Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Teaching Hate #2

When given the chance to shape a society or a group, kids almost always choose to create oppressive theocracies with rigid caste systems and perpetual conflicts on all borders. This is curious because the same kids, when responsible for themselves alone, are the very manifestation of gallant gentlemen. At the same time, their countries have inquisitions, death squads, unreasonable taxation and complete and utter disregard for sentient life. They are engaged in countless "holy wars" against non-believers, at the hands of whom they usually meet their just punishment.

When questioned about their external aggression and internal oppression, kids feign surprise. They offer these idiots the privilege of serving a PC and the yahoos refuse, does it not qualify them as evil? Also - we raid dungeons when we're a dozen or so, so why not rate kingdoms when we are several thousands?

I bet you didn't expect that, did you?

Last week I asked some higher level kids to create a hierarchy of classes. Two examples were especially curious, but all re-affirmed this tendency for semi-fascist theocracy. Below are excerpts from the states I liked the best, translated from the Hebrew by yours truly.

The Sons of Death
Clerics are the the most respected members of society. They are the babies who died at birth. A baby who was born dead is resurrected by a senior warlock. It grows up and on the age of 18 sticks a knife into its heart. For a year and a day, its body lies in a holy place. After a year and a day, the body is resurrected. The cleric is not allowed to tell what he’d experienced in this time. Warlocks are those who were born with such a strong magic spark that it only had to be harnessed. Wizards are those who developed the spark of magic until it became strong. During this time, it is believed that it meets with death and learns from it. Assassins are the most respected members of society after clerics and warlocks because even though they almost never use magic, they are still the servants of death. Next come the paladins, known as the knights of death. They are carefully chosen, it is forbidden for there to be clerics or warlocks in their families. In the acceptance ceremony they must kill a family member – preferably by torturing him. Only an absolute believer may become paladin.

I, for once, welcome our new snake overlords.

The Snake Holy State
Clerics are on top because they are chosen by Zehir and can tell everyone his will. After them comes the King who runs the kingdom according to the laws of Zehir. Then come the warrior who are mostly rangers and paladins. After them come wealthy and respected citizens - to become respected you must kill in the name of Zehir at least once. Then come the second class citizens who never killed - merchants, workers, healers and so forth. Then come the peasants and below them are only slaves, who are occasionally sacrificed to Zehir.


  1. Wow, how sadistic, and creative. I'm going to have to ask my kids to come up with some societies and cultures to use in my campaign with them.

  2. Yes, they are :) Perhaps a phase of dark rebellion in their early teenhood?

  3. I don't know, I never gamed with kids but as far as I can tell kids over here wouldn't be so drastic in their view of the world. Or at least only a small minority. Did you game with kids from other countries, too? I think the experience may vary significantly.

  4. It's possible, though I think unrestrained will for power is universal in children and that religion is the best excuse for violence out there! :)

  5. A baby who was born dead is resurrected by a senior warlock...

    Wow, that is some sick genius stuff. I don't think my kids could come up with that.

    But, yeah, I can see how kids would tend to imagine fascist societies. They all start as helpless members of authoritarian family structures, after all. :-)

  6. Good point! I'd never considered it...

  7. So those Israeli young gamers describe a militarist theocracy... Is it because
    those very same players happen to live in a society where the religion is important, the army is powerful, and there's an ongoing struggle for years with communities of another religion, inside and abroad? 8/

    I wonder if the kids do reproduce their socio-politic environment in their imaginary realms? :/

    Or did you game with these kids in a Hassidic kibbutz? :)