Monday, August 4, 2008

Back here and more creating a fantasy world

So I was visiting my parent's last week unexpectedly, and I was lazy with my creating a fantasy world series. I'll post on it every day this week.

So when we left off I had basically worked out the way that magic works in this fantasy world. To recap: the basic concept is an analogy to the enlightenment, there is new and old magic, with the new magic acting somewhat like technology, and old magic being more like what we would consider magic.

I was going to move onto the biggest part of creating a fantasy world: making the social structures. These play a much bigger part than say the mechanisms of how magic works.

One thing I want to do with this setting is have a social conflict between the new way of things and the old way, much like the two types of magic, and indeed the types of magic are allied with their respective social movements. Even though I am sympathetic to one side of the conflict between new and old in the real enlightenment, I don't want things to be so clear cut in this setting. This means that each side should have some good, and some bad traits.

The social movement aligned with the new magic is, like in the analogy to real life, strongly supported by the middle class and has a capitalist agenda. The dark side of this is that one of the major reasons why this new capitalism is so profitable is because of slavery. Again, this is much like in real life -- the new economies of England and the Netherlands were based largely on slavery, and the slower economies of Germany, France, and Eastern Europe were based on traditional forms of labor (which were certainly exploitative to varying degrees, but were not the total affront to humanity that racial slavery was). Spain was a bit of a border case, with wealth based on military hegemony over important natural resources (gold and silver mines). The ideological agenda for new ways of thinking is similar to modern America: equality of opportunity, if not success, with a way of thinking that people get what they deserve. Politically the ideal government is thought to be a Mageocracy: a rule by the top mages. This is sort of related to Plato's Republic where he envisions a society ruled by philosopher kings. On the other hand the new way of thinking is very strongly in favor of social mobility, even if it believes that society does need stratification.

The traditional way of things is less extreme. It basically holds that there is a place for everyone in the world, and that they should not move from those places, but that things should be made comfortable and humane for people even in the lowest places. Most traditionalists are opposed to slavery, not just because of it's inhumanity, but also partially because the slavery system has allowed a large number of peasants to rise above their natural position. Unsurprisingly traditional forces believe in a monarchy with a strict social order.

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