Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known World

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Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known World

Postby Jayce » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:22 pm

In my current campaign, the PC's are exploring a hidden valley in the Altan Tepes mountains where they have encountered a Nithian death cult (worshippers of Ranivorus, complete with a gnoll entourage) brought there from the Hollow World by a Ylari sorcerer.

In one of their battles with the Nithians, they have rescued and befriended a small group of Tanagoro slaves. This made me wonder: should the Tanagoro venture further into the Known World, would they be tied to their cultural biasses?

The reason I am asking is that the Hollow World's Dungeon Master's Sourcebook makes it clear that the cultural biasses are an important effect of the Spell of Preservation. However, we know from Hollow World elves that once they leave the Hollow World and venture out into the Known World, the Spell of Preservation no longer prevents them from learning magic. But does it also cease to affect a character's cultural bias? That would seem to make sense, especially in light of the Elven example.

The Hollow World campaign setting isn't particularly clear on how to handle this - it only talks about losing one's cultural bias due to coming into contact with other Hollow World cultures. I would be inclined to make a choice per individual character - if a character adopts weapons and customs of the Known World, he will be able to without any XP penalties, but from that point on also loses any of his compensations, and thus becomes similar to the baseline Known World equivalent of his character class. If he sticks to his cultural bias, he will continue to enjoy his special compensations.

I would like to hear if anyone else has ever had any Hollow World characters venture out into the Known World, and how you would handle cultural bias and the effects of the Spell of Preservation.
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Re: Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known Worl

Postby Chimpman » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:47 pm

We can also draw some conclusions from the HWA series, where Thanatos' plan is to corrupt the light of the Hollow World's red sun and thus change the effects of the Spell of Preservation. Basically those adventures make it sound as if the SoP is actually powered by the light from the red sun. If that is the case, then removing oneself from the Hollow World (and the rays of the inner sun) would also end the effects of the SoP. I would allow any such characters to overcome their cultural biases at that time. If they ever journey back into the Hollow World, they should be treated as other Outer World PCs (meaning that the SoP would no longer effect them with regard to cultural biases).
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Re: Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known Worl

Postby Jayce » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:01 pm

Chimpman wrote:We can also draw some conclusions from the HWA series, where Thanatos' plan is to corrupt the light of the Hollow World's red sun and thus change the effects of the Spell of Preservation. Basically those adventures make it sound as if the SoP is actually powered by the light from the red sun. If that is the case, then removing oneself from the Hollow World (and the rays of the inner sun) would also end the effects of the SoP. I would allow any such characters to overcome their cultural biases at that time. If they ever journey back into the Hollow World, they should be treated as other Outer World PCs (meaning that the SoP would no longer effect them with regard to cultural biases).


Interesting! I've never played the HWA series (I do own them, but I've yet to read them), but it would definitely make sense to let them lose the cultural bias completely when leaving the Hollow World then, and just treat them as any other Known World character.
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Re: Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known Worl

Postby pauldupuis » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:56 pm

Once out of the Hollow World, the Spell of Preservation would no longer enforce its effects on HW characters. However, whether a person changes their cultural behaviors or not is another question. People inherent resit change. Most people are very tied to their upbringing and culture as it is a large part of their personal identity. So I would say they can change, but such change is not likely to be quick or immediate. Further, some may very much want to change and other may strongly resist any change resulting in internal tensions and possibly conflict in the group.
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Re: Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known Worl

Postby Havard » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:46 pm

pauldupuis wrote:Once out of the Hollow World, the Spell of Preservation would no longer enforce its effects on HW characters. However, whether a person changes their cultural behaviors or not is another question. People inherent resit change. Most people are very tied to their upbringing and culture as it is a large part of their personal identity. So I would say they can change, but such change is not likely to be quick or immediate. Further, some may very much want to change and other may strongly resist any change resulting in internal tensions and possibly conflict in the group.


This.

I also think we should not see the Spell of Preservation as strongly forcing behaviour upon individual characters. The SoP works on a cultural level or a large scale level. It would be possible even within the Hollow World for characters to change and break with their bias, but it would be impossible to permanently change entire civilizations without destroying the Spell itself. This is very important because players sometimes find it frustating that the SoP makes it so difficult to change the world. But really changing the world is difficult anywhere, and players seeking to create change could affect large groups of people, just not the whole culture.

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Re: Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known Worl

Postby Jayce » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:33 pm

Havard wrote:I also think we should not see the Spell of Preservation as strongly forcing behaviour upon individual characters. The SoP works on a cultural level or a large scale level. It would be possible even within the Hollow World for characters to change and break with their bias, but it would be impossible to permanently change entire civilizations without destroying the Spell itself. This is very important because players sometimes find it frustating that the SoP makes it so difficult to change the world.

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Well sure they can leave their bias behind on an individual level, the Hollow World set is fairly clear on that - but overcoming your cultural bias comes at a price while within the Hollow World. My question therefore was if a Hollow World native would have the same difficulty breaking with their bias outside of the Spell of Preservation's reach. But I think it's becoming clear that considering how the spell works in other instances, once Hollow World characters reach the Known World, they will no longer be held back by it.

But of course it's always possible to overcome it, even within the Hollow World itself. :)
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Re: Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known Worl

Postby Chimpman » Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:58 pm

It's probably a little bit from column A and a bit from column B.

Let's take someone from the HW and put them on the Outer World. Would they be inclined to abandon their Immortals and start worshiping new foreign Immortals? Probably unlikely (thought it could happen). Would they be inclined to drop that wooden club and pick up a nice steel mace? Probably more likely. However had that character stayed in the HW, they would never take that nice shiny steel mace no matter how many times it was demonstrated as being a better weapon. The important distinction here is one of game mechanics. You do loose all of the SoP (game) restrictions once you leave the HW, and if you start adventuring on the Outer World, you sure are going to play the "keeping up with the Jones' " game that everyone else plays. You can get better weapons (and probably would), you can learn new spells (and if capable probably would), but you would also still identify yourself as an Azcan, for example.
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Re: Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known Worl

Postby Jayce » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:01 am

Chimpman wrote:It's probably a little bit from column A and a bit from column B.

Let's take someone from the HW and put them on the Outer World. Would they be inclined to abandon their Immortals and start worshiping new foreign Immortals? Probably unlikely (thought it could happen). Would they be inclined to drop that wooden club and pick up a nice steel mace? Probably more likely. However had that character stayed in the HW, they would never take that nice shiny steel mace no matter how many times it was demonstrated as being a better weapon. The important distinction here is one of game mechanics. You do loose all of the SoP (game) restrictions once you leave the HW, and if you start adventuring on the Outer World, you sure are going to play the "keeping up with the Jones' " game that everyone else plays. You can get better weapons (and probably would), you can learn new spells (and if capable probably would), but you would also still identify yourself as an Azcan, for example.


You are right, of course. What you say generally reflects the experience of the real-life immigrant, and that seems like a reasonable model to handle the more (non-magical) psychological aspects of it. Being somewhat of an immigrant myself (my parents moved countries when I was two years old, and I have moved countries twice for employment since that time) my experience is that you adopt much of whatever makes your life easier/more pleasant, but you will always maintain part of your original identity. These sorts of patchwork identities are both what makes immigration interesting as well as difficult (not being sure where one belongs, homesickness no matter where you go - interesting roleplaying opportunities for a Hollow World native who builds a life, relationships etc in the Known World and vice versa, and being torn between two sometimes very different worlds).
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Re: Spell of Presevation and cultural bias in the Known Worl

Postby Chimpman » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:51 pm

Not being an immigrant, I haven't been thinking exactly along those terms, but I really like the way you put it. That kind of perspective puts a personal touch back into the equation.
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