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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:36 am 
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So, I've been thinking over something ever since the cavern reopened. Now, the Ages we've visited thus far have been uninhabited. That being said, the book Myst: The Book of Atrus and various other games in the series show us that such is not always the case. Often as not, an Age already has a population living there, and from what is seems these are normally primitive.

All that being said, what did the D'ni do about natives? Are there records of attempts to communicate with them? Were Ages abandoned or given prominence because of this fact? What about the Guild of Writers? Were members admonished or exalted for a propensity towards writing Ages with sentient beings in them? Finally... and this was the main question that drove me to post... who was responsible for interacting with local inhabitants? The Maintainers were the ones often as not making 'first contact' I'd imagine, but in terms of actually understanding the natives and interacting with them in a meaningful, longer term fashion... The Guild of Linguists perhaps? Messengers?

To take this all a step further, it seems like a very big issue that as far as I can see was entirely overlooked by the DRC. With the reopening of Ages, what happens if we found an Age fully populated? On whose hands would fall the responsibility of interacting with them and serving as ambassadors? The Guild of Greeters or the Guild of Messengers seem like good choices of those we have active, but as I said, I've not been able to dig up anything specific on this issue as a whole. It'd be interesting to see what Cyan folks had to say on it, as well as current guildfolks.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:00 am 
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I just happened to read the Shomat Story tonight which includes these lines:
Quote:
"We have no choice but to burn the book," Lemash recommended. "You know this Age is not ours if it is already inhabited. You know the rules of our Books, and of our writing, and of our people."


So, to partially answer your question, I think intentionally writing Ages with people with forbidden and the discovery of people was grounds for the book to be burn.

On the other hand, the Archive entry for the Guild of Linguists indicates that the Guild was responsible for teaching D'ni to native inhabitants, a fact likely gleaned from the Book of Ti'ana where they taught Anna D'ni.

I agree that the Guild of Maintainers likely made first contact when possible. I doubt the involvement of the Guild of Messengers whose duties in my knowledge and opinion were internal, not external.

From an in-story perspective, current discovery of native populations would be handled by the Guild of Maintainers if any guild. Honestly though, I reckon some explorer group might be more likely, whether an anthropologist group or ambassador group or something else.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:51 am 
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I'd like to add that the fall - Veovis and A'gaeris spreading infected bodies to all Ages - probably very much reduced the chances of encountering native inhabitants...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:24 pm 
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Marein wrote:
I'd like to add that the fall - Veovis and A'gaeris spreading infected bodies to all Ages - probably very much reduced the chances of encountering native inhabitants...


I'd agree on that as well, but wasn't part of the issue that D'ni immune systems were weaker than average? I could be wrong, but I seem to recall Tiana being immune. Been years and years since I read the books however. Still, the disease was enough to wipe out the cavern, but that's a relatively small, underground environment. It'd have to be a rather epic disease to wipe out multiple forms of humanoid life across who knows how many worlds in an open air, globe spanning environment on most of them. Not to say it couldn't be done, but either way one would think there'd be survivors. Also, the whole issue with the Guild of Writers being reestablished along with the other four... it's only a matter of time one would think before new Ages are found and/or written. It just seems terribly short sighted for the DRC not to have planned for such an eventuality.

In regards to Horatio's comments, my line of thinking on the Guild of Messengers was that there were buildings and D'ni outposts on other Ages beyond the cavern. I assumed they'd also be responsible for communication between those outposts and the city proper, so it seemed to make sense that they'd also be responsible for communication between those outposts and any native ones. While the Guild of Maintainers would make initial contact, it just seemed outside their area of expertise to handle language deciphering and diplomatic type roles beyond that first meeting.

It'd be interesting to know if Cyan had any thoughts along these lines for their story arcs before the Gametap era ended. On a semi related note, has anything been said of where the story stands now? When things shut down the situation with the Bahro was still rather chaotic as I recall. What's happened with them while we've been away?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:54 pm 
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I don't think the D'ni immune system was weak, just different.
[spoiler]Just like in The Book of D'ni the D'ni stomach bacteria was fatal to the Tehrahnee, but obviously wasn't to the D'ni.[/spoiler]
I don't think there were rules against writing Ages that were inhabited. They had a Guild of Linguists that was responsible for trying to communicate with people that don't speak D'ni (source: The Book of Ti'ana). I would be surprised if they intentionally wrote Ages that were inhabited. I find it more likely that they wrote Ages that happened to have the building blocks for civilization to emerge

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:51 pm 
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If I remember correctly what's written in the King Books, at the beginning D'ni wrote hinabitated Ages. But with the passing of time they closed themselves more and more (the 2 D'ni Wars were not a help and also various problems alogn the millennia) and I think that during one of the Kings reign (Kerath?) they decided that writing hinabited Ages was illegal.

Found it. But it doesn't explicitly say they were made illegal
Kerath Book wrote:
By the end of his reign, Kerath had convinced a majority of D'ni of his own beliefs. Most claimed to be followers of Gish and his writings, and most viewed the outsiders as a threat. "If not now, then soon," Kerath often said.3

After his death, Kerath's words would be proven true with the onset of the Mee-Dis War. Outside factions would invade with attempts to destroy the Ink-Making and Book-Making Guilds and almost succeed. By the time the war would end, there would be few left who did not follow Gish and thus believe in the end of most outsider involvement. The discovery that conservative factions had led to the start of the Mee-Dis War would come much later, when it was far too late to alter the conservative trends.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:59 pm 
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Also keep in mind that the D'ni were under New Mexico. American Indians in general had different immune systems than Europeans. Not weaker, just different (it is speculated that Indians were much more resistant to parasites and other such things, and less resistant to viruses.) Since as far as we can tell the D'ni had no contact with Europeans, they would likely have only had opportunity to gain the same immunities as Indians (incidentally, this leads to an interesting thought: could the fall of D'ni been hastened by Smallpox and other such diseases? Indians had much less genetic variation than Europeans, which is speculated to be the reason European diseases wiped out 95% of Indians, while even the Black Death only took out about 30-40% of the European population. Theoretically the D'ni would be a still more homogeneous a group. and thus even less resistant to disease. I wonder what data we have on D'ni population levels in the 15th-19th centuries?)

ANYWAY, the "strength" of an immune system is not really strength, but rather evolution. The more genetic variation in a culture, the "stronger" its immune system simply because with diversity comes a greater percentage of a population naturally able to survive a given disease. On the other hand the more diseases it suffers from, since with more variation there will be more genetic elements susceptible to different diseases. A homogeneous group, on the other hand, like the Indians (or the D'ni,) would be practically immune to a wide variety of diseases that they had developed an evolutionary resistance to. However new diseases introduced into their society would be devastating.

The D'ni came from the Ronay, who had possessed the Art for a very long time. The very nature of the Art means new types of diseases would be coming in all the time. So evolution would select for D'ni who had very adaptable immune systems. Not necessarily resistant, but capable of survival. I would hazard a guess that it was easy for D'ni to get sick, but rare for them to die of disease. On the other hand, even this evolutionary proclivity toward adaptability would not save them from truly new diseases, which would rip through their population due to their lack of genetic variation (and indeed, this did happen on several occasions.) Luckily the D'ni had very talented physicians with the ability to link to ages of their specifications.

I really only started thinking about this to write this post, but now I'm fascinated. I really must look into this further.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:05 pm 
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Leonardo wrote:
If I remember correctly what's written in the King Books, at the beginning D'ni wrote hinabitated Ages. But with the passing of time they closed themselves more and more (the 2 D'ni Wars were not a help and also various problems alogn the millennia) and I think that during one of the Kings reign (Kerath?) they decided that writing hinabited Ages was illegal.

Found it. But it doesn't explicitly say they were made illegal
Kerath Book wrote:
By the end of his reign, Kerath had convinced a majority of D'ni of his own beliefs. Most claimed to be followers of Gish and his writings, and most viewed the outsiders as a threat. "If not now, then soon," Kerath often said.3

After his death, Kerath's words would be proven true with the onset of the Mee-Dis War. Outside factions would invade with attempts to destroy the Ink-Making and Book-Making Guilds and almost succeed. By the time the war would end, there would be few left who did not follow Gish and thus believe in the end of most outsider involvement. The discovery that conservative factions had led to the start of the Mee-Dis War would come much later, when it was far too late to alter the conservative trends.


I'm in the middle of a writing project, so I've got no time to check my data, but I'm 90% certain that Shomat was long before Kereth. My speculation has always been that Ri'neref himself established the rules against writing inhabited worlds (though there's no evidence that inhabitation was ever written for in more than a general sense, such as Atrus creating tiny flowers like the ones in the cleft but not individual flowers. Indeed, there's a lot of evidence of life showing up despite not having been specifically written in.) Ri'neref, with his whole "we link, we don't create" kick, would naturally have enforced rules about not interfering with inhabited ages. Shomat showed the first time that policy changed. Kerath was a change in the opposite direction.

Again, that's from memory, but I'm pretty sure that's how it happened.

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