Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jesus H. Christ (or lack thereof)

With Domikka, I wanted to explore a society and how it would function without a figure like Jesus in their history, in this case the Imperik/Virtoaan culture. What would this culture be like? Would they completely adhere to the laws we read about in the Old Testament? Would they constantly be falling short of God's standards and being punished? Or, in opposite, if they followed the law to the letter would they reap the benefits of having a powerful and ever-expanding nation?

The nearest Christ-like figure would be Mohrdeo, who led the Imperiks out of slavery while fulfilling old prophecies. He told the Imperiks that they could be saved from their sins--the thousand year curse of slavery by the Hazahdians. They had lost their empire and culture 1,000 years before because many individuals placed their own desires above the benefit of the nation. Hence the Hazahdians conquered and enslaved them. Even worse, they had betrayed each other despite physical evidence that evil existed in the world--Goblins of the Woods, Demons of the Earth, Dragons of the Air, Titans of the Mountains. The Imperiks were supposed to fight these evils. 

Yet Mohrdeo is more akin to Moses (I make no effort to hide this). Yet unlike Moses in the Old Testament, Mohrdeo didn't just stand back and let God/Virtoaa send plagues upon the Hazahdians. No, he preached and led an outright rebellion--with the vanguard being the new Virtoaan priesthood, who all could channel Virtoaa's divine powers. The Hazahdian Sorcerer-Kings could also envoke the own arcane powers and channel the divine powers of the their own gods. The end result was a massive bloodbath, and the Imperiks escaping.

I didn't have to go too far to research the cultural aspects to my questions. We see the Old Testament invoked in modern day politics, particularly over the subject of gay marriage. We see the Ten Commandments placed outside of courthouses. Exodus 22:18 and Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, and 20:27 make it very clear that spiritual mediums and "sorceress/witches" are evil. These scriptures, along with Acts 19:19 (yes, I know, New Testament), led to the justification of burning D&D books (obligatory Jack Chick reference), Harry Potter books, and even the Koran.

So what kind of culture would this look like?

Very xenophobic, I suppose. Very domineering, with strong tendencies toward subjugating other peoples and building an empire--hence "Imperik." They would somehow distinguish themselves from other races--Imperiks have golden hair and golden eyes, regardless of skin color. They would use this as evidence to self-justify their actions of their divine origins and right to rule and bringing order into the world.

They wouldn't be tempered by Christ's teachings of "do unto others" or against excess wealth and material possessions. I guess they'd be like followers of the so-called Protestant Work Ethic, which tries to balance the desire for prosperity with maintaining a humble attitude, but without much of the humility.

They'd have little or no compunction of killing monsters and taking their stuff (a favorite pastime in D&D I might add). The whole moral quandary of "is it okay for a good-aligned character to kill goblin babies?" would also be thrown out the window.

Like I said, I didn't have to go very far for my research.

There's plenty of examples of "Imperik" behavior right here in the real world.

It's explaining why people exhibit such behavior that has given use terms like the "Banality of Evil", and requires further investigation, which I've done, and shall be reflected in the stories I wish to tell.

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