Re: Ecological balance in prax

From: Frank Rafaelsen (rafael@nvg.ntnu.no)
Date: Wed 28 May 1997 - 17:08:30 EEST


> From: Sandy Petersen <sandyp@idsoftware.com>
>
> A discussion has arisen as to why there are still lesser tribes in Prax.
> Why aren't they all wiped out? For the same reason that competition from
> bison hasn't wiped out pronghorn antelope, or that giraffes and wildebeests
> are able both to survive in the same area. The Praxian tribes are not

> modern nation-states. They are ecologically, not politically, interactive.

I fail to see the distinction. As long as there are limited resources to
compete about the struggle is going to political. Portraying the praxians
as the noble savages that don't compete and that are beyond power politics
(if that is what you do) don't take into account that the praxians
are people too with ambitions and goals. In my opinon this reduces them to
one dimensional stereotypes.

> Praxian tribes don't exist in an ecological vacuum. Many environmental
> factors influence them besides the predations of other tribes. In an
> especially bad year for hyenas, the Impala tribe is hurt far more than the
> Bison. When there is a severe drought, the High Llamas suffer more than the
> Sables. Herd predation by other tribes is just one factor in many that
> governs a tribe's survival.
> The tribes, whether minor or major, survive because each fills a niche
> that is not exactly filled by the other tribes, and because each has some
> advantage over the others.
>
> In addition, the small tribes are NOT inferior to the rest in terms of
> herd predation. You must understand that the tribes don't roam en-masse.
> Instead, they are subdivided into clans or septs.

But everything being equal a smaller tribe would be more prone to
extinction in the long run.

Sandy Petersen to James Frusetta

> One of the ways that living things interfere with another is
>Competition.
>Civilized states use Competition -- they use the same resources, have the
>same needs. Therefore, they cannot coexist. This is why they are so
>concerned over boundaries, territories, borders. Only one civilized state
>can exist in a given area. But a bunch of bison can easily co-exist with
>a group of antelope, because they don't compete.

The point is, I belive that the riders do compete. A easy way to increase
you wealth is to live off animals captured by raiding and thus preserving
your herd. A big herd means a surplus that enables you to raise more

children. This secures a firm power-base for your clan, and enables you to
raid even more. I think the existence of the lesser tribes must be due to
a balancing effect within the system. The nomads might not realize it but
they are having a balance of power system (in my opinion)

> Neither do the Praxians compete. However, they do prey on one
>another. But under normal circumstances, a predator is incapable of
>driving its prey to extinction. Hence the Praxians keep on going.
>Sometimes one tribe dominates, sometimes another, but all keep on
>surviving. In general.

I would say they do. And this is not a normal prey - predator
relationship. It would be of no concern for the sable tribe if the
bolo-lizards are exterminated. They are not dependent upon the the
survival of the other tribes.

- --
        -"You are right, this is a violation of the laws of physics. I'll
        -call the physics police"
                -Earthworm Jim

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