Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

to what extend did the "dark ages" really suck?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • to what extend did the "dark ages" really suck?

    for common man i mean.
    here's some points to consider. since reality is consensual this means that this was an era when bloodletting did indeed work. the system of 5 humours was true. touched by a king could cure leprosy. prayers to saints/angels could - on occasion really cure diseases.
    and of course your local mage with the appropriate pillars could cast a healing/curing spell on everyone he met without fear of exploding. or being sniped by man in black

    likewise not all bygones were harmful to humanity etc

  • #2
    It is a perspective thing.
    Ostracism was common.
    There where many localized Realities, as in every village has its own rules. You had little to say in most cases.


    So, this Zen Master walks up to a hot dog stand and says: "Make me one with everything!"

    Comment


    • #3
      Food was difficult to get anywhere, meaning a community lived or died on the quality of the yearly harvest. The reason we have hunger nowadays isn't because of scarcity - our crop production is so great that Americans can waste 40% of it and not starve - it's because no one wants to front the cost of taking food from where it's abundant to where it's lacking. In the Dark Ages, there simply was not any way to transport anything but heavily salted foods over long distances. No way that was available to common people.

      And that's the rub, isn't it? The Dark Ages sucked because so many conveniences we take for granted now were not Consensual back in the day. At least, not in a Consensus that allowed them to be used by ordinary folk. Say what you want about the Technocratic Union, but their system did put technological power in peoples' hands. That power has since vastly improved humanity's lot in life.


      Comment


      • #4
        The boon of Dark Ages for Mages was lack of Consensus. The worst of Dark Ages for mortals was lack of Consensus. The common man had mostly as hard a time as stated in the Renascence-era books about the Dark Ages. Scarce food, scarce knowledge, scarce everything. It was an event on itself to reach puberty, and a feat to live to the forties.

        And them you throw the supernatural in the pot. Of course, there were benevolent creatures back then, as there are nowadays. With luck your village could be home to a Mage saint who delivered healing miracles far more than the wrath of an unforgiving God. Maybe you're defended from the horrors of the night by a Salubri Warrior with heart of gold. Your people could have the friendship of powerful Changers or the Good Folk. It was a time of heroes, more overtly than our modern times.

        But it mostly happened because the supernatural was unchecked. Bygones of every kind still could exist in this earthly realm, and they were dangerous more often than not. Most supernaturals aren't very caring, as most mortals aren't, either. Not even human law had a fraction of the efficacy it have today (with all the problems of today), just imagine what it was for supernaturals. They roamed the land freely, and even their indifference would harm feeble mortals. And some could be astoundingly malicious.

        Mostly in the Dark Ages the common man was alone. Whatever came their way, they wouldn't have much more than themselves to brace it. Even the nearest neighbor could be hours away, lords and armies would could be days, even at horse.


        Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante,
        Do que ter aquela velha opinião formada sobre tudo,
        Sobre o que é o amor, sobre que eu nem sei quem sou.
        É chato chegar a um objetivo num instante,
        Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante.

        Comment


        • #5
          Other things that the Dark Ages didn't have:
          • Guns. It is said "God created man and Sam Colt made them equal". Before the advent of efficient firearms, the common peasant had only his farming or crafting tools, and whatever strength and skill from said farming or crafting to defend himself with. Any bandit group with a modicum of training (like, for instance, the now-jobless veterans of a short-lived war) could run roughshod over the countryside. The only thing the people could do is hope the local Lord could (or would) send knights or mercenaries to take care of the matter. While that system functioned, it meant that the third estate was locked into a compact with their masters just to get by, and one that massively restricted their autonomy.
          • Speaking of, Social Mobility. Classes were rigid structures in those days. While today the idea of the self-made man is a cliche, back in the Dark Ages it was just about impossible. Partly because of the above servitude to a Lord, but also because of the twin barriers of societal norms and lack of education. It simply wasn't done to try rising above the station God, in His Providence, assigned to you from birth. Even the ideas of defying the social order wouldn't hardly occur to a peasant, who was cut off from any sort of intellectual discourse. It wouldn't be until years later, during what Mage calls the Sorcerer's Crusade, that moveable type would come into existence and jumpstart mass media. No way a wheat farmer in the middle of nowhere could afford even a single book, which limits his options even on a conceptual level.
          • Freedom of Thought. Going off the above yet again, the Dark Ages didn't tolerate a difference of opinion, especially not concerning politics or religion. What we would call Alternate Religious Denominations today went by a different name back then: Heresies. While a popular divergence from Vatican dogma could blossom in a remote area and obtain a reasonable following, they eventually invited the wrath of the Church and the authorities that pledged loyalty to it. Imagine, then, being a Muslim, Jew, or follower of the Old Gods during this time. Nowadays, religious tensions simmer under the surface, flaring up into relatively minor violence that is condemned (though not always stopped) by the powers that be and the media. Modern man has the knowledge that they have a right to believe as they chose, and the government couldn't intervene. In the Dark Ages, it's the government that is likely to drag you to the pyre themselves, just for the crime of thinking The Father is of a higher station that The Son in the Holy Trinity. (Yes, wrong time period, but it illustrates my point.)


          Comment


          • #6
            Adding further.

            The gun thing is an overlooked one. Industrial Revolution not only made guns functional in the way we're used to think, made them cheap and easy, and that transformed how military works. Back in the medieval being a peasant not only means you're weak, also means you're barred from military service unless a great need makes room in it for you. Equipment is costly, and if the local lord isn't in a great need for more recruits, you have to afford your own stuff if you want to give it a try. Of course, need created exceptions, but it wasn't default.

            Also, if the lord or king could send knights to take care of bandits, it isn't at all like modern police. First it works slowly, the knights will hunt known bandits and patrol a place for a time, but you can't call them to your home if you're invaded. You're still vulnerable and on your own until the bandits are found or go away. Only truly overt displays of force are better protected against, like raids and sacks. Second, well... you are vulnerable to the knights themselves. They are usually better than the bandits, but they're still a possible threat with the added authority's abuse.

            You have a few options if you're a peasant, but not great ones. First, you can be a villain, a villager who got permission to live in the land without working on it nor serving the nobles. Villains are some of the people most used to actually deal in money, but they have to be in it for some very nasty or unusual jobs sometimes. They are the most common mercenaries, and also most used as helpers to the officers that need something done among the peasants. You can also be a bourgeoisie, for now it simply means you're a trader by profession, or an artisan, that is almost the same socially speaking. Both deal a lot with "urban" areas and money proper. With a very good amount of ability and luck you can even become rich. That won't bring you up in the totem-pole, though. A rich peasant is still a peasant, and do not have rights to the juicier boom of a plot of land. At most you can pay for some personal guards among unemployed mercenaries, maybe dream with paying for the equipment for your son to become a squire, so he can aim for becoming a knight. A lowly one, still.

            On the religious side, you have two options to do things for the vast population that aren't truly Christians. You can run right into the fire with them if discovered, or you can stick to IRL laws on the matter. That's a little trickier. The Church only claimed domain over baptized Christians, so unconverted Pagans, Muslins and Jews are outside its reach. But the Christian Kings almost always declare that any non-Christian inhabitant is exiled from the realm. It kind of forces you into conversion, and into the claws of the Church.

            Remember also that it is trickier to obey the Church when no one have a bible to read, or knows how to read, and nothing keeps local authorities from taking some liberties with the scripture. The Church is a complex thing in those times, because perverting the bible is as practiced as burning people for perverting it, and mostly both are done by the same people. Church politics do more for defining who will burn than actual attendance to the bible.


            Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante,
            Do que ter aquela velha opinião formada sobre tudo,
            Sobre o que é o amor, sobre que eu nem sei quem sou.
            É chato chegar a um objetivo num instante,
            Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
              Other things that the Dark Ages didn't have:[*]Speaking of, Social Mobility. Classes were rigid structures in those days. While today the idea of the self-made man is a cliche, back in the Dark Ages it was just about impossible. Partly because of the above servitude to a Lord, but also because of the twin barriers of societal norms and lack of education. It simply wasn't done to try rising above the station God, in His Providence, assigned to you from birth. Even the ideas of defying the social order wouldn't hardly occur to a peasant, who was cut off from any sort of intellectual discourse. It wouldn't be until years later, during what Mage calls the Sorcerer's Crusade, that moveable type would come into existence and jumpstart mass media. No way a wheat farmer in the middle of nowhere could afford even a single book, which limits his options even on a conceptual level.
              That one actually varies quite a lot by when and where you were in that time period. It was actually a time of a great deal of social upheaval, which meant there were a lot of opportunities for carving out a new position. For instance, in many parts of Europe, if you could unseat a knight in a formal competition you got his armor, weapons, and horse. For all intents and purposes, you became a minor noble*. A lot of the customs you refer to actually came later in the Medieval Period.

              *You had to have a horse first, but in the early days of the armored knight they weren't as large or as specialized, so it wasn't quite the hurdle it would be later.
              Last edited by Ramnesis; 12-21-2016, 11:06 AM.


              Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

              Comment


              • #8
                There's a couple major problems with this sort of question, really.

                Most of the everybody-knows facts about the "Dark Ages" are basically complete nonsense.
                Most of the genre-typical fiction tropes about things set in the "Dark Ages" are basically complete nonsense.

                But the Dark Ages line for WoD is specifically a very gothic, deeply religious and baroque take on the era, so some of that nonsense is true? The Church of DA WoD is nothing like the religious culture of the real-world antique and medieval period, for instance, because it exists as a vehicle for pathos-ridden tales about vampires in an Anne Rice style.

                Originally posted by mark View Post
                for common man i mean.
                here's some points to consider. since reality is consensual this means that this was an era when bloodletting did indeed work. the system of 5 humours was true. touched by a king could cure leprosy. prayers to saints/angels could - on occasion really cure diseases.
                and of course your local mage with the appropriate pillars could cast a healing/curing spell on everyone he met without fear of exploding. or being sniped by man in black

                likewise not all bygones were harmful to humanity etc
                The DA:M and Revised line of thought on this period is not that the antique/medieval periods were the Dung Ages of popular imagining, but rather that the biggest (magely) problem of the era is neglect; the Fellowships coalesce in this period because mages are losing sight of their duties to the rest of humanity and focusing on intertribal warfare and the acquisition of mystical power. Even compassionate magical societies tended to turn a blind eye to problems on the ground today in favor of achieving a long-distant objective; the Batini cause is noble, but the Batini of the DA era are content to manipulate (and, if need be, assassinate) Sleepers in order to eventually arrive at their desired objective - they don't see educating Sleepers and engaging with them as equals and peers as a useful application of their time.

                The Wyck and the Aeduna taught mankind medicine, agriculture, weaving, metallurgy, how to domesticate animals...

                ...the witches of the Old Faith think that magic is something that's inherited in the blood, and while they might heal your cow with herbcraft, they won't teach you how it's done, and they spend most of their time pursuing feuds with rival witches and other magical societies.

                This is why the Craftmasons and Order are the much-needed boot to the ass that turns Fellowships into Traditions: Mage society had lost sight of its purpose amidst the feuding, and grown arrogant from the power of a Mythic Age. The Masons have a religious disdain for anything that isn't born of humble roots; while I don't think they're as noble as some folks do, that sort of focus was completely absent from the Fellowships.


                I attack people with giant insects both on and off the court.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ramnesis and Five Eyes, the main point here is to describe the Dark Ages of WoD. It isn't the actual Middle Ages, but a look to the past rooted in modern popular tropes, with added gothic themes and food for drama. As the WoD is a dark depiction of our world, the Dark Ages are a dark depiction of our past. It isn't our past per se.

                  Just to make it clear for everyone: IRL, most of our ideas about the so called Middle Ages came from a perspective established during the Renaissance. The intellectuals of this period praised pré-Christian civilizations (not necessarily their religion, mind you, but their culture), and developed the false idea that the rough one thousand years of Roman Catholic Church "domain" on society resulted only on lost of knowledge and stagnation. Hence the term "Dark Ages". This view was strongly accepted and endorsed by several intellectual circles since, but without actual analysis of remnants of the time. Recently the Neo-Paganism and similar movements from the last two centuries were among the louder proponents of this ideas, along with Atheist movements, for the obvious reason of those movements being at odds with the Church. This added more weight to the matter.

                  That said, the last decades saw a greater development in historical research of the period, and revealed that most of previous assumptions were just prejudice, moved by disagreements with the Church and Christianity in general. The actual Middle Ages is a far more complex period of History, very nuanced through time and space. Most of things ascribed to it are rooted on half-truths and over-simplification. The Church isn't as good as it wanted to depict itself, of course, but as said, things were far more complex.

                  We are talking here about World of Darkness' Dark Ages, though. It isn't a depiction of actual Middle Ages, but a dark setting for fantasy games. It can greatly benefit from new data on IRL Middle Ages that add to dramatic possibilities and general mood of the setting. But to ascribe it with more than its share of reality is to hurt both the setting and the fascinating period of our History.


                  Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante,
                  Do que ter aquela velha opinião formada sobre tudo,
                  Sobre o que é o amor, sobre que eu nem sei quem sou.
                  É chato chegar a um objetivo num instante,
                  Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Actually, I think that it adds to the setting to accurately portray the High Middle Ages. There was a massive industrial renaissance in the High Middle Ages due to the invention of watermills and windmills, allowing work to be done without depending directly on the energy produced by man or animal. The High Middle Ages also benefited from massive increases in food production and population due to the Medieval Warm Period. The combination of increased industry and increased population increased the economic output of Europe by fourfold in two centuries, which meant that Europe during the High Middle Ages was more prosperous than at any time until the 1800s. Of course, that ended with the collapses that occurred during the Little Ice Age.

                    The High Middle Ages would have been a Golden Age for the Kindred and a Dark Age for Mages. With growing human populations and growing economic productivity, more Kindred can be supported and more wealth can accumulate among the Kindred while the standardization of thought and education would have caused the Scourge to intensify. Mages would have been horrified by the metaphysical changes that started to occur as ideas of nation and trade replaced the ideas of kingdom and tribe and as the ideas of education and industry replaced the ideas of magic and religion.

                    The Little Ice Age would have been a boon to Mages because it destroyed the faith that people had in the new ideas of nation, trade, education, and industry and forced them to embrace the old ideas of kingdom, tribe, magic, and religion. In the 1200s, people across Western Europe doubted the existence of Witches and the Devil because of everything good that was occurring across Europe, despite the influence of the Catholic Church. By the 1400s, people across Western Europe accepted the existence of Witches and the Devil because of everything bad that was occurring across Europe, despite the fragmenting of the Catholic Church. The changes that occurred between 1200 and 1400 birthed a new age of magic for Europe, as people stopped doubting the existence of supernatural forces.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Not a great new insight but something to highlight what others have said, and an interesting but of trivia. In the middle ages 90% of the population was involved in agriculture in order to produce and distribute enough food for the populace. Today roughly 10% of the population is invovled with agricultural and we actually produce enough food to feed the world 3 times over.

                      Yet children still die of starvation.

                      Sorry for the sad note at the end.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Don't be sorry for it, it is jut reality, and given the dark tone of the game, deserving of being noted.

                        Aya Tari, I'm not saying that the Middle Ages don't make for an interesting setting, nor that bits of it can help to improve the game.

                        I'm saying that they are distinct things whatsoever. And, sadly, most of the setting was thought of with only the twisted renaissance view on the Dark Ages on mind. To make space for the real thing in the setting a lot of retcons would be needed. As in how the Scourge only gets worse in the 11th century and the Low Middle Ages is the time of the Order of Reason. It is counter-intuitive for the real thing, but also very well established in the setting.

                        But as I said, in the end it is "take the real deal with a grain of salt in the setting", not "stay away of the real deal".


                        Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante,
                        Do que ter aquela velha opinião formada sobre tudo,
                        Sobre o que é o amor, sobre que eu nem sei quem sou.
                        É chato chegar a um objetivo num instante,
                        Eu prefiro ser essa metamorfose ambulante.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i'm sorry but i do not get this " guns are good" things. take the scenario with these bandits. if the peasants had guns to fight them then so would these ex-mercenaries.
                          and of course the mercs guns would be better.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                            Actually, I think that it adds to the setting to accurately portray the High Middle Ages. There was a massive industrial renaissance in the High Middle Ages due to the invention of watermills and windmills, allowing work to be done without depending directly on the energy produced by man or animal. The High Middle Ages also benefited from massive increases in food production and population due to the Medieval Warm Period. The combination of increased industry and increased population increased the economic output of Europe by fourfold in two centuries, which meant that Europe during the High Middle Ages was more prosperous than at any time until the 1800s. Of course, that ended with the collapses that occurred during the Little Ice Age.

                            The High Middle Ages would have been a Golden Age for the Kindred and a Dark Age for Mages. With growing human populations and growing economic productivity, more Kindred can be supported and more wealth can accumulate among the Kindred while the standardization of thought and education would have caused the Scourge to intensify. Mages would have been horrified by the metaphysical changes that started to occur as ideas of nation and trade replaced the ideas of kingdom and tribe and as the ideas of education and industry replaced the ideas of magic and religion.

                            The Little Ice Age would have been a boon to Mages because it destroyed the faith that people had in the new ideas of nation, trade, education, and industry and forced them to embrace the old ideas of kingdom, tribe, magic, and religion. In the 1200s, people across Western Europe doubted the existence of Witches and the Devil because of everything good that was occurring across Europe, despite the influence of the Catholic Church. By the 1400s, people across Western Europe accepted the existence of Witches and the Devil because of everything bad that was occurring across Europe, despite the fragmenting of the Catholic Church. The changes that occurred between 1200 and 1400 birthed a new age of magic for Europe, as people stopped doubting the existence of supernatural forces.


                            mages(depending on the group of course) were hardly against education and cities. just ask the batini/hermetics/choristers and individuals from other fellowships

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mark View Post
                              i'm sorry but i do not get this " guns are good" things. take the scenario with these bandits. if the peasants had guns to fight them then so would these ex-mercenaries.
                              and of course the mercs guns would be better.
                              Guns are equalizing elements. It takes real strength and skill to kill with farming tools, or even real melee weapons. A gun has a dirt simple point and kill interface, which anyone can use so long as they know which direction the blam blams come out of.

                              Moreover, anyone with experience in firearms combat knows that, when the bullets start flying, any shot can get lucky and drop you like a chump. This is why gun owners advertise their gun ownership with signs on their property. Unless the aggressors are stupid or desperate, burglars and the like think twice about taking on armed homes. It's simply not worth the risk, when weaker targets can be found elsewhere.

                              Or, to put it simply, a melee battle comes down to who is stronger, more skilled, and better armed. A gun battle could go either way, and criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot.


                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X