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Alhoon's generic geneforge world questions


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Instead of opening a new thread any time I wonder about something in the Geneforge world, I decided to open a thread to throw most of the "not-that-important" questions or remarks in.

 

I will start with:

Can Shapers replace severed legs and arms? Can they cure blindness? I mean, they can actually create a whole new creature and change people (even if it's not allowed). But can they create (and attach) missing body parts? I'm 90% sure they can Shape a -new- functioning pair of eyes on the top of one's blind eyes (since the Barzites shape bulging muscles on their Guardians and turn them to hulking brutes) but what about a legal procedure that wouldn't turn a blind person to a multi-eyed freak?

 

I will continue with:

Kyshaaks, Wingbolts, Wartralls. They're introduced in GF4 and aside of a line or two here and there, we get little info on them. Sure, a war trall is a bigger Alpha that throws rocks. A Kyshaak is... ? what? Wingbolts are probably modified Vlish (similar to Gazers) but is there any confirmation on that?

Exlpoding Kyshaaks make me think they are a powered up version of the Roamer.

EDIT: GF5 screens and GF4 screens say that Kyshaaks come from reptiles and Fyoras and Wingbolts from Artillas.

 

And another one:

Servant minds. Fascinating pieces of Shaping. Who needs a computer when you can Shape one? OK, the Shapers haven't shaped creations that can mass produce items like a factory could, so no industrial revolution. But the servant minds could probably be as good as the computers of the 60s or something in making calculations and storing data. And they would present a similar risk if competing Shapers (I'm looking at you Rawal) sent an Agent lackey to interrogate and steal data from them.

In any case, mainframes that need nutrients instead of power to work aside...

Servant minds are occasionally given the task to control simple creations, I think. The servant mind in the school of GF3 has some control over the turrets and many servant minds control doors. A few are in control of other defenses, even a few creations. Yet, Alwan's control cores with servant minds directing creations in battle, are controversial and near-illegal I believe. So there's a line somewhere but it is blurry.

The question here is "What's the (blurry) line on what a Servant mind can and cannot control legally?"

 

EDIT:

What about Shaper ranks?

I think it goes Novice < Apprentice < Prospective < Journeyman (from the load images) < Full Shaper / Master < Lord / Councilor

Lord Rahul seems to have been the Councilor of the Ashen Isles, so I think both titles apply.

I think that Master = Full Shaper since the images give the rank Master as required for permission for some creations but the games mention "full Shapers" and not Masters.

There's also the honorific Sage for Quothe or Taygen, but Taygen is a councilor and talented Shaper while Quothe is just a talented Shaper.

The Prospective is a temporary rank according to what I've seen so far. I believe that Prospectives rank above apprentices, but it could be the other way around, with a novice becoming a Prospective and then going for the 4 year apprentiship. Or Journeymen could be another name for the Prospective.

I believe "Novice" is the first rank but in Greenwood it was suggested that there are other steps before becoming a Novice. But Novices are, I think, the first to be considered Shapers.

My knowledge of the first ranks is probably incomplete because I think the first game deals with a novice or apprentice. So... any thoughts or "You missed that from the first game" are welcome.

 

 

EDIT2: Living tools.

How non-Shapers use them? I bet that's somewhere in GF1.

For Batons, we know that when their tail is pressed, they shoot a thorn. But living tools do more complicated jobs than "fire!" They have to twist their tentacles in specific ways etc. A Shaper could just control the tool and tell it what to do, direct it on what to do. An outsider?  

 

EDIT3: Disruption damage and wands.

 

 

 

Edited by alhoon
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A loading screen in G5 explicitly says of the kyshaak "base material - reptilian stock, large fyora influence."

 

I almost hate to say it...but if you really want to learn about servant minds, you'll need to play G1, the game where they play by far the largest role in story and world-building.

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Medically speaking, although the Shapers could probably Shape new limbs, they would probably be genetically disparate from the person to whom they are supposed to be attached, leading to rejection of the limb by the immune system. Furthermore, human Shaping is explicitly illegal (Source: Um... somewhere in one of the games), so creating human limbs with Shaping would probably be as well.

 

Also, if you'd like to learn about servant minds, then, to quote Slarty,

"Per usual, Triumph said it better."

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Servant minds: Interesting... are the ones I haven't seen in Sucia traditional according to the player's insight? I.e. those are the default ones? Are they different (but more explained) than the GF2-5 ones?

 

Kyshaaks: Duh, I can't believe I missed that. :( Too much familiarity with the screens made me ignore them. There's one for wingbolts too in GF4. They are artila-based.

Rots are allowed for Shapers in GF4 from what I see. The Shapers copied them from the Rebellion although they do have "moderate" rogue tendencies.

 

Limbs-being-rejected: Well, I am not sure that this would be always the case on magically-grafted tissue. A wound that's closed by Shaper magic generates tissue. When a very skilled Shaper removes the control tool from your heart, they regenerate the tissue.

And although many recipients of the control tool died, some survived without rejecting it. And that's not just a graft, that's a tentacle fused to one's heart...

Edited by alhoon
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The servant minds in G1 are, as it were, VERY traditional versions of the servant mind. You might even say they're old school. ;) 

 

I'm pretty sure one of the later games (G4 or G5) mentions that Shapers have modified the design of new servant minds to be weaker and shorter-lived than the traditional version. Theoretically, then, the servant minds you meet in G1, G2, and G3 are all of the same basic design.

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Actually, I think it's mentioned or hinted-at in GF3. Of course, the inferior designs there may be because of less skill or... I may well remember wrong.

 

Legality of grafting limbs:

Shaping humans is illegal, but healing humans with Shaping is not. So Shaping a new leg for a soldier that lost his leg could be seen as a step above healing a heavily fragmented bone and repairing damaged tissue. You're effectively restoring mobility to a person that lost it, curing him. You're not adding anything like the ability to throw firebolts or something.

Edited by alhoon
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G3 specifically mentions the long-lived nature of servant minds (when you talk to the one in Darkstone Mine, IIRC). I found the quote I was thinking of in G4: "We minds are not a long-lived race. We used to live for a long time, but no longer. The Shapers modified us. Our newly shortened lifespans are one of the limitations the Shapers gave us, in their wisdom, to keep us from being a danger to them." - the mind at Uchitelle's Grove. As I said, the changed servant mind model was a choice by the Shapers; it had nothing to do with lack of skill.

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Oh, yeah, as for healing... While recognizing the need to be cautious about reasoning from mechanical aspects of the game to game lore, recall that all of the healing magic the PC does is listed on your character screen as a class of shaping. It uses essence. It IS shaping (of a very specialized sort), no question. I would say the very nature of the PC's own healing abilities (as well as various NPC Shaper characters who are mentioned as healing themselves during fights) strongly implies that healing is special category of shaping exempted from the standard Shaper rules against self-shaping. I don't recall any of the games ever addressing the exact limits of medical shaping, however, so I'm doubtful you'll find any authoritative answers to exactly how much one allowed to heal using shaping.

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Keep in mind that the various mages in the games, at least to my knowledge cannot heal themselves. It is very direct that healing is Shaping. Every instance I recall of someone healing you, it's Shaping. Again, we get a good glimpse when you have the control tool removed: the text describes the person removing it as "Shaping" the wound closed.

 

In any case, if it's not covered by the lore, what do you guys think? I play these games for 2-3 years.

Edited by alhoon
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3 minutes ago, Triumph said:

Oh, yeah, as for healing... While recognizing the need to be cautious about reasoning from mechanical aspects of the game to game lore, recall that all of the healing magic the PC does is listed on your character screen as a class of shaping. It uses essence. It IS shaping (of a very specialized sort), no question. I would say the very nature of the PC's own healing abilities (as well as various NPC Shaper characters who are mentioned as healing themselves during fights) strongly implies that healing is special category of shaping exempted from the standard Shaper rules against self-shaping. I don't recall any of the games ever addressing the exact limits of medical shaping, however, so I'm doubtful you'll find any authoritative answers to exactly how much one allowed to heal using shaping.

From canon in-game sources, we can be fairly sure that healing magic doesn't actually count as Shaping. The specific example of which I am thinking is the servile keeper (a normal outsider) in Drypeak in Geneforge 2. For bringing back the serviles from the mines, she teaches you cure effects, and mentions specifically that she was taught it. Though Zakary is hardly a great example of a Shaper, he certainly wouldn't have given an ordinary servile keeper permission or training to use any sort of healing magic if it were Shaping.

Edited by TheKian
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Ahh... GF2 is kinda sloppy with this kind of thing. Sure, it is in canon, but it kinda goes against much of the established game lore. It was probably a quick way to give the PC something valuable like "cure affliction", so I wouldn't put much faith in this. Shapers were controlling of the magic after all, so teaching even firebolt to a non-licensed person would be controversial. GF2 kinda states and then later contradicts that too, as you find a book an outsider has in his pursuit to learn magic, which the text says is considered legal.

  The Astoria smith that works essence to make Shaped blades says that his work could be considered Shaping and he may find himself in big trouble.

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Alchemists with no shaper training can certainly create healing items.  There's no reason why Healing Craft can't be a combination of shaping plus other techniques.  It is after all a "craft."

 

And for that matter, there's no reason why a healing spell can't be magic and shaping at the same time.  I don't think the boundary is clear-cut.  After all, most magic spells draw on essence just like shaping a creation does.

 

But I suspect G1 describes healing craft somewhere in-game, and that will tell you exactly what you're looking for.

 

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6 minutes ago, Caesuran Section said:

Alchemists with no shaper training can certainly create healing items.  There's no reason why Healing Craft can't be a combination of shaping plus other techniques.  It is after all a "craft."

 

And for that matter, there's no reason why a healing spell can't be magic and shaping at the same time.  I don't think the boundary is clear-cut.  After all, most magic spells draw on essence just like shaping a creation does.

 

But I suspect G1 describes healing craft somewhere in-game, and that will tell you exactly what you're looking for.

 

 

 

Interesting approach. I thought about the alchemists, but creating healing pods etc seems to be a different sort of magic than actual healing.

The game very clearly (and properly IMO) depicts Shaping as magic. In most of the game openings it describes Shapers as having the magic to create life. So, all Shaping is a form of magic. The question should be better phrased as: Do Shapers themselves consider Shaping spells part of Shaping?

 

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9 hours ago, TheKian said:

From canon in-game sources, we can be fairly sure that healing magic doesn't actually count as Shaping. The specific example of which I am thinking is the servile keeper (a normal outsider) in Drypeak in Geneforge 2. For bringing back the serviles from the mines, she teaches you cure effects, and mentions specifically that she was taught it. Though Zakary is hardly a great example of a Shaper, he certainly wouldn't have given an ordinary servile keeper permission or training to use any sort of healing magic if it were Shaping.

 

 

9 hours ago, alhoon said:

Ahh... GF2 is kinda sloppy with this kind of thing. Sure, it is in canon, but it kinda goes against much of the established game lore. It was probably a quick way to give the PC something valuable like "cure affliction", so I wouldn't put much faith in this. Shapers were controlling of the magic after all, so teaching even firebolt to a non-licensed person would be controversial. GF2 kinda states and then later contradicts that too, as you find a book an outsider has in his pursuit to learn magic, which the text says is considered legal.

  The Astoria smith that works essence to make Shaped blades says that his work could be considered Shaping and he may find himself in big trouble.

 

This could be a retcon, or it could be that the Shapers were initially more relaxed about non-Shaping magic (which in this case seems to include basic healing magic) and grew more controlling over time. Remember that what you consider the established game lore is from the chronologically later games. If this isn't just a retcon, I'd postulate that the thought process was "They're not creating life that can act independently of them, it's fine" > "But a lot of magic involves manipulating essence" > "Outsiders could teach themselves how to Shape" > "Shut down everything". Which would also explain what the Astoria smith says.

 

I'll guess that the more severe the injury, the more knowledge of anatomy (which Shapers would study as a matter of course, but not many other people would) is required, and the more Shaping-like the healing magic required becomes.

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In my opinion, it's not a retcon; it's an oversight. GF2 introduction goes with the usual mantra, that the Shapers are the most secretive of mages. In my opinion, the most secretive order wouldn't teach a menial laborer spells that can be considered Shaping. And the author has the tendency to contradict himself or overlook "details".

Edited by alhoon
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6 hours ago, wackypanda said:

Remember that what you consider the established game lore is from the chronologically later games.

This.  And this isn't an assumption, you keep stating things from the later games and saying they are established game lore.

 

Which is not to say you're wrong about that, at least not most of the time; but you are not in any position to judge what is and is not a retcon.

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3 hours ago, Caesuran Section said:

Which is not to say you're wrong about that, at least not most of the time; but you are not in any position to judge what is and is not a retcon.

 

The game's introduction  even in GF2 does state that the Shapers are very secretive, so the part of the later games that describes them as closing down schools of magic with a word and limiting access to all kinds of magic seems to fit the intro texts better. Hence, I consider the teaching of healing magic (that can be considered Shaping or part-Shaping) to a menian laborer an oversight to give a reward to the player, not a retcon. And this oversight is in GF2, that has a several contradictions about staff the same game says.

 

And if I may, who is in a position to judge what is an oversight and what is a retcon? The games were written many years ago.

Edited by alhoon
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You ask who is to judge what is an oversight and what is a retcon? Verily, I say unto you...

hisnamejeff

 

Also, consider this. The Shapers would likely have decided to just shut down -most- outsider training in magic as a result of the nonsense that happened in the Drypeak mountains, after someonewhowasn'tLitalia destroyed everything. Chances are, the guy with a spellbook had to obtain it FROM the Shapers (since all trained mages are Shaper-ordained), and so had the permission of the Shapers to study it. Furthermore, it's not unrealistic to think that the town's servile keeper (an actually respectably important position) would be given training by a Shaper in basic healing magic, so long as healing magic isn't actual Shaping.

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Yeap, only the author can now for sure. All of us can just theorize.

 

I don't necessarily disagree with either you or Slarty.

I'm just saying that it seems possible it is an oversight. Sure, we can assume that the Shapers were far more lax before Drypeak in the control of magic. But is there any direct confirmation? Things indicate otherwise. The Shapers after Drypeak were caught unprepared when the Rebellion started. The Shaper school I found in GF3 living in fear of a Shaper novice doesn't mention that things changed. of course, we can assume that the school was built under the "new order" of things with Shapers becoming more secretive.

There are explanations and ways to rationalize this. First and foremost: GF2 says X and GF3-5 say Y and a "significant" amount of time passed between GF2 and GF3-5. It's not irrational to say "things changed". And more.

However, there are several contradictions within the games and as far as I've been in GF2, within the game itself. So it could be a retcon (the author changing his own view of the world as time passed) or an oversight (the author saying "let's give the player that reward even if that doesn't fit the lore very well").  

 

As far as healing goes, I would agree that the general feel is that healing is "regulated" magic that Shapers find themselves better at and outsiders cannot usually recreate except through alchemy.

 

PS the text about the spellbook is clear that the guy is doing research by himself, calling this allowed since it's not Shaping.

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Wikipedia:

"Retroactive continuity, or retcon for short,[1][2] is a literary device in which established facts in a fictional work are adjusted, ignored or contradicted by a subsequently published work otherwise intended to maintain continuity with the former.[3]"

 

The key words here are "subsequently published work."  If you haven't consumed the formerly published work, then obviously you have no basis for judging which facts have been adjusted, ignored or contradicted.

 

If you want to say "X is a retcon" because you see it portrayed differently in G2 and G3, say, that I think we can understand.  But declaring that something "is not" a retcon when you haven't consumed the first work in which it is discussed... is a little weirder.

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I was talking about the GF2 parts that I've seen and the GF3-5 parts that I've seen which contradict them.

Also, I didn't really "Declare" anything even about games I've played. I was sure to include "in my opinion" often. I said that I don't necessarily disagree with the viewpoints you and Kian present, but I'm not 100% sure and just making discussion.

So... I didn't declare anything, nor I professed knowledge.

Edited by alhoon
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2 hours ago, alhoon said:

there are several contradictions within the games and as far as I've been in GF2, within the game itself.

 

I would just like to point out, Alhoon, that you totally missed Nora in the Drypeak Warren and might never have spoken to her if I didn't guide you there. There have been other times in Geneforge lore discussions where you haven't necessarily shown yourself to be the most meticulous of investigators when it comes to Geneforge lore. ;) Your enthusiasm for this lore is probably unrivaled :lol: but it doesn't seem to always result in play patterns that yield a complete picture. So when you say you think Jeff made a mistake in this or that aspect of the game, I'm skeptical. It's possible Jeff made a mistake, sure (I know of at least one thing I'm 99% sure is a mistake in G2), but it's also very plausible, based on the past, to suppose you just overlooked relevant information or are conflating the circumstances and lore of one game with the changed circumstances you witnessed in a later game.

 

"I know you are just an apprentice, and I have learned a valuable spell for helping serviles when they get sick." - Thossila. There's no reason to see any oversight or retcons here. Without assuming any mistakes on the part of the author (i.e. Jeff), we can reasonably suppose that Shapers themselves taught the keeper this spell. Not all magic is shaping, a fact clearly and repeatedly established throughout the series. The G2 opening text introduces the Shapers as the oldest, most secretive, and most powerful of all magical sects. Plural. As in, there are kinds of magic that aren't shaping and sects of magic users who aren't Shapers. I'm not sure which dude with a magic book you meant when referenced such an individual above, else I'd check him out, too. The Shapers are top dogs, and they do try to regulate magic, but it's not something excluded to all but themselves.

 

We really should give authors the benefit of the doubt and consider if there's a plausible non-contradictory way to interpret their text(s), rather than assume that because two data points don't line up exactly as we would expect, they are incompatible and one must be wrong. Yes, sometimes fallible authors absolutely do mess up. But I think you tend to allege contradictions far more often than is warranted.

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And I still thank you for Nora, cause I haven't missed just her, but a bunch of Guardians sitting in the mud (?) and most importantly an awesome shield that I use and tons of money.

 

I am indeed not the person most versed in lore. There are parts in GF4 and GF5 that I have also missed. As I have said once before: I have never met an Eyebeast and I am sure there are some in GF4-5, games I've finished.

Hence... these question threads! :)

And, ahem... my enthusiasm for the lore is not as great as yours or Slarty's. You seem to know by heart most of the lore when I struggle to remember some parts.

 

To my defense, I have stated a couple of times already that I don't make "declarations" about whether it's a mistake or not, I am just voicing an opinion and my own opinion is developing with your input. Hence, the "Wait, there are creations that can heal. If Shapers allow that, then they may allow healing loyalists especially in the less-conventional periphery."  

I put the questions in the forums because you are skeptical. The " it's also very plausible..." part is why this whole thread exists. If I wanted to hear an echo of my own voice, I'd talk to a corner. :) 

I hope that you all take my comments as not a challenge or stubbornness but as discussion.

 

Other magic sects: Yeap, I've met a school in GF3. That school's terror on a mere novice pushed me from "I will have to join the Shapers this time... " to "I am not sure which side I'll take".

The dude with the book is doing research on non-Shaping magic, which GF2 tells me it's allowed (despite the Shapers being pro-regulations in magic). I don't want to check the scripts though, cause I haven't done much in that zone. It's a person name Ciphar, in the "Western Mines" and has a book on spells.

 

Author's license: Frankly, it doesn't bother me. If it works for the story, so much the better. I don't consider it a fault to say "The story in my head > details in the canon I wrote 5 years ago". I certainly don't consider it a mess up. OK, there's indeed another continent not named Terrestia mentioned in GF3 that disappears from canon. I don't care at all. I don't consider it a problem, especially since the NPCs and stories I encounter in the games are so engaging. I would prefer a bit more lore and frankly, descriptions of important people* but the story is engaging despite some elements that don't align.

 

*Do we even know if Litalia was blond? Tall? Short? I think we get a barebones description on Greta and Miranda that leads me to assume the woman in the intro of GF4 is Miranda, but again, it has been a loooong time.

 

Edited by alhoon
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57 minutes ago, alhoon said:

And, ahem... my enthusiasm for the lore is not as great as yours or Slarty's. You seem to know by heart most of the lore when I struggle to remember some parts.

I think your English may be getting in the way here.  "Enthusiasm" is not the same thing as "expertise" and there isn't necessarily any relation between them.  You are definitely more enthusiastic about Geneforge lore than we are.

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Oh... I certainly hope not, cause I've dragged both of you to loooong discussions about lore. I have surmised that your passion is the numbers and balance, based on the tons of work on that front you've made. Mine is... modding. While I certainly have an interest in lore for lore itself, my recent increased interest in lore comes from modding since the lore affects modding. And while I think this and that for what I could put in a mod or not, certain questions, academically interesting do pop into mind.

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5 hours ago, alhoon said:

The dude with the book is doing research on non-Shaping magic, which GF2 tells me it's allowed (despite the Shapers being pro-regulations in magic). I don't want to check the scripts though, cause I haven't done much in that zone. It's a person name Ciphar, in the "Western Mines" and has a book on spells.

 

Spoiler

Worth noting that Ciphar is a homesteader who is studying magic on his own when he's not maintaining his farm, not a Shaper-ordained mage of the type we see in the later games.

 

Edited by wackypanda
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What about Shaper ranks?

I think it goes Novice < Apprentice < Prospective < Journeyman (from the load images) < Full Shaper / Master < Lord / Councilor

Lord Rahul seems to have been the Councilor of the Ashen Isles, so I think both titles apply.

I think that Master = Full Shaper since the images give the rank Master as required for permission for some creations but the games mention "full Shapers" and not Masters.

There's also the honorific Sage for Quothe or Taygen, but Taygen is a councilor and talented Shaper while Quothe is just a talented Shaper.

The Prospective is a temporary rank according to what I've seen so far. I believe that Prospectives rank above apprentices, but it could be the other way around, with a novice becoming a Prospective and then going for the 4 year apprentiship. Or Journeymen could be another name for the Prospective.

I believe "Novice" is the first rank but in Greenwood it was suggested that there are other steps before becoming a Novice. But Novices are, I think, the first to be considered Shapers.

My knowledge of the first ranks is probably incomplete because I think the first game deals with a novice or apprentice. So... any thoughts or "You missed that from the first game" are welcome.

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Outside of Lord and Councilor, which are very context-specific (and, of course, generic Full Shaper) is it really clear that these are actually formal ranks?  We know that Shaper training involves a number of different stages but I don't think we've heard specific names for them, have we?  Maybe I'm forgetting something...

 

Lord is certainly below Councilor, though -- Lord Rahul is clearly subordinate to the Shaper Council, for example.

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Lord Rahul is below councilors? But... I think it was mentioned in GF3 the Ashen Isles are a province. Were they bundled in with Burnwood province perhaps? So, lying Zakary the Deceiver is also a Lord? Or just Shaper-boss over a large number of low-ranking Shapers?

 

Prospectives are mentioned in GF3 and GF5, novices in GF3 and apprentices in GF2 and GF3 although I forget the GF3 definition of the Apprentice, novice, prospective. It was detailed in early GF3. I have to go read those parts.

It would make sense from in game perspective to have no clear rank for "Full" Shapers aside of "X person has permission to Shape up to Alphas and Artilae" (Journeyman authority required).  

 

Does anyone know if the loading-screen information is canonical? Cause there it mentions "authority required" as "all", "Journeyman", "Master", "Barred". They also mention War Tralls as some -really- dangerous creations with high probability to go rogue and fertile. And yet, many Shapers have an abundance of them. More than Kyshaaks; that may explode on creation or wingbolts that the Shapers (as of GF4) have not determined their tendency to go rogue and have remnants of failed experiments.

Really, when GF4 says the Shapers threw the rules out the window, it's not joking...

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Speaking of Shapers and rules: have you met a fellow named Aodare yet? You'll know him when you find him. Or what about visiting the Loyalist Encampment zone? Knowing your high standards for what constitutes an orthodox Shaper, I'm curious if any of these folks will qualify for the "True Shaper" Hall of Fame. :D

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Alhoon, just because the word "novice" is used doesn't mean it is a distinct formal rank.  It might just be another word that is used for apprentices, or maybe it is used loosely to refer to any number of a range of early-career Shapers and Shaper trainees.  That goes for ALL OF THESE WORDS.  Unless it is clear that it is being used in a specific, discriminating way, which is true of few if any of these.

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3 hours ago, Triumph said:

Speaking of Shapers and rules: have you met a fellow named Aodare yet? You'll know him when you find him. Or what about visiting the Loyalist Encampment zone? Knowing your high standards for what constitutes an orthodox Shaper, I'm curious if any of these folks will qualify for the "True Shaper" Hall of Fame. :D

 

I haven't spent much time with them, but they're among the least obnoxious Shapers I've met I think. I haven't seen them doing anything non-Shapery and them suggesting to me to not trust lying Zakary the deceiver and that being unaligned is smart makes them orthodox in my book so far. They're the ones responsible for making me figure out that I could just... walk out of the valley. I "finished" (lol, good one) the game after them. OK, their agent knows too much about Shaping, but that's not unorthodox, just not common.

 

Also, I don't think I have high standards for Shaper orthodoxy. Lord Rahul counts as one, Santi as another. Both were justifiably killed by the Rebellion in canon but as far as I know they were orthodox Shapers. I admit I haven't search Rahul's place; it's totally possible I will find a canister locked in his chamber or something sinister. But so far, he seems the traditional annoying Shaper. The Guardian that protects Taygen and disagrees with him is also traditional IMO.

 

2 hours ago, Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch Cherry Bomb said:

Alhoon, just because the word "novice" is used doesn't mean it is a distinct formal rank.  It might just be another word that is used for apprentices, or maybe it is used loosely to refer to any number of a range of early-career Shapers and Shaper trainees.  That goes for ALL OF THESE WORDS.  Unless it is clear that it is being used in a specific, discriminating way, which is true of few if any of these.

 

Oh.

Haven't thought of that.

 

So you mean the whole lot of the people in Greenwood academy could be (or perhaps not) of the same rank as the people that finished the academy and were doing their apprentiships like the GF2 protagonist?

It is possible.

There is one "young Shaper" in GF4, the first boss I encountered. And actually the first Shaper I ever saw. I haven't seen their sprite yet. I can tell you that a single robed figure standing alone in the way was very intimidating...

 Thinking of it the text says "he must be a young shaper" without giving any rank. But perhaps that was not because the Shapers lack ranks, but because the rebel I was playing didn't know of them.

 

I am not entirely convinced though. The Shapers are too many to not have some ranks other than councilor and prospective.

 

In any case, do you believe the system is more or less apprentice < Shaper < Councilor ?

Edited by alhoon
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The Shapers are, on some level, a bunch of magical researchers (it might be part of why they do a poor job with the administrative side of ruling an empire). To a draw a real life analogy, pick a scholarly field. I'll use history since that's what I do. Most historians have a PHD. They are all basically "equal" in being PHD holders; you can address all of them as Shaper, I mean Doctor, So-and-so. But are they really equal in status? Not at all! Some might have had an especially eminent scholar for their advisor, whose reputation can open doors for them. Others might have attended an ivy league school whose mere name confers tremendous prestige. Additionally, some of them are employed and some are not. Among those that are employed, some are exploited cheap laborers known as adjuncts, others are tenure-track associate professors, and still others are tenured department chairs. There's also publications to consider: some have published one book that no one even remembers except their mother, others have published half a dozen books and won the Bancroft Prize for one of them. NONE of these distinctions are conveyed by ranks. There is no formal hierarchy through which a person progresses in linear fashion. And yet people within the field KNOW who the "big names" are in their line of study. My analogy is imperfect, I freely concede. But I think it successfully illustrates how a bunch of people without ranks to distinguish them, who are in one sense all equal (as PHD holders) can nonetheless very much be unequal in status, and for them all to be well aware of that fact. It's not at all farfetched in my mind to suppose something similar might go on among the Shapers.

Based on what we see in G1/2/3, Shapers must undertake extensive study and pass exams to be allowed to become a Shaper, then undergo a long period of training and study (what the G1 apprentice was about to begin and what the G3 apprentice was in the middle of), then get assigned a mentor for a time of field training (like the G2 apprentice). Then they are Shapers, all "equal" in the eyes of the outside world. But within the Shaper community, some are known to have far more status than others, and some also hold special offices of authority (administrator of the Ashen Isles, member of the Shaper Council, etc.).

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Hmmm... your analogy is good.

However to continue with it: As far docs go in universities we have T.As (my level), Lecturers, assistant professors, associate professors and full professors. Deans can (in my uni) be only associate professors or full professors and Rectors can only be full professors.

Clear and defined ranks. Are all T.As equal? Nope (publications, experience, PhD supervisor). Associate professors? Again nope.

But there are ranks.

 

I understand the analogy of what you say. I understand that the term "novice" given in GF3 for pre-apprentice Shaper could be a local rank just in use in Greenwood academy and other academies may have called them with other names. I understand that the term "Prospective" is more or less "defended the PhD thesis successfully but has not be sworn in as a doc yet before the council" (we give an oath in front of the council here and we're announced in the parliament's paper; in other countries the president is the one announcing them all together).

However... while it is tempting to use that simple analogy of yours, what makes us think that it is that way and the names on the loading screen are non-canonical? That the Shapers are using the doc analogy and not something similar to uni professor ranks?

 

Mostly to put my thoughts in order, I will put in pros and cons of the "PhD analogy".

Pros:

- Simplicity. In the absence of further evidence the simplest answer is often the true one.

- There is little distinction in dialogue between shapers aside of trash-talking apprentices and novices and respecting councilors.

- Explains why some Shapers have honorifics like "Sage Quothe" or "General Corby". It's because it reflects their current job and they keep the title later. A Professor has a PhD but he's called professor after all usually not dr.

- Another validation of the moral superiority of the Rebellion*

 

Cons:

- The loading screens name Journeymen and Masters. 

 

 

Since "Authority: journeyman" does not necessarily mean "rank" but perhaps is a classification like "junior researcher" ... Yeah, I'm going with your version Triumph. :) 

 

 

* Of course the "PhD analogy" puts some things into perspective.

When I defended my PhD, the 7 professors of the committee asked some questions. My supervisor would have supported me if needed (it wasn't needed, my defense was very tame and friendly).

When Shapers have to go through the equivalent test (Testing Fields) they have to fight several scorpions big like motorbikes, acid-spitting quadruples big as panthers, gorilla-like apes (thands) or deactivate bombs, cut through locks as good as the average safe and repair machinery (else they will be attacked by aforementioned monsters).

All that so they can finally start learning.

The Testing Halls are strewn with graves.

How many PhD candidates have died in defense of their Thesis?

 

Preposterous, bloodthirsty system that propagates an evil elitist magocracy.

And before we start with "Shaping is... " analogies, please remember:

We have people in the forum that are researchers of genetics. They can do some real damage too if they make an accident or worse, if they do it on purpose.

Yet, the threat of bioterrorism or a modified plant acting as weed and choking out other flora has not been considered a reason for people that study genetics to risk their lives to get a PhD in genetics.

Edited by alhoon
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Consider Shaper testing a way to weed out the incompetents and weaklings. Sleeping through classes might earn you a much longer nap in the dirt.

 

In GF2 when you get to Drypeak there is mention of Shaped plants growing out of control. So much for trial and error as a Shaping methodology.

 

The secretaries were holding a small party for one PhD who was leaving a few days later. As the defense dragged on they sent other graduates to find out why it wasn't over. One professor on the committee had fallen asleep and when woken up said since it wasn't his area of interest he had no reason to stay awake. There were questions on how many had read the whole dissertation besides the student and his advisor. Also with modern word processors whether the student still needed to read what he wrote as the program formatted in as he typed.

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From my committee (7 members), 2 openly admitted they have not read the whole thing, true. But even if they were an aggressive bunch, I had a very low risk of death whether I was an incompetent and weakling or not; I would not earn my PhD, but I wouldn't be turned to fertilizer for those rapidly growing plants.

In military officer academies around the world, there's indeed some (very low) risk of death but mostly during training or live ammo shooting. Those without stomach for it are weeded out through non-lethal hardship, like Greta was. Not because as a test they're put through a maze full of enemies and deadly traps.

It is cruel, it is wrong and shows not only elitism, but pettiness towards those that are not up to very specific standards.

 

I am not saying the early rebel way of sending half-trained people to the geneforge or handing out canisters like candy is the proper method, but at it has a better survival rate.

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A new one:

Living tools.

How non-Shapers use them? I bet that's somewhere in GF1.

For Batons, we know that when their tail is pressed, they shoot a thorn. But living tools do more complicated jobs than "fire!" They have to twist their tentacles in specific ways etc. A Shaper could just control the tool and tell it what to do, direct it on what to do. An outsider?  

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It is covered nowhere in the Geneforge games how living tools specifically work in the 'fluff'. I suspect, however, that they work by moving their tentacles in response to pressure on their 'stems'. Being fragile, this would, along with waking one, likely result in its death (something actually from the game dialogue). It IS known, however, that they can be awake and survive, and that they are mostly animal (they are confirmed to be part plant, though). Living tools can breed, and in one instance a living tool is noted as trying to crawl away after being put down when it was being worked on (hence, its death is more a result of the stress of use than anything else).

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Some of the GF2 factions have living tools where the Shapers tell them to multiply. Probably they multiply like worms.

However, my hesitation with the "press the stem that way and it moves tentacle that way" is that we're talking three tentacles, 3D movement. Aside of being kind of hard to train the living tool, it would take hell of a lot of practice of an outsider engineer to work them properly and still slower than a Shaper.

Meaning, usual tools (The ones we see around shaper bases) would be perhaps better to use by outsiders.

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