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"Decolonizing D&D"

DavetheLost

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Biological evolution must work very differently in the Star Wars galaxy then.

As for claiming that since the titular monarchs of England have been descendants of Alfred the Great since 870 AD England has there for been a continuous empire since then in the same sense as D&D and Fantasy empires is rather much comparing apples to peaches. They are both fruits that grow on trees in orchards in temperate climates, but that hardly makes them the same thing. Most D&D and fantasy empires are pretty much considered to have been largely culturally and technologically static for their millennia long existence.

Japan today is hardly the Japan of even 100 years ago.

There have been massive socio-political and technological changes during the times that the Catholic Church has dominated Europe, or the same family has been titular head of England or Japan, or something calling itself "Rome" has had an empire or republic.
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
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Biological evolution must work very differently in the Star Wars galaxy then.
Why do you say that?

Most D&D and fantasy empires are pretty much considered to have been largely culturally and technologically static for their millennia long existence.

Japan today is hardly the Japan of even 100 years ago.

There have been massive socio-political and technological changes during the times that the Catholic Church has dominated Europe, or the same family has been titular head of England or Japan, or something calling itself "Rome" has had an empire or republic.
And most of those changes have been in the last few hundred years. If you chop off the Modern era and gunpowder, which is a pretty decent crude definition of classic 'fantasy', the tech and even sociological change rate becomes far less.
 

Alon

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How long did Rome or Carthage, or any of the Chinese or Japanese dynasties last before their empires fell? Culture in some of those places persisted over a long time, but the empires rose and fell. The entire history of human existence on Earth is shorter than I have seen some fantasy empires proposed to have lasted with no change.

A thousand year empire covers basically the time form the Norman conquest of England till now. Or from the early days of the Roman Empire (post-Republic) to the Norman Conquest. How much did Earth change during either of those spans? No human empire has lasted that long. And thousand year empires are common in fantasy.
Yeah, exactly. And I don't think it's exactly a colonial trope, but it's very much a romantic-nationalist trope, pretending that something that was invented in your lifetime or your parents' lifetime is a millennia-old immutable feature of the culture and all who act differently must be removed from society as communist social engineers. ASOIAF goes further and tells us that individual lineages go back millennia, although that can be chalked down to unreliable narration - there are hints in the source material that nothing predating the Andal invasion can be reliably dated anyway. (By the same token, noble families in Renaissance Italy forged documents claiming descent from Augustus-era generals.)
 

Dagor

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Yeah, exactly. And I don't think it's exactly a colonial trope, but it's very much a romantic-nationalist trope, pretending that something that was invented in your lifetime or your parents' lifetime is a millennia-old immutable feature of the culture and all who act differently must be removed from society as communist social engineers. ASOIAF goes further and tells us that individual lineages go back millennia, although that can be chalked down to unreliable narration - there are hints in the source material that nothing predating the Andal invasion can be reliably dated anyway. (By the same token, noble families in Renaissance Italy forged documents claiming descent from Augustus-era generals.)
Nothing new under the sun. Check out Virgil's Aeneid sometime and I think you'll find the practice was already alive and well in Augustan times -- and who knows for how many (actual) millennia before then. :)
 

Alon

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I mean, the Bible tries to portray Jewish continuity from the time of Abraham... and Jewish nationalists today, whether secular Zionists or the ultra-Orthodox, try to claim that Judaism today is the same nation and religion as it was in Classical Antiquity.
 

ezekiel

Follower of the Way
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Biological evolution must work very differently in the Star Wars galaxy then.
Eh...not really? They explicitly include several "near-human" species/subgroups that have varying fertility with "regular" humans, so genetic drift is definitely a Thing. But when the galaxy is mostly able to get people from one end to the other in days as opposed to years, if any species is flowing enough to keep on the move, I don't know that evolution can have sufficient selective pressure to make a difference.

Also, something else to consider with the advancement of fundamental science: modern science has gotten bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Sure, right now we're at exponential publication rates, but it's not unreasonable to have trade-offs arise from needing more and more people, larger facilities, higher energies, bigger data sets, etc. It's not that unlikely that we'll start running into the physics or biology equivalent of Fermat's Last Theorem or Goldbach's Conjecture, or worse.

Also x2 combo, keep in mind that some official content (KOTOR 1 and 2, SWTOR) has put the Jedi order and/or the Republic into serious, mortal danger--to the tune of "literally only one living Jedi and most thought she'd quit" or "the capital itself got sacked and the Jedi Temple *destroyed*." So if "came back from the brink" is allowed to count as continuous operation, they may be using a loose or exception-riddled definition. Not like this is unusual; many real governments tried to invoke historically prominent ones to justify their rule. See: the Holy Roman Empire, which wasn't particularly Holy or Roman or even much of an Empire.
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
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It occurs to me that for some settings, the key info is "civilization X, who knew how to make Y, were around for N years, until replaced by Z who didn't know how." The civil wars and other changes of X aren't important compared to "people X made dungeons and magic items, people Z dig them up".
 

Alon

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It occurs to me that for some settings, the key info is "civilization X, who knew how to make Y, were around for N years, until replaced by Z who didn't know how." The civil wars and other changes of X aren't important compared to "people X made dungeons and magic items, people Z dig them up".
Yeah, that unreconstructed attitude toward the Roman Empire bothers me too.

But while it's widespread in genre fantasy, I don't think it's universal? D&D 4e explicitly pitches this setting as its default, because of the Murder Hobo problem - if the PCs go around a connected commercial civilization killing things then the Nice Job Breaking It Hero trope applies in full, whereas an imagined dark age allows them to more easily move between places and kill stuff without getting a bad reputation. But a lot of popular non-4e settings are not like this - Dragonlance has medieval stasis across multiple ages but very little that evokes the idea of a dark age, and Forgotten Realms has a huge city in Baldur's Gate. (I think Greyhawk is more dark age-y? But at least judging by which settings 5e centers, the most popular are Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance.)
 

vitruvian

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It occurs to me that for some settings, the key info is "civilization X, who knew how to make Y, were around for N years, until replaced by Z who didn't know how." The civil wars and other changes of X aren't important compared to "people X made dungeons and magic items, people Z dig them up".
Well, it could still be relevant even for action archaeologists and tomb raiders to know a little bit more than this type of treasure or magic item in dungeons built by Civ X, this type for Civ Y, this type for Civ Z. For one thing, if the dungeons are tombs it would be helpful to know exactly whose, so you can guess whether they're more likely to be interred as a mummy, not actually dead but under a Sequester or Imprisonment spell, or possibly subject to a Magic Jar and waiting in a death mask, royal scepter, or something to possess your dumbest party member.
 
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