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What did Quain think?

What did Quain think?

Postby Saffron Walden » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:24 am

What exactly was her political theory? Was it actually a coherent ideology, or are there just snippets of rhetoric scattered about the comic? Any insight is welcome.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby SFI » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:26 pm

The way I got it, she preached a Constitutional Monarchy in a Meritocratic Democracy. (wtf is my spellingskills today)

Ash'waren as the Val'Sharess, but with the commoners making their own government into which you got based on your skills in politics, etc. The principle of the Val'Sarghress, with the most capable getting more duties and privileges than those less capable, but with Ash'waren as the main overseer to keep it from collapsing into infighting for positions.

Granted, from the comic, the whole 'Ash'waren as Val'Sharess/Grand Overseer'-bit didn't get quite as well-known as the 'you get the rights based on your skills and you get the CHANCES to showcase those skills, regardless of who you are'.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Smokehammer » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:31 am

There's no specific coherent ideology because she didnt have an answer beyond - Shit floats. So swim.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Moric » Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:38 pm

I suspect that there is, at least a solid attempt at, a coherent political theory. Four centuries of governance in the face of brutal opposition would be impossible otherwise. That said, we only get hints of it, and a fair dose of propaganda to sift through as well.

So, what we do know is:

1. Survival of Clans: While propaganda and sentiment suggests death to all Vals, from early on in the comic, such is not the case. Sharen hegemony would be stripped, and the Clans would be autonomous, with Val'Sullisin'rune as first among equals. That said, they all will be greatly disposessed of territory and power.

2. A mechanic of commoner representation: Specifics are sketchy, though it is mentioned that Sarghress acquisitions during the Nidraa'chal War were administrated by commoners, much to the dismay of the other Clans.

3. A mechanic of meritocracy: How does a given commoner get ahead? By being better than anyone else. This is pretty central to the Sarghress identity.

4. A mechanic of inheritance: Outside the obvious situation of Ariel, she is not the only beneficiary of her parent(s). Both Sang and Suu'be have children that are either commanders or ranking officers. House dev'esses have great importance in clan affairs, with house members well represented among military officers.

Other than that, the rest is pretty much speculation. Points 3 and 4 exist in some sort of quasi-stable tension, while Point 1 received violent dissent from rank and file members.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Smokehammer » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:16 pm

But you have to keep in mind the alien drow concept of honor, which is anything, no matter what it is(good or evil) if greatly difficult to obtain, is the most honorable thing you can do.

That and vendetta is the driving force behind Quain sitting on a "throne" she didnt want for 400 years -not any political agenda or belief. I realize that the lady was several bananas short of a bunch but someone who straight up says " Politics are bullshit, and Ash will come to regret being top tiger" doesnt give a flying shit about changing anything. People will change things themselves if thats what they really want -its natural. She owed a debt to her Clan because they helped her obtain "honor" but she didnt give two hairy armpits about "the Chelian plight" as a whole. If she had, she wouldnt have waited for 400 years to get rid of the Sharen or more importantly, she wouldnt have gone after the Sharen at all because she herself admits they ruled in name only before she got to even be an Ill'haress.

Now there's probably a little sideways desire in there to be an "inspiration" for people to follow and thats why she wanted the "honor" of taking out the Sharen, and why she was so pleased that the looters were no longer "afraid" of the Vals but thats not a direct attack on the established order of things. I doubt she had any intention of ever doing that, given Ash was supposed to supplant Diva and why she so wanted to continue the Clan system only for HER family now because she earned it. The meritocratic crap is just that, crap -because the dude who was recruited into the army and then assigned to peel potatoes isnt being given a chance to prove anything beyond he can follow orders. I hate to say this but Diva's system had more vertical movement than the Sarghress Clan. Quain required Ariel be useful and prove herself because she wanted a Laele #2. not a 2nd Syph or heaven forbid, another Mel. Everyone else was pigeonholed into where ever they were needed.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Saffron Walden » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:00 am

Honestly, the Sarghress' ideas sound fairly impractical and more likely to provide ideological justification for endless peasant revolts than actually making a meritocratic society. What makes someone a good soldier and what makes them a good administrator or governor aren't the same.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Moric » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:58 am

Well, practicality is actually an issue to consider. Now, we don't get much in the specifics, so snippets such as Quain's wolfback ride with Ariel are the best that we have to draw from. That said, the Sarghress managed to wage a 400+ year rebellion. Not only that, but they were winning. Even for a quasi-immortal species, that's pretty darn impressive.

Let's put this into perspective. The average drow lifespan is 100 years for males, 200 for females. The Sargs have an unusually high representation of males, so a 1:1 ratio is not crazy. So, with a 150 year average lifespan, the Sarghress have been a Val threat to the Sharen hegemony for nearly 3 lifespans. In human context, that would be about 190 years. Sure, the leadership lived longer, but it's among the rank and file where poor morale, dysfunction, and cynicism of ideals would arise. Besides that, boredom likely affects drow just as quickly as humans.

With all that in mind, between the vast disparity of talent between any two drow, their quasi-immortality, the dire scarcity of resources in Chel'el'Sussoloth, and the fact that getting older makes one more powerful, I doubt there is any possible political theory that wouldn't violently self-destruct in a matter of a few generations. Drow culture doesn't help either.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Smokehammer » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:22 am

Ah but thats the thing. It wasnt a 400 year long rebellion. It was a 400 year long threat of rebellion. And the people in Val Clans live longer. Im sure a lot of the motivation behind joining the Sarghress was that you could drill and peel potatoes and then get to eat good enough to live to be 2-300 instead of 100.

Plus greed is another huge motivation. Im 100% certain based off what happened to Mel, etc that a great deal of the Sarghress Clan pre-partizan consisted of I'll be nice and say "surplus" population. Killing(or policing) people for the stuff theyve made is a lot easier than making it yourself to many. You are after all talking about a Clan full of mercenaries. Quain simply happened to be a merc who woke up one day and was like, "Why kill people for other people when we can kill people for ourselves?" We like to call those kinds of soldiers "raiders" but hey the Sargs were more than happy to have that moniker stamped on their asses as well *shrug*.

Plus, who thinks a meritocracy is a decent type of government? What do you do with the old people, and the young people? The crippled? Who gets to decide what is a worthy effort and what isnt? Thats not better than a monarch who's real power stems from his people thriving and who has the luxury if not the duty to be kind to those who cant help themselves.

So I think we as readers attribute too much to the later years of the Clan where the Sharen have lost their grip on reality let alone governance, Ash's "Tales of a better Queen" have taken root for many out of desperation and thus the Sarghress look like a political movement when objectively it probably didnt start out that way for Quain. Thats easy to do though, since that's the part of their history we actually see.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Saffron Walden » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:55 am

In response to your comment of some time ago, a meritocracy isn't necessarily a very good system but it increases stability to have an established hierarchy (thinking Chinese Empire here) compared to militarism of this particular kind
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Moric » Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:42 am

Saffron Walden wrote:In response to your comment of some time ago, a meritocracy isn't necessarily a very good system but it increases stability to have an established hierarchy (thinking Chinese Empire here) compared to militarism of this particular kind

Pure Meritocracy is actually a terrible system, even for quasi-immortal drow. It simply doesn't work for any beings that aren't fully self-sufficient from birth. Further, a Pure Meritocracy would deny any provision for an inheritance, thus negating one of the great driving forces for actually getting ahead in the first place. That said, including some meritocratic elements in any society prevents stagnation, improves morale, and provides goals for a better future.

The Sharen Empire has many similarities with some of the Chinese Imperial dynasties, which often had to deal with bloody rebellions, and at times dynastic overthrows. That said, Sharen rule was utterly and totally aristocratic. Certainly, a rich commoner could send their daughters to Orthorbbae for whatever it was worth, but they could never become nobles of their own right. No, the castes were more rigidly enforced than in Ancient India.

Consider:
1. Food, living space, and other resources are virtually static in 7th Century Chel'el'Sussoloth.
2. Whether Val or peasant, everyone above you in the social order has the power to push you further down it whenever they feel like it.
3. Everyone above you in the social order is virtually immortal.
4. Everyone above you in the social order also breeds, and their children need jobs too.
5. That snot-nosed Val kid wants your job. See #2.
6. Rent is due.
7. Nobody gives a damn about your problems.

In the above scenario, peace and stability are a more certain death sentence to a commoner than war and chaos. This dilemma existed too at times in Imperial China. Soundness of ruling philosophy doesn't count for much for the desperate and the starving.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Ardan Styyx » Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:39 pm

A very interesting discussion, which leads to this broader question :

Considering the previous points, what could be the ideal political system for drow civilization?
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Moric » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:21 pm

Ardan Styyx wrote:A very interesting discussion, which leads to this broader question :

Considering the previous points, what could be the ideal political system for drow civilization?

Ideal!? Hah! That's the sick joke of it all.

So long as there is room and resources, most anything will do. Once a self-interested, quasi-immortal race that breeds exceeds a certain threshold (in a closed system), the lack of opportunity for the next generation/one's own children demands violence solely for the purpose of creating openings in the social structure.

As such, were I Sharen Empress, I would have pushed for expansion of Chel's population capacity immediately and always. Also the situation demands surface colonization asap, like 4th century. If one of the few surviving demons eats a colony or two, so be it. If famine kills a few off, oh well. Even if it's a fool's errand, the perception of opportunity exists. Lastly, it was inevitable that a Sarghress would arise. Being a contolling hegemon is to accept all blame for any and every bruised ego in Chel.

Yes, a looser hold would allow for more wars and clan strife, and would invite challenge to their own power. Even so, this would be a much needed social safety valve to prevent total destruction and massacres.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Ardan Styyx » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:09 pm

So if I follow you, considering the constraints due to drow nature and the environment they are living in, the Empress-Clan-Comoners/slaves system remains the best, or one could say the worst of all, with the exception of every others.

Indeed, it has permitted the survival of the entire Dark Elf, then Drow race after the Apocalypse of the Demon War, and has offered a kind of stability that lasted for almost a millenia.

However, I can't help to feel it also contains the seeds of its own destruction :
- the everlasting dominant class is doomed to sclerosis, like a more and more reclusive Diva showed it, before she was betrayed by her children;
- as you said, the pressure on the comoner population inevitably led to a Sarghress event;
- the craving for power (or at least a future) of hopeless noble's class children degenerated into the Nids conspiracy, which in itself could very well mean the ultimate corruption of the entire race;

If you add to this the Xuile'Solen mutation, I'd say that Drow race could very well be on a very slipery slope toward extinction.

After getting rid (for good) of the Nids and the tainting, extension to the surface seems to be indeed a mandatory move, even if it means losing lifespan, magical power and having to face the spreading of the Goblins. But would it ultimately be enough to ensure a future for a race which seems to have the habit of bringing its own destruction?

In other words, which deep internal changes would be necessary for the Drow to survive the Moonless Age and, enventually, bloom into the brilliant civilization of the Space Age?
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Moric » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:34 pm

Ardan Styyx wrote:...But would it ultimately be enough to ensure a future for a race which seems to have the habit of bringing its own destruction?

In other words, which deep internal changes would be necessary for the Drow to survive the Moonless Age and, enventually, bloom into the brilliant civilization of the Space Age?

I don't think that the clan system, even a non-imperial clan system is optimal, I just don't see how anything else would plausibly work under the natural constraints of drow/elf nature, at least not without crumbling in a couple of centuries.

Socially, drow/elf society would need serious changes on every level to even attempt a true Space Age. Mind you, I give our own current crop of IRL civilizations about .01% chance of actually colonizing our solar system, that is when I am being particularly generous, enormously optimistic, and mildly inebriated.

I think that exo-planar colonization would be far more realistic for drow mana-tech.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Shgon Dunstan » Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:51 am

... The drow simply aren't sustainable. Not as they are now anyway, and they aren't overly likely to change in the ways that matter.

"Government" isn't their problem. A problem, sure, but not the main one. By culture or nature, they are simply way the hell too self destructive to ever learn the lesson that maybe, just maybe, they shouldn't dick around with things that could finish off what little is left of them... Oh, but that can't be right. You see, they personally stand to gain from it, and as we all know, drow "honor" is that the ends justify any means.

The dark elves seem to of barely been able to hold together a civilization, and... Well, we all know how that ended. The drow are even worse at it, because they are basically just dark elves who have been wallowing in their own shit for so long that their innate self centered arrogance has thus been forced to convince them that doing so is a good thing, as otherwise they'd have to see themselves as somehow less them their dark elf ancestors, and, again be it by culture or nature, THAT is something that they simply cannot do.
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