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  • #5413
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator

    As far back as the old Genertela book we’ve known that about 1% of the populace of Loskalm (actually 1.7%) is in the army at any one time. Given the importance of martial service in their utopian meritocracy and the resonance of this magic proportion in modern political discourse, how about we crunch the numbers?

    WARRIOR: The GUIDE gives each province “thousands” of unattached Guardians so let’s say 75,000 people in Loskalm fall into this category (33,000 in the battalions, another 42,000 outside). This yields roughly a 2% to 3% advance rate out of the peasantry, maybe as much as 3.6% if you double the number of village-level trainees, guards and wardens. (Fun idea for a campaign, by the way.)

    MEN-OF-ALL: Presumably most Men-of-All are attached to the battalions. Give them some wiggle room for those on quest leave (!) or whatnot and say there are 20,000 people working this caste role at any one time. That’s 0.6% of the population, or about 1 to every 3 to 5 Guardians.

    WIZARDS: Not enough data on Wizards outside military service. We know 2,500 are attached to the army. Say there are another 1,500 sequestered in towers, courts and so on to beef up the total to 4,000 or so.

    NOBLE: Nine Noble administration teams. This could represent 100 people per province and another 200 for the King. Maybe there are more; maybe less.

    Bottom line with these numbers is that fewer than 1 farmer in 100 makes it into the warrior caste and then graduates into the Men-of-All. Barely 1 in 1,000 is tapped for Wizard or Noble.

    Surely I am missing large masses of high-class Loskalmites doing very important things outside the army, but the ratios are still not very flattering. If I didn’t love Hrestol and all his works so much I would wonder if this could cause a little unrest.

    After all, in the Genertela box even the Kingdom of War opens up “military service” — the only social mobility Death on a Horse offers — to 20% of the miserable population. While the pyramid in KOW is obviously less complex, people who can fight and care to do it are 5 times more likely to get off the bottom as they are in Loskalm!

    That’s no good. So let’s go back to the pink book for the uh “Occupation” roll. This gives us a slightly more flattering picture of Loskalmite social mobility, but not by much: at any given time, 7% of the population is acting as what used to be called “Squire” and it is statistically impossible to start out as anything higher. OK, make the squires the Guardian training, support and recruiting pool and it’s not so bad. One in 14 adults makes it a half rung up the ladder.

    (These “squires” can’t be the Guardians themselves because that would imply close to 150,000 unattached troops in the villages, a little high for the “thousands” the GUIDE says are there. But as attached armorers, farriers, logistics personnel and so on, why not?)

    Men-of-All numbers are fixed around 20,000 unless we posit a lot of them detached from the army. I’m kind of for integrating them a little more closely into civilian society to enrich their mystic range and promote MGF. But how many can there be?

    Wizards are still vanishingly unlikely to outnumber Men-of-All and Nobles are still vanishingly unlikely to outnumber Wizards.

    Now since we love Hrestol, is it possible to have half the Men-of-All “in the field” and not in the battalions? This lets us expand the Wizard and Noble tiers accordingly. Do that and maybe 11% to 12% of the population has a shot at making “squire” or higher in a given year . . . 7% “squire” to 3% Guardian to 1% Men-of-All to 0.3% Wizard to 0.1% Noble. A nice, vaguely pythagorean progression.

    Otherwise, I would expect sit-in protests in the provincial capitals some day or worse, the Anonymous Man acting up to disrupt day-to-day life.

    (Good deed done: credited to the Anonymous Man / Bad deed done: blamed on the Anonymous Man.)

    #7730
    Profile photo of Charles
    Charles
    Spectator

    I thought that the idea behind Loskalm was that all members of the polity began as farmers—Cincinnatus writ large. Thus it is not a shameful thing to be a farmer; even the King was a one, once.

    Why would there be social protests of the kind you describe in Loskalm when their society is based around the idea that no one “class” is better than another?

    #7731
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator
    Quote:
    Quote from kaydet on April 30, 2014, 05:44
    Why would there be social protests of the kind you describe in Loskalm when their society is based around the idea that no one “class” is better than another?

    It’s a bit of a gag post based on the “Occupy Wall Street” mantra of the elite 1%.

    But noting that people are happy to “begin” as farmers touches on the internal truth behind the joke. We know that those who rise are happy to end as farmers, but what about the rest? Is a society where only 4% to 5% of the population seems to advance even one rung truly utopian?

    And while there’s no shame in farming and no innate superiority in administration, we know that not everyone is eager to stay a farmer for life. As the GUIDE says, “the ruling Malkioni school of New Hrestolism has created an egalitarian utopia, where every Loskalmi can identify himself as worker, soldier, wizard, or ruler; many strive to pass through the four caste occupations during their lifetime.”

    The spiritual ambition of all 3.2 million people in Loskalm is to move from station to station. Unless slots are available within the Guardian organization, that adventure doesn’t even start. For you and I, that may or may not be OK. For MGF, I have a feeling there’s more drama to be had if many are called and only a few percentage points are chosen.

    #7732
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    Some meat to continue the meal:

    The New Idealists are philosophical idealists, believing themselves to be thoughts of the Invisible God trapped in the gross matter of Makan. The soul is a prisoner of the material world, but by systematically overcoming the ancient restrictions of caste, the soul can be liberated through Joy and one can join the Men-of-All. Those who do not succeed are reincarnated until they liberate themselves from the cycle of rebirth by achieving unity with the Invisible God.
    The New Idealists know that they are not immune to the temptations of Makan. The Men-of-All continually subject themselves to a deep spiritual investigation and subsequent purification. The New Idealists know it is easy to fall prey to thoughts of the Devil, but follow Siglat’s Way because it protects them from performing evil acts.

    And here’s how that gets applied:

    Among the Hrestoli of Loskalm, every child, no matter what his parent’s station, is sent out to labor in the fields alongside other farmers or in the workshops alongside other crafters. Those men and women who display appropriate spiritual virtue and ability are selected by the local Elders and trained as Guardians, and taught to guard the community from external foes and to maintain order and harmony.

    All Loskalmi children are sent out to labor in the material world, just as our own souls are trapped in the gross matter of the world. Those with the appropriate spiritual virtue and ability (both are needed) are selected to be trained as Guardians and have the chance to be liberated as Men-of-All (who also escape the cycle of reincarnation). This Platonic system worked beautifully during the 83 years of magical isolation. However, now the outside world has returned with a vengeance in the form of the Kingdom of War. And as the Guide notes:

    Worse, since the Ban ended, a social distinction has developed between the Elders (those who grew up during the isolation of the Ban) and the Children of Tribulation (those who have come of age since the Ban ended thirty-nine years ago in 1582, effectively all those under the age of 55). The Children of Tribulation make up the majority of the population, but the Elders hold most of the positions of leadership

    Lots of opportunity for MGF here….

    #7735
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator
    Quote:
    Quote from Jeff Richard on April 30, 2014, 06:25
    The New Idealists are philosophical idealists, believing themselves to be thoughts of the Invisible God trapped in the gross matter of Makan. The soul is a prisoner of the material world, but by systematically overcoming the ancient restrictions of caste, the soul can be liberated through Joy and one can join the Men-of-All. Those who do not succeed are reincarnated until they liberate themselves from the cycle of rebirth by achieving unity with the Invisible God.

    This is a crucial quote. The “occupy” analogue actually understates how crucial their cursus honorum is to them: social mobility entails access to what we might call heaven, so if you never get your ticket to the Guardians, you’re locked out in this fallen world forever. In theory reincarnation is a comfort because if you never leave the farm you can can always reach for it next time, but I suspect that compensation is under pressure for some reason. (Anonymous Man sez: life is short and death is uncertain, YOLO.)

    The “kids” want it and they want it now, in this life.

    Quote:
    Those with the appropriate spiritual virtue and ability (both are needed) are selected to be trained as Guardians and have the chance to be liberated as Men-of-All (who also escape the cycle of reincarnation). This Platonic system worked beautifully during the 83 years of magical isolation. However, now the outside world has returned with a vengeance in the form of the Kingdom of War.

    Big points to the team for cleaning up the infamous “111 years” glitch from the old Genertela book. I was all eager to postulate that time itself passed at a different rate under the Ban but that only complicates their already bizarre storyline without much concrete benefit.

    What is, of course, interesting about how their system is falling short of perfection is that outside circumstances (a reality principle) force them to either modify the system to adapt to external demands or else modify the system to better resist those external demands.

    My intuition is that under the Ban the “army” was something like a cross between Scouting and a really immersive Pendragon (!) LARP, a magnificent ribboned toy like the armies of the land of Oz. (Possibly this is how children are educated in lovely, immortal Altinela so this is how Siglat knows.) Because risk was minimal, membership could be extended to something like universal and if so, future generations would come to expect that they or their kids could receive similar treatment.

    Now (a) the forests are bigger than our old backyard and you can get killed running around in them and (b) we actually need hard cops to police the hinterland and even wage war on war. Not everyone’s talents are going to be useful here and some people’s participation will actually get in the way. We need to have standards for everybody’s own protection. Only jocks go to heaven. You other 97% or so, I’m sorry. We still love our farmers.

    Then of course some Elders want hard troops and will err in that direction, while others err in the direction of mercy and those people get killed.

    I know the “squire” is currently in canonical limbo but I like the idea of some idealist-pragmatist compromise instituting the role as a consolation prize (for the bleeding hearts) cum reinforcement pool (for those who need warm bodies on the lines). In the meantime, of course, having 10% of the labor force either in the army or attached as passive support does start to look like certain militaristic regimes here on earth. And otherwise, 3% is just too narrow a wedge.

    Meriatam as a somewhat psychotic Robert Baden-Powell, calling up the squires for the end of the world…

    Quote:
    All Loskalmi children are sent out to labor in the material world, just as our own souls are trapped in the gross matter of the world.

    This is a really nice line.

    Quote:
    Worse, since the Ban ended, a social distinction has developed between the Elders (those who grew up during the isolation of the Ban) and the Children of Tribulation (those who have come of age since the Ban ended thirty-nine years ago in 1582, effectively all those under the age of 55). The Children of Tribulation make up the majority of the population, but the Elders hold most of the positions of leadership

    I think age is really important here. When you’re twelve you can always hope to be picked for the team next year. When you’re getting into your 40s and the kids who get the ticket stay the same age, it gets rough. Instead of a children’s crusade they might be facing a gray panther revolt — kind of appropriate and bittersweet given Loskalm’s hippie heritage. Running out of time on this planet to experience Joy.

    Meanwhile the Elders keep screwing up. And naturally they favor those most like them for promotion. Might be their actual kids, might be their proteges. Doesn’t matter.

    #7736
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    My intuition is that under the Ban the “army” was something like a cross between Scouting and a really immersive Pendragon LARP, a magnificent ribboned toy like the armies of the land of Oz. (Possibly this is how children are educated in lovely Altinela so this is how Siglat knows.) Because risk was minimal, membership could be extended to something like universal and if so, future generations would come to expect that they or their kids could receive similar treatment.

    Now (a) the forests are bigger than our old backyard and you can get killed running around in them and (b) we actually need hard cops to police the hinterland and even wage war on war. Not everyone’s talents are going to be useful here and some people’s participation will actually get in the way. We need to have standards for everybody’s own protection. Only jocks go to heaven. You other 97% or so, I’m sorry. We still love our farmers.

    And of course some Elders want hard troops and will err in that direction, while others err in the direction of mercy and those people get killed.

    Yes, this is very much my take as well. In the Golden Age of Siglat, Loskalm was like the wonderful land of Oz. Its Men-of-All were splendidly attired, engaged in magical rituals, pleasant dances, and athletic contests instead of warfare. There were no enemies, the king a benevolent and wonderful demigod, and if you were too ensnared in the material world to achieve Joy, there was always the next life.

    #7737
    Profile photo of Charles
    Charles
    Spectator
    Quote:
    Quote from Scott Martin on April 30, 2014, 06:03
    It’s a bit of a gag post based on the “Occupy Wall Street” mantra of the elite 1%.

    Ah, okay. I feel a little silly now. 😛

    So the idealist vision of Loskalm came to an end when the Ban faded in 1587?

    #7738
    Profile photo of Jeff Richard
    Jeff Richard
    Keymaster

    The utopia of Loskalm was reintroduced to reality when the Ban faded in 1587. But the idealist vision is still there, just a little compromised here and there…..

    #7739
    Profile photo of Scott Martin
    Scott Martin
    Spectator

    I’ve been overly serious lately so the satire is rusty.

    Quote:
    Quote from kaydet on April 30, 2014, 17:40
    So the idealist vision of Loskalm came to an end when the Ban faded in 1587?

    Experts have already dealt with that one but the map of how the Ban rolled back can probably tell a great story of how the land woke up from Siglat’s Dream and what parts people who came of age in a particular year may remember.

    I always liked that phrase, “Siglat’s Dream.” Like “American Dream.” Only in Glorantha, of course, dream magic uh occupies a special place.

    #7742
    Profile photo of Charles
    Charles
    Spectator
    Quote:
    Quote from Jeff Richard on April 30, 2014, 17:52
    The utopia of Loskalm was reintroduced to reality when the Ban faded in 1587. But the idealist vision is still there, just a little compromised here and there…..

    Are there movements attempting to restore the ban as a means of returning to that Utopia?

    #7818
    Profile photo of Evilroddy
    Evilroddy
    Spectator

    Such dangerous ideas, Kaydet! You should concentrate on opening the Gates of Banir! (insert maniacal laughing here.)The Kingdom of War is coming to lay waste to your utopian dreams and in its wake the Red Goddess shall follow!
    Rod Robertson

    #7831
    Profile photo of Evilroddy
    Evilroddy
    Spectator

    Is there a high death rate among members of the lower castes which could ameliorate the perception of a very tiny opportunity to climb in caste rank. If the peasants and craftsmen are dying of (and reincarnating) then the pyramid becomes a little steeper and fairer.

    #7832
    Profile photo of Charles
    Charles
    Spectator

    Let your Red Goddess come, if she can – for all things are to the Good. Indeed, at times I almost dream. I too have spent a life the sage’s way. And tread once more familiar paths. Perchance I’ve perished in an arrogant self-reliance an age ago, and in that act of prayer for one more chance went up so earnest, so… Instinct with better light let in by death that life was blotted out not so completely, but scattered wrecks, enough of it to remain dim memories. As now, one seems once more… the goal in sight again.

    #7833
    Profile photo of Evilroddy
    Evilroddy
    Spectator

    kaydet:
    Errr… You lost me after so… But it sounded really good!
    May a maelstrom of misery consume your infernal kingdom with its pretty knights and cloistered, pent-up sages. Sword and Scimitar will be the only sights you see soon and then your people will be liberated from the wicked hierarchy which binds them to land and lord! We shall free the 99% and reveal to them their Seventh Souls! They will dance and sing and live once more as your temples and cathedrals crumble to dust! Embrace the Conquering Moon and the light of Nysalor and you shall live as gods! Resist and you shall feel the flames of a thousand Lunar Hells!

    #7834
    Profile photo of Charles
    Charles
    Spectator

    It’s a quote from Robert Browning’s “Paracelsus”. The “sage” is almost certainly a reference to the Stoic concept, and I like to think that this stanza describes the sense of loss and perhaps of futility with which Loskalm might have been confronted as their utopia collapsed under the barbaric exterior.

    I’m hoping to include a Loskalmi in the campaign I’m setting up, and I’m considering making him one of the last to mature in the age before the Thaw. Lots of opportunity for angst, not to mention pour la recherche du temps perdu. I just have to figure out how to get him to Sartar…

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