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Month Index: February, 1995


From:     Michael Bauser <MBAUSER@??????.????.edu>
Date:     Tue, 28 Feb 95 12:15:01 EST
Subject:  Re: Repeats
On Sat, 25 Feb 1995 23:42:12 GMT Ernest said:

>   First of all how come all the worlds develop the same kind of demi-humans,
>I don't mean exactly cos say humans in FR are different to humans in Mystara.
>What I mean is why are there always dwarves, elves, humans, gnomes, etc in
>general?

Well, even in mythologies that have "other places" (underworlds and other
stuff) full of living things, or talk about destroyed worlds (or future
worlds, like after Ragnarok) the predominant lifeforms are essentially
human (two arms, two legs, one head, etc, etc).  Why's that?  Maybe the
Gods are lazy?  Maybe the Gods are picky?  The fact that the deities of
the AD&D universe are objectively real (in the setting) creates the ultimate
"out" for such similarities.  If Dumathoin, Creator of the Dwarves, likes
his blueprint for dwarves, then by Dumathoin, dwarves are going to look
the same wherever Dumathoin gets a say.

>   Why in all the worlds do the races develop the same weapons?  Say the long
>sword, its one of the original slashing swords, yet its in all the worlds, now
>here we come into a problem, say in a sphere there are 12 planets and out of
>those, two have life, so one is the "main" planet and develops long swords,
>bastard swords and all the crap...  but then the other world develops the
>same stuff!  How can this be explained?

Let me tell a little story here:  A few years back, when I was just an
undergraduate taking some archaeology classes, somebody asked our
professor why arrowheads from different parts of the world, from people
who supposedly never met each other, looked alike.  The undergrad asking
this thought that *must* be proof of some ancient contact, or higher power.
"No", said the professor, "that's just Hodgkin's Law".  Of, course, some-
body had to ask "What the hell is Hodgkin's Law?"  So the professor told
us:

"There are only so many ways to make an arrowhead."

I figure there were about two dozen noteworthy spheres in my Spelljammer
campaign.  *You* try to come up with two dozen different "sidearm"
weapons that could replace a long sword, and don't resemble anything
already in existance.  I'll bet any amount of money you can't.

When it comes right down to it, there really are just three kinds of
weapons in the world: ones that cut, ones that poke, and ones that club.
(Well, okay, maybe ones that entangle, too.)  Given that everybody is
trying to do the same thing with their weapons, their technology tends
to develop in the same directions.  (In biology, that's called convergent
evolution.  In archaeology, it's independent invention.)

TSR *has* tried doing some really odd alternative weaponry (see Darksun
Adventures and Astromundi Cluster, for example), but a whole new technology
for every world is potentially mind-damaging.  I need time to write
adventures, ya know!

>   Furthermore how come so many worlds develop spelljamming without the aid
>of dropping in/passer-by spelljammers?

>   Why is it the same spells develop in the different worlds and even worlds
>out of the same sphere?!  Well about the spells let me clear it up, I don't
>mean things like Mordenkainen's Sword or whatever the spell is called cos
>thats from a specific wizard from FR I think, now I mean spells like cantrip,
>magic missile, etc...

That's because EVERYBODY LOVES MAGIC MISSLE.  (Sorry, old joke.  I actually
knew a guy who failed the "Chance to Learn" roll on _missle_.  You've never
seen a wizard get so defensive about one spell.)

I'd probably say convergent evolution again.  Wizards of all worlds have
similar needs, and would probably develop similiar "tools" to deal with
them.  (Here in the real world, of course, there isn't that much convergence
in magic because magic doesn't do all that much.  I'm assuming that in a
universe where magic was objectively real, whatever physical laws applying
to it would encourage development in certain directions, namely spells that
work.)

--
    Michael Bauser <mbauser@??????.????.edu or mbauser@??????.bitnet>
"Provide me with ships or proper sails for the celestial atmosphere and
there will be men there, too, who do not fear the appalling distance"
                                                       --Johannes Kepler


Previous Message: Re: Jeremy's Questions
Next Message: Ship-to-ship tactics (request)
Month Index: February, 1995

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
Repeats    Ernest 'N True    25 Feb 1995 23:33:31
Re: Repeats    A little fish in a big pond.    26 Feb 1995 01:52:27
Re: Repeats    Michael Bauser    28 Feb 1995 17:15:01

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