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Rethinking Marriage in the Realm

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  • #76
    Originally posted by Lioness View Post
    Given that we're talking about Dynasts it seems a lot more practical to save the scorn for people who forget their Maiden Tea or lacked the conviction to deal with the problem.

    The average Dragon-Blooded woman managed to avoid getting pregnant before she finished secondary school because that would've humiliated her family, surely she can continue to show similar indiscretion when married?
    Sounds like a valid reason for the Realm to have a gender double-standard on adultery that mirrors the one that’s historically characterized our own.

    It’s only men who need to socially pressured against adultery with women for marriage to serve its basic reproductive function for Dynastic women. The legal parentage rights issue leads to it serving its role for men.


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    • #77
      It occurs to me that with the setup as the developers phrased it, married Dynast women might have an advantage when it comes to the question of how their extramarital pregnancies might be judged, even beyond the fact that all of her children belong to her House by default.

      ​Namely, who is to say who the fathers of her children are at all? Even if the Realm has access to obscure methods of paternity testing, a matriarchal bias might take a lot of the teeth away from scenarios in which a man demands to know if the children are his. A lot of the familiar narratives in which a known and stigmatised infidelity occur tend to rely on various kinds of patriarchal bias; even something as basic as the narrative of "that child is definitely not your husband's, because he was away at the time" tend to arise from a structure in which the husband's location varies while the wife's is consistent.

      ​And you get scenarios in which a man widely claims and argues that the children aren't his, and all of the implications of that, and... they seem to be less credible if the power dynamic is shifted in the other direction. I keep picturing the Dynastic man who makes snide inferences or outright accusations of the children in the house where he lives not being his in high society, and being viewed by his peers as a pathetic whinger rather than a dreadfully wronged and betrayed party. There's maybe a bit of crossover in the sense of a known and open extramarital child reflecting badly on him, but the dynamic would seem to be more "he couldn't keep his wife interested" than "he couldn't keep his wife under control".

      ​There might be an honour element to it, but I should think that would be focused on confrontation with the other man, conceived not in terms of fighting over possession of the woman, but fighting over who has the right to stand at her side.

      ​... Possibly; there are some misogynistic implications to the idea of men literally or figuratively fighting over a woman that might be baked in enough to make this a subject to drop.


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      • #78
        I wonder how long the history of misandry is in the Realm. I think there were some implications in previous editions (when they bothered to mention it) that it was a tool of the Empress or somehow paired with her rise. I could certainly see that time span indoctrinating mortals, but isn't 768 years a bit short for such a bias to be really baked into people with an average 250-300 year lifespan?

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        • #79
          Well, it's not very misandric. It's not like male Dynasts are not allowed to get jobs. Or earn substantially less than a woman for the same job. It's just a bit misandric.
          But anyway, perhaps the late Shogunate had similar ideas.

          Still, gender norms can change substantially in 100 years with people who live for 60-80 years. So I'd think that they could change even more in 700 years with people who live 2-300 years (especially when most of their relatives and acquaintances, actually, still only live a mortal lifespan).


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          • #80
            Originally posted by Seagull View Post
            isn't 768 years a bit short for such a bias to be really baked into people with an average 250-300 year lifespan?
            ​I think not. When there's a combination of social pressures, incentives and anxieties, and accompanying propaganda, it's not really difficult to get people to significantly adjust their attitudes within something like less than a decade, and then when they raise their children on that it rapidly becomes the new default.

            ​Consider the conditions in which the Realm arose; reconstruction after that kind of devastation is fertile ground for a lot of social readjustments. The first generation of people to serve the Empress don't need to have personally believed it, they just needed to participate in public* and be seen to bring their children up in it, and the ultimate result is the same.

            ​Look at something like Stalin's Soviet Union; how long did it take before periodic purges of the political elite and the resulting necessary retconning of historical record became the new normal?

            ​* Although there's a question of how much people can participate in those kinds of social narratives and rituals before they become second-nature in a way that is indistinguishable from true belief, even if the person maintains that distinction.


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            • #81
              As a bit of how fast social trends can change, look at same-sex marraige in the West and views on that. Or how the basic idea of miscegenation as something to be made a felony, which only stopped being the case nationwide in the US in 1963 via Loving v. Virginia. What marraige even is, legally and conceptually, kind of is something post World War II as I understand it in the Anglosphere.

              One can also look at similar social upheavels with very quick changes with the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, or how quickly the South regressed into de facto slavery again with Redemption. Go back a bit more and you see how fast things changed with the Reformation, and so on. Socieites are actually surprisingly resilient and surprisingly fast,a nd even in the modern era, attention spans of what was a golden age and what was better are actually pretty short.

              Even with Dragon-Blooded about, they live about what? Five to four times longer than folks? This means changes that take decades take a couple centuries, which means that nearly eight hundred years is more than enough for things to settle in, especially with threats of violence and the fact that there's still real generations of folks living and growing up in periods of change and such. Think of it this way. That guy who lives 300 years might remember what itw as like, but he has to deal with assuming during his lifetime even one DB burn per decade, 29 folks who saw it different, including folks maybe just a few decades younger who have had that opinion for centuries now.


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              • #82
                Originally posted by Seagull View Post
                I wonder how long the history of misandry is in the Realm. I think there were some implications in previous editions (when they bothered to mention it) that it was a tool of the Empress or somehow paired with her rise. I could certainly see that time span indoctrinating mortals, but isn't 768 years a bit short for such a bias to be really baked into people with an average 250-300 year lifespan?
                It's worth noting that just because a Dragon-Blood can live 250-300 years before dying of old age, doesn't mean that most Dragon-Blooded actually die of old age.


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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Robert Vance View Post
                  It's worth noting that just because a Dragon-Blood can live 250-300 years before dying of old age, doesn't mean that most Dragon-Blooded actually die of old age.
                  It's likewise worth noting that the longer you live, the more chances you have to die.


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                  • #84
                    That's interesting. Most of these examples appear to be from situations where the end goal was something specifically worked towards (either by groups in political power in a given state or by large/motivated political movements fighting for acceptance and change). It certainly makes more sense for the Realm's end state to be achieved if it was a goal that the Empress specifically had in mind and was willing to sacrifice lives and power over. And it's a good point that there may be older individuals in the Realm with different ideas who keep their mouths shut (or don't).

                    If she wanted to instill a mild misandric bias into the psychology of the Realm, does that imply that the Shogunate was more egalitarian (Though of course I do note The Wizard of Oz's comment that perhaps the Shogunate had a similar bias)? I suppose we have no reason to believe it wasn't a more misogynistic/patriarchal society which might give the Empress ample motivation to construct her own system of bias, but I have my own problems with any significantly exalted population being overly prejudicial towards half its own population (I know the argument can be made that we in our world have also suffered through heavily prejudiced societies despite the essential equality of people. But it does seem that exalted in general as written are profoundly more equipped to defend themselves and their beliefs than mortal humans are in our world (I don't necessarily mean physically here, I think it's far more important to note their ability to be supernaturally intelligent, persuasive, determined, brave, inspiring, etc. I'm just imagining ~700 of time that included dragonblood male counterparts to thinkers like Simone de Beauvoir and Gloria Steinem. I suppose we'd also have female dragonblood Strom Thurmond and various conservative thinkers as well, though).

                    Of course "I have a hard time imagining this sociologically" is no argument, and I'm not sharing my thoughts here with any intention of forcing anyone to accept them. Just wanted to share some ideas.

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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Robert Vance View Post
                      It's worth noting that just because a Dragon-Blood can live 250-300 years before dying of old age, doesn't mean that most Dragon-Blooded actually die of old age.
                      Is 250-300 years the "old age" limit in 3e? I remember earlier editions that was the average, taking into account that maybe half of all Dragonblooded make it to retirement age, and that for Dragonblooded who actually do die of old age, it's not unheard of for Dragonblooded to live to be 500 or so, even without extending your life via sorcery (in the section on Dragonblooded retirement in their 2e sourcebook, at least).

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                      • #86
                        The sidebar has: "The Dragon-Blooded live 250-300 years on average" and then goes on to note that with refined mastery of Essence and anagathics of whatever sort, they can live much longer, going on to note Mnemon's age of almost 400.

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                        • #87
                          There are a couple meanings of average; one is a pure average based on the population, and the other would be how long a "typical" Dragonblood (if there is any such thing) can expect to live before dying of old age. Earlier editions went with the former, specifically noting that the number skewed low because of the Dragonblooded tendency to die violently and young. That sidebar seems to imply the latter in 3e (i.e. "Dragonblooded who don't make an effort to extend their lifespans through whatever means can expect to die of old age at around 300"), but I'm not entirely sure.

                          Mnemon herself is a special case regardless, as not only is she pushing 400, but she's still in the prime of her youth (to the point of still looking about 18 years old) at age 400, thanks to sorcery (unless that has also changed).

                          I'm mostly looking for how long Dragonblooded can be expected to live if they A) end up lucky enough to die of old age and B) don't go the Scarlet Empress or Mnemon route of pursuing eternal (or more-or-less eternal) youth, partially to answer questions like "how many generations of Dynasts do you have all living at the same time" and "how old are the matriarchs of these families", as I remember things like inter-generational households being common.

                          (I may be planning on running a family-politics-based Dynastic intrigue game as soon as the book drops (although I may force myself to wait until the Realm book is also out).)

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                          • #88
                            With the dB long life span for those that live so long and the dangerous nature of being a db., Not all of these marriages are gonna last, which means becoming remarried must on the table. Especially if the empress is used as a role model. How does the houses deal with that? What are pros and cons of multiple marriages down the line?

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                            • #89
                              The Rokugani system's big feature is that it maintains the separation of the Clans. Which makes sense, because in that setting, each Clan is practically its own nation within the larger Empire. On the "game" side, your Clan choice is closer in function to what, say, D&D would do with race. And although the two Empires are roughly equivalent in terms of age, Rokugan is on Emperor #38 when the "playable" timeline starts, and the roster of Great Clans is still based on the original Kami who founded them (another significant point; each Clan + the Imperial House all descend from siblings, which has a whole different inherent power dynamic). If you want the Great Clans to be sufficiently cohesive and static for a thousand years, you have to reinforce those identities constantly.

                              The Realm is still on Empress #1. All legitimacy flows from her personally. The Realm doesn't have any concept of succession. Even some of the Great House founders are still alive. A Dynast's stuff gets passed down through inheritance (entirely different legal construct) and any significant authority (lands, titles, soft-power) is jockied for in real time in the political arena. Great Houses are elevated and dismantled infrequently, but it can happen, and when it does it's a significant political event but not a world-shaping one. The families have traditions, but all the Dyansts' children attend the same schools, and organizations like the Thousand Scales and the Immaculate Order aren't dominated by any one House. In short, the Great Houses have very little in common, in purpose or structure, with the Great Clans or even the major families within a Clan.

                              Where the Clans are monolithic entities, the Houses are fluid and intensely personal. Where power and identity flows from a Clan to its members, a House is exactly its members, no more and no less. Which is all to say, Realm marriage comes out of this (entirely different) political and legal structure, and as marriage carries political and legal weight, it's those political and legal factors that make women and men "willing" to get married, and elders eager that they do so.
                              Last edited by Blackwell; 12-28-2017, 11:05 PM.

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                                ​It comes down to the matter of having a homosexual extramarital affair being considered more acceptable because you're still fulfilling the duty of having children. That it's permissible to marry such a lover being permitted might still need to deal with the stigma of how choosing that option constitutes a declaration that you intend to have no children, which both Houses are probably going to often take issue with. There are probably still various nuances that can shift exactly how strong that stigma is, such as whether the union conveys other benefits that are significant enough to counterbalance lack of children.

                                ​I wonder if various things concerning the marriage being maintained by how many children are had might still be there; it's possible that the permissible same-sex marriages are on shakier legal foundations in the long-term.
                                And i ask myself how much of a monkeywrench does things like access to Neomah baby-crafting or gender-chaging hearthstones throw into such "declaration of childlessness intent" and associated stigma and issues.

                                Originally posted by Seagull View Post
                                The sidebar has: "The Dragon-Blooded live 250-300 years on average" and then goes on to note that with refined mastery of Essence and anagathics of whatever sort, they can live much longer, going on to note Mnemon's age of almost 400.
                                Not to mention Myrrhun, who was already an adult Versino graduate out and about when Mnemon was still a student in her mid-teens - or Ragara himself, that though retired from House leadership is about six centuries old and still very much alive.

                                Originally posted by light-hero View Post
                                With the dB long life span for those that live so long and the dangerous nature of being a db., Not all of these marriages are gonna last, which means becoming remarried must on the table. Especially if the empress is used as a role model. How does the houses deal with that? What are pros and cons of multiple marriages down the line?
                                A quite potentially convoluted and interesting subject, when one considers that DB fatalities and their difference of lifespan in relation to the unexalted can mean a Dynast may go through not one but several periods of widowhood before reaching old age - not to mention even what constitutes old age can be a pretty quite variable depending on an individual DB Essence refinement, access to Sorcery, anagathics, peaches of immortality or a variety of other variables.
                                Last edited by Baaldam; 12-29-2017, 09:43 AM.

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