Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Copyright (c) 2000 - 2005 by Tarn Adams
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The Future: Aspects of Civilization

Professions:  The more refined civilizations will have a division of labor. To generate a creature with a given profession, the creature must be given skills and knowledge. For example, a sculptor might have an item wielding skill with a specific chisel and the associated item groups, constitution knowledge of a specific stone slab and the associated item groups, and knowledge of the many stone materials and their associated material groups. The game should also provision some items for the professional to use, unless the entity is very poor. Finally there should be some mechanism in place for the professional to obtain more items for the practice of his or her profession. This might include another professional producing those items, including tools. In general, the professions will be linked together in a web of relationships. The tools a professional uses will depend on their culture, especially its basic level of technology. Here are some general groups to start things off: Monarchs, aristocrats, diplomats, servants, military officers, royal guards, prisoners, guards, soldiers, executioners, prison wardens/dungeon master, woodsmen, hunters, bandits, miners, slaves, slavers, slave drivers, artisans, field workers, farmers, cooks, children, husbands/wives (homemaker), shopkeepers, muggers, thieves, adventurers, priests, monks, scholars, teachers, and sailors. Many of these have subdivisions and rankings, and there are entire groups missing.

Food:  Almost everyone needs food. Farming is one way to get it. Peasants can also fish and hunt (the player should be able to as well). Each entity needs a method to distribute food. It's fun to play with fishing rafts.

Territoriality:  Creatures need to be able to keep and defend territory at all scales (empire, nest, etc.). The game needs to be able to designate guard points, etc. Guards will go on patrols, raise alarms, chase intruders, etc. More guards should be posted after escape attempts, etc. On the other hand, prisoners should take advantage of distractions to escape if possible. Bitter slaves and prisoners might do insane, foul things to captors if given the opportunity. Guards might be assigned to escort various important creatures and items. Outsiders might not be permitted inside of the territory, or there might be restrictions on entry (and exit).

Subordinates and Pets:  Always good to share the combat damage. Guards might report to their master on a regular basis or when particular things happen.

Castles and Stronghold:  These come up in this sort of game. Soldiers from the castle protect towns and patrol roads, while perhaps engaging in a little good-natured peasant oppression. Castles are also important in warfare and are the focal points for many sieges. Forts erected in outlying territories can be useful in stopping raids from pesky critters. Being in the fantasy genre can make sieges more interesting - undead garrisons can't be starved out (unless they are brain/blood eaters, etc.), druids can raise trees through walls to breach them, etc.

Armies:  This can get pretty complicated. Battles, provisioning, command structure, issuing commands... do peasants get drafted/levied? How do citizens react when peasants from their town are killed after being forced to serve? The army might also have a different culture from the one that it is attached to. Peasants might flock to causes that are of interest to them.

Heroes and Leaders:  How are decisions filtered down? What do other adventurers do while you are playing? An advisor (with whatever motives) might obtain the ear of a ruler and influence decisions. Sometimes leaders are the puppets of other creatures or entities. There might be meetings of advisors or between leaders of different coalition groups that make decisions and comprises (one member might have a veto, or there might be equal votes, whatever). Old grudges, admiration and basic selfishness can bias decisions. The player might be one of the advisors or coalition representatives. Coalitions might have major disagreements and stall in indecision or even fracture. Kings can come from small communities - if a leader finds that his or her hometown has been razed, there might be some enragement going on.

Peasants:  What do they do day-to-day? When do they revolt? When do they resort to crime? A lot of these decisions will depend on the individual personalities of the peasants involved, but there are also general cultural norms. Most creatures in an entity will have some kind of daily routine that they follow. Starving peasants might resort to various means to obtain sustenance.

Living Quarters:  Different types of people live in different places, but depending on the culture they might all have certain types of items/furniture/etc. The more affluent inhabitants will probably have lots of interesting things at home. Some sorts of creatures might not even need living quarters (including nomadic groups). Sylvan creatures might hide their houses in the treetops.

History:  We want the player to be able to bump into past events, especially those from previous games. So we need to keep histories in various forms. This can include legends and prophecies. Castle heralds can pass along the exploits of ancient legendary players and recent player victories. The stories of older players might be written on scrolls in monasteries. Other stories can be passed around as anecdotes. Tribes can keep oral histories. Bar tenders can keep regional data. Important artifacts and nefarious creatures might have written histories, which the player can add to upon encountering them.

Organization:  How is the entity organized? Vassals? Tribute? Slaves? Are there titles? Ranks? A complicated nobility structure? How are resources gathered and distributed? Here are some handy lists from E. O. Wilson's On Human Nature (they might be from a different source that is cited by that book): Bands - local group autonomy, egalitarian status, ephemeral leadership, ad hoc ritual, and reciprocal economy. Tribes - unranked descent groups, pantribal sodalities, calendric ritual. Chiefdoms - ranked descent groups, redistributive economy, hereditary leadership, elite endogamy, full-time craft specialization. State - stratification, kingship, codified law, bureaucracy, military draft, and taxation. Entities don't need to be monarchies -- there can be democracies and communes. If the organization of a given entity is structured hierarchically (a guild of mages for instance, with the first circle, and so on), then the player might have to make choices as they advance (perhaps a fire mage could choose to join the Order of Smoke or the Order of Lava once they reach the 4th circle, etc., etc., etc.).

Diplomacy:  Entities work things out in many ways. Alliances can be formed between like-minded entities, including coalitions against more powerful foes or common enemies. There can certainly be a lot of double-dealing, espionage, and other trickery. A powerful entity might sacrifice a subentity as part of a deal with another powerful entity.

Roads:  Civilizations build roads to facilitate movement. Merchants, bandits, and travelers will be around roads to have some fun with the player. How are they constructed?

Trade:  Merchants and caravans. Supply and demand. The wealthy need some motivation, so I'll add some luxury items and lascivious behavior for them to blow their money on. There might also be a market square where all kinds of junk can be bought and sold. Trade will be subject to predation by marauders and wild beasts, and other entities might deliberately target traders to harm towns, etc. People can exchange anything. Some societies will have coinage (others might use shells, gems, etc.).

Taxation:  In more advanced civilizations, all transactions will be subject to tax. There are other taxes as well - anything can be taxed (the privilege of carrying weapons, the privilege of practicing a certain profession, etc.). Taxation will only occur if the funds/items can be used for something (even if it is just to please the ruler or to keep around for bribes).

Flows of People, Goods, and Services:  For instance, peasants provide food to the town, which provides goods to the peasants. Traveling merchants and the town trade goods and food. Within a town, different business owners might interact with each other. Castle owners provide protection for taxes, slaves, goods, food, etc. Demands that aren't met will lead to some tension in the game and hopefully keep things exciting. Even when demands are met, successful civilizations will increase their populations through birth and in-migration. These bloated empires must expand to avoid overexerting their resources, and some more tension will result.

Language:  We should be able to cook up a decent language engine for the civilizations. Different civilizations may come up with different names for the same creature, region, item, etc. The player should be able to name individual creatures, species, items, buildings, etc. Regions and landmarks might be named for particular events. Towns should be named based on geography, founder, function or just randomly. Languages change over time.

Conversations:  This can be easy or difficult, depending on how complicated conversations will be. Simple creatures might produce simple sounds. Wolves should howl and creep people out. Then there are the real conversations to worry about.

Customs:  This is important to flesh out towns, etc. Caves can be decorated with crude hides, different groups might have different styles of dress/uniforms, etc. These styles of dress can be used as disguises and might be reacted to in various ways. Each culture will have different items specific to it. The following is from E. O. Wilson's book On Human Nature, and he cited it from another anthropology book (these are common cultural elements): age-grading, athletic sports, bodily adornment, calendars, cleanliness training, community organization, cooking, cooperative labor, cosmology, courtship, dancing, decorative arts, divination, division of labor, dream interpretation, education, eschatology, ethics, ethnobotany, etiquette, faith healing, family feasting, fire making, folklore, food taboos, funeral rites, games, gestures, gift giving, government, greetings, hair styles, hospitality, housing, hygiene, incest taboos, inheritance rules, joking, kin groups, kinship nomenclature, language, law, luck superstitions, magic, marriage, meal times, medicine, obstetrics, penal sanctions, personal names, population policy, postnatal care, pregnancy customs, property rights, propitiation of supernatural beings, puberty customs, religious ritual, residence rules, sexual restrictions, soul concepts, status differentiation, surgery, tool making, trade, visiting, weaving, and weather control. Wilson also put forward some others for a hypothesized ant society (might be handy): antennal rites, body licking, cannibalism, caste determination, caste laws, colony foundation rules, colony organization, communal nurseries, drone control, euthanasia, grooming rituals, larval care, metamorphosis rites, mutual regurgitation, nursing castes, nuptial flights, nutrient eggs, queen obeisance, sex determination, soldier castes, sisterhoods, sterile workers, and symbiont care. The armies of a given entity might have a very stylized way of marching. Depending on marriage customs, suitors might be forced to perform quests of various kinds -- this might motivate the course of an entire game.

Religions:  These can be a powerful force. Temples, priests, pilgrims, orders, monks, vows, tithes, rituals, holy scripts, holidays, excommunication, persecution, burnings, sacrifices... Religious groups can have "rules" (such as the Rule of St. Benedict), and a particularly powerful player could introduce a new rule (the Rule of St. [player name]). Breaking vows might lead to the cursing of the offending creature. Religions that are appealing or that proselytize aggressively can spread over wide areas (being right and being able to demonstrate it doesn't hurt either). Preachers can have fun speaking to others, and the Day of Purification they keep talking about might be real. Religious insurrections and schisms will occur.

Guilds and Subentities:  Sometimes there are entities that are subsumed in a larger one, such as a local merchant's guild within a city. There are some interesting interactions between these and the larger entity to work out, especially when a given creature belongs to many subentities in differing degrees. There are other creatures (hermits, etc.) that may have belonged to many entities but now belong to few or none. Subentities might co-opt structures for their own purposes, and their members might frequent certain locations (thieves might openly discuss crimes in a certain bar, etc.) .

Wars:  Entities occasionally get upset enough with each other to kill a lot of peasants. These can be started for many reasons, and there won't always be two distinct sides or a clear "bad guy". Smaller forces will be able to wage guerilla warfare. Long wars can have many deleterious effects on an entity and the surrounding countryside. Evil wizards can summon demon/vampire/whatever generals to lead their forces. Golem constructs and war machines can break lines of pitchfork brandishing peasants. The occasional fireball wouldn't hurt either, although I'm sure we can all come up with better spells. Wars and other calamities can lead to all kinds of refugees, etc. Warriors might march in formation or charge forward independently in order to demonstrate their prowess, depending on the culture, etc. There might be diversionary attacks and other such strategies.

Challenges and Confrontations:  There need to be mechanisms in place to deal with all of the bravado and yelling. Eccentric adversaries often engage in monologues based on their past encounters and plans for the future. If a creature is in a sporting mood or is likely to be victorious, it might challenge an opponent to single combat. A particularly sporting creature might choose to fight without a weapon.

Passing over Control:  The transition of power between leaders might be smooth, or it might be really ugly. Kingdoms can splinter and end up with several rulers. Aside from kingdoms, there are also family heirlooms to be passed down and tussled over.

Gift and Rewards:  There also need to be mechanisms in place to deal with rewards for various quests/errands and for gifts that are given for various reasons (joy of giving, bribery, actually cursed item, etc.). Gift giving will also lead to beggars. Beggars are only effective if they look the part. Obese beggars will be beaten by the guards, and beggars that are legless or otherwise hindered will make more money. The game should keep track of how much the beggars have been given. Guards can often be bribed, although guards can also practice extortion. On a larger scale, gifts can seal alliances, etc.

Crime and Punishment:  Most entities need to have some system of deciding what permissible behavior is and how to punish violators. This includes capital punishment, enslavement, imprisonment, mutilation, and torture, as well as some lighter punishment. Criminals might be forced to become gladiators. Many societies will have the standard set of laws, as well as some that might take the player by surprise. Towns within the same civilization might have different law codes. The player should be careful not to slander the lord of an entity. That would be bad form. Certain entities might punish very minor infractions, based on the general customs of the entity. Most entities will be subjected to highwaymen and thieves robbing houses and markets. Larger entities will have criminal subentities working inside of them (a thieves' guild is the standard example - assassins' guilds and cults work as well, along with many others). These same entities might also have guards that are specifically designated to stop crime. There might be a particular individual assigned to administer executions. The determination of guilt might be left to the ruler in small communities or to some judicial officers in larger ones. Guilt determination and punishment might be left to supernatural forces. Note that magic can be a good way to help or hinder criminal activity, and those civilizations with reasonable access to magic will find it working both angles. Vice and corruption can invade entities with weak rulers, and overly strong rulers can perpetrate crimes (or at least they would be crimes if the ruler didn't set up the laws). Creatures can learn underhanded street tricks if given an opportunity. Assassinations of leaders can lead to turmoil within an entity. Those that investigate crimes need some mechanism within the game to do so -- this might be difficult to code... any time a law is broken, the game should try to produce a list of evidence that can lead to the perpetrator. If the list includes a dead body for instance, then investigators can try to locate it. The game already keeps track of the cause of death. It would be very difficult to reconstruct the entire process of criminal investigation, but we can make a crude approximation that will at least give the player some information to work with if he or she is the investigator.

Legacy of the Player:  The player (and others) should be emulated by the members of certain entities if they are worth it (peasants will dress as the player did, and name their children after the player). Old semi-active characters, whether retired, zombified, or deified, should be a possible component of future games, and dead players will be absorbed into the area where they died (items redistributed, body buried/eaten, etc.). Entire towns, regions, or landmarks might be named for important players.

Trophy Taking:  More aggressive tribes can stack skulls of fallen foes, etc. The more restrained societies could do other things to dedicate accomplishments that have nothing to do with combat. Aggressive societies may partake in the occasional raid, or they might send out proving parties with adolescent creatures that are seeking adult status (adult status might be attained in myriad ways). Other raiding parties will be formed in response to demand. Some leaders might also demand some specific creature body part and pay a fee for each one delivered.

Administration:  Towns need to worry about gates and walls, attracting specialists, improving buildings, attracting peasants, gathering resources, and keeping enough food around, among other things. Empires should be able to perform more sophisticated actions, like getting a minotaur for a labyrinth, building a dungeon with active torture chambers, and maintaining an arena and gladiators. A player in a position of power will be able to make such decisions.

Various enmities:  Races, cultures, religions, philosophies, etc. sometimes have deep hatreds for each other, sometimes to the point that one group will de'human'ize another. Foreign adventurers coming into town might be the subjects of ridicule if they don't look too powerful. General appearance should influence the way that people treat the player. Enmity might be created by the player if he or she is associated with a certain entity and insults or attacks another group, even if the player dies during the course of the action (the enmity will be expressed in future games). Actions by the player might also tip off other entities to the existence of the players entity, etc. Various forms of vengeance work. Killing families seems popular, and a necromancer might raise the dead family for added effect (this fits in with zombie recognition in the undeath section). Some ancient powers might have long-standing enmities that are now part of the world structure. On the lighter side, creatures might hold grudges with other creatures and perform resentful annoying actions at the expense of these creatures. And there are some really nasty things that can be done... people can be staked to the ground and left for the dogs. A subdued vampire can be buried underground and have parts of its body exposed to sunlight one by one. Merry stuff like that.

Up and Out:  Sometimes peasants should be able to become adventurers... or perhaps bandits if they are starving. This will keep the world interesting. Adventurers may also come from distant places. Escaped slaves make good adventurers. People with money can adventurer if they like, and criminals go on adventures of sorts. Adventurers can also be regular people who get into interesting situations. Then they can do all sorts of things: take quests from a patron, protect a town, attack monsters, attack nearby villages, seek treasure, take up worthy causes, explore (and perhaps claim and settle new territory), guard roads...

Bars, Inns, and Mead Halls:  Creatures drink. They make alcohol. Bars serve it and run out of it. Creatures get angry. We can get creative with the various types of intoxicating substances, side effects, what they're made of and how they're made. Addiction could mess up a decent game. Just say no. Alcohol can be used to get creatures to do various things or to elicit information.

Rumors, Gossip, and Scandals:  The bar should be full of it. The royalty can generate plenty of scandals. There can be "monster sightings" (real and fictional). In fact, anything can be "sighted" (artifacts, enemy strongholds, the fountain of youth, etc.) - expect drunks to be full of spurious data. Rumored treasure in ruins is popular. Adventurers and others might become famous, and their reputations might precede them.

Burial:  Crypts and things should sprout up all over the place. All sorts of rituals can come out of this. In many civilizations, towns will have graveyards (perhaps with gravestones). Undeath is in the supernatural section. Various unsavory beings might feed on the dead.

Magic shops:  If magic is a large part of a civilization, there might be magic shops with all kinds of eclectic garbage. If there is a general use magical art, they can sell things that are used by it (perhaps even spells). I remember, in a previous incarnation of this game from several years ago, there were magic shops that could give the player permanent enchantments for a steep price, with a one-in-three chance of a potentially nasty side effect - because of some of the side effects, we called it "going to the magic shop to get f*cked up". The best magic shops in the civilization might have some kind of service like this. There might be shops that are analogous to the "Cyberpunk" cyber shops - they can cast mutation spells to give you claws, heightened senses, metal skin, whatever... sci-fi and fantasy are basically the same thing, anyway.

Property:  How does property work in the entity? Are there deeds to property? Does some elder just remember everything? Maybe everything belongs to the king and that's that. Intelligent (although maybe not so intelligent) creatures can gamble and wager money, possessions, and other property. In a former incarnation, we put in a poker game engine - things might get more complicated here.

Player loyalties:  The player should be able to align himself or herself with anything. Local rulers might make good initial patrons, or the player can strike out alone. The player can also join outlying tribes of goblins, etc. if he or she is capable of passing some kind of proving trial (like bringing the head of the aforementioned local ruler). Acceptance in most social groups depends on the player demonstrating some kind of potential value.

Entity Character:  When the game is coming up with laws, members, culture, and foci for an entity, it will be given a number of desired characteristics. Perhaps the game is told, "I want a hunter gatherer society". Then it will make one. There can be further restrictions: if the game is fed, "I want an EVIL hunter gatherer society", it will superimpose some laws, foci, and cultural practices that we real people consider untoward. This fits in to the genre-atmosphere-plot system (under atmosphere). That is, every generator has to respect certain atmospheric settings. Sometimes these are global, and other times they are local.

Passing on Knowledge:  Most entities will have a system (possibly instinctive or informal) of passing on knowledge. Players will have opportunities to study under various masters to hone their skills. The master might also be a source of quests/errands for apprentice players (a wizard's apprentice might be asked to collect spell components, etc.). Soldiers will be trained in various ways - perhaps all children in a town are trained as warriors (the maladjusted wash-outs can go become necromancers and come back for some zombification: meek, creepy children can also go to the local swamp and mix poison). If an entity codifies its foci, culture, and laws, it might reappear later even if all of its members disappear. In general, masters that can write will be able to produce instructional manuals for their skills (unless the nature of the skill makes this nonsensical). The effectiveness of these manuals will depend in part upon the teaching skill of the master, the writing skill of the master, and the reading skill of the student (including basic language skills). A civilization that fails to pass on knowledge will probably return to base savagery in time.

Traps:  Entities sometimes find it necessary to prepare traps. A trap is just a triggered series of events that accomplish some goal. This goal is often the death of the offending creature, but it could just be a warning alarm for a surprise birthday party. In any case, there will be many sorts of traps with many types of triggers. Hopefully, I can set up some general guidelines and get the computer to do much of the work. Unlike many such games, there won't be "trap squares". The mechanisms of the trap will actually be in place. This means that traps might need to be provisioned by the culture that set them, if it is still around. The division of labor will have to account for all trap-related tasks. Certain trap-setting societies might actually have a position specifically designated for trap concocting and setting (a kobold trap master and his/her apprentices, etc.).

Technology:  Certainly some technological differences are permissible in a fantasy setting. There can be stone age tribes and fairly complex medieval societies. In some universes, it may only be ancient races (elves, dwarves, etc.) that possess advanced technologies, while humans are relatively savage. Technology can change and improve within reasonable constraints. Once I make siege engines and some vocational equipment, I'll only be a stone's throw away from advanced machines, gunpowder, and all that. Later on, sci-fi/modern might be a permissible setting in the genre-atmosphere-plot system, but that would be a whole other Future page (although Zach, Alan, and I have toyed around with ideas for space empire games, urban games, etc. - all of them fairly complex. So this is a possibility.)

Entity Foci:  There will be entities that are focused on different things than the standard civilization. Undead wizards might raise zombie armies and attempt to capture living humans to expand their armies and perform dark experiments - all with even more corrupted goals in mind... in fact, the player should be able to perform dark experiments as well. I wonder what that could lead to... anyway, I shouldn't wander when I'm writing about focus! Aside from the supernatural critters (wizards, dragons, angels, demons, etc.) most entity foci are easy to guess (and code). The others will go through some kind of generator to get a valid list of foci. Here are some possible foci: survival, expansion, territory use/defense/nurturing, magic/supernatural power, skills (guilds), worship of a powerful being, particular philosophy/religious idea/cause, and profit (legal or otherwise). Entities can have more than one focus. Certain (especially otherworldly) creatures might have nearly inscrutable goals - they don't have the standard wants and needs of other beings.

The Beginning:  Entities come about somehow. Humans and things like them might be created as a small tribe huddling in fear of the wilderness and eventually expand into a worldwide empire through the course of many games. Racial tribes can have mighty immortal progenitors from which the races sprang - with the loss of the progenitor and other tribal elders, a race might decay into mediocrity. Subentities are generally created by a few like-minded individuals (some thieves or merchants come together and form a guild, etc.). Other entities come about by the actions of a single being (the first vampire increases its numbers, creating an entity composed of it and its slaves).

Expansion:  Some entities expand. There needs to be methods in place for them to found new towns, etc. Natural boundaries can influence the direction and speed of expansion. The player should be able to found towns.

Waste Disposal:  This can become a nontrivial problem in some societies. In addition, sewers make good dungeons sometimes.

Activities:  Here are some very general things I should think about including: gods create life, wizards create life, wizards corrupt life, undead create undead, people reproduce, gods forge artifacts, people make items, wizards make items, people cultivate resources, gods create landforms, animals create dens and burrows, people create structures, wizards create structures, gods create forces, pilgrims band together on journeys, rebels raise rabble, generals lead armies, wizards create forces, people make civilizations, animals and plants make ecosystems, dying beings make forces, dying civilizations make forces, powerful beings have associated forces, civilizations produce more members, ecosystems balance, forces manifest, civilizations produce undead, believers create deities, civilizations produce goods and byproducts, ecosystems can leave detritus, forces can manifest as items, civilizations produce corpses, civilizations make structures, civilizations create caves, ecosystems have effects on the land, weather has effects on the land, forces have effects on the land, civilizations split and fuse, ecosystems split and fuse, forces spawn other forces (and split and fuse as well).

Ruler Designated Professionals:  The Official Map-Maker, The Court Magician, etc. Those that are selected by the ruler are governed by different guidelines within the game than a standard professional.

Abstract Debris:  The remains of army battles and all such things should be generated after they happen, if the player visits the site.

Codes of Honor:  There can be culture dependent rules of fighting. This leads to "honorable" fighting and "dirty" fighting at the two extremes.

Utility of Body Part Resources:  The "body parts" of the vegetation and creatures in the area should heavily influence much of the shape of a given entity. This includes the body parts of the entity members -- for a simple example, creatures with poison blood might have a ritual in which they put it on their weapons before combat.

Cultures based around individual variations:  Not just skin color, but could have social caste system based on number of forks in tongue, etc. Could have weird histories, not necessarily based on power of castes.