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What did Quain think?

Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Ardan Styyx » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:44 pm

I wouldn't be so categorical on Drow not being sustainable. After all, they can survive on few, are highly resilient and can show some surprisingly high adaptation capabilities.

I do agree though on the cultural obstacles you mentioned, but I think those are mainly the reflect of the dominant class - basically the ones who can afford the luxury of not having to focus on how they're going to survive the next day.

Additionally, the main characters of the comic show how various the behavior, aspirations and state of mind of the young generation of the said dominant class can be, despite the weight of history and the rigidity of the clan structure.

So I'd say I agree Drow are probably unable to create a large scale system that would ensure the survival (not even talking about development) of the entire race, but it seems that given the opportunity, they are able to generate different types of organizations that would allow a limited amount of members (several hundred, maybe a thousand or so) to live in a certain harmony (see the surface colonies).

Following this idea of a multifaceted civilization, the extra-planar colonization Moric mentioned seems indeed more likely as a future, than the highly centralized, well organized civilization required for a Space conquest.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Moric » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:01 am

Ardan Styyx wrote:I wouldn't be so categorical on Drow not being sustainable. After all, they can survive on few, are highly resilient and can show some surprisingly high adaptation capabilities.

I do agree though on the cultural obstacles you mentioned, but I think those are mainly the reflect of the dominant class - basically the ones who can afford the luxury of not having to focus on how they're going to survive the next day.

Actually, those focusing on how to survive the next day are caught in the same dynamic. Some drow street-urchin has a baby, somehow manages to scrounge enough to raise the child, and now there are two street-urchins, both of which are capable of breeding yet more paupers. Yes, starvation kills most, but eventually the cosmic dice roll a Quain'tana.

Even so, yes, the dominant culture does aggravate the hyper-Malthusian nature of drow social dynamics, but without constant bloodshed, semi-centennial upheavals, and rigorous expansionism, deep problems will eventually manifest.

Ardan Styyx wrote:Additionally, the main characters of the comic show how various the behavior, aspirations and state of mind of the young generation of the said dominant class can be, despite the weight of history and the rigidity of the clan structure.

Yes, they are able to do so, as a large swath of the drow population was culled by the Nidraa'chal War and the District War. The new generation has plenty of opportunities to prove themselves because of it. Throw in rampant colonization of the surface, and there is bound to be a heady new age of optimism and idealism.

Ardan Styyx wrote:So I'd say I agree Drow are probably unable to create a large scale system that would ensure the survival (not even talking about development) of the entire race, but it seems that given the opportunity, they are able to generate different types of organizations that would allow a limited amount of members (several hundred, maybe a thousand or so) to live in a certain harmony (see the surface colonies).

So long as the drow are able to project their animus towards an external enemy, they can achieve much. Sadly, by doing so, much of that achievement will be based on destroying their external rivals. I suppose that the Moons Age would be characterized by frequent and bloody battles between rival states, if only to keep their own polity from destroying themselves.
Ardan Styyx wrote:Following this idea of a multifaceted civilization, the extra-planar colonization Moric mentioned seems indeed more likely as a future, than the highly centralized, well organized civilization required for a Space conquest.

Honestly, the first problem with space is that it's obscenely difficult and expensive to get a strong, self-sustaining foothold in orbit. The gravity well demands exorbitant expenditures of material and energy to escape, and there is also significant cost and risk in achieving the necessary delta-v to go anywhere, even on Hohmann transfer orbits. Toss in the fact that any interesting method of propulsion is, by definition, a live WMD, and you get some serious issues to resolve. If that wasn't bad enough, the radiation outside of LEO is pretty nasty, and if you're in a hurry, the radiation emitted from your own engines makes for a special kind of engineering headache. Sure, some of that could be solved with drow magic, but then a drow space program would need to create mana reflective/impervious materials or fields to prevent deprivation. Consider that the surface of the Three Worlds is considered "low mana". What is that relative to a "no mana" environment? I suppose some sort of World Tree seedling/cutting would need to be aboard a given ship if only to more adequately generate the needed mana for life-support and other functions.

The second problem with space is that it is unforgiving of the inevitable blunders that arise from the Third Generation Rule. Sure, the first generation of space colonists are full of new ideas, discipline, and motivation, but by the time their great-grandchildren just begin to take on positions of responsibility, the bulkheads are held together with duct tape and chewing gum, and the engine is now a nuclear ticking time-bomb.

In contrast, finding a way to conquer an infinite array of demon-planes, perhaps even without the use of merging, is far more plausible.
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Ardan Styyx » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:52 pm

Moric wrote: Actually, those focusing on how to survive the next day are caught in the same dynamic. Some drow street-urchin has a baby, somehow manages to scrounge enough to raise the child, and now there are two street-urchins, both of which are capable of breeding yet more paupers. Yes, starvation kills most, but eventually the cosmic dice roll a Quain'tana.

Even so, yes, the dominant culture does aggravate the hyper-Malthusian nature of drow social dynamics, but without constant bloodshed, semi-centennial upheavals, and rigorous expansionism, deep problems will eventually manifest.


Based on our mankind reference (which is the only one we have... 8P ), that's the fait of any civilization, and the very mechanism which makes changes happen. Facing internal problems (such as class inequality, institutionalized oppression by a minority, etc.), or external ones (invasion, climate change, epidemic, etc.), societies evolve and adapt. Political systems are toppled down or transformed, new proeminent classes rise, new organisation blossom on the remnants of the former ones, and so on. It's sometimes progressive, often violent, but ultimately after the transition time a new period of "stability" usually follows. And if the society can't adapt... like any living organism, it dies.

Given drow lifespan, their high resistance (habit?) to dire life conditions and the fact that mana-art is mastered by a small class of people, change can be indeed slower. But even without the clan lead cover plate, I would not be so pessimistic on their ability to live in a an organized society without necessarily jumping at each other throat after a couple of decades. After all, based on our own reference and despite our high ability to mistrust and hate, we haven't (yet) collapsed into a nuclear holocaust... B)

So, given a favorable environment window (food and space to live), and some innovative leaders, I don't think their nature would necessarily doom themseleves.

But they really need to evolve. And fast!
Baliir for president! :D

Moric wrote:
Ardan Styyx wrote:Additionally, the main characters of the comic show how various the behavior, aspirations and state of mind of the young generation of the said dominant class can be, despite the weight of history and the rigidity of the clan structure.

Yes, they are able to do so, as a large swath of the drow population was culled by the Nidraa'chal War and the District War. The new generation has plenty of opportunities to prove themselves because of it. Throw in rampant colonization of the surface, and there is bound to be a heady new age of optimism and idealism.


Yes, despite the current troubles and the apparently constant bloodshed, the current conditions are indeed favorable to the evolution I was talking about. Even with the end of the Nids, deep problems are probably not going to be resolved in a moon nor in a year, but let's cross fingers : with this young generation, used to cooperate instead of stabbing each other in the back, a new era of stability and developpment could be within reach! *wee*

What? Yes, I am die-hard optimist ^^;


Moric wrote: So long as the drow are able to project their animus towards an external enemy, they can achieve much. Sadly, by doing so, much of that achievement will be based on destroying their external rivals. I suppose that the Moons Age would be characterized by frequent and bloody battles between rival states, if only to keep their own polity from destroying themselves.


Well, again I wouldn't be so pessimistic. But it really depends on which Drow would take the upper hand on this hypothetical new era. Right now, if you put asside the Wolfpack-Nids-Sarghress stuff, a broader view shows that the dynamic seems in favor of clans more oriented toward trade and soft power, such as the Nal'Sarkoth and the Jaal (and given the time for them to recover after the Nid's backstabbing in Nuqrah, the Illhar'dro).
Does it mean there might not be bloodshed anymore and that drow are going to evolve in a peaceful merchant-scholar-artist civilization, eager to solve their problem through negociation and bird-song instead of assassination or mass murder? Obviously not. But there might still be reason to hope that, pragmatically, they could lean toward less violent relationships.

Now, even without the urge of canalizing drow's potential warmongering tendencies, a new Moon Age would probably lead to confrontations with other surface inhabitants. Trading between races for the mutual benefit of all is not something so unthinkable mind you... but so long that there is enough space for everybody to live and a balance of power which prevent any aspiration of conquest (and a lot, A LOT of goodwill and understanding). Yet, the goblins are already struggling between the Hermiones invasions and the different Halme's kingdoms rivalries. Therefore, there's alas a very little chance that the irruption of a new player on the board would soon lead to a "Peace and prosperity" time :(

Moric wrote: Honestly, the first problem with space is that it's obscenely difficult and expensive to get a strong, self-sustaining foothold in orbit. The gravity well demands exorbitant expenditures of material and energy to escape, and there is also significant cost and risk in achieving the necessary delta-v to go anywhere, even on Hohmann transfer orbits. Toss in the fact that any interesting method of propulsion is, by definition, a live WMD, and you get some serious issues to resolve. If that wasn't bad enough, the radiation outside of LEO is pretty nasty, and if you're in a hurry, the radiation emitted from your own engines makes for a special kind of engineering headache. Sure, some of that could be solved with drow magic, but then a drow space program would need to create mana reflective/impervious materials or fields to prevent deprivation. Consider that the surface of the Three Worlds is considered "low mana". What is that relative to a "no mana" environment? I suppose some sort of World Tree seedling/cutting would need to be aboard a given ship if only to more adequately generate the needed mana for life-support and other functions.

The second problem with space is that it is unforgiving of the inevitable blunders that arise from the Third Generation Rule. Sure, the first generation of space colonists are full of new ideas, discipline, and motivation, but by the time their great-grandchildren just begin to take on positions of responsibility, the bulkheads are held together with duct tape and chewing gum, and the engine is now a nuclear ticking time-bomb.

In contrast, finding a way to conquer an infinite array of demon-planes, perhaps even without the use of merging, is far more plausible.


I absolutely agree on the enormous challenge space colonization represent, namely for mankind. Fortunately, we are in a comic! :)
Although the fine balance between fantasy and reality is what makes it plausible and tasty, there is always room to twist a little the arm of the hard rules of physic and biology. One can therefore imagin that, given time, Manatech would allow to solve a lot of the numerous very real problems you listed.
Plus, considering their cultural attraction to the moons, Drow could be pushed to try to go there, for religious reasons even if not for developpment urges.
And given their lifespan, they wouldn't be so prone to suffer so much from the 3rd generation issue you mentionned.

But the considerable ressources necessary to a space colonization somehow implies a very well organized and stable system. So, again, Drow would need to profoundly evolve in order to achieve that.
But hey, I don't know if it's actually mentioned anywhere but there are probably several millennia between Moonless Age and Space Age... So there's still reasons to hope! 8)

Now considering the extra-planar colonization (and here I am going to contradict my former posts :P ) : the only (known) experience with another plan is... the Nether one! Considering the ravage it has spread (and still spreads) within their civilization, after second thought I wouldn't be so sure Drow would be so eager to adventure themselves beyond a gate, at least before a long time!

Unless we assist to the "Great Return of Sharess". And that would be a super thrilling twist, for sure! *boogie*
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Re: What did Quain think?

Postby Moric » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:32 am

Ardan Styyx wrote:Given drow lifespan, their high resistance (habit?) to dire life conditions and the fact that mana-art is mastered by a small class of people, change can be indeed slower. But even without the clan lead cover plate, I would not be so pessimistic on their ability to live in a an organized society without necessarily jumping at each other throat after a couple of decades. After all, based on our own reference and despite our high ability to mistrust and hate, we haven't (yet) collapsed into a nuclear holocaust... B)

Well, to be fair, there's no sense in having a nuclear war when you won't live to enjoy winning it. As such, it's pretty much a pissing contest until either one party gets an unbeatable first strike advantage and decides to use it, or the other side fails on its own.

Ardan Styyx wrote:So, given a favorable environment window (food and space to live), and some innovative leaders, I don't think their nature would necessarily doom themseleves.

Oh, no, I don't think that they would follow their ancestors' footprints anytime soon. It took, what, three centuries bottled up with their enemies before the Sharen and Sulls went for each others' throats? Remember, there was a time in which Diva and Ash were -gasp- friends. Time would wear on though, and windows eventually close. What is done in that window can change much.

Ardan Styyx wrote:But they really need to evolve. And fast!

Society changes, and grows more complex with greater populations, but I have this thing about calling it evolution. Having actually studied the biological process, I just have this urge to throttle sociologists for misapplying the term in the attempt to gain credibility. Sadly, I'm well over a century too late to prevent it. :c
Ardan Styyx wrote:Baliir for president! :D

Baliir is too good for that kind of role. Kuso on the other hand....

Ardan Styyx wrote:Yes, despite the current troubles and the apparently constant bloodshed, the current conditions are indeed favorable to the evolution I was talking about. Even with the end of the Nids, deep problems are probably not going to be resolved in a moon nor in a year, but let's cross fingers : with this young generation, used to cooperate instead of stabbing each other in the back, a new era of stability and developpment could be within reach! *wee*

Honestly, it would take much longer, especially given life-spans. Major social changes would need to happen immediately, mostly involving stable family structure (across all classes) ordered towards the best interests of children. The drow will be pushing into low-mana environs, and Ariel's generation will likely die of old age long before the golden age, so this is especially important. Honestly, if anything good came out of the events in Shikomei, the introduction of a vows ceremony to the drowolath may eclipse many other innovations that could take place.

Ardan Styyx wrote:What? Yes, I am die-hard optimist ^^;

I'm not entirely pessimistic either, so I don't mind. That said, recolonizing the Old World is an enormous undertaking. I'd say that real wars fought by opposing armies of thousands of elves won't be seen for at least four thousand years, simply because of the ratio of population to available land.

Ardan Styyx wrote:Well, again I wouldn't be so pessimistic. But it really depends on which Drow would take the upper hand on this hypothetical new era. Right now, if you put asside the Wolfpack-Nids-Sarghress stuff, a broader view shows that the dynamic seems in favor of clans more oriented toward trade and soft power, such as the Nal'Sarkoth and the Jaal (and given the time for them to recover after the Nid's backstabbing in Nuqrah, the Illhar'dro).

Honestly, I think that with mass colonization, the merchants may lose influence. Sending out colonists eases the Chelian population of their need for imported foodstuffs, all while those same colonies have little to show for themselves but food. As the colonies tend to have a backing clan, there isn't much need for a Nal middle-man. The Jaals may have a great deal of influence, but they probably won't push for the surface, as low-mana means limited research for them.
Ardan Styyx wrote:Does it mean there might not be bloodshed anymore and that drow are going to evolve in a peaceful merchant-scholar-artist civilization, eager to solve their problem through negociation and bird-song instead of assassination or mass murder? Obviously not. But there might still be reason to hope that, pragmatically, they could lean toward less violent relationships.

Violence tends to dwindle when everyone is too tired from plowing. That said, the next big challenge won't be the Herms, but rather Black Sun raiders, who really like the idea of eating food they didn't work for.
Ardan Styyx wrote:Now, even without the urge of canalizing drow's potential warmongering tendencies, a new Moon Age would probably lead to confrontations with other surface inhabitants. Trading between races for the mutual benefit of all is not something so unthinkable mind you... but so long that there is enough space for everybody to live and a balance of power which prevent any aspiration of conquest (and a lot, A LOT of goodwill and understanding). Yet, the goblins are already struggling between the Hermiones invasions and the different Halme's kingdoms rivalries. Therefore, there's alas a very little chance that the irruption of a new player on the board would soon lead to a "Peace and prosperity" time :(

Goblinoids may breed fast, but there is no foreseeable balance of power. Even the Herms are of little existential concern. Jaals are capable of tremendously sophisticated bio-manipulation, and could cook up a plague with little effort. Honestly, Vanaheimr is the only credible equal to the drow, and that's only under certain conditions.

Ardan Styyx wrote:I absolutely agree on the enormous challenge space colonization represent, namely for mankind. Fortunately, we are in a comic! :)
Although the fine balance between fantasy and reality is what makes it plausible and tasty, there is always room to twist a little the arm of the hard rules of physic and biology. One can therefore imagin that, given time, Manatech would allow to solve a lot of the numerous very real problems you listed.

Perhaps, but mana is also a limitation for drow.

Ardan Styyx wrote:Plus, considering their cultural attraction to the moons, Drow could be pushed to try to go there, for religious reasons even if not for developpment urges.

They will have to learn how to manipulate the Mist first. That's all from a chunk of a moon. If all extra-terrestrial bodies have such negative properties, then they may have a great deal of research ahead of them.
Ardan Styyx wrote:And given their lifespan, they wouldn't be so prone to suffer so much from the 3rd generation issue you mentionned.

It's not strictly a problem that occurs only in three generations, but yes, their window of opportunity would last much longer than ours.

Ardan Styyx wrote:But hey, I don't know if it's actually mentioned anywhere but there are probably several millennia between Moonless Age and Space Age... So there's still reasons to hope! 8)

I thought Space Age was only applicable to Daydream. I could be wrong.

Ardan Styyx wrote:Now considering the extra-planar colonization (and here I am going to contradict my former posts :P ) : the only (known) experience with another plan is... the Nether one! Considering the ravage it has spread (and still spreads) within their civilization, after second thought I wouldn't be so sure Drow would be so eager to adventure themselves beyond a gate, at least before a long time!

Unless we assist to the "Great Return of Sharess". And that would be a super thrilling twist, for sure! *boogie*

There's an infinite number of nether planes. It might be that nether is just the relationship that other planar beings have interacting with drow. Even so, it's more plausible to find workarounds to their effect on mana and auras than sailing the stars.
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