Ernaldan Eugenics

From: TTrotsky (TTrotsky@aol.com)
Date: Sun 04 Jan 1998 - 16:50:54 EET


Jane Williams, replying to Simon Bray:
 
<<> I really dislike Jane Williams concept of Ernaldan eugenics.
 That's a new word for me: my dictionary defines it as "pertaining to the
 breeding of fine offspring".>>

     My dictionary says 'improving the quality of the human race', which is
closer to what I'd always understood the word to mean. It adds 'esp. by
selective breeding', but that method is not the only possible one.

<<If so, we're on slightly different topics, as I was thinking of improving
the health of
 offspring already bred by the normal random method.>>

    But it would 'improve the quality of the human race' from the POV of some
people, no? The end result is no (or very little) short-sightedness,
congenital deformities etc. regardless of the method employed, and its the end
result we're discussing here.
 
<< I do notice that no-one ever seems to be described in any scenario pack
has having any kind of congenital problem. Never. Not even once. Old injuries,
yes, but no-one is, for instance, short-sighted. >>

     They are IMG. It never occurred to me this was non-Gloranthan, just
because published scenario packs don't specifically mention it. I know there
are differences between my game and "official" Glorantha, but I didn't realise
this was one of them...
     In fact (and sorry to keep harping on about vision, which I realise isn't
the only condition you're referring to) a Gloranthan short story I had planned
features a central character who is short-sighted. Just to be clear on this -
nobody's going to suddenly tell me that's non-Gloranthan are they?

<<The aging rules do not include loss of perception abilities (except
indirectly).>>

     They don't directly in my game system, either, but that's an artefact of
the rules. I imagine the same thing is true in RQ (which after all, at least
in RQ3, is not solely intended to represent Glorantha), rather than reflecting
Gloranthan 'reality'.

<< Thus, I think that such problems either occur far less than in the RW, or
are more immediately lethal. Or, the authors were writing happy rose-tinted
fiction: but let's not fall back on that solution unless we have to :) >>

     I don't think it's so much 'rose tinted' fiction as simply the product of
a game system that doesn't specifically deal with these situations. In the
case of vision, my game system (based on GURPS) does have rules for short
sightedness etc. so, of course I have characters IMG that have those
disadvantages. RQ doesn't, so we can't entirely blame the authors for ignoring
it - any rules system is necesserily an over-simplification of reality and RQ
is no exception.
     And, as somebody else pointed out, these problems are less widespread in
adults, because in the absence of advanced medical technology, handicapped
children are less likely to survive to adulthood - indeed, a lot of normal
children don't make it.

<<Would a seriously handicapped child be seen as being chaos-tainted?>>

    It probably depends on the culture. 'Detect Chaos' presumably won't
register it, so cultures with access to that spell may not regard such people
as chaotic. Others might though.

<< Given that, in Glorantha, disease IS caused by chaos, would this perception
be accurate?>>

    I'm not sure that all cultures do agree that disease is chaotic. It's
going to depend on that culture's definition of chaos. To take an extreme
example, the Mostali regard chaos as 'Error' (according to Drastic: Chaos)
and, given the way that Mostali children seem to be born, they would probably
be correct in stating that handicapped Mostali are chaotic - by their
understanding of that term. But I still don't think they'd register on a
'Detect Chaos' spell.
 
  << > However are you telling me that magic is the cure for Tuberous
Schlerosis, Huntingdons Chorea, Cerebral Palsy, Retts Syndrome, Downs
Syndrome, Prida Willi Syndrome and a whole host of others, Gloranthan
equivalents of course?
 I haven't the foggiest, as I don't know what most of those are. [snip] Want
to give a layperson's description of some of them?>>

      I'll respond to that by private e-mail, although Simon probably knows
more than I.
 
<<Of the few I recognise, I seem to remember Downs is genetic in origin: the
wrong number of chromosomes, or something. Do we believe genetics applies to
Glorantha? I seem to remember considerable evidence to suggest that it
doesn't.>>

     Sandy has stated that it does not. However, it is possible that some
conditions with similar symptoms may exist.
 
<<Healers can re-attach limbs and bring people back from the dead: given the
number of healing spells Ernalda has, and her intense interest in childbirth,
don't you think she might have a solution to quite a lot of this stuff?>>

     It may be that because of the prevalence of chaos, disease spirits, etc.
that the rate of such problems would actually be *higher* on Glorantha, and
that Ernalda, Chalana Arroy etc. have pregnancy protection rituals that bring
this rate down to something similar to that found in our world.

On trollkin:
<<Hmm... suppose I said what this ritual does is to bring the patient back to
the "normal" body configuration for the species, rather than for themselves?
[snip] The trollkin then have the problem that a new "racial norm" and indeed
a new race has been created>>

     Not from the Uz POV, there hasn't. Trollkin are IMO handicapped trolls
(premature births, actually) so far as Uz are concerned. Indeed, they have the
same specific name (Styganthropus uzko), wheras Mistress Race trolls, for
example, clearly are regarded as a separate race. Besides, trollkin don't have
a 'racial norm'; they are extremely variable physically, even if they do have
a number of features in common, such as a smaller stature and larger eyes than
'normal' Dark Trolls.

Forward the glorious Red Army!
    Trotsky

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