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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    So due to some PC shenanigans and OOC discussions, I'd like to ask the following question here:

    What would standard D&D society with very low magic look like if all males died at the age of 16? Economy, politics, the whole thing ...

    Basically middle ages with a pinch of magic.

    Let me hear your predictions guys.(and girls of course)

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    Why or how are they dying?
    How long has this been happening?
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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    So due to some PC shenanigans and OOC discussions, I'd like to ask the following question here:

    What would standard D&D society with very low magic look like if all males died at the age of 16? Economy, politics, the whole thing ...

    Basically middle ages with a pinch of magic.

    Let me hear your predictions guys.(and girls of course)
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    So due to some PC shenanigans and OOC discussions, I'd like to ask the following question here:

    What would standard D&D society with very low magic look like if all males died at the age of 16? Economy, politics, the whole thing ...

    Basically middle ages with a pinch of magic.

    Let me hear your predictions guys.(and girls of course)
    It's gonna be like Ooku then.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
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    erradin's Avatar

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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    So: assuming this has been going on for a while and people have given up on finding a cure, among the first things we should expect is a redical redefinition of gender roles and leadership expectations.

    First off, given that women would be the only ones living long enough to gain necessary life experience, all jobs involving skill and wisdom would be femenine jobs. Males would do simple jobs, generally manual labor probably, if they work much at all. Women would fill almost all jobs and positions. Since men would be so ephemereal, they'd probably have a special place in society where they are taught the importance of their main, overriding duty in the continuation of civilization: reproduction. This job would begin shortly after bodily readiness and would probably be mandatory. Each male would need to produce at least one child.

    Further, since only women would survive long enough to raise children, virtually all families would be composed of female leadership. Any marriages or parental partnerships would also between women. Given that marriage was initially seen as a sacren union of 'maleness and femaleness' for the sake of reproduction- as well as male ownership of a given women-, marriage may not occur at all.

    It would be unlikely for there to be much sexism- though, by virtue of always dying at 16, males would all be seen as special, maybe even sacred in some odd way, but also perpetually juvenile, impulsive, and inherantly requiring supervision and leadership by women, as well as careful protection. It is unlikely that men would be educated.

    Women would now fill all roles of strength, as well all roles of grace and delicacy. Expect social stratification to occur along new lines. Money is always a powerful divider, but new norms of beauty and honor, possibly quite different from the archetypal male versions centering around competition, would become the new standards.

    It's hard to predict much in the way of specifics since much depends on the women involved and the ideas circulating at the time, as well as on religious influences.
    Last edited by erradin; 2015-10-25 at 09:51 AM.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    Quote Originally Posted by erradin View Post
    It would be unlikely for there to be much sexism- though, by virtue of always dying at 16, males would all be seen as special, maybe even sacred in some odd way, but also perpetually juvenile, impulsive, and inherantly requiring supervision and leadership by women, as well as careful protection. It is unlikely that men would be educated.
    What you're describing sounds like there's tons of sexism.

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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    Quote Originally Posted by Broken Crown View Post
    What you're describing sounds like there's tons of sexism.
    Hehe, true, but I drew a line because at its core it's eternal juvanilization more than sexism, exactly. It's definitely splitting hairs for me to say this, but I think it's more of an agism, where we assume children are all impulsive, reckless and desperately in need of supervision. Grounded in truth to be sure, but still not always true.
    Last edited by erradin; 2015-10-25 at 10:12 AM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    The behavior is justified though - it's the males who die at such a young age.

    Well, more justified than sexism in cases where such huge differences between the two sexes either don't exist, or are enforced by society (as opposed to some force that can't be controlled).

    Guess what happens when, after (say) 10 years of males-magically-die-at-16, the curse is lifted. The reason may be gone, but the attitudes and social structures are still there, largely resistant to change.
    Last edited by goto124; 2015-10-25 at 10:18 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Honest Tiefling's Avatar

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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    I agree, mostly, with what erradin said, but I wonder if they'd even bother with the marriage concept. Men would be so rare and well...Time sensitive, that it might be better to share a couple that do actually manage to get to 16 (and perhaps, a little older to see if that helps with the whole dying at 16 thing). There's also the factor of tossing courtship out the window, since you don't really have a lot of time between any sense of emotional maturity and the need for the hanky-panky to keep the species going to happen right now and then whoops, dead.

    Well, I'd assume most marriages would actually be between women. There'll still be a need for some sort of political alliance that deters both parties from breaking it, and 'sharing' children, such a rare resource, might do it. Raising children is hard, so I imagine some form of non-romantic marriage that would serve as contracts to help raise a bunch of them. Alternatively, large groups of female relatives would work together to raise their children in the absence of another parent.

    Lesbianism would either be socially acceptable, or these guys would be absolutely no fun at parties and be really repressed.
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    A-Mazing! I wish I could gove you some sort of a plus or a pinch of a good karma, but really - great analysis. Lovely.

    I wonder if Dark Elves have such societal structures without mentioned male mortality rate.
    Last edited by Pinjata; 2015-10-25 at 02:33 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Honest Tiefling's Avatar

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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    A-Mazing! I wish I could gove you some sort of a plus or a pinch of a good karma, but really - great analysis. Lovely.

    I wonder if Dark Elves have such societal structures without mentioned male mortality rate.
    Probably not. Drow/Dark Elves run on the ideas of survival of the fittest, and 'don't get caught'. Men are far beneath women, but even they are far above the women of the weak and inferior races. Drow men are still expected to be determined, strong and cunning. Not coddled like precious little things. Coddling to a drow, after all, means that it is weak and worthless even for sacrifice to Lolth.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    My first impulse is actually to say that if we're talking bronze age or earlier there actually wouldn't be much noticeable difference other then the lack of already scarce old veteran males. Peculiar bit of evolutionary psychology, the reason hazardous work like fighting in wars and working in mines is traditionally the sole province of men is that a given tribe or nation of people can lose 90% of its males, and still bounce back within a generation or two. If a people lose most of their women however, well, that's the end of them.

    Throughout most of human history, women have largely outnumbered men. That's why the idea of a man being allowed only one wife is a rather recent innovation in the grand scheme of things, and only feasible in the wake of extreme abundance due to comparatively advanced medicine and agriculture.

    It's been pointed out earlier to some degree, but I imagine the women of this society would be highly interested in acquiring a sexual partner they can genuinely respect, rather then another pet loveboy.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    A more enlightened society will go to some lengths to balance getting quality babies from exceptional males and preventing inbreeding. There's some squick depending on when societies figure out that a male is capable of reproducing.

    I'd expect a warrior culture for males that begins from birth or use as physical labor. There's a necessarily high birthrate to replace lost males but weird population things will happen over time unless there's an accompanying gender distribution shift to produce more males- say 75-25. If babies stay approximately split in gender but there's a higher birthrate to replace arbitrarily lost males, there's going to be "excess" females, i.e. a society may end up with more mouths than it can reasonably support in order to maintain a consistent (varied) population of breeding males. Alternatively you end up with societies where two or three women fulfill the same role and operate in "shifts" while the others have or raise babies.

    The females end up in all the leadership, wisdom, science, and art roles. You might expect some fairly brutal fitness testing of young females or arbitrary caste divisions to even out the gender imbalance. A female will need to be fed for two or three times as long (or more!) as a male but also has more time to work on being a truly valuable member of society, so it's important that ones that take up more resources over time are worth the effort. Societies will almost certainly completely disassociate reproduction and love since there's no point in forming romantic ties with someone so expendable and on such limited time.

    Such societies will probably value shortness, since the males get their noticeable growth spurt a few years before they die. Males will probably also be seen as weak since they die before they can hit their peak physical performance.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    Quote Originally Posted by goto124 View Post
    Guess what happens when, after (say) 10 years of males-magically-die-at-16, the curse is lifted. The reason may be gone, but the attitudes and social structures are still there, largely resistant to change.
    10 years, I imagine it would be less ingrained than with 10 generations. Consider that, with 10 years, women in the prime of their lives would've seen their yearmates die... but also would've grown up under the old social structures. Heck, some of the boys now becoming men would have known some men older than themselves... they may have been 5 when all the older men died, but they're now growing into adulthood in that shadow.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Society question - exceptional male mortality rate

    Honestly this would probably cause the collapse of a society(though not as quickly as having the same happen to females). Mortality rate in your standard D&D setting isn't that great, and your males would on average only have 4 or so years of viable breeding. As most settlements are fairly small, this would cause huge problems with genetic diversity.

    Plus you also have a problem woman in a medieval society spend a significant time of their best years either pregnant or rearing children, which means physically demanding or dangerous jobs are a problem. Considering how much more important having a high birth rate would be this means an even larger percentage of woman would need to have children more often to make society survive, and since males are basically unable to take physically demanding jobs this means that many of those jobs just wouldn't get done, or would at great risk to a societies birth rate and thus future.

    If society survived it would likely devolve into hunter gatherer level, with a few pockets of civilization held together mostly with magic.
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