Middle of the road viewpoint

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AuthorTopic: Middle of the road viewpoint
Shock Trooper
Member # 2599
Profile #25
I was not suggesting a radical reform that invalidates all shaper principles. Just two things: avoid exposing serviles to lethal harm, and grant freedom to those serviles who are intelligent and mature enough to request it. Take the robot analogy. Very few robots would become enlightened enough to understand freedom, much less request it. Granting freedom to serviles who want it will not affect those serviles who are happy to serve.

As for abusive situations, people would not callously abuse robots or dogs. They cost money. Dogs take time and money to train. Serviles cost effort and essence. Only a fool puts them into needless danger. There is a big difference between exposing your servile (dog, robot) to potentially lethal harm and the normal rigors of a job.
Posts: 201 | Registered: Thursday, February 6 2003 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #26
But isn't that too radical to come out of nowhere? The Awakened were only born after many years of isolation from Shapers, many unusual years during which the values of the serviles were free to evolve.

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #27
If some serviles can become entitled to freedom just by becoming uppity enough to request it, then the basis for servile servitude becomes servile incapacity, and not the fact that the Shapers created the serviles. That admission would destabilize Shaper society, so that thereafter it could avoid drastic change only if it avoided stress of any kind.

For example, the fact that the Takers and the Awakened have arisen seems to indicate that many serviles, if not most or even all, do have an innate capacity for freedom. Perhaps at first it would be only a few serviles who demanded freedom; but if the Shapers let these go, how many more would follow? Even if servile defections remained small, Shaper society would be hanging by a thread, and Shaper society doesn't seem keen on that.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 5667
Profile #28
There is more at stake than just the treatment of Serviles that Shapers must contend with. If they are to grant emancipation to the Serviles, how will they maintain their position in the eyes of other humans. We know that other magical sects exist, and when they see the Shapers own creations getting whatever they want, they too will demand freedom from Shaper authority - freedom to pursue whatever foolhardy magical experiments they desire.

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Whatever happens, happens.
Posts: 48 | Registered: Monday, April 4 2005 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #29
Ha! A good point. The odd illicit necromancer here and there, the high incidence of reckless Shaper eccentrics, and the seemingly wilder mores of the historical Shaper mainstream, all seem to indicate that uncontrolled magic is a very real danger in the Shaper world. The Shapers have some reason to feel that they have a tiger by the tail, and can't let go. Indeed, G2 showed that the Awakened themselves got into dangerous augmentations, and even summoning demons, almost as soon as they got the slightest opportunity, out from under the ruthless Shaper vigilance.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
Profile Homepage #30
That "tiger" business -- the power to summon demons and shape barred creations and yourself, et cetera -- is part and parcel of the shaping business. That's one of the main arguments used by the loyalists, especially in GF3 -- that such power has to be tightly controlled to avoid the chaos we have seen in the GF series.

But isn't the real underlying point of GF that such chaos is inevitable, if you are going to play with that kind of power? That's why the ideals of the Awakened seem so spurious... humans exist without shaping; serviles don't. And that, too, is why Sucia island was barred...

Among fantasy stories, video games included, one of the most common motifs is of some great evil power which should have been destroyed, but instead was sealed; and after many years it unleashes destruction on the world. In the case of shaping/augmenting, "destroying the evil power" doesn't really mean destroying the geneforge (or whatever) so much as putting safeguards in place, and improving capacity for judgment in society... because the power can always be recreated from scratch.

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Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 5667
Profile #31
quote:
In the case of shaping/augmenting, "destroying the evil power" doesn't really mean destroying the geneforge (or whatever) so much as putting safeguards in place, and improving capacity for judgment in society... because the power can always be recreated from scratch.

A good point. One of the prime motifs of the game is the corrupting influence of power. The Shapers have discovered a god-like power; to make and control life itself. The Drakons have also discovered that power but on a greater scale, as they have knowledge of genetics. So if the Shapers are corrupt, the Drakons are doubly so! Only those with little power, such as the Awakened in GF1, can hold to altruistic ideals.

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Whatever happens, happens.
Posts: 48 | Registered: Monday, April 4 2005 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5567
Profile Homepage #32
To Zorro:
The phrase "Truth is war's first casualty" comes from the game Marathon Rubicon; it is the text on the entrance screen.

PS. I think Rubicon can be downloaded free somewhere

EDIT: here

[ Tuesday, April 19, 2005 00:16: Message edited by: JadeWolf ]

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How many shapers are there?
Why is Drypeak controlled by Zakary?
Why is Barzahl a Guardian?
How does the Geneforge work?
What's as small as nothing?
Why am I asking stupid questions?
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Shaper teacher : "DON'T TOUCH THAT!"
BOOM!!
apprentice :*little voice* "Sorry..."
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CSM RIFQ
Neopets Do join, it's fun. Do you know what is the answer to the greatest question ever? It's here.
Posts: 576 | Registered: Wednesday, March 2 2005 08:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #33
quote:
Originally written by JadeWolf:

To Zorro:
The phrase "Truth is war's first casualty" comes from the game Marathon Rubicon; it is the text on the entrance screen.

Actually, I think you'll find that was first said by the Greek dramatist Aeschylus, way back in the fifth century BC.

[ Tuesday, April 19, 2005 01:03: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #34
Ah, but 'putting safeguards in place' seems easier said than done. The power seems so tempting, and even if the knowledge itself could be concealed, the fact that it exists to be rediscovered is now common knowledge to a continent full of magicians. Apparently, you cannot unring a bell.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 2883
Profile Homepage #35
I have to admit that, though I've been buying Jeff's games since Exile, I am finding G3 to be not very enjoyable, for the reasons everyone has pointed out. If I simply follow my conscience (as I have in earlier games), I talk like a rebel and (for the most part) act like a loyalist, with the results that have been noted here. I actually felt lousy when Greta--whom I liked--left my broup because she disagreed with what I was doing, and I was left with Alwan, whom I can't stand. The game has become a chore, frankly, and judging from what others have said, I don't think I would enjoy it any more if I started again and played as either a straight loyalist or a straight rebel. I'm curious to know what Jeff was thinking when he scripted this one.

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Matt Thorn
School of Manga Production
Kyoto Seika University
Japan
Posts: 10 | Registered: Wednesday, April 16 2003 07:00
Warrior
Member # 1668
Profile #36
I'm similarly a bit uneasy with the stance I've taken. I recognize that there's value in seeing how polarizing debates of freedom and free will can be, but the lack of a middle ground leaves me (and my Agent) making decisions that I can't say I'm proud of. I've decided that, as I've been compelled to take a stand, I'm playing as a rebel this time through, hoping that the Drakons have a long-term vision that I lack the creativity to appreciate. But I'm already looking forward to my next game as a purely loyal Shaper -- not that I expect that moral pole to any more accurately reflect my beliefs...

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"Mongo only pawn in game of life" -- Mongo
Posts: 75 | Registered: Monday, August 5 2002 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 5667
Profile #37
quote:
I'm curious to know what Jeff was thinking when he scripted this one
That is just the moral ambiguity that Jeff has done a good job putting into his games. The fact that neither side is 100% "right" makes it possibe to go either way. Otherwise you would be forced to play either a "good guy" or a "bad guy" with nothing in between.

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Whatever happens, happens.
Posts: 48 | Registered: Monday, April 4 2005 07:00
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #38
I read one of Jeff's articles on Irony Central in which he talks about common RPGs, and mentions that you know the evil guys because they're different from you - and usually at is enough. He clearly thinks this crude standard for violence is inappropriate.

I have to say, I had to stop playing Geneforge 3 recently. I was playing a Shaper, and really following my conscience (trying VERY hard to answer all the questions as I would myself), and I began to have regrets for my own Creations. I know this sounds totally weird, but I stopped being okay with creating sentient creations which then often were sent into suicidal missions so I could get some essence pods or something equally trivial. Has anyone else had that kind of unease?

Z

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 5667
Profile #39
Well, I do get attached to some of my creations and will go to extreme lengths to keep them alive .... but actually feeling guilty about the destruction of a few bytes of HD space....not exactly.

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Whatever happens, happens.
Posts: 48 | Registered: Monday, April 4 2005 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 5567
Profile Homepage #40
To Thuryl:
Really? I didn't know. I thought Rubicon's makers made it up. Cliché's and sayings like that should be copyrighted.
Well, not serious, really.

--------------------
How many shapers are there?
Why is Drypeak controlled by Zakary?
Why is Barzahl a Guardian?
How does the Geneforge work?
What's as small as nothing?
Why am I asking stupid questions?
--------------------------------
Shaper teacher : "DON'T TOUCH THAT!"
BOOM!!
apprentice :*little voice* "Sorry..."
---------------------------
CSM RIFQ
Neopets Do join, it's fun. Do you know what is the answer to the greatest question ever? It's here.
Posts: 576 | Registered: Wednesday, March 2 2005 08:00
Shaper
Member # 5437
Profile #41
I don't like using “meatshields.” I have for certain parts of the game where it was necessary. I tend to make one or two creations that I keep with me until it is time to upgrade to a stronger being. I kept my Cryoa until I got to Dhonal's Keep where I got the Drayk canister. I kept my Drayk until I was able to make a Cryodrayk, and kept it for the rest of the game. I heal them a lot in battle and try to keep them out of harms way.
Posts: 2032 | Registered: Wednesday, January 26 2005 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #42
I've always been able to bury my qualms about the moral status of my own creations under the ambiguity of their physical status. My theory is that my own creations are different from the rogues I meet, and are really just mindless robots made of essence. Here is my reasoning.

It is clear that in the GF world there are creations of a wide range of durabilities. There are the 'fading creations' you meet on Harmony Isle in G3, and the fading Drakons that spring out of the crystals Barzahl gives you to assassinate Zakary in G2. There are the spawned creations, which form every few seconds while you are around the Spawner, but which must apparently dissolve spontaneously in your absence, because if you leave a Spawner and return, you don't find that it has filled the region with creations while you were gone. And there are the creations you make yourself, in a crackle and a flash, out of thin air.

On the other extreme, there are Drayks that live for ages and beget new generations of Drayks, and Serviles that acquire wisdom and knowledge greater than those of most Shapers.

Here is my theory for why there is this range of durabilities. There are a lot of vats in the Shaper world. Any kind of creation can apparently be grown in a vat. Why bother, if Spawners and shapers can make creations out of essence alone? I conjecture that vat-grown creations are permanent, potentially independent beings, but spawned creations are really just essence robots, which will fade away within hours or days if separated from their creator.

Thus, I can let my own creations die, or reabsorb them, without guilt; and yet the moral issues of the games, concerning the treatment of permanent creations like Serviles, remain undiminished. Hooray!

[ Wednesday, April 20, 2005 15:29: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Shaper
Member # 5437
Profile #43
One observation is that when you absorb your creations they dissolve into essence, but creations that come from anywhere else leave blood on the ground after they die. The Spawners on the other hand seem to made of jewls.
Posts: 2032 | Registered: Wednesday, January 26 2005 08:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #44
Even if they're physically unstable, though, your creations obviously aren't completely mindless. After all, they run away if hurt.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4592
Profile #45
Hi. Sorry to ask a question that is slightly off topic:

How about the "lower" creations such as "living tools," "traps," "mines," etc. (Pylons too, they also leave gemstones like Spawners. . . a coincidence? Why are gemstones important in the making of those two creations?) These creations are all alive at a certain level. I suppose they don't have intelligence, as such, but. . . are they like trees, for instance? If such is the case, in our world there are those who adore trees to a fantatical level. Are there those in the Shaper world who adore and respect the rights of the "lower" creations to the same fanatical extent?

Also, the funky plants (the one who throw acid splashes and the one that "cast?" inferno) leave behind them regular thorns. Both of them. Is that because they are essentially the same, the only difference being, perhaps, the incantation that is cast (shaped?) at some point during the creation?

I wonder, thinking about the possibilities of GF4 and the fact that we may not begin as a Shaper, if that would mean that the Scholai (to name the only non-Shaper group I know of, other than the Drakons and their ilk) are going to become involve in this war.

One thing I wish could change about these games is that I'd like to have a better idea of how this world is, geopolitically speaking. How much of the world is reigned by the Shapers? What are the other societies/nations/groups that exist? Are the Shaper lands exclusively theirs? (what I'm trying to say is something like this: Are the Shapers surpreme over all of the American continent or are there other groups of people?) Because as this War gets worse and worse, it seems to me that some other groups will take the advantage to join one side or other or simply use the power struggle to their advantage in another way.

A very stupid question: are there birds in these worlds? (I can almost want to say that I remember a description or two mentioning them.) Also, are there any domestic animals? Or for that matter cattle and such. The only cattle like animal I can think of are the Ornk.

What is the role of Shades in all these? What are their rights? Necromancy is frowned upon, or so we have been told in the games. Are we doing them a favor by killing them (like for instance those three ghosts who ask you to kill them in the Pit of the Bound in GF2) or not?

Salud!

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quote:

"I suffer from spiritual malaise," said Cugel meaningfully. "which manifest itself in outburst of vicious rage. I implore you to depart, lest, in an uncontrollable spasm, I cut you in three pieces with my sword, or worse, I invoke magic."
Random Jack Vance Quote Manual Generator Apparatus (Cugel's Saga)
Posts: 604 | Registered: Sunday, June 20 2004 07:00
Shaper
Member # 5437
Profile #46
To BSC:
Just as we use wood to build our home the Shapers use living tools to work. Just as we have guard dogs the Shapers have pylons. I have not see a reference to the more simplistic creations having consciousness. I do remember reading somewhere that the spore boxes have feeling, or at least they are aware of being touched.

My guess about the plants being capable of different defenses, and the mines being different levels of explosives is just that. Maybe they are different breeds.

In GF1 the Shapers said they did not know about the Scholai. That implies that the Shapers have not explored the entire world. It seems they go place to place destroying than barring locations. Maybe they discover new lands when they close old ones.

I don't remember hearing about birds. I certainly haven't seen any if they do exist. The only livestock seems to be Ornks. I guess they live on pork, green, fruit, and bread.

Shades are simply spirits. What rights do the dead hold? If they attack you they are angry spirits, but I never attacked a shade that left me alone. The shades in GF2 in the pit of the bound one were prisoners. They were contained spirits that wanted to be free. It seems to not exist would be preferable to being an eternal slave.

[ Thursday, April 21, 2005 11:16: Message edited by: Dolphin ]
Posts: 2032 | Registered: Wednesday, January 26 2005 08:00
Apprentice
Member # 5667
Profile #47
quote:
A very stupid question: are there birds in these worlds?
You never see them, but I would say a definite yes, as you can hear them quite often in the soundtrack.

The whole shade issue is a little confusing. At times it seems that a shade is the ghost of someone who once was alive, yet at other times shades are presented as just another type of creation, such as in the crystal caves of GF2. Yet elsewhare we are told that the Spapers do not know if there is a life after death, which seems a bit odd if ghosts were actually known to exist! So which is it? Could it be either one?

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Whatever happens, happens.
Posts: 48 | Registered: Monday, April 4 2005 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #48
quote:
Originally written by Dolphin:

To BSC:
Just as we use wood to build our home the Shapers use living tools to work. Just as we have guard dogs the Shapers have pylons. I have not see a reference to the more simplistic creations having consciousness. I do remember reading somewhere that the spore boxes have feeling, or at least they are aware of being touched.

If you try to talk to a turret in GF1 (a non-hostile one, obviously), you get the message "It's basically just a big fungus. It can't talk to you." Since they're apparently plant-based, their awareness of their surroundings is probably very primitive.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4592
Profile #49
Dolphin et al.

Re: Shaper movement through the world. It's interesting what you say (Dolphin) about their m.o. Do you think there are other Sucia Islands out there? It's a good point that the Shapers knew nothing about the Scholai (or at least our character didn't) because I wonder if that can be seen as a contradiction: they seem to be a group that is hellbent on controlling information (specially their own) yet they haven't explored the world enough to know who else populates it. Wouldn't they enforce a stronger observation of their world? That's why I wish the games would give us a little more information about that world.

From GF1 we learned that the Scholai were a nation of sailors/merchants, yet they had not met the Shapers before (apparently, or I'm remembering wrong). Is it because it's very treacherous to navigate in that world? Also. . . again with the memory problem, but I think the Capo di tutti drakoni (sp?) has a pool that works as a scrying device. Is he the only one that posseses such a thing?

If he can scry other places, has he been able to scry other portions of the world? Because in such an all out war as the one that is scourging the Shaper's right now, I'd imagine that the Drakons would use as much help as possible and so would the Shapers. Now, we've been told the bad stuff has been happening in Terrestria which is a more or less isolated part of the world. Fine. But how isolated is it?

What do you guys think?

As for animal life in general: the Shapers way of establishing their colonies might also explain why we see no other life form other than their creations and some non-intrussive life forms such as birds, since as Shell pointed out we hear their chirps on the soundtrack (at least, I hope they are birds. maybe something else? although that's probably reaching). A rather practical way of life (?) in a way since they have even reduced their lifestock to ornks.

However: what did the Shapers use as lifestock before they learned to create ornks? Perhaps there was lifestock and the Shapers in their obsession to create and control their environment did away with it? And while we're at it, what about game? These guys are a mystery.

When I play these games I always get these very strong Falloutesque feeling. I have this feeling that there was some kind of holocaust in the world. That the proto-Shapers survived this holocaust and learned the art of Shaping as a form of survival as well as controlling their environment. But, then again, sometimes I get the feeling that this is a Dying Earth (or wolf's Dying Sun) and this world is actually the Earth (the fact that the continent is called Terrestria just messed with my mind even more, though it more than likely has nothing to do with anything Earth related (not to mention the Scholai with their name that reminds me of Scholars (though they are merchants and sailors) and Kievians (Kievans?) and Vikings))

And the name of the darned Island means Dirty in Spanish! But in Maritine Spanish it means Rocky!!! And then I find this thanks to google.

(Sucia Island is a rocky island.)

(and there's also an Archeological site in El Salvador called Cara Sucia, but maybe this is reaching)

All I know is that this is one funky, interesting world and I hope we can learn more about it in future games.

One more.

Turrets and Mines: The former has an awareness of its surroundings and the latter has a level of feelings, albeit a primitive one. I can't wait until a crazy Shaper decides to enhance these basic tenets and next thing you know we have chatty turrets and mines who waste their live away philosophizing and plotting (no pun intended) world domination.

[ Thursday, April 21, 2005 21:35: Message edited by: bogus standard candidate ]

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quote:

"I suffer from spiritual malaise," said Cugel meaningfully. "which manifest itself in outburst of vicious rage. I implore you to depart, lest, in an uncontrollable spasm, I cut you in three pieces with my sword, or worse, I invoke magic."
Random Jack Vance Quote Manual Generator Apparatus (Cugel's Saga)
Posts: 604 | Registered: Sunday, June 20 2004 07:00

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