Parasites vs Producers



May 05, 2004 13:15:02
It seems like there are more parasites than producers on Athas. Sorceror Kings wreak devastation on a huge scale. Defilers outnumber preservers by 4 to 1. The caravans that cross the desert barely keep all the raiders fed let alone make their destinations.

The amount of destruction each of these is capable of individually would ruin a normal world within two generations. Basically, the raiders, defilers, and SK all wind up feeding on a finite supply of food and materials.

How can Athas support all of these parasites without collapsing under the burden? How many farmers, artisans, and craftsmen exist on Athas? How can they support so many non-producers?

Possibility: the average Athasian craftsman simply produces a huge surplus. Since he seldom sees profit from what he makes the extra volume is required to make his rent payment. likewise, the athasian landscape is exceptionally fertile, allowing each square foot of undefiled soil to grow much more than would otherwise be expected. unfortunately lack of water and defiler's ash have reduced the productivity of the land back to what other worlds would call normal. the only things holding back the new Green Age is a lack of rain and time for the defiled soil to recover.

Other explanations for why Athas hasn't completely self-destructed by now?


May 05, 2004 13:21:08
The answer is the reason for the city-states existance. "City-state" is not an accidental merging of words: they're self-contained. They have vast farmlands that are just large enough to (barely) feed the populations inside. Those that don't wish to live in the cities, and have the freedom to do so, leave.

Traders and trade houses try to make a profit by bringing goods to one area or another, but these goods are not 100% necessary for life (like food and water). While some food is traded, it's more a luxury (Ooo! Different grain!) than a necessity.

Are the cities collapsing? Yeah, but the magic of the SKs keeps them intact...for now.


May 05, 2004 14:05:16
Originally posted by mekillot
How can Athas support all of these parasites without collapsing under the burden? How many farmers, artisans, and craftsmen exist on Athas? How can they support so many non-producers?

easy. Everything that's wrong in the world now didn't happen overnight. Sure, Defilers outnumber Preservers 4 to 1 now, but in the Green Age, their numbers were much smaller. The increase in defilers happened during Rajaat's wars against preservers, where they reduced the number of Preservers, while increasing the number of Defilers. However, this increase cause the world to basically adapt to them.

Later, his Champions, the most powerful and easily manipulated defilers that Rajaat had taught, wrecked such horrid swathes of destruction during their wars to wipe out their selected races. However, these wars weren't fought and won within a year, or a decade, or even a century or two. During this, nature once again had to adapt to the wastelands that they left, and the loss of significant parts of the food chain.

And even later than that, the Sorcerer-Kings had reigned in their people into the city-states - independent, functioning governments that don't have any formal association with the others. This makes the demands for one city smaller - only itself, and not an attempt to feed or clothe the world.

The biggest loss of plantlife in the Tyr region was when Borys was made into The Dragon, and went mad for a hundred years. Rampaging around, consuming plant & animal life, he made vast deserts where there might have been more of a Savannah-like area before. When he calmed down, the sheer destructiveness of his rampage scared the Sorcerer-Kings so much that they killed Dregoth and Kalid-Ma when they were reaching full dragonhood.

Basicaly, the world got worse gradually, and everything adapted - the number of herbavores decreased, and the number of carnivores increased, soon becoming an ecology of predator vs. predator - animal-life forms feeding on each other without having the heavy requirements of vegitation and herbavores to survive. It's not perfect, and the world still is dying slowly as a result. However, I'd say that most Athasians rarely eat plants, and have a sizeable amount of their food be animal matter instead.

Traders probably were the first people to actively go between the city-states, bringing foreign goods to each. Due to the increase in Raiders, in turn, the traders formed greater houses, for protection and survival through the desert. These tradfe houses have full militaries working for them - they are almost a government unto themselves, and with their outlying forts throughout the traderoutes, they are able to handle many of their operations without even entering a city-state any more.

Raiders on this world are more "survivalist" people - they left the city-states, and raid merely to survive, there aren't as many of the raider-types who do it for greed (there are exceptions). as such, many of them also would hunt the creatures in the desert for food as much as a trade caravan.

It's all very possible for a world such as this to work. but you are right, if all of Athas' parasites were taken to another world, they'd strip it clean within weeks. Athas is a world where it's been going on for so long, and happened so gradually, that it has adapted, and is better-equipped to handle such things.


May 06, 2004 11:19:08
Xlorepdarkhelm, that is the most reasonable solution I have ever hear. Excellent. I had been struggling with this dilema ever since DS came out and simply glossed over it. Thanks.