Heroes Never Poop

Zenopus Archives’posts on Adventurers’ Packs (), as well as a number of the miscellaneous items (like soap) in 3.x, got me thinking and reminded me of one of the near universal tropes of fantasy: Heroes never poop.

Though they may wade through pits of offal and feces of the abominations of the deep, these hardy warriors plunge the depths for days, even weeks, camping, eating, sleeping and living in the darkened halls they delve without ever having to worry about finding a safe alcove for taking a #2.

All of this is, of course, handwaved. Poop is not a particularly heroic subject, thus those involving themselves in the imaginings of heroic pursuits typically do not wish to concern themselves with so unheroic a subject. Maybe it is assumed that heroes DO do their business, but simply ‘off screen’. But when you’re in a dungeons where you are going to be exploring for multiple days without seeing sunlight, it becomes a real survival issue. Real dungeon divers would need to find safe places to do their doo.

Many animals (and monsters) may hunt and track by smell, and finding heroic droppings may indicate that new prey may be about. These creatures are probably pretty aware of their own ecosystems, and hero poo would most assuredly set things off in their animal brains to let them know that all was not usual in their habitat. Wandering monster might flock to the “safe” places where the party stops to do their business; dogs like cat poop, maybe maybe dungeon monsters like hero poop?

So, how does this tie into the Zenopus Archives post? Well, in being prepared for adventuring outside of city. The idea of the Adventurer Pack is to quickstart a character’s non-equipment item inventory in the name of general preparedness. Whether you’re in the wilderness or in a dungeon, there are a few things that you might want to bring. Something to wipe with, is going to be a definite must; while leaves work, they’re not necessarily the best for comfort and hygine. And you’re probably not going to find a lot in a dungeon, unless you don’t plan on bringing those fancy tapestries back for a measly 50 gp. But let me tell you, you’re not going to be at the top of your game against that ogre if you’re suffering from swamp-ass or mud-butt. Out in the wilderness? You’ll need a latrine shovel to bury your business. Otherwise, who knows what’s going to be tracking you. Or maybe you just don’t want to smell what the Dwarf had for lunch when the wind changes direction. Always be prepared!

At some point, I might do a follow up about latrines and how fighting men in the middle ages dealt with using the bathroom before going into battle (just how DID medieval knights cope with swamp-ass?!), but it may be awhile. I don’t want to suddenly become known as the “poop” blog. Nor am I someone who ACTUALLY thinks that there needs to be a mechanic for poop. Sorry, FATAL dude.

Doan

A great ways southwestward down the road from Daaln is Doan, at the crossroads of Central Karkuras.  Though Doan’s history is more recent than other cities in the region, post-dating the imperial incorporation of Athdaelda and its allies, it is still subject to the rule allowing the Prince to appoint a sheriff.

After the Athdaeldan cities were connected to Daaln by imperial road, Doan grew up naturally as a trading post, with a few merchants setting up stalls for a few weeks near the road, allowing them to sell to travelers between Corineaus and Athdaelda and Brebea, as well as those going to and from the imperial province.

Doan is by no means, however, a large and thriving merchant town.  Karkuras benefits little from overland imperial trade.  Only Corineaus, to Doan’s north, sees many trade goods, as it is the last major Dusksea port that ships bound south around the peninsula may stop at with any certainty that their needs may be met.  While some of these goods trickle down through Doan to Brebea and Athdaelda, much of it ends up staying briefly in the warehouses before eventually shipping to Solaris.  The greatest exception is supply for the Karkuran Legion stationed in Athdaelda.  This often comes overland from Daaln (when Cirsovan in origin) or from Corineaus (when Gatlian in origin).  Doan thus serves as distribution and exchange center for those intent on trading or moving goods to Athdaelda.

Most goods from the more southern reaches of the Empire, however, make their way to the Imperial province from Diirdec to Korsha, so Doan rarely sees Paelnoric or Ortic wares on the shelves of its stalls & stores.  Little from the heartlands that it not intended specifically for Athdaelda finds its way to Doan, either, as Korsha’s shipping lanes are the primary means of moving goods to and from Central Cirsova.

Doan suffers some neglect from imperial authorities, who have largely handed over administration of the district to the merchants who have built up the community.  Almost no one lives there who is not a merchant, in the service of a merchant (clerks, porters, etc), or various tradesmen who keep the town running, repaired and supplied with tools that are easier made than traded for.  Even without attention or support from the imperial praefects, the town does well enough for itself.  Because of this, however, there are often questions raised in the public square in regards to the taxes which must be remitted to both imperial authorities and the Prince.  This has not manifested itself into any zeitgeist of independence, though the Legion stationed in Athdaelda, it is said, has its eye more toward Doan than the horselands to the east.

Counterpoints to Tropes vs Women

While I’ve been enjoying watching Anita Sarkeesian’s new video series ( largely from the perspective of a former crit theory student), I think that there are a lot of  interesting and very good rebuttals out there.  No, not the people who are all “Anita’s a stupid (insert various insults against women here)”, but there are a lot of really well thought out arguments against her position and her methods (some of the best of which I’ve tried to aggregate here).    And considering her topic out of the gate, I hope that the irony is not lost on her that she made a ton of kickstarter money off people who were White Knighting for her.

This is a pretty good rebuttal:

As is this lady’s:

 (she’s posted counterpoints to all three videos, you can find them easily enough yourself.)

Also, let’s not forget that intellectual feminism is largely based on linguistic acrobatics (thank god at least English doesn’t have masculine & feminine endings), as this points out.  It’s slightly harsher than the previous, but points out, more or less, that rhetoric can be used to argue any point in any direction (but those with the power to oppress cannot be oppressed, hurr hurr).

Here is Anita’s example of a “good” game with a female protagonist as she’s proposed:

Yet if such a game existed, one could complain that the princess character is:
-Simply a gender swap of a male protagonist
-An individual who came from privilege, not oppression, and therefore cannot be a symbol of release from oppression.
-The sexualized product of  male fantasies about subdual and subjugation by a strong woman (a Japanese feminist manga critic professor doctor lady once told me that there were no strong feminist heroes in manga, all strong female characters are simply male fantasy objects in a culture where most women are incredibly demure and men have a desire to be smacked around by dominating tough girls.)

And if Anita Sarkeesian had not been the one to propose such a game, how much do you want to bet she’d be the one to attack it?

(plus, isn’t a royal returning from exile and overthrowing a council the opposite of what usually happens when people are trying to abolish the monarchy forever?)

Lastly, Mario a retelling of St. George & the Dragon?  It’s so obvious that anyone could overlook it.

Ultimately, there ARE a lot of really gross things in video games, and a lot of female characters in video games ARE oversexualized and essentially made objects of the gaze, but Anita’s approach means finding the sexist bogeyman behind every corner and under ever rock.

More Thoughts on Detroit

The more I read and hear about Detroit, the more I become interested in apocalypse tourism.

There are now only 700,000 or so people living in a metropolitan structure built to accommodate its peak population of 1.8 million people. That’s, as some have pointed out, as though the entire population of Dallas, Texas up and vanished, leaving their homes, businesses, and public services behind them to waste and decay.

From what I gather (or at least perceive), almost all of the large and grandious buildings in Detroit are mere facades, the interiors long since gutted by abandonment, time, the elements and vandals. The rooms and buildings that have not been stripped bear an eerie resemblance to Gunkajima or even Prypiat. At what point do we have ‘Stalkers’ guiding people through the ruins of the city as a form of tourism?

Now there are stories about packs of wild dogs roaming the empty streets, to the tune of around 50,000 in all. Tens of thousands of buildings are vacant and occupied only by squatters & dangerous/feral wildlife.

Many firsthand accounts of the urban explorers delving into places like the Statler, UA Theatre & such read almost like Lovecraft’s at the Mountains of Madness. I must admit, it has sort of a romantic appeal to it. Real life, modern day ruins, decaying reminders of a lost golden age, filled with hazards, possibly occupied by hostiles, maybe even hiding lost treasure. If I were better equipped, I might be tempted to don some urban camo, kevlar body armor, an assortment of tools & weapons and brave the ruins of Detroit, Accursed City of the Far North.

News stories about how terrible Detroit are are pretty commonplace, but here are a few good photo links.

http://www.marchandmeffre.com/detroit/
http://www.forgottendetroit.com/ (one of my favorites, though it’s not updated much anymore)

Update: Now there are reports of a giant Savannah Cat prowling the streets.  Can this city get more awesome?