Shaper hypocrisy vs. Shaper tragedy (SPOILERS)

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AuthorTopic: Shaper hypocrisy vs. Shaper tragedy (SPOILERS)
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
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In the Wow G4 thread, I argued at some length that the long-term and collective behavior of Shaper society is very much like the mad rashness of the various rogue magicians that the Shapers condemn. Like the many rogue magicians we have seen in the games, Shaper society pursues dangerous experiments to increase its power, mistakenly believing that its controls will prevent catastrophes. We have seen many instances in the game of dangerous accidents, yet Shaper society has not stopped trying dangerous experiments. Ironically, then, Shaper society seems to have something of the Rebel madness in its collective soul.

So I argued, citing episodes from G1 to G3 which seemed to show that an alarmingly high percentage of Shapers are latent megalomaniacs. But as Waylander argued against me earlier in that other thread, it is not clear that the examples seen in the three games are typical of Shaper society. They could all be dreadful exceptions. So I think that at least two alternative scenarios are also possible.

We might first suppose that the original Geneforge on Sucia Island was an unprecedented event. It happened, and happened there, because Danette and company ran into some sort of records from the aboriginal culture that had launched Shaping in the first place. Plausibly, those early proto-Shapers had suppressed the most dangerous Shaping secrets; with this suppression came the stability that enabled them to build the Shaper empire. Clues to these deadly secrets survived in their most ancient records, however. Danette found some of these, and the rest is history.

If Danette really was unique, the speed and throughness with which her project was shut down were remarkable achievements. Perhaps implausibly so; but perhaps the Shaper Council is a remarkable bunch of folks. And perhaps it isn't because sealing labs and barring regions are common that the apprentice PC recognizes these as standard Shaper procedures. Perhaps Shaper education just drums these ideas into students, precisely because of how shaken the Shapers were by the first Geneforge.

After Danette, there are still alarmingly many instances of fully indoctrinated Shapers going power-mad for canisters or geneforges, and doing the really dangerous things of G2 and G3. But it could be that Goettsch wasn't really picked up at random: perhaps only a somewhat corrupt Shaper would have been sailing close to a barred island in the first place. Then perhaps a single brilliant but unscrupulous character like Barzahl might naturally find his way into the clean-up team. And once the Rebels get rolling, they are good at finding people like Litalia. Plus they find out-of-the-way places, like the Ashen Isles, where rogue Shapers and magicians do occasionally manage to escape the generally excellent Shaper vigilance.

On this view, the prevalence of corruption in Shaper ranks is actually very low. In fringe areas one does find a fair number of eccentrics; but only in fringe areas, and these eccentrics are generally successfully contained. The problem is just that a very few bad apples have gotten their big chances after the secrets of canisters and the geneforge have gotten out, and they have seized their chances. Shaper society is thus in a unique crisis.

Perhaps indeed in retrospect a crisis like this was bound to happen eventually, and one might fault the Shapers for not anticipating it. But in this scenario, the Shapers had no idea that all this could happen, until Danette dropped her bombshell; by then Shaper culture had a lot of momentum, and a big empire, and they've been doing their best to cope anyway. They may be victims of a historic irony, but they are tragic victims rather than fools.

A second scenario which also tends to exculpate the Shapers:
Rogue magic is and always was very common in Shaper society, but this is just because magic is actually quite easy to learn in the Shaper world. So magicians are cropping up constantly. The Shapers are doing their best to suppress the necromancers and monsters, but it's an uphill struggle.

They make deals where they have to, sometimes turning a blind eye to wacko hermits making Runed Serviles or Experimental Gammas, in order to contain them while sparing their few reliable people for cases that cannot be settled by such compromises.

And they enroll all the talented younsters they can find in their Shaper schools, hoping to turn as many as possible into disciplined Shapers. Given the raw material they start with, a fair proportion of their graduates are still latent megalomaniacs. But they are trying to walk a fine line between producing trained maniacs and not producing enough Shapers to control the maniacs. It's tough, and they're doing their best.

Under this second scenario, Shaper discipline is indeed about as flawed as I alleged in the other thread, but the Shaper ideology is not hypocritical: it's determination in the face of adversity. They're collectively trying to 'fake it till they make it', believing in the disciplined society that they are actually still struggling to build. And then the Geneforge comes along ...

I think that the evidence available in the games doesn't really suffice to force a choice between the three scenarios I have now outlined. One can still be persuaded of one of them -- or of some other one -- based on subjective impressions; for myself, I'm still sticking with my first one, of Shapers as slow Takers. But this is a matter of opinion. Perhaps G4 will resolve things.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Agent
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Well, I would "pick" the first scenario. I don't think that magic is easy to learn.

quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

...I'm still sticking with my first one, of Shapers as slow Takers...
I think that they are more slow Barzites than Takers.

[ Tuesday, July 11, 2006 12:55: Message edited by: MagmaDragoon ]

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Posts: 1310 | Registered: Tuesday, December 20 2005 08:00
Warrior
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quote:
ometimes turning a blind eye to wacko hermits making Runed Serviles
Some proof that that is not true:

question = "You met Litalia?";
text1 = "_She came here after the rogues attacked, when I was helping to shut down this complex. I, a colleague, and our serviles were here, clearing out any supplies of value._";

And this:

question = "And what happened?"; t text1 = "_Litalia was kind. She offered me and the other mage canisters, advice, power, the control of the serviles, if we would interfere with the Shapers. I was wise. The other mage was foolish, and suffered accordingly._"; text2 = "_So Litalia gave me the powers. Powers I will now use to destroy you._";

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Posts: 153 | Registered: Monday, April 24 2006 07:00
Nuke and Pave
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If I understood you correctly, the 3 scenarios can be summarised as follows:

1. All Shapers are just hypocrites, talking about control, but taking every opportunity to grab any bit of power that comes their way.

2. Events of Geneforge are completely unique and represent an unexpected crisis.

3. Megalomania is human nature, and Shapers are struggling with it as well as they can.

I think it's a combination of cases 2 and 3. On one hand, it looks like experiments gone wrong are common enough to have standard procedures for dealing with them. On the other hand, Shapers have built a stable empire spanning two continents, and the Geneforge War seems to be an unprecedented challenge. (At least that's the feeling I am getting from Geneforge 3.)

There are unstable hermits, power-hungry maniacs and unscrupulous researchers in any society. The areas we've seen so far are exactly the kinds of areas where such people would lurk:
- Gf1 was set in a remote research center that was digging up ancient knowledge and was shut down as soon as authorities found out what kind of experimentation was going on.
- Gf2 was set in a desert frontier settlment so remote that a whole valley of terraformed land could be hidden for years from the outside world.
- Gf3 is once again set in a frontier so remote that there is no worse place for them to send Diwanya, and, until recently, just getting to the testing center to take Shaping Tests was considered to be a part of the test.

Gf4 will be set in more central areas of Shaper empire, so only after seeing that game will we know whether all the rogue experimenters we've seen are the exception or the rule.

PS There is also a simple consideration that without sealed labs and mad scientists, there would be no side dungeons for the party to fight through. :) (It's a lot easier to throw a few monsters into an area and call it "sealed lab" than to make "enemy camp #10" that is different from the previous 9 enemy camps the PC had to clear.)

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For it too has the power to kill.
However well placed word, unlike a well placed sword,
Can also have the power to heal.
Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Shock Trooper
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I, too think that such problems would be rare at best. Do you think that the Shapers would have been so unprepared if such problems were common occurances? If there were such problems the Shapers would be on constant alert to put down any rebelion or mass of rogues. I think that the reason that the rebels had such initial success was because this was a very, very, unique occurance.

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
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I think there is a mistaken assumption. While Sucia Island was the origin of the shapers, Danette's Geneforge was independently created without ancient knowledge but as the outgrowth of centuries of research. It represents a systematic way to achieve results instead of the trial and error that originally destroyed the island.

Shaper's try to regulate new knowledge and who gains access because of the results with mistakes. In GF3 there is the case of burrowing mold that has gotten loose and infected the man at Fort Kentia. The necromancers and other mad mages that want to try out anything are what needs to be stopped.

The problems is the mistreatment of serviles. They are treated as a step up from tools and animals. When the Shaper's Council accepts that they deserve better then a moderate course can be started.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Infiltrator
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Student of Trinity:

As always, you've made thoughtful and clever posts. I'm sorry that I haven't replied yet in the 'Wow' thread, but things are very hectic at the moment.

I'm actually quite impressed, since you've given quite an accurate representation of my basic contention. In past discussions with individuals on other forums, they have often misrepresented even the simplest of my arguments (either delibrately, or out of obtuseness).

Zeviz also made some interesting observations, which I'd like use as a basis for my thoughts:

quote:

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If I understood you correctly, the 3 scenarios can be summarised as follows:

1. All Shapers are just hypocrites, talking about control, but taking every opportunity to grab any bit of power that comes their way.

2. Events of Geneforge are completely unique and represent an unexpected crisis.

3. Megalomania is human nature, and Shapers are struggling with it as well as they can.

I think it's a combination of cases 2 and 3. On one hand, it looks like experiments gone wrong are common enough to have standard procedures for dealing with them. On the other hand, Shapers have built a stable empire spanning two continents, and the Geneforge War seems to be an unprecedented challenge. (At least that's the feeling I am getting from Geneforge 3.)


I think that Student of Trinity and myself make the exact same observations, and come to very different conclusions.

He observes the chaos caused by careless and rogue Shapers in the Geneforge series, and believes that this is strong evidence that the Shaper regime, its structure, attitude, beliefs and laws encourage corruption, megalomania, and dangerous behaviour.

On the other hand, I observe these happenings and feel that the attitude and laws of the Shaper regime is vindicated. Every time the Shaper Council relaxes their control, or is too slow to enforce their laws, or allows research to fall into rebel hands, disaster ensues. Quite simply, every disaster is a result of a direct defiance of basic Shaper laws and attitudes.

As for the megalomania and Shaper nuts, I don't deny their existance. However, I attribute these flaws to human nature, not Shaper teachings. As Zeviz perceptively pointed out, curiosity is human nature. And the fields which the Shapers perform research in are exciting and revolutionary, which makes it difficult to keep ones curiousity in check, to ensure that one does not cross into dangerous territory.

However, I believe that Shaper laws and attitudes help to maintain a happy medium between curiousity and the discovery/further research of forbidden knowledge, and also to ensure that megalomania is kept to a minimum.
An analogy which may be relevant is the belief that certain elements of priest-hood encourage child abuse. However, when we look objectively at the issue, the frequency of molestion in the priesthood is of the same proportion (and some say less), than that observed in the community. So it is fair to say that this molestion occurs not because the individuals are priests, but because they are human.
Likewise, I believe the megalomania observed in Geneforge is not a product of Shaper teachings, but due to the innate nature of humans. I also believe that the Shaper teachings and laws are instrumental in keeping megalomania, and the abuse of power, to a minimum.

Problems still do arise. No human institution is perfect, and even if you let your guard down for a second, you may have someone's human nature of curiousity and desire for power overwhelm common sense and Shaper Law.
However, the mere existence of crisis and megalomaniac Shapers is not evidence that the Shaper regime is a 'failed experiment', any more than a dead child is evidence of bad parents.

The state of the rebels vindicates my position. Here we have a group of serviles, drayks and drakkons who do not have Shaper laws in place, and do not share the Shaper attitude of restraint, control and discipline. And the difference between the Shapers and the Rebels is obvious. Rogues that they cannot control, widespread destruction, squabbling factions, instability, and the loss of their own 'humanity' (granted, serviles and drayks aren't human, but they lose their basic sense of right and wrong as the power of self-shaping corrupts them).

Finally, as Zeviz mentioned, the fact that the Shapers have established successful civilizations on two continents is strong evidence that their system works. It is only when they were too slow to enforce their laws that everything went awry.
But even then, it's apparent that the Shapers have managed to bounce back from initial defeats, as Geneforge 4 specifically states that they are winning the war.
The ability of a country to bounce back from so many disasterous defeats (eg. Observe Rome during the 2nd Punic War) merely highlights how resilient, well structured, and adaptable that regime is in the face of disaster.

Overall, while the Shaper regime is not a perfect institution, it has been remarkably successful.

[ Wednesday, July 12, 2006 01:41: Message edited by: Waylander ]

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VIVE LA TAKERS!
VIVE LA REBELLION!
VIVE LA GHALDRING!
Posts: 522 | Registered: Friday, November 15 2002 08:00
Electric Sheep One
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To clarify my first scenario again, it is not that all Shapers are hypocrites or megalomaniacs. It is just that too many of them are prone to megalomania, such that all it takes is a bit of temptation, and they start chugging canisters and making monsters. And given that, it is (according to this scenario) foolish and reckless of Shaper society overall to keep on with its research and rule, as if its discipline were much better than it actually is. It ought to be freezing all research, and pulling out the serviles that are laboring to build labs in hostile places, until it can get its collective act together, purge its own ranks of latent corruption, and return with the right cultural tools for the job. Instead, Shaper culture may not actually encourage corruption, but it tolerates it too much. It punishes rogues who get caught, but it does not do enough to keep unreliable people out of responsible positions in the first place.

In this scenario, Shaper culture (not all individual Shapers) is like an alcoholic who refuses to recognize that he has a problem. He talks about self-control, and demonstrates it in periodic bursts, but the fact is that he is fundamentally unreliable. However much part of him may believe in discipline, another part of him is just waiting for a big enough temptation or a good enough excuse to fall off the wagon again.

Even in this scenario, the Shaper empire can be considered successful. It may have strewn the world with sealed labs, but it has grown and avoided total catastrophe at least until the present Rebellion. But in this scenario the success of the Shaper empire is kind of like the success of the Soviet empire in the real world: a ramshackle regime that muddles through the minefields of history, occasionally exerting great coercive force, and otherwise piling up waste and riddled with corruption behind a solid ideological front. Many of the individual cogs in the big machine may be honorable, or even heroic; but the system they serve in staggers and lurches.

And a system like this can still be resilient, in a sense, just because it is so big. The whole Rebellion (in its current form) had to start with one overlooked vat growing in G2. The Rebellion is small, and it is not surprising that an intercontinental empire, even a dysfunctional one, might squash it by concentrated effort.

Personally I still find this scenario the most persuasive. An ignorant apprentice has had to pull the Shapers' chestnuts out of the fire three times now, and my respect for the Shaper council is not running high. Observing their deeds more than their words, I've started thinking of them as a politburo of grey old geezers in baggy suits, much better at pulling triggers on easy targets than at solving grave problems.

For what it's worth, I'm still more inclined to support the Shapers than the Rebels. I just think of them as a lesser evil rather than the good guys.

About Sucia Island and Danette: I don't actually remember any indications in G1 that Danette followed ancient clues, but I presume that she might have, since otherwise it is just a wild coincidence that the Geneforge was discovered on the same island that gave birth to the Shapers centuries before.

About the Runed Servile guy (can't remember his name, don't have the games here to look him up): I had indeed forgotten the remarks that indicate he was okay until meeting Litalia. Still, even though Litalia may have corrupted him, he camps close to Dhonal's Keep without anyone ever giving you a mission to rub him out. Rahul never mentions him; for the moment, at least, he is being let lie. It certainly seems as though a sortie from the Keep could easily wipe him out. But okay, perhaps he is just being overlooked in the excitement of the war.

Finally, about why there are so many sealed labs: of course the sealed labs are really all there just to provide dungeons. And cool dungeons they are; exploring a sealed lab sure seems more exciting than just some cellar currently serving as a monster flophouse. But the question is whether Jeff made the sealed labs by special creation, or through the evolutionary mechanism of a dysfunctional Shaper society.

EDIT: Important clarification: In this pessimistic scenario, I am still only criticizing the Shapers according to their own lights. The basic injustice of creating and using Serviles is another issue, and on it I don't think the Shapers come out as well.

[ Wednesday, July 12, 2006 03:56: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
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Student of Trinity:

I'm quite surprised that you compared the Shaper regime to the Soviet regime. All three games focused on fringe colonies at Shaper borders, so it is no surprise that Shaper control was not absolute. This is the same with any empire. You mention that the Shaper order is in a shambles regarding organization, but I always got the impression that they were unified and focused. *shrugs*

More to the point, I have question. If you were give the position of dictator in the Shaper regime, how would you act to change the 'mad experiment'? What laws would you pass? What mechanisms would you put in place? What you change the method of research? How would you screen for megalomaniac individuals?

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VIVE LA TAKERS!
VIVE LA REBELLION!
VIVE LA GHALDRING!
Posts: 522 | Registered: Friday, November 15 2002 08:00
Electric Sheep One
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I guess it's just a matter of extrapolating from the areas we've seen in the three games so far to the Shaper heartlands. Just how different are the fringes from the center? I'm guessing not so much, you're guessing a lot. Perhaps we'll see more in G4.

The Shaper Council does seem kind of ineffectual, though. If you leave G2 too soon, they drag their feet about dealing with Drypeak, and get overwhelmed. And your poor little apprentice PC always has to do the hard work for them, but then gets treated as a mere apprentice, despite being 50th level and able to take Benerii-Uss before breakfast. They just don't seem very clued-in about power, and that's not good in a Shaper Council.

I'm not sure what the Shapers should do, other than putting the brakes on until they do find something to do, however long that takes. Add a few more ethics courses in Shaper school. Build in a lot of tests of character into the curriculum, as wells as tests of skill, and make these tests be about more than whether you believe in keeping the Serviles down. Give normal humans (maybe even Serviles?) some voice in risk management discussions, so that Shaper arrogance doesn't always carry the day.

Maybe the Shapers are just doomed, by now, the time in which they might have steered their society straighter having passed centuries ago. I doubt there was anything much Gorbachev could have done, for instance, to salvage the Soviet Union at his point.

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Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Warrior
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quote:
Finally, about why there are so many sealed labs
For a ingame reason? I might have one. They closed off the labs when the war started. Simply because it would be hard to hold them. Of course this doesn't exactily match. But it could be the problems in the mines started when they started to leave. (As they were in a hurry they didn't do it too carefully.)
quote:
The Shaper Council does seem kind of ineffectual, though.
Yes, it does need alot of improvements.

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Posts: 153 | Registered: Monday, April 24 2006 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

Maybe the Shapers are just doomed, by now, the time in which they might have steered their society straighter having passed centuries ago.
This would be the answer to the question: "Why GF4's subtitle is Rebellion?"

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Posts: 1310 | Registered: Tuesday, December 20 2005 08:00
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quote:
If you were give the position of dictator in the Shaper regime, how would you act to change the 'mad experiment'? What laws would you pass? What mechanisms would you put in place? What you change the method of research? How would you screen for megalomaniac individuals?
That's the key question, isn't it? If there's a better way that the Council could be behaving, then it's failure to behave in that way signals that it is interested in something other than the good of its subjects.

So:Stop sealing and barring things when an experiment goes bad: clean it up instead. A hyperactive golem with demon's blood in its veins can last a very, very long time in an airtight laboratory; eventually, the seal will be breached, and people will get hurt. But the Council is more interested in avoiding accountability and hiding their mistakes than in the safety of the people.Don't just close off avenues of research. Just as any sealed lab will eventually be breached, any fact will eventually become common knowledge. The right way to deal with something like the discovery of the miniature scrolls is to continue doing research, to make any technology better and less buggy, and to figure out how society can be adapted to live with the new powers which people will have. But the Council is more interested in delaying social change and keeping themselves at the top of the heap than in the long-term well-being of the people.Rule by respect rather than fear. No matter how overextended the Shapers are, they could do better if they treated outsiders as allies rather than as an occupied people. Shapers don't need unlimited authority, don't need to be above all law; they could give reasons for their commands and convince people to do what's in their own interests (presuming, of course, that it is--they could also listen to people's input if there is disagreement), instead of by demanding unthinking obedience. But the Council is more interested in exercising its power than in producing good results.When measuring the suitability of candidates for training, base it not on their loyalty to current policies but rather on their loyalty to the people. By all means eject someone who might abuse power, but don't reject him for having alternate political views. But the Council is more interested in maintaining a corrupt regime than in ensuring the best possible succession.Bring back the Drayks. Genocide of an intelligent people cannot be justified by "they're too independent to make useful slaves", "when they live, they consume resources that could instead be consumed by our people", nor "they're sub-humans, more like reptiles than like us." But the Council is more interested in what's good for themselves than in what's morally right.
Posts: 33 | Registered: Thursday, October 30 2003 08:00
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Anybody who has read The Prince can tell you that it is best to be both feared and respected, but that is difficult. So if you must pick one, you pick to rule by fear. Only by fear will you stave off the worst of rebellions and disobediance.

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
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Ruling by fear is easier. There isn't likely to be the mistake that kindness is a sign of weakness. That's why serviles are punished for showing independent thought. In Japan they used to say that the nail that stands out above the others gets hit by the hammer.

Although the Shaper's Council has taken it too far and that has caused the servile rebellion. In GF1 there were some endings where the serviles (Obeyers) were treated better, but usually they were cannonfodder that could be most useful by dying so they didn't contaminate the other serviles. The drayks are by GF3 considered too powerful and dangerous to be allowed to exist. The serviles have pushed their search for power to the point where their creations are more likely to go out of control and damage the world rather than help it. I don't think that certain creations will be allowed to continue in Shaper controlled areas.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
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In America, the saying goes, "Squeaky wheel gets the oil."
In Japan, the saying goes, "Crooked nail gets hammered back in."

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
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I totally agree with ThirdParty. If the Council will change, Shapers Empire can have a chance, IMHO.

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Posts: 1310 | Registered: Tuesday, December 20 2005 08:00
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While I see the Shapers as oppressive tyrants, I don't agree that the creations should be given absolute freedom or regarded as independent beings. Once that happens, the entire point of making the creation is lost. I was reluctant to side with the Shapers in Geneforge 3 mostly because of their high and mighty attitude and general disregard for "outsiders." That and the rebels came off more as unjustified terrorists that tired to hide behind thin claim of justice to excuse indiscriminate slaughter.

Normal human beings shoulnd't have to live in fear of the Shapers or be treated like second class citizens, but the serviles were created in part to alleviate this. They perform many of the mundane, trivial, or hazardous tasks that most humans would refuse to. I felt the conflict in G3 was between two sects of extremists with opposing viewpoints. No matter how intelligent, or clever, or independent a creation is, it's still only a creation and was created for some specific purpose. However, that doesn't mean the creator has a right to be inhumane or abusive to their creations.

Think about Terminator, The Matrix, I Robot, Frankenstein, or any other story where a creation has turned on it's developers. The creations in those stories were created for some purpose but the downfall of their cretors was always hubris and reckless experimentation. Personally I don't see much difference from a few serviles getting bored and deciding to kill their masters and an over-advanced AI becoming self-aware and launching a nuclear warhead to claim it's own independence.

Drakons can't be allowed to exist and shouldn't have been made in the first place because they exemplify this the most: a creation that is a product of reckless unchecked research that will invariably turn on it's makers. That dangerous and unchecked research is why the Shapers are so strict about who learns magic and how much, but it deosn't change the fact they go too far too restrict the flow of knowledge and information. The Shapers need reform, but outright rebellion isn't going to solve their problems.
Posts: 49 | Registered: Thursday, July 27 2006 07:00
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quote:
Originally written by Savage Ed Walcott:

I don't agree that the creations should be given absolute freedom or regarded as independent beings. Once that happens, the entire point of making the creation is lost. ... Normal human beings shoulnd't have to live in fear of the Shapers or be treated like second class citizens, but the serviles were created in part to alleviate this. They perform many of the mundane, trivial, or hazardous tasks that most humans would refuse to. ... No matter how intelligent, or clever, or independent a creation is, it's still only a creation and was created for some specific purpose.
The clawbug is a modification of the desert scorpion; what do you suppose the servile is a modification of? Human, right? So we know that humans can be "created" in your sense of the word. (I don't whether serviles can be Shaped; most people breed them instead. But if they can, then humans presumably can too.) So one could "create" a human just like you or me, with the intention of using it to do nasty work in awful conditions for no pay (you would undoubtedly refuse to do "trivial, mundane, or hazardous" tasks at first, but I imagine you'd change your mind after some time in one of those tiny cages or on one of those whipping posts, that always seem to be found near any servile-holding community). If this was the purpose the human was created for, does that make it right to treat it that way? How would you like to be told that because you were created for some purpose, that was what you had to do with your life?

On the other hand, slaves are not the only thing one might want to create: just because Shapers have chosen to use their ability for this evil purpose doesn't mean that it's the only thing that Shaping is good for. (However, If slavery were the "whole point" of Shaping as you suggest, that would be an argument against Shaping, not an argument in favor of slavery.) Especially in underpopulated areas, one might want to create people to be friends, allies, citizens. Hey, people decide to have babies, right? Shaping is just an alternative, less messy, way of making new people. And it gives more options: for example, if one wants the new citizens, one's children as it were, to be stronger and braver, smarter and more creative and more magically apt, more noble and more honest and more trustworthy, and better looking and better able to fly than average people are, one can do that. (Drayks make excellent citizens, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise. The incidents have all been because drayks make poor slaves.) There'd be no danger of overly-"independent" creations eating their masters if you stopped trying to set masters over them.
Posts: 33 | Registered: Thursday, October 30 2003 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7143
Profile #19
I don't agree with you that serviles are just modified humans. They are "humaniods" but does that mean that they are really the same as humans? I would sooner say that they were made from chimpanzees or something. Also, there is no evidence that Shapers have or ever will, create a human from essence. Shapers are quite strict on the research that they allow their people to do; just look at how they forbid necromancy. Even though shaping a human from essance is in theory possible (after all they are just shaping dna) there is no proof that that created human would truly be "human".

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
Councilor
Member # 6600
Profile Homepage #20
It's been hinted at the serviles were created by modifying humans. But it doesn't really matter if they were human, it matters whether they are human (enough) to be given the same freedoms that the ordinary humans have.

Dikiyoba.
Posts: 4346 | Registered: Friday, December 23 2005 08:00
Agent
Member # 5814
Profile #21
quote:
Originally written by Retlaw May:

I would sooner say that they were made from chimpanzees or something.
Well, of course you would. That's the easy way out. It lets you continue to think the way you think, even though the only humanoids we've seen have been humans and creations.

quote:
Originally written by Dikiyoba:

It's been hinted at the serviles were created by modifying humans. But it doesn't really matter if they were human, it matters whether they are human (enough) to be given the same freedoms that the ordinary humans have.

Dikiyoba.

They quite clearly are. You can argue that some serviles are less intelligent, and so don't deserve the same rights as a human, but I would like to stress the point that they can become intelligent when raised in the proper atmosphere. Much like the situation of women a few hundred years ago.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon
Well, I'm at least pretty

Posts: 1115 | Registered: Sunday, May 15 2005 07:00
Agent
Member # 2759
Profile Homepage #22
quote:
Originally written by Your ad could be here- contact me.:

They quite clearly are [human]. You can argue that some serviles are less intelligent, and so don't deserve the same rights as a human, but I would like to stress the point that they can become intelligent when raised in the proper atmosphere. Much like the situation of women a few hundred years ago.
You may believe this, but not everyone has to agree with you. From the viewpoint of a shaper, serviles are just creations - the same as ornks or fyoras. A servile is a utility, not an individual. You created it, you own it. At any time you may decide to reabsorb it, just the same as any other creation. It's rather pointless, granting the right to self-determination to an object that has no right to life.

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"I can't read this thread with that image. But then, that's not a complaint." -Scorpius

Geneforge 4 stuff. Also, everything I know about Avernum | Avernum 2 | Avernum 3 | Avernum 4
Posts: 1104 | Registered: Monday, March 10 2003 08:00
Shock Trooper
Member # 7143
Profile #23
I'm just talking from a Shapers view point here:
If you give serviles equal rights, then there was no point in their existance and creation. Shapers made these things to be happy to work for shapers. So in some ways, it would be inhumane to suddenly say, "Hey you have equal rights now, so go away somewhere to live your lives because we might as well use humans now." How do you think the majority of serviles would react. I think that they would beg their masters to let them stay and keep living as they had.
When you speak of serviles, you speak as if the majority are for the rebels and are intellegent. I got the feeling that the majority were the dumb ones that liked working. You may argue that even the dumb ones don't like it in the dangerous places like on Gull Island, but I bet that very few actually work in places such as that.
So, I feel that the intellegent serviles are acting much like a minority trying to impose themselves and their lifestyles over the majority. They don't care if the other serviles want it, they just will force feed it to them anyways!

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"After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one."
- Cato the Elder (234-149 BC)

"The mind, if it exists, is nothing but an unfortunate after effect of the brain process."
-Kripke

"One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly."
-Friedich Nietzche
Posts: 333 | Registered: Saturday, May 20 2006 07:00
Agent
Member # 5814
Profile #24
Right, so I had this great post written out. It pointed out puns, it had elegant quote-work, it had FYTs. It was beautiful. But when I tried to post it, "the connection timed out" and I lost everything. So this time, I'm just going to spell out the main point rather than answering every little detail individually.

What gives humans the right to command and destroy creations? It's not their superior power, intelligence, or numbers. It's not their ability to rationalize or to organize themselves into societies and communities. It's not because they can shape. So what is it?

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon
Well, I'm at least pretty

Posts: 1115 | Registered: Sunday, May 15 2005 07:00

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