibly a Shojo rather than a Seinen manga so this appeared to at least have the potential to be different. Also I've heard some good things about it and the show's name, even with the subtitle, is only 4 words long.
I'm only 3 episodes into Sabagebu! Survival Game Club, but it's pretty enjoyable thus far with a quirky and likable cast, many of whom share my opinion of hornets and natto. I may have to write on this at length in the future.
Dr. Who is a show that I rarely get to watch due to scheduling and a lack of DVR. However, a quirk of fate has allowed me to watch the first 4 Cappaldi episodes and I'm becoming more convinced that the PC venom displayed in episode 2 is not intended to be seen in a good light. It looks like The Promised Land is going to be a new Bad Wolf and Robin Hood was a hoot. I like that the doctor is not completely omnipotent "Wait . You're Right. That's a STUPID idea!" It's interesting at any rate.
In the queue: I picked up the second half of Ghost Hound, and second season of K-On!, both of which which I watched the first halves of YEARS ago.
September 11, 2014
Dance Dance Infiltration Well, the latest episode of RWBY answers a question that everyone has been asking since episode 9.
This was a really good episode, it moved the plot, developed the characters and managed to be cute as well as dramatic. The pacing was near perfect.
This show has really hit its stride. Seven episodes in and the season hasn't had a miss yet.
September 10, 2014
Trigger warnings: cis, heteronormative, minor spoiler
OK, the clues are there and I'm thinking that some of these questions will be answered in the next episode so lets speculate on a few things
September 03, 2014
AMVs From Before Time Began A bit of Anime Music Video history....
One can certainly do worse than Takahashi and Terasawa.
Neither Space Cobra nor Urusei Yatsura were big hits in the US, both had been off the air in Japan for over 5 years when the videos were made, but the videos did pique some interest in anime at the time as they were shown on MTV.
However, it may be surprising to learn that that in 1991 AMVs were not really new. In fact fans had been making them for some years (mostly via Betamax), trading them and occasionally showing them at cons.
Due their existing long before internet streaming video existed in it's current form, and the limitations of magnetic tape as a medium, very few of the really early AMVs can be found. However, this faded, umpteenth generation copy of one I saw between 1989 and 90 is on You Tube...
It's been 24 years so I'm not sure WHO did it, but I think it was either Pam Buck or Keith Mayfield.
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