Thursday, December 5, 2013

Intellect,Romance,Brutality, and Cynicism for Traveller

Going with appeal of Dr. Who as being “The Triumph of Intellect and Romance Over Brute Force and Cynicism” it crossed my mind that was a useful basis to establish the philosophical and cultures attitudes in a civilization for a traveler campaign that would go deeper and wider than I’ve seen others raise in the past without being needlessly picky and leave room for GMs to decide what those values mean in the context of their own campaign. So from the quoted line we have four factors to describe a civilization: Intellect, Romance, Brutality, and Cynicism.

Intellect: Reasoning and understanding objectively, esp. with regard to abstract or academic matters. Some view a purely intellectual universe would be austere and unemotional while others have argued true application of intellect would allow for comprehension and contact with the divine (I guess it depends on ones notions in regards to the other elements here). Worlds of high intellect may become academic centers or worlds where technological wonders would be devised on a regular basis.

Romance: an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an especially heroic era, adventure, or activity. Romantic love certainly falls within romance but does not exclusively define it. In a Romantic universe the actions and deeds of individuals matter even if driven by abstract and external forces. Romantic worlds would often be rich in poetry,art, and music ,mayhaps enough so to draw folks from other worlds.

Brutality: violent, cruel, and harsh treatment of others. Application of force is a defining element to a brutal universe. Different views of aliens like Klingons and Kzinti provide examples of brutal civilizations. A world with a high brutality score and law level would be a very unhealthy place for larcenous travellers. Brutal worlds may sponsor death-races or jousting as popular sports.

Cynicism: A general distrust of the apparent motives of individuals and institutions. A cynic has a lack of faith in individuals and institutions (often within the currently established parameters not that suitable alternatives need to be voiced in Toto for one to be a cynic). Classical cynicism had a libertine nature that leads folks to define modem and classical cynicism as distinct philosophies claiming modern cynicism is almost a reverse of the original, I’d argue that “classical cynicism” was cynicism tempered by romanticism against a civilization where intellectualism was not used to define the rights and privileges of individuals in an environment often hampered/controlled by brutality as such cynicism remains a useable definition across culture and time when kept in context with the other metrics here. Highly cynical worlds will find travellers monitored by the secret/cultural police while worlds with low cynicism may be ripe for interstellar con-men.

Each of the above could be rated in the classical hexadecimal pattern of Traveller.
Determining scores for a world’s Intellect, Romance, Brutality, and Cynicism using classic traveler parameters:

Intellect: 2d6-2 + DM listed below
TL 0  = -2, TL 1 or 2 = -1, TL 6-10= +1, TL 11 to 14= +3, TL 15+ = +4
Gov 3,5,or 6 = -2, Gov 4= +1, Gov 2= +2, Gov 9= -1
Pop A+ = +1

Romance: 2d6-2 + DM listed below
TL 1 to 3 = +2, TL 5+= -2
Gov 1 or 6 = -3, Gov 2= +3, Gov 8 or 9 = -2, Gov 10 or 12= +6, Gov 13 = +2
Pop 5 to 7= +2, POP 9+ = -2
High Romance (A+) worlds aren’t always stable as the locals are prone to flights of passion and whimsy based on the local notions of romanticism. Dueling wouldn’t be unusual on worlds with both Romance and Brutality scores of 7+.

Brutality: 2d6-2 + DM listed below
TL 0= +4, TL or 2 = +3, TL 9+= -2
Gov 1 = +1, Gov 5= +3, Gov 7 or 9 = +1, Gov A = +1, Gov B= +5, Gov D= +3
Law 3 to 7 = -2, Law 8+= -3
Pop A+ = -2, Pop 7 to9 = +2
High tech brutal worlds often end up being destroyed by war or terrorism.
Worlds of Brutality 7+ and lower Intellect may be prone to trial by ordeal or trial by combat.

Cynicism:  2d6-2+ DM listed below
TL 2= +1, TL 3 to 9= +2
Gov 1= +4, Gov 2 = -2, Gov 5 pr 6= +1, Gov 8= -2, Gov 9= +5, Gov 11 or 13= +3
Law 3 or less -2,Law  5 to 8=+3, Law 9+ = +5
Pop 3 or less = -3, Pop 7 to 9 = +2, Pop A+= +3
Worlds with a Cynicism score of A+ likely wouldn’t stay that way for long if there is Intellect or Romance of 7 or more is present as folks will adapt over time. If the world has had cynicism for a generations at A or higher it’ll likely lower as society changes.

Using Intellect, Romance, Brutality, and Cynicism to determine TL, Gov,Law, and Pop will surely come up in a future post on traveller world creation (I’ve been updating my old alternative method).

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