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Author Topic: Dwarven Bill of Rights  (Read 9829 times)

Joakim

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Dwarven Bill of Rights
« on: May 18, 2009, 05:05:41 am »

The slavery thread got me thinking. To differentiate slaves from citizens in terms of treatment, why not let citizens have some dwarfy rights. These could apply for example when they get a mayor or when the economy sets in. A newly founded settlement would be under frontier law.

So here are some suggestions for dwarven rights. They should be dwarfy and preferably also provide a source of conflict or a gameplay mechanic.

- Every dwarf has a right to remain drunk at all times. Failure to provide enough booze might lead to strikes, which work just like parties except you can actually do something to end them, like sending in the fortress guard or increase booze production.
- Every dwarf has a right to a job. Dwarves are work-loving fellows, so this feels right to me.
- Every dwarf has a right to choose his own religion. I'm including this since the dwarves have such varied beliefs, so it suits them. This only applies if the player can actually prevent a dwarf from following his religion.
- Every dwarf has a right to emigrate. Not sure how this would apply to soldiers though.
- Every dwarf has a right to own at least one blood-vomit-mud-covered silk sock.
- Every dwarf has a right a right to marry. Provides some population control.

By definition, slaves do not have any of these rights.

During emergencies such as sieges, martial law could be introduced again. The longer it's in force, the unhappier the dwarves become.  Useful for rationing Booze and food. And keeping the martial law in forces gives the fortress guard something to do. Like guarding said booze.

Another idea is indentured servitude. For example these rights might not apply to immigrants until they've gained a useful skill. What useful means should be set by the player, via the Mayor. Or in the economy they might need to "earn" (they don't actually get anything) enough money to get citizenship. Kinda lika paying their debt to society.

Any other suggestions?
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Duke 2.0

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 06:50:21 am »

 Of course, it would all need to be randomly generated for each civilization and allow for trading of belief systems between civilizations.

 I must admit, I came into this thread because my sleepy eyes saw this as "The Dwarven Balls of Right"
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BlackSash

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 09:07:57 am »

Include the following once you get to the nobles stage:

You have the right to be tossed from a drawbrigde into a magma chamber if you impose taxes on your fellow dwarves,
You have the right to be splattered all over the walls of a death chambers if you mandate an impossible (or even possible, these are dwarves after all) item.
You have the right to be chained to a silk rope and left for dead for whining about the lack of office/bedroom/dining room.

Add these and i'm sold! :)
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Bricks

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 11:57:38 am »

I don't really see a bill of rights fitting into a medieval scene, per se, but it's understandable that different castes would have different rights, and violation of these rights would be enforced by guard/hammerer.

And the right to work makes even less sense in this time period than it does in ours.  Who would be punished, the player?  The job manager?  It could certainly be something that upsets dwarfs, though.  (Does it currently?)
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chucks

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2009, 01:21:34 pm »

The Magna Carta was near the end of the medieval era.
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Silverionmox

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2009, 02:08:52 pm »

Demanding rights for other than the ruling classes became much more common after the Black Death decimated the labour force in the 13th-14th century. Medieval society was a society fundamentally based on mutual obligations between the estates of the realm though.
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Byakugan01

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2009, 04:32:59 pm »

Then again, dwarven society is more like that of a medieval town than a medieval manor/estate. And for the record, towns were pretty independent of their lords-the real powers in them were the craft guilds, as i recall. Also, I do believe it was customary for someone to be free from their lord if they could live in town for a year, though my memory is a bit hazy on much of this-been a while since that history course.

As for the black death, it made the feudal workers able to up their demands considerably simply because the lords couldn't find people who could replace them. So much so that you ended up with regulations saying that the workers couldn't receive more than a given amount for their work-which were promptly ignored/subverted by the nobility for obvious reasons. I might be wrong on this, but in at least some cases the workers were given extra goods "on the side", for instance good wines and the like. I can find the professor who told me about this and get a more detailed explanation. In any case, dwarves certainly are in a position to make demands of their rulers.
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Silverionmox

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2009, 05:17:56 pm »

The thing to keep in mind concerning the middle ages is that uniformity was a pipe dream. Every lord who could obtain the right to mint coins did so. Most peasants/farmers had a different contract with their lord to use the land: hereditary or in years, with restrictions on its use or not, with payment in kind (ranging from wheat over cattle to wax or wood), in money, or both, with extra privileges on inheriting or not, with the right to leave or not, etc. etc. Similar pieces of land rented out by the same lord could have vastly different conditions.
Jurisdiction was tied to the person rather than the territory. The church and some religious orders had their own courts. Foreigners had their own local communities in cities where they could go for lodging, support etc. It wasn't even rare to have cities that were presided over by two or more temporal lords, not counting the religious enclaves.

The lords' power was based on control of the land. When cities flourished, they got their income from trade, so the relative economic power of the nobility diminished. They retained their legislative and juridical powers, so they traded favours for taxes with the cities.

The king, meanwhile, had retained his rights to tolls and the like, and was able to use that to fund an administration and army to bring the cities back in line. But that became clear only after 1400. For DF, we'll be enjoying the fascinating juridical imbroglio of the late medieval world.
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Craftling

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 04:01:39 am »

Im going to be the bastard here and point out that DF is fantasy. We(Toady) can screw around with the setting because its fantasy, so this shouldnt be any reason to stop the bill of rights.
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Silverionmox

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 04:18:08 am »

Im going to be the bastard here and point out that DF is fantasy. We(Toady) can screw around with the setting because its fantasy, so this shouldnt be any reason to stop the bill of rights.
There are good reasons to use historical societies as a starting point:
- suspension of disbelief: it's easier to identify with a real world, closer to own experience
- balance: there always is a balance of power in real societies, and we want that in the game as well to keep it challenging
- benchmarking: it's easier to see whether newly introduced systems give plausible results by comparing them with historical antecedents

Of course, it's merely a starting point. We all have a flying pig to add afterwards. But it makes that all the more fun, because a flying pig in a normal medieval town is special, while a flying pig in a town where all the people fly is ordinary.

Concerning the bill of rights, it should be addressed by power struggles between various factions in the civ, depending on the circumstances. There's unlikely to be conflict over the right to leave the lord's land, if the land in question is an oasis in a desert, for example.
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Muz

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2009, 08:37:52 am »

Urist, President has immigrated to your fortress!
Urist, President mandates the Dwarven Bill of Rights.

Cue magma.
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Bricks

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2009, 12:41:02 pm »

Im going to be the bastard here and point out that DF is fantasy. We(Toady) can screw around with the setting because its fantasy, so this shouldnt be any reason to stop the bill of rights.

I'm also going to have to disagree with this.  If you can come up with a fantasy reason for a bill of rights, great, but the law in DF and related fantasy seems to be hard, fast, and cruel, usually established by whatever party happens to be in charge at the time.  Perhaps a long-standing fortress could develop some order, but a traveling band of seven dwarfs with limited contact to the homeland would probably begin with no rule of law at first (as it currently does) and then slowly establish its own political culture based on both the nobles and the pressures of the populous.  An absolute, inviolate bill of rights, strikes me as being against the total insanity of DF.  I want major social upheavals and player-independent execution of preposterous nobles.

On a related note, history buffs:  Were officials ever elected, like they are in DF?  If not, than I could definitely see background for a bill of dwarfy rights.
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Sunken

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2009, 12:51:32 pm »

Urist, President has immigrated to your fortress!
Urist, President mandates the Dwarven Bill of Rights.

Cue magma.
Ah, the Magma Carta...
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chucks

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2009, 01:47:50 pm »

Well, on this same arc, perhaps widespread civic unrest in a fortress could have lethal consequences for the leader/mayor/baron/king/etc. that's not triggered with a lever.  Seeing some sort of political game mechanics resulting in a mob of angry peasant out for the monarch's blood for violations of basic dwarven rights and decencies would be very entertaining.

Then, after a bloody revolution, your dorfies could re-establish a culture based on a some legal document stating their doctrines and values.  You could rotate word choices such as constitution, charter, etc.
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Silverionmox

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Re: Dwarven Bill of Rights
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2009, 02:44:17 pm »

On a related note, history buffs:  Were officials ever elected, like they are in DF?  If not, than I could definitely see background for a bill of dwarfy rights.
There were the merchant republics, like Venice, who elected their doge - but he still got to keep the title until he died. Romans and Greeks used election systems. More often than not, there were severe restrictions on who could vote.

Radical political and religious groups sometimes employed a more egalitarian voting system, for example various movements during the Reformation. These were usually regarded as dangerous by everyone else with power, and suppressed.
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