Author Topic: Paragon  (Read 14843 times)

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2015, 07:07:26 AM »
Quote from: Exgates
Empyreans left behind many miraculous wonders, among them the magical portals known as exgates. They are large ring-shaped structures, made of an unknown metallic material and faced with symbolic inscriptions. Exgates are situated outdoors, set to stand upright on stone pedestals, with a ramp or a stair leading up to the base of the ring. These gateways used to be connected to each other, allowing a person to step into one and out of another, no matter how far apart the two might be. The network of exgates spanned the breadth of the world, allowing nearly instantaneous communications.

It was due to this eldritch transportation system that the empyreans -- and the Paragon Order after them -- were able to convene and act in unity despite their abodes being scattered across the world. The fading away of the empyrean race led to a gradual degradation of the exgates, rendering them dead or malfunctioning. This loss of communications had dramatic consequences upon mankind, isolating both the skyward realms and the earthbound kingdoms from the farway lands that had effectively been their neighbours. The Paragon Order also lost it's unity, fragmenting into myriad cells.

Because of the convenience of the exgates civilization in the world had developed in ways it otherwise could not have. Major roads had never been constructed because they had been unnecessary. There were no caravan routes, ship building and navigation were underdeveloped, the world beyond the rural hinterlands was largely uncharted territory, and kingdoms had only a vague understanding of where they lay relative to each other. Cities and towns had been built on locations near exgates, with virtually no consideration for access to other kinds of transportation routes. Farmlands and pastures expanded as circular zones outside city walls, specled with small villages, before giving way to uninhabited wilderness.

The collapse of the exgate network has left mankind struggling to establish alternative routes of communication and transport. There is an ongoing drive to explore the previously shunned wilderness, to locate alternative sources of natural resources that used to be supplied through the gates, and to make contact with kingdoms and realms that can be reached via current means of travel. There is also an increasingly hostile competition over precious resources and the control over strategic hotspots that manifests as disputes and wars between polities.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2015, 05:35:36 AM »
Quote from: Language
All paragons are bilingual: from early childhood they are taught to speak both the native language of their tribe and the sonorous empyrean language. The latter is the tongue of politics, religion and high culture within the skyward realms, used in all conversations between paragons. It is also the only language in the world that can be written, having a script made up of hieroglyphs. With the exception of scribes and other civil servants, ordinary people are illiterate and never learn to speak empyrean. Thus paragons have to communicate with them in the native tongue.

Due to long-lasting isolation in the wake of the malfunctioning of the exgates, the empyrean spoken by paragons has changed and fragmented into regional dialects. Paragons from different realms are still able to understand each other but the minor differences in speech mark them out as foreigners.

Quote from: Appearance
The tribes of mankind are numerous and greatly varied in their appearance. Ordinary members of each tribe are quite homogeneous, exhibiting hair, eyes, skin and other features in likeness of their ultimate forefather. Paragons on the other hand are noticeably more diverse in appearance. One reason behind this is that before the loss of the exgates it wasn't uncommon for members of the Paragon Order to migrate from one skyward realm to another and intermarry with their peers, whereas normal human beings stayed with their native tribes, rarely venturing further than a day's walk from their home village. Another reason is that the eldritch power that infuses every paragon also subtly mutates their bodies, manifest as uncommon or even unnatural features such as yellow eyes or silvery hair.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2015, 01:23:23 PM »
Quote from: Citadels
Every skyward realm is kept afloat in the air by a majestic cyclopean structure known as a citadel. Standing tall in the center of the island's capital, the citadel is at the same time a formidable stronghold, a palatial residence, a religious sanctuary and an administrative headquarters. The paragon sovereign styled as the citadel lord lives and holds court in the citadel, assisted by a retinue of bureaucrats and paragon household-warriors. In the event of an attack upon the realm, the citadel acts as the final bastion and rallying point for it's defenders.

Citadels are imposing magical buildings, veritable miracles erected long ago by the extinct race of empyreans. Every citadel is unique, and stands out in stark constrast to the sprawl of man-made huts that surrounds it. Since empyreans were like towering giants compared to men, the rooms and doorways of the citadels tend to feel excessively spacious to their present inhabitants. The architecture of citadels is uncannily beautiful and far superior to anything mankind has been capable of producing, featuring forms and structures that would be impossible to construct by mundane means.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #33 on: November 28, 2015, 02:36:16 PM »
Quote from: Dragons
Dragons are formidably powerful, magnificent creatures that invoke awe in the eyes of all the peoples of the world. They resemble giant-sized, feathered snakes with resplendent plumage, mighty jaws, gleaming eyes and large horns on their heads. Although they do not have wings, dragons soar the skies by magical flight. All dragons bear the gift of speech and are highly perceptive. They are also natural dynama users, although their powers are inherent and different from those of paragons. A dragon's most fearsome weapon is a searing beam of energy shooting out of it's maw, a momentous attack that has to be charged up before it can be unleashed.

Dragons fall into two easily distinguished kinds: the immortal high dragons and the mortal low dragons. The latter have no limbs at all, while the former have 4, 6, 8 or even more legs; the greater the number of legs, the more powerful the dragon in question is. High dragons are rarely encountered because they tend to be very aloof and detached from the world of mortals, being focused on enigmatic pursuits and plans that can span millennia. In contrast low dragons are more numerous, less elusive, and much more worldly in their endeavors. Some of them are peculiarly curious about paragons or other exceptionally powerful humans, to the point of approaching and befriending them. A paragon's dragon companion might allow him to ride on it's back, acting as a flying mount. Even the smallest of dragons is strong enough to bear a handful of human riders.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #34 on: December 01, 2015, 02:24:11 PM »
Quote from: Earthbound Kingdoms
Human civilization originated on the skyward realms, but soon spread down to the earth's surface. People flocked together forming settlements that grew into towns, nascent theocracies ruled by priest-kings. These places developed into city states, colloquially refered to as the earthbound kingdoms in distinction from the skyward realms. A city state is more than just the city and it's urban population: it extends it's domination over a stretch of territory in range of roughly couple of day's ride from it's walls. This territory contains the cultivated fields and cattle herding pastures that feed the population, as well as smallholds and tiny villages where the peasants dwell. Within the city proper are the workshops and kilns of craftsmen, the palace of the priest-king, and the temple mound (typically a ziggurat) with a shrine of the city's guardian deity.

Most earthbound kingdoms exist under the political domination of a skyward realm, bending knee and paying tribute to it's citadel lord. Some of them are independent, being too far away to subjugate now that the exgates no longer enable easy long distance travel. They clash with each other over resources, and are occasionally attacked by bandits or nomadic raiders. Their populations are entirely made up of baseline humanity, although parties of paragons from the skyward realm frequently show up on diplomatic missions or other official business. Renegade paragons are a rare sight and always a cause for apprehension.

Quote from: Nomadic Tribes
After the deluge, when the waters receded and the survivors returned to earth from their refuge on the floating islands, a schism formed between the tribes of mankind. Those who swore fealty to the citadel lords were taught the ways of civilization: the tilling of fields, the harvest, the construction of fortified towns, and the rule of law. Those tribes founded the earthbound kingdoms. But there were many who refused the offered fealty, tribes that rejected the civilization of the paragons. These tribes retreated deep into the wilderness where they continued their ancestral ways of life, as beast-herders and hunters and gatherers. They continue to live thusly to this day, reclusive and hostile. To the people of the earthbound kingdoms -- who frequently suffer from their raids -- they are known as wild men who know no law other than strength of arms; savages who go where they want and do as they please.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Sparkletwist's Impolite Setting Reviews - The Returned Return Returns
« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2015, 01:15:18 PM »
(Edit: This is a reply to this review )

That was some fast service! :)

Quote from: sparkletwist
A paragon is born a paragon, a caste above the mere groundlings, and a paragon always ends up joining the Paragon Order rather than having any choice of any other career. I rather like the "class" structure you've created with the paths, but by making them inborn and inherent and immutable, not only is it predetermined that they're going to be a paragon, it's predetermined just what kind of paragon they're going to be, too. While none of this really matters from a gaming context, because players are going to be paragons and they have their choice of class and whatever, I think it has some fairly important ramifications for the setting, because the characters have basically no choice. The angsty character who was born and bred to be a Paragon but isn't sure if this is the right calling for him is a nice idea to have once or twice, but what you have here is basically a conscript army with a lifetime term of service, and that's going to breed a lot of malcontents. Only, I guess it doesn't, because apparently they never go rogue because they live in a very lawful society and value harmony highly, or something.

I think I have mentioned renegades a time or two, though maybe I should write a proper entry about them. Joining the Paragon Order isn't actually mandatory, but there are very significant incentives to do so. So if someone with the gift really wants to live an "ordinary life" instead of becoming a paragon, they're not going to be brought to trial over it -- but they will end up burning many bridges and abandoning a privileged (but not quite luxurious) quality of living for a much more austere life of manual labour. The options may be heavily biased, but the choise still exists.

As for the paths, that's simply the consequence of different inborn talents, and an education system that teaches you how to make use of those talents. Should someone that was born with the ability to turn invisible, yet would actually prefer a teleportation ability, be angsting over this? Perhaps so. :P People are inevitably born with inequal traits even without considering supernatural talents. Some have the potential to become world-class athletes through hard practice, most people don't. Should we lament the fact that a low-DEX dwarf makes for a terrible rogue compared to the high-DEX halfling in Pathfinder, even when players have the freedom of choosing their PC's race and using point buy for the ability scores?

That said I think you've raised an interesting point here about (perceived) lack of choise in-setting, especially concerning choises that fall outside roleplaying. What makes paragon paths feel more restrictive than races in other RPG settings? Both are something outside a character's own choise, both provide benefits that boost the character's potential at specific activities above that of other characters. Is it simply because races are a traditional element that we're accustomed to accepting?

One of the reasons why I'm designing the setting in the way I do is that I want to put emphasis on external sources of power in character creation & advancement, and to incentivise maintaining allegiances and a respectful attitude toward tradition. The gift of the paragons is external in the sense that it was given to them by the empyreans, and then passed down. Training is an external source as it is provided by the instructors at a school, deriving from a long-lasting tradition. Equipment also is provided from the citadel's armory. This is all intended to create a situation where characters grow more powerful by participating in social systems (as disciples to their master, as retainers to their citadel lord, as members of the Order, as comrades to each other) and thus have a vested interest in protecting their society. In contrast, rootless drifters who owe loyalty to no one and selfishy pursue only their own personal benefit, are clearly disadvantaged.

It also invokes some particular tropes that I feel are very appropriate for the setting's flavour: the elder mentor who instructs the hero (as Obi-wan to Luke, and paragon masters to their disciples), the power and prestige of ancient martial arts (when a Dragon Warrior strikes, he does so using techniques perfected by thousands who wielded them before him -- such perfection cannot be matched by the self-trained renegade, who only has a single lifetime to hone his own skill, without the guidance of a master), and the theme of heroically sacrificing personal assets and ambitions for the good of someone else or something greater. It is also moving away from rootless individualism, which seems to be something of a trend these days.

Quote from: sparkletwist
There also doesn't seem to be any chance for anybody to earn their way (or even just randomly rise up due to a radioactive spider bite or something) into the ranks of the paragons. And that's unfortunate, because the unlikely hero is fertile ground for character concepts and can often lead to some really cool and really creative characters, especially when placed next to the more traditional types for contrast. It doesn't seem like it can happen here. I mean, there may be exceptional circumstances, but you didn't talk about it, so I don't know. Life for the common people seems to be kind of a crapsack anyway, given that it's basically medieval and they don't have any popular representation since they are ruled from floating castles by literal übermenschen.

I don't know if you meant quite this by an unlikely hero, but there are a few children born to ordinary human parents that possess the gift to become paragons. These cases are very rare but they do happen. The gift itself is strictly a binary condition - you either have it or you don't. It's unknown why it sometimes manifests without direct parentage from a paragon (paragon+paragon couples almost always beget gifted children, while a paragon+mundane couple's children have ~1/3 chance of inheriting the gift), but it's usually assumed that the gift somehow skipped a generation or more.

Life for ordinary people may not be great, but it's better than in any grimdark-leaning premodern setting. Mostly it's the underclasses having a hard time though; the aristocracy of the city states probably surpasses the paragons in terms of material wealth and quality of living.

Quote from: sparkletwist
I'm also not sure how the world stays so unexplored when having a big floating island would be a pretty good vantage point for making a map-- unless the people who own the floating islands just pretty much don't care about what goes on down on the ground. Which might be it, actually. The Paragon Order has apparently done a pretty good job of presiding over the decline of civilization and has made no significant advancements in magic, technology, magi-tech, or whatever. They have no idea how to fix the exgate network. There is an "ongoing drive" to explore the world but with all their abilities and floating castles and whatever, they haven't done much; it seems like they'd rather sit up there and rule over the little people and collect tributes. They can't keep roving bandits at bay, let alone the undead.

That's a good point about the islands providing a long range of observation. I may not have been clear enough about it, but they're supposed to be stationary -- they don't just cruise around nor do they drift with winds or anything, which does limit their reach. Since the world is flat there needs to be some reason why you can't see everything from a mountaintop anyway, so it might as well be a weird visual fading or something. This is why heavily fantastic fantasy breaks if you think about it too logically :P

There has been technological development for sure. Maybe the period from the Old Kingdom of Egypt (2600s BC) to the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar II (ca 600BC) would provide some idea of the pace of progress, although the setting is too fantastic and anachronistic for direct comparisons. Magic has also advanced (as the adoption of path-specific training shows) but the picture is distorted by the fact of  human/paragons' magic being on a entirely different level than that of the empyreans. The drive to explore is supposed to be a major thing and a source of adventures.

"Sitting up there collecting tributes" might actually be a fairly accurate description of some of the less virtuous citadel lords. :D Those would be cast as antagonists, as examples of corruption that needs to be weeded from the Order. While the skyward realms may not be able to eradicate banditry, no one really can. They do hunt them down though. Also: having a squad of paragons riding to your aid is a pretty damn welcome sight whenever a godzilla-sized monster comes a-tromping.

Quote from: sparkletwist
It feels like a giant and mostly useless bureaucracy, and player characters-- who are going to want to be movers and shakers, especially in a setting like this!-- are supposed to be entrenched in it and loyal to it from childhood. Contrast this to Exalted, where the Dragon-Blooded and the Sidereals are the ones who had been running the ship of state aground, while in contrast the player characters were (originally) supposed to be Solar Exalted coming back to shake things up. There doesn't seem to be a similar way for players to shake things up in Paragon, especially with the strong disincentive to go against the Paragon Order.
Since we're drawing comparisons to Exalted, I did kind of envision paragons as somewhat similar to first age solars (before they all turned into egotistic aholes), but politically divided and living in a points-of-light setting instead of a unified empire. It is a fair point that paragon PCs can't shake things up as much as second age solars. On the other hand, the whole world isn't out to burn them at stake either. They have a strong home base that shields them, and that's where their loyalties lie. Adventure is to be had out there, in the world of vices and strife and monsters -- or even in the homeland when it happens that trouble creeps in. It's definitely geared toward a module-based format, with the PCs assumed to be a closely bound group (disciples under the same master) who are sent on missions (the master conveniently acts as a quest-giver; paragon PCs should never have to start their adventure by meeting in a tavern!) While the mission itself is handed out like this, the characters are effectively on their own until they return to report back, having a great deal of freedom in choosing how they approach the problem. And of course there can be complications, personal side-quests, emergency situations that require PCs to act against their orders, etc. The master character isn't intended to be a GMPC or a straitjacket, but something that gets the ball rolling.

A conflict between a character's personal goals and their duties could also be a very interesting opportunity for role playing and drama, as long as it's handled in a manner that doesn't disrupt the game.

Quote from: sparkletwist
I wanted to like this. I really did. I still do dig the premise, and the imagery conjured is pretty awesome. However, it seems like it has some real problems trying to give it any thought as anything other than a fun little beer and pretzels game where you go out there and bash monsters with a magic sword-- and you've done enough cool world-building it seems a shame to reduce this game to that.

I hope you can still find some merit in the setting despite it containing elements you're less excited about. :) I think reading your review was valuable and helped me to look at my stuff from a different POV.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 04:54:14 PM by sparkletwist »
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

sparkletwist

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2015, 05:47:58 PM »
Quote from: Ghostman
What makes paragon paths feel more restrictive than races in other RPG settings? Both are something outside a character's own choise, both provide benefits that boost the character's potential at specific activities above that of other characters. Is it simply because races are a traditional element that we're accustomed to accepting?
I didn't really see paragon paths as an analogy to race. Rather, I saw them as an analogy to class, which usually is less deterministic even in-setting. Perhaps this is just me being too modern about things, but the idea of a society where your occupation is basically inborn leads me to think of extremely rigid societies, caste systems, and other ugliness from real history, and colors the world of Paragon negatively to me. I still get the feeling that things are pretty oppressively deterministic, because your replies seem to more or less agree with that idea-- no, you don't have to be a paragon, you can go be a peasant instead, which isn't really much of a choice at all.

Quote from: Ghostman
Obi-wan to Luke
The thing about Luke is that he kind of came out of the middle of nowhere, though. I mean, it's not quite applicable because the classic Star Wars trilogy takes place during a time when the Jedi are no longer an organized entity, but the idea of the student from the middle of nowhere being trained by the reclusive retired master and then going out on his own to adventure seems like it can't happen in this setting. It's all too entrenched in the social fabric for that.

Quote from: Ghostman
I don't know if you meant quite this by an unlikely hero, but there are a few children born to ordinary human parents that possess the gift to become paragons.
No, that isn't what I meant, because it's still inborn, and presumably that child is still taken and taught in the usual fashion. The roots are different but the path is still the same. What I meant was the idea that someone would spontaneously become a paragon, or at least develop the abilities of one, with great power and not much of an idea how to use that power. In D&D terms, a sorcerer rather than a wizard.

One very fun Asura campaign I ran had one PC that was a member of the old nobility, born and bred to his position, educated in how to use his power, and all of that. Another PC, though, had just been a nomadic wanderer belonging to an underclass, and it was only due to luck/chance/fate/whatever that he became an Asura; he had no idea, at least initially, what to do with that power, and was very scared and confused. The other one became a sort of mentor and teacher, and the contrast between the two of them made for a good dynamic in the party. It seems like that kind of dynamic can't really happen in this game, and that's a bit disappointing to me.

Quote from: Ghostman
Since we're drawing comparisons to Exalted, I did kind of envision paragons as somewhat similar to first age solars (before they all turned into egotistic aholes), but politically divided and living in a points-of-light setting instead of a unified empire.
The biggest analogy in Exalted I saw was to the Dragon-Blooded. The first age Solars had a lot more going for them, and they seemed more like the Paragon Order before everything went to crap. Perhaps I'm just misinterpreting the setting, or perhaps I'm too eager to play the hero who saves the world rather than works within the system, but the Paragon Order still seems pretty rotten at the present time. It's fragmented, there is plenty of corruption, and different factions go to war with each other at times. So for that to be the only option to have a viable PC and to have going rogue be this unfathomable thing just doesn't click well with me. (I guess it's a matter of degrees, too. If enough Paragons go rogue at the same time, then they're forming their own faction instead...)

Quote from: Ghostman
I hope you can still find some merit in the setting despite it containing elements you're less excited about.
Oh, definitely. I still like a lot of the imagery and such, and I could still have a lot of fun playing it as an "adventure path" sort of game where the basic premise is "you go on the mission and do it" rather than as a more open-ended campaign.

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2015, 05:37:14 AM »
Quote from: Pandemonium
Pandemonium is a hidden realm of disembodied spirits collectively called demons. It is not actually separate from the phenomenal world, merely an aspect of it that is imperceptible to the senses of mankind -- but only partially imperceptible to paragons, for they do possess some ability to sense the presense of unmanifested demons. Thus pandemonium isn't elsewhere, it's everywhere. Although it may seem otherwordly to the ignorant, people live within it just as surely as a blind man lives in the same world with those bearing the gift of vision. Gods and many kinds of monsters perceive pandemonium with the same clarity as they do the phenomenal world and may interact with it at will.

Quote from: Demons
Demons are spiritual entities that inhabit pandemonium in uncountable numbers. As disembodied spirits they normally fall beyond the scope of human perception. Paragons can sense their presense in a vague, ambiguous manner, but even they have trouble interacting with them without actively leveraging their dynama powers. Demons sometimes intrude upon the phenomenal world by possessing people or objects, or by manifesting tangible avatars for themselves. Few generalizations can be made about demons, as they occupy a wide spectrum in terms of capabilities and disposition. An unknown demon is as likely to be hostile as it is to be indifferent or friendly.

Some demons have multiple forms that they can transform into in a sequence, each one successively more powerful. If faced in combat, the forms have to be defeated in order, as each defeat triggers a transformation to the next form. The fight can not be won until the demon's ultimate form is defeated.

Quote from: Eidolons
While pandemonium exists beyond the conscious awareness of ordinary people, it nevertheless touches all souls, from the lowliest beggars to the mightiest kings. Every human being casts an impression upon pandemonium, a kind of spiritual shadow or reflection. From this impression is born a peculiar type of demon known as an eidolon -- a character's own personal demon that invisibly accompanies him throughout the course of his life. An eidolon reflects the innermost aspirations, dispositions, vices and strengths of it's charge.

Paragons, as champions of moral and spiritual strength among mankind, naturally beget exceptionally powerful eidolons. Unlike mundanes they are also aware of and consciously attuned to their personal demons, and sometimes commune with them in lucid dreams. A paragon's relationship with his eidolon deepens as the character grows in power and increases his understanding of preternatural mysteries: the eidolon gains levels along with the character. Characteristics of a eidolon influence a character's stats, and the character may also call upon his eidolon to boost his abilities. Most paragons are at harmony with their eidolons, but in some rare cases conflict arises. A wrathful eidolon might attempt to possess it's charge.

Some paragons learn how to summon their eidolons, allowing them to manifest as formidable battle avatars in the phenomenal world. The act of summoning is swift and impressive: the paragon calls out his eidolon, and the colossal form of the demon materializes behind or beside him. The eidolon intrinsically knows the will of it's charge and needs not be given any commands. It's avatar is vitally linked with the psyche of it's ward. When the eidolon is struck in combat, the paragon shares it's pain.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #38 on: December 20, 2015, 01:15:42 PM »
Assorted monsters:


Quote from: Tripods
Many species of three-legged creatures that grow to towering heights. Their bodies, concealed within spiraled mollusc shells, stand on extremely long, thin legs. Their antennae-eyes and circular mouths are located on the underside of the shell, and they extend retractable tentacles to tear foliage off trees and bushes to feed on. Being social herd animals that form into sizeable flocks, tripods communicate by emitting loud, long-winding moans that can be heard across great distances -- a noise strangely pleasing to human ears that is referred to as tripodic "singing". They are peaceful herbivores but very dangerous when scared into a stampede; a single kick from one's leg can easily kill a man. Although tripods cannot be bred in captivity, members of some tripod species can be tamed when captured from the wilds at a young age. Tamed tripods can be trained to serve as mounts and fitted with riding baskets to carry a small number of people, depending on the size of the animal.


Quote from: Tlacs
Dangerous insectoid predators that resemble huge fleas. Tlacs are extremely fast and agile, hopping and leaping on their powerful hind legs. They lurk in deep forests where they prey upon warm-blooded animals, including any humans that venture onto their hunting trails. Tlacs usually attack from ambush, emitting mind-addling pheromones that lull the prey into a narcotic stupor. Humans that succumb to this attack tend to experience hallucinations, completely unaware of the approaching monster. Having thusly ensnared it's victim, the loathsome creature climbs on it's back and sinks a piercing proboscis into it's flesh, hungrily sucking it's blood. It is not uncommon for several tlacs to latch upon the same prey, draining it dead.


Quote from: Ghidras
Strange creatures that very vaguely resemble giant-sized turtles or hedgehogs. Their bodies are protected by a hard testudine shell, covered in large ceratinous spikes. The bald head of a ghidra is vulturine, featuring a curved beak and three eyes, on a long flexible neck that can be retracted entirely within the shell. It's underbelly is covered in a clawing mass of very short, single-toed legs. Ghidras are rarely encountered and little is known about their ways. When threatened they exhale clouds of poisonous fumes that are very potent.


Quote from: Gaun-gauns
Horse-sized lizards with bulky bodies, proportionally small heads and stubbed tails. Their legs are short and located on the sides, barely lifting the creature's belly off the ground. Although domesticated, gaun-gauns are notoriously stubborn, ill-natured and lazy, requiring active prodding and goading from their handlers. They are the most common manner of a beast of burden in the world, used for plowing fields and drawing carts -- they are slow moving but very strong and durable. When angered a gaun-gaun will spit spraying bursts of irritating, mildly acidic saliva. While this doesn't inflict injury, it can be painful and temporarily render a person effectively blind; handlers usually wear face-covering veils when working with these beasts.


Quote from: Andoos
Flying, fire-breathing monsters tamed and bred as ferocious war-mounts. An andoo has a feline body with a tufted tail, powerful clawed paws, and spotted or striped fur. The ears are large, long and pointy. A pair of huge leathery wings sprout from it's shoulders, allowing it to fly. It can bear a rider on it's back, and easily learns many tricks and stunts. An andoo's clawing attacks are formidable, but even more powerful is it's incinerating fiery breath. They are quite picky about their riders and will only obey those displaying strong will and charisma.


Quote from: Behemoths
A collective name for various kinds of sky-scrapingly huge monsters. Behemoths are so incredibly massive that they might flatten entire towns just by passing through them. They cannot be combated by normal means, but their colossal bodies do usually have some weak spots that can be assaulted by heroes "boarding" the monster and climbing up it's enormous bulk.


Quote from: Saurials
Many species of feathered reptiles that roam the plains and forests of the world. Some of them have been tamed.

Cronths: Large hulking saurial predators. They have crocodilean heads with powerful jaws lined with serrated teeth, sturdy muscular bodies standing tall on strong clawed legs, and lashing spiked tails. They are coated in hard scales but the ridges of their backs are crested with large feathers. Ravenous beasts inhabiting sparse forests and verdant savanna, they hunt large herbivores by lying in wait near watering holes and outrunning the prey in a surprise charge. They are aggressively territorial and prone to attack humans that venture too near. Paragons consider them suitably prestigious game for sport hunting, taking their tail spikes and crest plumes as trophies.

Zeethas: A breed of bipedal saurials that has been domesticated to be bred and raised in stables. They are the most common type of animal being used as mounts for riders. Their bodies are long and slender, with lengthy tails and craning necks. They have draconic heads crowned with small horn-stubs, powerful hind legs equipped with sharp talons, and small forelimbs. Their plumage covers most of their bodies and occurs in a variety of different colors and patterns. Zeethas are omnivorous but cannot subsist very long on grazing alone. They are quite intelligent as animals go and rather sociable, often forming faithful bonds with their riders. Swift and agile runners, they also possess sufficient endurance for long journeys. They can jump over and across wide obstacles but are poor swimmers.

Chitties: Small saurials, about the size of a hedgehog. They are completely domesticated and are favoured as pets due to their affectionable nature and cute appearance. A chittie has a plump, roundish body completely covered in thick fluff. It's head is a bit like that of a tortoise, with a flatter face and large eyes. It stands on four slender birdlike legs and has a short stubby tail. Despite looking like fuzzy fluffballs, chitties are remarkably quick and agile, capable of sudden lightning sprints, high leaps, and climbing up sheer walls. They emit chirping and squeaking noises, especially when exited, and can be taught many tricks. Treated well they grow very attached to their owners and can be dramatically loyal. Chitties have fairly long lifespans, up to several years or more. Their diet consists primarily of bugs, spiders and other small vermin, so their presense in a home helps keep it clean of pests.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2017, 10:20:27 AM by Ghostman »
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #39 on: December 30, 2015, 11:04:46 AM »
Quote from: Folk Religion
Even before the fall of the empyreans, the primitive tribes of mankind engaged in many religious practices: they sang poetic legends about heroes and gods, laid their dead to rest with rites of mourning and remembrance, watched for omens of good or ill fortune in the stars and in the clouds and the in flight of birds, and they besought the gods for safety from the perils of famine and sickness and the terrors of the night. These variegated traditions continue to be observed by the sedentary villagers and city-dwellers of the present era. This mosaic of beliefs, rituals and taboos is collectively called folk religion by learned sages, although it has no definite form or consistency. Each tribe follows it's own set of ancestral ways, similar yet not quite the same as those of other tribes. Folk religion is essentially illiterate, being passed down orally. It is also unorganized. In city states the ruling monarch is also considered to be a kind of high priest, responsible for maintaining the temple mound and performing rituals on behalf of the entire population.

Quote from: Idolatry
Although different varieties of gods, legends, festivals, rites and taboos are found among different tribes, countries, villages and cities (often with plenty of overlap with each other), there are some aspects of the folk religion that are virtually universal. One of these is the practice of idolatry. Sacred images of sculpted stone or wood are created to act as avatars of local deities, and sanctums are erected to house them amidst a wealth of luxuriant furnishings and offerings. Idols of common deities such as those of rivers, lakes, hills, crossroads or bridges are generally placed into small shrines built next to these places.

Every city also has a dedicated guardian god, often the town's namesake, whose majestic idol is seated on an ornate throne within a lavish temple built atop a ziggurat or other kind of temple mound, placing it nearer the heavens. Large public festivals are held in veneration of these guardian deities, with ceremonies conducted by the reigning priest-king. Whether great or minor, an idol is always the primary medium through which people should approach a deity -- for it is not a mere symbol or representation, being actually the god itself, made manifest in substantial form. Thus to worship an idol is to worship the god in question in the most direct of ways.

The smallest and most numerous idols are those that represent the innumerable, nameless deities of good fortune and protection. These miniature idols are small and light enough to be carried in a bag or a reed basket. They are commonly kept in households to bestow prosperity and ward against evils. Travelers that have to risk the dangers of the long road or the wilderness often bring personal idols along to guide and protect them on their journey.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 11:08:02 AM by Ghostman »
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2016, 12:53:24 PM »
Quote from: Empyrean Mysteries
Before their extinction empyreans imparted a plethora of wisdom upon the paragons, who have preserved it and propagated it to their tribesmen. The teachings of the empyreans are concerned with lofty cosmic mysteries, but they also discuss more familiar matters such as questions about life and death, ethics, edification, and a person's place in the world. They also guide toward a particular way of life as a means of achieving harmony and spiritual fulfillment. During the prime of the Paragon Order these 'empyrean mysteries' came to be revered as sacred knowledge and gradually developed into a religion that overlaps and blends with the myriad ethnic sects of folk religion. This newer religion is quite different from the multifarious traditions that precede it, featuring an organized priesthood of sorts in the ranks of the Paragon Order, as well as a corpus of religious texts known as the enigmata. Although the mysteries are universal, the isolation of the skyward realms due to the shutdown of the exgates has caused it's division into sects with subtle differences in interpretation.

Ordinary people and paragons approach this religion in very different manner. The former simply try to live according to prescribed directions to ease their passage through life and on to the afterlife, and frequently ask paragons to bless their crops and their houses and to recite enigmata for good fortune. Being illiterate, simple folk living in a harsh world of manual labour, they cannot hope to grasp the esoteric depths of the empyrean mysteries. Paragons, on the other hand, are something like a priesthood. The study of the empyreans' legacy is an integral part of their training, and their rise through the ranks of the order involves initiation into gradually deeper tiers of the mysteries. To them this religion is a contemplative journey on a path of spiritual self-improvement.

Quote from: The Enigmata
After their fall from heaven, the empyreans found that their minds could no longer fully contain the sublime wisdom and insight they had possessed while in the celestial world. In order to preserve as much of it as they could they created 12 sacred texts, recorded on golden tablets. Each of these texts (known as an enigma) is very long, written in poetic form, and inherently magical. Enigmata are akin to incredibly complex riddles, containing layers upon layers of hidden meanings and revelations that must be discovered by reading between the verses. The wisdom to be found in these texts is so abundant and deep that an astute sage could spend a lifetime in contemplation of merely a single enigma, yet fall short of fully mastering all of it's mysteries.

The golden tablets, now scattered amongst the skyward realms or lost during the chaos after the exgates' malfunctioning, are miraculous artifacts that are treated with utmost reverence. Merely standing in the presense of an enigma tablet instills one with a stirring religious experience, while listening to a ceremonial recital of the verses might trigger a trance-like state filled with powerful visions and epiphanies. Being in possession of one or more of these tablets bestowes good fortune and safety upon an entire kingdom.

Copies of the enigmata texts exist, penned on scrolls of vellum of the highest quality. They are considered to be lesser artifacts and, while much more commonplace, are still very limited in number. Such scrolls can only be created by copying directly from the original golden tablet, and the scribing itself is a complicated ritual action. The entire length of the text has to be scribed in a single sitting, without pauses or distractions. Careful rituals of purification precede the attempt, and prayers must be chanted while the scribe works. The recording begins at sunrise and finishes at sunset - regardless of the text in question it always takes excatly that long. There is no room for errors; the slightest slip of the scribe's quill invalidates the entire work and the imperfect scroll disintegrates. Every attempt to produce further copies off one of these scrolls fails.

Enigmata scrolls are read in a ceremonial fashion, the reader solemnly reciting the text from beginning to end while the audience sits in a semicircle before him. Incense is burned during the ceremony, which begins and ends with everyone present prostrating themselves in the direction of the holy scroll. Where a scroll is not available, a subordinate variation of the reading ceremony can be performed by reciting the verses from memory -- provided that the paragon performing the ceremony has flawlessly memorized the entire text.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #41 on: January 10, 2016, 10:47:25 AM »
Quote from: The Scourge
The empyrean mysteries teach that everything within the universe should have a natural place and purpose, a role to play in the grand course of events. The abstruse calamity named the Scourge subverts this teaching, for it is a true abomination: a detestable ethereal blight fundamentally inimical to the universe and it's denizens. It is an anomaly, a cosmic paradox, something that should not be and that does not belong. Amorphous and intangible, it spreads throughout the world like a disease, warping and defiling all the things it infects, hungrily gnawing at the very foundations of cosmic order. To people that fall victim to it's contaminating presense the Scourge is akin to spiritual poison -- a corruption of the soul that slowly deprives them of their humanity and drives them to madness.

Distressingly little is known about the Scourge. It is driven by an awful hunger to consume, pervert and atrophy, but often does so in seemingly irrational and erratic ways. It's mind -- if it even has one, or more -- must be thoroughly inscrutable. As a nebulous entity devoid of any kind of identifiable form in flesh or spirit, it cannot be directly assaulted or bargained with. Fortunately the calamity has never manifested in large scale anywhere, all of it's appearances so far limited to isolated incidents.

Any kind of contact with the Scourge is intrinsically dangerous to humans, including the mere condition of possessing knowledge about it. When you become aware of the Scourge, the Scourge also becomes aware of you, and it might decide to reach out and nibble at your tasty soul. It's unclean probings can be held back by determined force of will, which is why paragons stand the best chance of resisting contagion. Ordinary people, being comparatively feeble-minded, are far more vulnerable. This is why all lore concerning the Scourge is treated as forbidden knowledge, to be trusted only to paragons that have been initiated into the Order. To be sure, even most paragons know only the bare minimum that is needed to prepare them to fight against outbreaks of the Scourge, with more detailed information being trusted to select few specialists.

Despite it's terrifying inclinations, the Scourge isn't actually a malevolent entity, it is merely amoral and alien -- an impersonal force of un-nature completely beyond mortal concepts of morality. That it's interaction with mankind is inevitably harrowing for the latter does not concern it in the slightest.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2016, 10:25:35 AM »

Quote from: The Fallen
Once it has taken root in the heart of a man, the Scourge will wax and fester until it overwhelms all remaining resistance. The infected is transformed into an inhuman madman, forever in thrall of the accursed power. These minions are driven to depraved acts of atrocity, inflicting terror and despair that feed the Scourge. There is no cure to the vile madness that plagues the fallen, no escape from their doom. Even in death they cannot find salvation, for their souls are consumed by the malady.

Fallen often manage to retain enough sanity to walk secretly among men, committing their loathsome deeds in the dark of night. They are wicked murderers, blood-witches and cultists. Some are degenerated to such depths that they cannot infiltrate human society, reduced to prowling the wilderness like feral beasts. Over time even their bodies of flesh and bones begin to subtly transmogrify, becoming monstrous in ways that aren't usually readily apparent. Each case is unique and unpredictable -- a particular fallen might have no pulse or blood, another one's veins are filled with a black corrosive fluid that burns everything it touches, yet another is able to remove and reattach his head, while others might have squirming fiendish parasites in place of their internal organs. Some rare cases have obvious, unconcealable mutations.

Some fallen learn to call upon the Scourge to fuel feats of dark sorcery. Given enough time to hone their despicable craft, these vile warlocks can grow powerful enough to pose a serious threat even to paragons.

Quote from: The Forsaken
While ordinary people are more likely to be infected by the Scourge and transformed into it's slavering pawns, paragons are not immune. The Scourge senses the puissant power they possess, delectable treats for it's insatiable hunger. Like a siren it calls upon paragons, enticing and tempting them. Those who willingly embrace it's tainted touch are endowed with an aberrant power that burns restlessly within them, even as their paragon abilities are contaminated and warped. They become forsaken -- agents of calamity, twisted perversions of the heroes they once were.

Freed from the bounds of morality and duty, the forsaken believe themselves to be masters of their own destinies, but that is just a delusion born from their madness. They think that they use the Scourge, when in fact it is the Scourge that uses them. As the Scourge flows through them, they find that they can gain strength by committing actions that please it. This presents a quick way to gain power, a shortcut that beckons to the impatient and the ambitious.

The forsaken might be the most dangerous enemies that paragons will ever face, able to match and even surpass them in martial and magical power. As bringers of chaos and destroyers of harmony, they stand opposed to the beliefs of the Paragon Order. Thus violent conflict between the forsaken and paragons is inevitable; where ever the two meet, blades are drawn and blood is spilled.
¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Ghostman

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2016, 11:09:53 AM »
Quote from: Wealth and Treasure
Paragon characters acquire valuable items and other material wealth in a very different manner than most traditional RPG characters.

No Shopping
There is no money. The world is still in early stages of civilization, so money has simply not been invented yet. Trade has to be conducted through bartering or an informal credit system (in a small village where everyone knows each other, people can exchange goods and labour for debt that will be paid later). Secondly, there are no markets and shops to buy and sell things at -- the citadels and the city-states all practice a centralized palace economy, wherein the goods produced by the population are collected, recorded and stored in the palace, and later redistributed according to needs. Taxes are collected in the form of labour, wherein peasants are required to spend a fixed number of days every year participating in the construction or maintenance of public works such as roads, monuments, temples and irrigation canals.

Rewards
Paragons acquire most of their equipment and goods from their superiors. Their basic needs of housing, clothing and foodstuffs are provided by their citadel lord, along with enough provisions to support the servants of their households. Valuable items such as fine clothing, works of art, cosmetics, jewelry, talismans, miniature idols, mounts and skilled personal servants can be gained as rewards for successful service, awarded by the paragon's master or by his citadel lord. Inheritance from relatives is another way to gain material wealth. Should a paragon require some specific equipment to perform his duties then he need only to request it from his master, and if deemed necessary this equipment will be provided from the citadel's stockpiles.

Gifts and Favours
While provisions, rewards and inheritance may provide everything one needs, they rarely provide everything one desires. For this reason paragons engage with their peers in a prestige-based exchange of gifts and counter-gifts, a baroque game wherein items and favours are given and owed. Thus wealth and goods are circulated, the participant's reputations are bolstered, and social ties are strengthened. It works because everyone involved must maintain a respectable standing in the eyes of their peers: selfish freeloaders who only take and never give are quickly discredited, losing face and cast out of the system.

Plunder
When undertaking missions away from home, paragons may occasionally find an opportunity to seize treasure guarded by monsters or loot valuable items from captured or slain enemies. Such wealth is usually less significant than what they've already gained from other sources, but may include rare items that aren't available through other avenues.

Charity
Since paragon culture values the spiritual over the material, it discourages amassing excess wealth. There is a strong social expectation that paragons engage in charity according to their means -- giving alms to the poor, making offerings in temples, contributing to relief and rebuilding efforts after earthquakes and floods, etc. Blatant avarice is ignominious and results in severe loss of social status -- which in the absense of market economy can be more disadvantageous than a loss of wealth would be.

¡ɟlǝs ǝnɹʇ ǝɥʇ ´ʍopɐɥS ɯɐ I
Paragon * (Paragon Rules) * Savage Age (Wiki) * Argyrian Empire
Mother 2
* You meet the New Age Retro Hippie
* The New Age Retro Hippie lost his temper!
* The New Age Retro Hippie's offense went up by 1!
* Ness attacks!
SMAAAASH!!
* 87 HP of damage to the New Age Retro Hippie!
* The New Age Retro Hippie turned back to normal!
YOU WON!
* Ness gained 160 xp.
[close]

Steerpike

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Re: Paragon
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2016, 11:43:14 AM »
Quote from: Ghostman
There is no money. The world is still in early stages of civilization, so money has simply not been invented yet. Trade has to be conducted through bartering or an informal credit system (in a small village where everyone knows each other, people can exchange goods and labour for debt that will be paid later).

You may already be aware of this, but as far as anthropologists and archaeologists can figure out, barter economies didn't actually precede currency, as philosophers and economists from Aristotle to Adam Smith once used to postulate. Barter economies have existed, but they usually develop after a currency collapses or as a kind of temporary measure between societies with very disparate economic structures and/or no shared language. Actual pre-money economies were more like gift economies, though the term "gift" is a misnomer. Your example of village credit sounds very plausible.

I'm somewhat sceptical as to whether empire-building and the complex feudal system you describe could develop without some form of money, even if it's not metal coinage. I wonder whether somewhere like the Aztec Empire (where cacao beans and cotton cloth formed the major units of exchange) or ancient China (where cowrie shells, jade, knives, and various other local currencies preceded bronze coins) might be useful models if you want to forgo formal coinage.