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PostPosted: September 23rd, 2011 20:45:37 pm 
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http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2011/09/is-nicolas-cage-a-vampire-from-the-civil-war-era/

This is a pretty awesome story.

But

Gosh, I hate that draculas are the go-to immortal right now.

Why couldn't it have been "Nicholas Cage is a time traveler?"

Or

"Nicholas Cage is a god?"

Those concepts are way more interesting than draculas, especially when applied to Nicholas Cage.

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PostPosted: September 24th, 2011 07:23:08 am 
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Another thing that bugs me today: Thieves' Guilds as a fantasy trope.

Organized crime: Sure. Of course. Organized crime is interesting.

But the common fantasy thieves' guild, which is typically publicly known and tolerated, where professional thieves are trained as apprentices, and where you can qualify for awesome prestige classes? Stupid.

What kind of fantasy village economy could actually support a group of thieves who identify their craft as their actual profession? I mean, we're talking about thieves who presumably go thieving full-time every day??

What kind of fantasy justice system lets them operate flagrantly in public, or at least non-secretly enough that the average traveler can locate and join them the day he walks into town? And even if the town guards or whatever are bribed to turn a blind eye, what about the townspeople who would have to be getting robbed on a regular basis in order for these guys to be making a regular paycheck???

And finally, the stupidest thing is that thieves' guilds are generally understood to control all the thieving that goes on in town. The usual trope is, if you do any thieving, they'll try to muscle you out. BUT HOW ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO DO THAT?? Perhaps as experienced thieves, they're more likely to spot you pickpocketing, but if you try to burgle a house, they're no more likely to just conveniently be standing by than just a regular guard.

The only way that thieves guilds could possibly reliably muscle out their competition would be if their competition was being moronic and operating in obvious broad daylight just like they do.

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PostPosted: September 24th, 2011 07:26:36 am 
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I can suspend my disbelief for a wizard who can make wishes that come true.

I can suspend my disbelief for a bard who sings songs that make people die.

I can suspend my disbelief for a druid who turns into an animal that is actually way better at fighting than a fighter.

But I can't suspend my disbelief for a setting with so many professional thieves in it that they've got unions.

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PostPosted: September 24th, 2011 14:49:43 pm 
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How do you feel about assassin guilds?

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PostPosted: September 24th, 2011 21:19:52 pm 
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In Discworld, people can pay a fee to the thief guild, and then they won't rob you.


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PostPosted: September 24th, 2011 22:48:45 pm 
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I trust that Discworld is able to put a non-terrible spin on it.

Assassin's Guilds are

so

bad.

:mick:

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PostPosted: September 24th, 2011 22:50:47 pm 
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The Discworld books spend more time justifying it than most, even though being comedy means they could probably manage without doing that.

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PostPosted: September 26th, 2011 02:26:33 am 
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Thieves require steady paychecks so they can put their children through thief college.


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2011 18:15:24 pm 
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I don't know, a thieves guild would work pretty much the same way that organized crime groups like the Mafia do. The only difference is that they operate in a society that doesn't have a powerful enough law enforcement institution to make them try to be more secretive.

So they'd only be able to operate in big enough cities that it could make sense economically. And they'd stop other thieves from operating not by patrolling like guards do, but by the threat that if they find out you've been operating on their turf without authorization, they will kill you. Which would obviously only work to some extent.

That said, it is a dumb trope. It works well in Discworld because Discworld is satire. The Assassins Guild in Discworld is the same thing but just more extreme (and therefore funnier). As just a regular thing in a fantasy setting, it's a pretty dumb idea.

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2011 18:23:37 pm 
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Re: vampires I think it's just because their basic traits are well-known enough (or I guess that is to say, "agreed-upon" re: their fictional nature) and fit pretty well with the evidence here. If Nick Cage is a time traveller, why is he making bad housing investments? If he's a god, why isn't he, uh, less terrible? He's clearly not some other kind of well-known undead (zombie, mummy, skeleton, etc.). He could have made a deal with the devil maybe, but the devil is usually going to want to collect sooner rather than later. He could be a wizard, but he doesn't seem that powerful.

The vampire angle works because a vampire wouldn't have much of an advantage in the things Nick Cage does other than being immortal.

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2011 23:44:07 pm 
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Also hate RE: Thieves' Guilds

Admission in a lot of systems/settings is limited to characters of the thief/rogue class, or in a classless system, to characters with a certain score in stealth

When, say, a wizard has the potential to be a way better burglar than a rogue, because he has options like teleporting into a place to steal stuff.

Also, a band of rogues in a notorious gang would, if profitable, start attracting dudes with other skillsets who have the means to kill rogues and take over their operations.

If they operated like realistic, mafia-style organized crime, I'd bet that any thieves' guild would either be run by an accomplished magic-user, or have one in the top tiers of leadership (unless you're in a low-magic setting). Probably a charmer-type who can brainwash local politicians, then he'd surround himself with whoever he trusted, regardless of their skillsets. Then after that it'd be mostly influential rich guys who don't personally do any legwork, then intimidating fighter type guys as enforcers and muscle, and then maybe on the bottom rung of the ladder you'd actually see some rogues as street-level petty thieves, because honestly, how important is picking pockets to a criminal empire?

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2011 23:52:38 pm 
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Actually, I take some of that back. Rogues tend to be pretty tricky, and can be very charismatic in most systems. A wily rogue could schmooze his way to a similar level of influence as an enchanter without too much trouble, but I still think that the pecking order favors magic users.

Man, actually, a cleric/priest could make a pretty cool mafia Don. He could get his dudes to prove their loyalty by sending them into situations where they know they'll get killed, forcing them to trust him to resurrect them.

Then if he still suspected them of being traitors -- HE COULD NOT RESURRECT THEM.

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2011 23:54:18 pm 
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I guess this doesn't work in a more balanced system like WoW or 4th ed. D&D, though, where you can learn all there is to know about magic, and still be a little bit worse than a guy who's just got really good swordfighting training.

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2011 23:54:59 pm 
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Man, so who's up for a fantasy Godfather campaign???

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PostPosted: September 29th, 2011 23:50:34 pm 
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http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainmen ... actor.html

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PostPosted: September 29th, 2011 23:51:18 pm 
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dreams can come true

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PostPosted: September 30th, 2011 00:30:48 am 
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Oh, nice, nice nice.

This is good.

This is good news.

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PostPosted: September 30th, 2011 00:31:50 am 
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I'm hoping for

"Is Christopher Walken an alien?"

next.

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PostPosted: September 30th, 2011 01:42:59 am 
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Old-timy Travolta looks a lot more like a dracula than old-timy Cage.


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