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"Realistic" things that no-one actually wants to deal with in fantasy games

Gogmagog

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Sounds like an unbroken stream of abject misery to me. So I guess Mr. Sjöström can find me insufferably whiggish.
At least WH40K can have some satire with the ultraviolence. Gimmie Orks any day there, at least they have fun while dying with a gut full of bullets.

""I had fun!"

Edit: I think we've drifted off too far into misery land and need a dandelion break.
 
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Gussick

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Pre-modern times were a shitstorm of misery and you can point to basically any time and find that the only way to avoid suffering plague, famine, continent-spanning conflagration of inhumanity caused by war or church, or other similarly jolly events is to die too young for that to happen. Yes, much worse than the modern day. Just because you can occasionally get your nose above the waterline and take a few breaths doesn't mean you're not drowning. Your authentic 14th century parka isn't actually that authentic unless you kill half your kids, never travel away from the building you were born in, live for years on 800 calories a day or less, watch some roving crusaders casually rape your wife and daughters and take all your food because some dumb-ass pope decided to make a political statement, and then finally die of the black plague.
You're taking a series of events from a five-hundred year period and selecting all the bad ones, then exaggerating them to make your point. Day-to-day life was not full of famine or ravaging crusaders for late medieval western Europe. Famines certainly happened, but so did good crops. You point to the Great Famine of the early 14th, I could point to the Holodomor. You point to the crusades, I could point to the increasingly horrific wars from the Thirty Years War to WWII that have characterized modern "progress." You point to the black death, I could point to the Spanish Influenza. And to whatever else is waiting to sweep in when the last ditch antibiotics finally collapse.

I'm talking about ordinary life. It's better now in many respects. And it sucked in many respects in the late medieval. My point was never that bad things didn't happen. My point was that we moderns tend to either make it a perfect paradise of romantic ideals or a hellpit of human misery where everyone is covered in poo and getting beaten by one or more Popes.
 

Gussick

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It depends really heavily on who and where you were. A Russian or Chinese serf's life was basically unending drudgery with not enough food and random beatings. An English yeoman farmer worked pretty hard, but wasn't going cold or hungry for the most part. An Irish boaire worked less and ate better, but had access to fewer luxuries. A Dutch burgher had a life that was largely comparable to what a decent salary would give these days except there's no plumbing and the standard of medical care is shit. A Klamath fisher works less than a boaire and eats like a king, and aside from antibiotics, hormone replacement and access to books I'd take it over most any modern arrangement.
Excellent point. And of course, a great deal of our first world lifestyle is made possible by horrific living and working conditions in the developing world. To compare a modern community in the US or EU with a medieval market town you'd have to include the FULL span of people making each possible. We still have servants in horrific conditions--we just don't see them or live near them anymore. And in that sense very little actually has changed. I'm a fat and happy upper tier commoner in my living history role and I'm a fat and happy upper tier commoner in my real life role. There's still a 1% above me running things. There's still a huge number of lower tier people below me in the chain. In my 14th century role as town cleric I'd be in a good position to get the hell out of Dodge if a plague was coming--as many did from the upper tiers. Likewise if warfare was imminent (though England was actually much less marred by war in the 14th than the 20th) . The only difference now is that I'm ALREADY living "out of Dodge" as it were. I'm already removed from the regions where medical care is bad to nonexistent. I'm already removed from the regions where war rages. Yet people from these places are instrumental in doing everything from making the gasoline I use to providing chips in the camera I took the picture with.

The great lesson I've taken from living history is humility. Don't look down on those in the past, and don't assume you're above them because you have better shoes. We are not all that different from them. And there's a great deal to learn from them.
 
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Gussick

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Good modern outdoors and bad weather clothing is really good - light and effective. However, it's also bloody expensive, often (but not always) wears out fairly quickly, and it's hard to repair so that it remains effective.

I just wish 'natural fibres' didn't always mean 'cotton' in mainstream clothing, unless you pay a lot extra for wool. It's all very well for lightweight summer clothing and indoors wear, but its effing useless for much else.
Cotton is a horror show. It's a fabric that helped create both slavery and colonialism. Flax, in contrast, can be grown in a wide range of climates and processed locally. It's made into linen that's naturally wicking and is great in both the snow and the sunshine. It even works as remarkably effective armor when you layer it together. Cotton in the cold is an invitation to frostbite. And you have to make it into super-stiff denim before it's very durable. But the modern world loves the stuff. An inferior cloth that required slave labor to make. But to the folks running the show it was pure profit.
 

mindstalk

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of course, a great deal of our first world lifestyle is made possible by horrific living and working conditions in the developing world.
Not really. I've never seen any evidence of it. Most of our first world lifestyle comes from science, machines, and vast amounts of energy use; poor working conditions -- which aren't necessarily any worse than historical ones -- mean slightly lower prices for some products, and bigger corporate profit margins.

The easiest meta-evidence is that we're kind of running out of poor people to explain higher lifestyles with. The entire world is getting longer lived, more electrified, and wealthier. World income has gone from a bimodal distribution between rich and very poor, in the 1960s, to a single hump with a peak incoe around $7,000/year and increasing with time. If the wealth of the Victorians came from exploiting people, who are "Third World" people, now wealthier than those Victorians, exploiting?

making the gasoline
AFAIK that's largely extracted by First World companies, and other skilled people, and the countries with the oil are generally well-paid for that. Whether those payments are evenly distributed among the population varies but isn't very material to our standard of living.

There's still a huge number of lower tier people below me in the chain.
Who now in many ways live better than kings, let alone anyone else, ever did. More of their kids survive, for one thing. Smartphones. Bicycles. Refrigerators. Vaccines.

I'm already removed from the regions where medical care is bad to nonexistent
And those areas are much smaller than they ever have been. 80-90% of children worldwide are vaccinated against some disease. The worst country in the world has a child mortality rate medieval kings would envy.

We still have servants in horrific conditions--we just don't see them or live near them anymore.
We've mostly replaced them with machines and infrastructure or doing things ourselves. Drawing water? Pipes. Collecting firewood? Gas pipes or electricity. Doing laundry? Washing machines. Cooking? Do it ourselves.
 

Law Orc

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Knock it off with the thread drift, folks.
 

PeterM

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One thing I’ve noticed about realism is that it’s a lot easier to handwave things I’m not all that familiar with. I like the idea of having a ton of one handed sword because the names are interesting, and I’m sure they’re all different in various ways, but it wouldn’t bother me a bit if mechanically they were all just “Sword, one handed 1d8 damage.” Bob can wield a tulwar, Sara can have a scimitar and Preston can rock a broadsword, but they all work identically. Fine by me.

I don’t feel the same way about guns, though. I have no particular problem with all “light” pistols doing 1d6 damage and having the same range and otherwise being treated like the swords above, but at the same time I know that they’re all going to require different magazines and possibly different caliber bullets so they’re not really interchangeable the way I’m okay with swords being. That’s about all I know about guns, but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing when it comes to hand waving.
 

Quantum Bob

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One thing I’ve noticed about realism is that it’s a lot easier to handwave things I’m not all that familiar with.
Dude, I know what you mean. Since we started a Mass Effect game with Genesys, I have been obsessing about my Quarian's bone structure and especially on how the fuck her legs work.
 

DavetheLost

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And there is a huge piece of ignored realism for me. Anatomy and physiology of RPG creatures. Go ahead make a pegasus or a centaur that actually works biologically. I'll wait. Even if you hand wave the aerodynamics required for a horse to fly, I want to see how you attach and articulate the wings...
 

Dagor

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And there is a huge piece of ignored realism for me. Anatomy and physiology of RPG creatures. Go ahead make a pegasus or a centaur that actually works biologically. I'll wait. Even if you hand wave the aerodynamics required for a horse to fly, I want to see how you attach and articulate the wings...
True, and then there's the whole well-established square/cube law thing for anything 'giant'. I think, though, that this is one area in which I'm generally happy to waive too-close adherence to real life rules; after all, the weirdest stuff generally tends to crop up in the already more fantastic settings whose actual (if of course fictional) in-setting reality has every excuse it needs to sneer at our world's plebeian notions of 'realism'. :)
 
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