Saturday, January 18, 2020

Hints of Elder Gods - Moloch and Slavery

When I started separating NPCs to Adventuring and Non-Adventuring, to explain why certain NPCs are "Stagnant" as compared to PCs, I inevitably ran into SOCIAL MOBILITY. The prickly question that "Does Social Mobility" exist in this world? Why?

World Building is taking Economics, history, Ecology, Sociology, etc... and weaving it into a HOBBY. as a hobby there is no wrong way to do it, as long as you're having fun. At the same time different levels of practice gives you insights to different things - like starting out in minis painting might just be for differentiation of your mini, or getting into drawing because you want to draw NPCs and Characters, and then later I become obsessed with color theory, lighting, rule of thirds, telling a story with an image, etc.... I can appreciate the 1st 30 mins of exploring a hobby, I can appreciate the 1,000 hour of exploring the hobby, I can appreciate and relate with the guy in the 90 min mark as well as the guy in the 8,000 hour mark. I dont feel any insecurity about the guy in the > investment of time than me, nor do I judge the person with a small investment of time from me. Whats important that when we play together we let each other enjoy what we enjoy out of the hobby.

So when the question of Social Mobility, Elites, and various problems of INEQUALITY I will take notes and chisel out the details behind the screen. It will be details in how I describe NPC's, that needs to be subtle. Like describing farmers as "Sharecroppers", having an offhand comment about "Taxes and Obligations", hinting on Crop Failure rates as described in my previous studies and subtle hints of debt-bondage.  Since PCs are "Socially Mobile" characters lets see if they can perceive the natural forces of such systems in place.

I just finished Chapter 168 of the Vinland Saga and the narrative of War and Slavery is interesting motivation and plot in the story. Slavery being alive in well in the modern world makes me remember that no matter how much a World Build like the forgotten realms may say Slavery is only practiced in certain parts of the world, when you enter into social mobility, inequality, and the messy details of making a living and economic scarcity you will run into broken Systems.

I was Introduced to Meditations of Moloch in 2016 but I cant help but recall this Elder God that we face everyday,
The question everyone has after reading Ginsberg is: what is Moloch?
My answer is: Moloch is exactly what the history books say he is. He is the god of child sacrifice, the fiery furnace into which you can toss your babies in exchange for victory in war.
He always and everywhere offers the same deal: throw what you love most into the flames, and I can grant you power. 
Moloch is the Elder God that one of NPCs has a pact with as a Warlock. It's also an Elder God that is hinted when I cater to the moods of superiors and not the reasons for the business. When I exploit biases to push my agenda, and the frustration of never being able to argue the assumptions of my proposal so that I may know what I cannot see beyond my perspective - the desire to be told that I'm wrong and be able to follow the logic, or a different experience and perspective that makes so much sense. Sacrificing TRPGs to study and perform these dark rituals of Influence Magic makes relate to Warlocks.

I remembered Moloch during the Ketil Farm Arch, during the arguments between Ketil and his Father Sverkel. The father, Sverkel, argued that a Larger Farm will control them while Ketil desired the security of having more tenants and land under cultivation. Remembering Farm failure rates (i cant remember the exact numbers) that farms fail about every 3-5 years (thats why a "stable" farm is a Hide of 120 acres). That what Ketil wanted was "reasonable" (a prerequisite of being a Moloch warlock, is to make reasonable demands but tended towards decisions that took a life of its own) which has interesting conclusions.

TRPGS are addicting to me because I get to see Players tell their story, in ways that challenge our narrative-biased brains. That AWE one sees in spiritual revelation, seeing nature, scientific discovery, and mindfulness-interconnectivity is what I experience when Players express an Internal Logic for their PCs in new patterns and the many unpredictable sub-optimal ways.

Drawing the Line. The veil that can be placed back.

My favorite technique at work is just not thinking about the Problem too much. I can say its an Elder God dilemma - and my mind will leave it at that. The way GMs who've run Cthulhu has to deal with illogical postulations and can leave it at that. Inequality, Social Mobility, Slavery, in a D&D world can be blend as Irrational things in the Background along with Owl bears, Gnomes, and Elven demographics. I can always cast a Cthulhu shade that - why dwell on the humanity of slavery and war - when there are spell plagues, zentharim, gods walking the earth, etc... To have such values would brand a Character "Crazy" in the setting.

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