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Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

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Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Jarlhen » Sat May 09, 2015 3:59 am

Warning, long post incoming. Also, remember these are opinions. I use words like 'flawed' a fair bit. That's 'flawed' in my eyes, others may disagree. It's not an empirical statement.

Ok, so, I've gone through the wiki. Here's something that stands out to me:

Utterby is a free settlement. It was founded as logging camp and then a fellow decided he wanted to make money so he essentially bought rights to organize the place. Cool bananas.

The problem:
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The artisan's union is not mentioned anywhere in the lore. Not a single mention that I can find. And since the AU is an admin created and run organization, this is weird. You cannot create an all-powerful organization that runs every aspect of Utterby without significantly expanding on its existence, foundation, creation and powers.

If the AU is an organization which revels in its monopoly then it should actively discourage free people from coming in and taking its resources. They should force anyone and everyone to work for them. Sure, provide a living wage and such, but why should they let anyone sell anything in Utterby? They already own everything and run everything. It would go directly against their monopoly for them to let freelancers work in Utterby. Remember, export is the game here. The AU exports, that's how they earn money. It would be way cheaper for them to just employ every hunter and logger and they have the power to do so.

What we have here is a flawed design for an admin run organization. Essentially, it exists to limit players from going nuts. Which is fair enough, such organizations must exist. But it makes no sense to me that this organization is based on a monopoly that's not mentioned anywhere. And it makes even less sense that they would allow others to come in and work for themselves.

So here's what I was thinking, option A:
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Keep the founding of Utterby. But instead of giving away all the power to an organization that according to lore does not exist, have this Gararic fellow recognize that he can't do all this on his own. So instead, he used his influence and money to convince people that Utterby was a free settlement where everyone could earn their coin (as the lore states but the IG lore goes directly against). This lead to several competing merchant houses to set up shop in Utterby, their activities based on export.

Here's what I was thinking, option B:
--------------------------------------------------------------
Or, have the AU be a merchant house that had been given all their administrative power on trial. The people of Utterby didn't like it so they've removed their powers, leaving the AU to be just another merchant house. To encourage competition and new arrivals the mayor has decreed that they're allowing for new merchant houses to be opened by the PCs.

What would all this do?
--------------------------------------------------------------
This would make so much more sense than the flawed and weird system we currently have. It would allow for the admins to maintain control through the mayor. It would allow for some fun plots once per year where there's a struggle for mayorship where PCs get to influence which NPC becomes mayor. The admins would maintain control of the biggest fighting clan in Utterby.

It would allow for a wider variety of clans and roles for people to take up through these merchant houses. It would allow for more flexibility for plots. It would allow for more competition and strife. There's nothing stopping a player from setting up shop and selling to the people of Utterby or the merchant houses. But it would help explain why people aren't getting loaded on export. The merchant houses actively destroy people's opportunities for exports through sabotage, threats, price dumps and bullying. At least until there's an IG system to represent exports anyhow.

It would also allow merchant houses to compete over resources. So freelancers could go to the different houses and see how much they're offering for various raw materials. Make contracts and deals.

Plus, merchant houses could be encouraged or even forced to help Utterby's defenses, as part of the deal allowing them to set up shop. Remember, the mayor has the actual power. If the merchant houses don't behave or don't contribute they could be kicked out. Have them try to sabotage each other, work against each other, alongside each other.

And, things barely have to be retconned in the lore. Have the AU be an actual merchant house. People who have dealt with them have in fact dealt with the mayor's cronies instead. The AU was clever and joined Utterby quickly. Other merchant houses have lagged and are only just now getting set up in Utterby.

Perhaps most importantly. It would make Utterby a free settlement rather than the really strange and kind of illogical monopoly we now have.

Also, this one major change that requires relatively little to bet set up. If you go with option B it requires only a bit of a lore change. The players would do the rest. For option A it would require a bit more designing and thought, but can easily be done.

ETA: If there is lore info on the AU in the wiki, please help me out and link it to me. I couldn't find it.
Last edited by Jarlhen on Sat May 09, 2015 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Melkor » Sat May 09, 2015 6:50 am

We're not in Gondor. There are no merchant houses. Also, Laketown is the only democracy in Middle-Earth.

As far as documentation goes, it's still being written. But you must not have read this thread very thoroughly, cause there's a bunch of it there about the AU.
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Re: Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Jarlhen » Sat May 09, 2015 7:42 am

Actually you're right, I did miss a portion of that thread. I just read the dooms. However, reading it now it's still not established lore. It's proposed lore. And to me, it doesn't actually change any of what I've written. In fact, it seems to confirm most of the assumptions I've made. I maintain that it's a flawed and counter-productive organization. And I also maintain that it's weird that this organization is in the game at all considering we don't have any established lore for it. It's just there, running everything. If I created a character born in Utterby I would have no way of knowing any of this as all we have now is a suggestion for a helpfile in the middle of a forum post about laws.

Furthermore, I'm not sure if the dooms are even considered lore yet. There's no mention of them IG or on the wiki and it would appear as if these dooms are currently being worked on.

I'm not sure what Gondor has to do with this. Tolkien never mentioned merchant houses in Gondor either So, we kind of make it up. And I hardly find it out of place to use them in this setting. It doesn't have to be the word merchant houses. Can be companies or whatever, the point still stands. I'm also not sure what Laketown being a democracy has anything to do with this. Democracy does not exclude merchant houses or other such endeavors.
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Re: Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Melkor » Sat May 09, 2015 7:47 am

You said you wanted Utterby to have an elected mayor. That's a democracy. Laketown is the only democracy in Middle-Earth.

Games like this don't hatch out of the egg fully-grown, you have to write the lore for them. I don't understand what you're getting at. Of course there isn't as much documentation as we'd like there to be. It's alpha, we're still writing it.
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Re: Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Jarlhen » Sat May 09, 2015 7:58 am

Melkor wrote:You said you wanted Utterby to have an elected mayor. That's a democracy. Laketown is the only democracy in Middle-Earth.

Games like this don't hatch out of the egg fully-grown, you have to write the lore for them. I don't understand what you're getting at. Of course there isn't as much documentation as we'd like there to be. It's alpha, we're still writing it.


Utterby isn't really a city-state though. It's a minor village. You can't possibly say there are no other villages in Middle-Earth that didn't have elected mayors. The Shire had elections of sorts, I mean it had a mayor (however ceremonial). It's hardly inconceivable that Utterby should have one.

What I'm getting at is that I'm making a suggestion. I'm looking at what we have so far and I'm trying to make suggestions on ways it may potentially be improved. That's part of the point why these forums exist. If you don't like what I'm suggesting, that's fine, feel free to write your own comments. That's kind of the point of this. But I'm unsure what exactly we're arguing about.
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Re: Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Melkor » Sat May 09, 2015 10:30 am

Jarlhen wrote:The problem:
--------------------------------------------------------------
The artisan's union is not mentioned anywhere in the lore. Not a single mention that I can find. And since the AU is an admin created and run organization, this is weird. You cannot create an all-powerful organization that runs every aspect of Utterby without significantly expanding on its existence, foundation, creation and powers.


Here, you are saying that the AU shouldn't exist because there's no documentation written for it. There is documentation, as I pointed out to you. It's just not complete yet.

Game organizations, economies, systems, etc are often put into place so they can be tinkered around with before the documentation for them is written. Saying it can't be done is wrong because it has been done many times.

I'm no big fan of the AU, but this is what we have and it's what the staff want. I'm open to discussing different things about how it might work, I'm just pointing out that your logic that "it can't exist in game if there's no documentation for it" is flawed. According to this logic, we wouldn't have orcs, elves, or even humans, for that matter, either. I haven't seen a human page written up here in this forum or on the wiki. Guess they shouldn't exist.
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Re: Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Jarlhen » Sat May 09, 2015 10:51 am

Melkor wrote:
Jarlhen wrote:The problem:
--------------------------------------------------------------
The artisan's union is not mentioned anywhere in the lore. Not a single mention that I can find. And since the AU is an admin created and run organization, this is weird. You cannot create an all-powerful organization that runs every aspect of Utterby without significantly expanding on its existence, foundation, creation and powers.


Here, you are saying that the AU shouldn't exist because there's no documentation written for it. There is documentation, as I pointed out to you. It's just not complete yet.

Game organizations, economies, systems, etc are often put into place so they can be tinkered around with before the documentation for them is written. Saying it can't be done is wrong because it has been done many times.

I'm no big fan of the AU, but this is what we have and it's what the staff want. I'm open to discussing different things about how it might work, I'm just pointing out that your logic that "it can't exist in game if there's no documentation for it" is flawed. According to this logic, we wouldn't have orcs, elves, or even humans, for that matter, either. I haven't seen a human page written up here in this forum or on the wiki. Guess they shouldn't exist.


Fair point. But you misunderstand what I mean with that. And evidently I'm not clear enough. I'm saying the AU shouldn't exist because a player has no possible way of finding out about it prior to entering the game. A suggested helpfile in a thread about laws does not count. Comparing it to humans, orcs and elves are bulding a strawman out of a fart. They're two entirely different things.

However, the AU does exist. I'm saying that this is a problem and it should be fixed. And my fix is to change how the AU works or even remove it completely. Remember, there is no established lore, we can alter it however we want without consequence as it doesn't technically exist yet. As you keep repeating, it's alpha. And this is one of my suggestions for improving on the alpha experience and help lay the groundwork for future lore down the road.
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Re: Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Frigga » Sun May 10, 2015 5:09 pm

While I appreciate the opinion and concerns, we aren't removing the AU or back changing other lore.

Sorry, it exists. It doesn't technically not exist because of the lack of a wiki page. It's established IC, it exists. More information can and will be available before people roll into game.

Also, the Dooms currently written on the forums are a proposal by a player for consideration into official game lore. They haven't been yet.
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Re: Let's talk Lore and Utterby and Artisan's Union

Postby Jarlhen » Mon May 11, 2015 3:19 am

Fair enough.
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