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What's life like in the shittier places in Creation?

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  • #16
    I think when you're trying to portray the shitholes of Creation you also have to keep in mind that there should be a reason why they're still there:

    - Subsistence farming, or hunting/gathering are actually not that hard. There's a reason humans got to be top dog on planet earth. I remember for example reading (think it was in Harari's Sapiens) that hunter-gatherers typically only spend 3 to 4 hours a day foraging and then chill

    - Being able to build a hut from mud and wood makes your rest much more restful than your competitions, sweat glands and walking upright means you can run down a deer if you spend enough time on the task, living in a village means only ambush predators can really reliably take you on, and they might not notice your uncle and cousin and get a spear to the face

    - Bronze age tools and weaponry means that venturing outside is tough and scary, but your village will only be threatened by weird shit, and most days will be boring, and contain a lot of hard work, but not really be dangerous

    There's a flip-side however:

    - Old-school lifestyles work well until something goes wrong. You can't hunt with a sprained ankle, and having a mild flu will make it excruciatingly tough to forage for food, just remember how shit Tom Hanks' life got when he got a little tooth ache in Castaway

    - Societies that are no longer sustainable will deteriorate over time, but necessarily quickly. So if you want to model a really shitty place that actually doesn't sustain human life in the long run, spend a bit of time thinking on why there's still people there; options:
    * Maybe the people living in Grand Shitholia are the remnants of a once-great kingdom until the shadows started hunting babies for sport, or the plague god sent his rats for the granaries
    * Maybe the shitty life has made the people tough, and a bunch of Conans dwell here now, and they deal with everything that's smaller than a hobgoblin incursion with axe-wielding fury
    * Maybe a Great Doom ruined this place centuries back, but now that the Green Sun Radiation has died down people are resettling. Sure, the magicancer sucks, and the demonblooded mutants are a nuisance, but on the other hand there's First Age tech still around and the river's actually not poisonous, plus the Linowan don't raid you here.

    All in all it's easy to be in shit creek without modern technology, but also remember that surviving as a human being is actually not that hard as long as you stay healthy. It's kind of binary, a bunch of people making it through life easily, looking good, and a whole bunch of them dying from the sniffles off screen.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
      Ah. Like summoning the harvest.
      It also works the other way.
      The danger presented by the local wyld zone or shadowland could suddenly spike due to variables a human settlement wouldn't be aware of.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
        I'd wager most of Creation's denizens are not… [SNIP].
        That’s a bit of a spoiler, would you mind tagging it as such?

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        • #19
          Keep in mind, depending on one's definition of "shitty" it could range to something analogous to plantation slavery to living in absolute paleolithic conditions, Creation is big. And those living in those conditions(specifically the paleolithic ones), might not have the same metric of life quality as us.

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          • #20
            [Deleted; not neccessary or kind]


            Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
              What's life like in the shittier places on Earth?

              'Cause I think you pretty much nailed it in OP.

              That said, it can't rain all the damn time. If an area is THAT hostile to human habitation... humans won't live there. Your town might have a problem with cholera, or get raided by mutants, or what-have-you... but this should be rare.

              It's the vomit-icing on the crap-cake.
              Well, sometimes there's the added problem of a community not having a better alternative to live into because geography, weather changes and twists of fate screwed them over, leaving them stranded in an oasis surrounded by hundreds of miles of desert, an isle/mountain of calm surrounded by shadowlands, a lava lake or something even more inhospitable.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

                Well, sometimes there's the added problem of a community not having a better alternative to live into because geography, weather changes and twists of fate screwed them over, leaving them stranded in an oasis surrounded by hundreds of miles of desert, an isle/mountain of calm surrounded by shadowlands, a lava lake or something even more inhospitable.
                Or frankly speaking, just that it's the only place they have left. If the deserted wasteland is the only place where marauding bands of fair folk or deadly monsters aren't there, you don't have a choice. Yeah, sure, going to the forest might be easier, but that forest has dinosaurs.

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                • #23
                  A lot of people living in shitty places live in shitty places because the relatively nicer place next door is also full of people, who don't want to give their land up. A lot of "primitive" cultures are like that not because they're "not advanced" but because they've been pushed to resource-poor, marginally-livable spaces by other populations. So for the question of "Why do they keep living here?", the answers is they can't really move.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Baaldam View Post

                    Well, sometimes there's the added problem of a community not having a better alternative to live into because geography, weather changes and twists of fate screwed them over, leaving them stranded in an oasis surrounded by hundreds of miles of desert, an isle/mountain of calm surrounded by shadowlands, a lava lake or something even more inhospitable.
                    Sure, but if they can't move... they die.

                    There might not be a better option available. You can't always move. But you can always die.

                    Like the great ancient civilisations on the Indus.


                    Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post

                      Sure, but if they can't move... they die.

                      There might not be a better option available. You can't always move. But you can always die.

                      Like the great ancient civilisations on the Indus.

                      OR you take things a litle farther, in an effort to adapt and survive, because there's no fixed threshold for "unlivable", some dooms are not as immediate as others and in Creation some strange venues that would not be viable for us might be open for the stubborn or desperate.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Stephen Lea Sheppard View Post
                        A lot of people living in shitty places live in shitty places because the relatively nicer place next door is also full of people, who don't want to give their land up. A lot of "primitive" cultures are like that not because they're "not advanced" but because they've been pushed to resource-poor, marginally-livable spaces by other populations. So for the question of "Why do they keep living here?", the answers is they can't really move.
                        Something that is interesting and might straddle the line between where people live being constrained by force are instances in which groups apparently voluntarily left more arable land to live in marginal areas such as steppe and rugged hills up to actual mountains because those situations would be one in which it was more difficult to bind them under systems of tenancy or involuntary labour. That people would elect for a harder life where they could be more free.

                        I hesitantly refer to the Zaporozhian Cossacks as an example of such that stands out to me, since it would appear that such a thing was not only their origin but a continued source of growth through much of their history, accepting those who found serfdom in neighbouring polities unbearable.

                        Also because of the legendary letter they sent in response to an Ottoman sultan's demands for their submission in which they offered a stream of insults and told him to have sex with his mother.


                        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                        • #27
                          This gets us into that fascinating argument of James Scott's, where he's arguing that Southeast Asia has this "Zomia" hill-zone where you effectively have refugees from civilization (this Southeast Asian Indianized-Buddhist sophisticated agrarian state of the Khmer Empire, and parallels in Myanmar) fleeing to the hills and making up new identities which are kind of constructed, and where everything in their culture is, to resist power and coercion (and he's arguing they have anti-literacy as a tradition of passive resistance against tax-gathering states and the like).

                          And the alternative is that people say "Well, actually James, this never really happened and you've made this up, and those ethnicities really just are diversified, long distinguished groups, and people didn't really flee to the hills or anything like this, and we can prove it through analysis of language, genetics and so on, and the hills are simply underpopulated because of patterns that are more about the challenges of agriculture and so on". (There was uh, a particualarly, er... "spiky" and "pungent" critique by a Southeast Asian scholar that I can recall but I can't exactly find now ).

                          Because the record of mainland SE Asia shows this pattern where you have these huge low density agrarian cities, with lots of temples, which are unlike anything we see really in Europe or China or India (where you have huge capitals in the biggest states, China in particular, but otherwise cities are small and high density), with hinterlands that are almost unpopulated (and because of this later migrations from Southern China enter these hinterlands quite easily, so you have the Daic speaking Shan which is a quite clearly a migration of a people and pretty much "takes over" the hill zone in MSEA). And so the alternative is that ideas of civilization in MSEA were *really* powerful in binding people together into areas where the group identity and religious identity of Buddhism concentrated people to a great extent. Which isn't to say that people don't ever depart "civilization" and switch to other identities (there's some evidence about this with late Romans and "Huns"), but the idea about the hills as refuge from civilization often seems pretty rooted in Scott.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Baaldam View Post
                            and in Creation some strange venues that would not be viable for us might be open for the stubborn or desperate.
                            Not to mention the places whose only notable livability problem is that you probably like your current bodyplan.

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