Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

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Greg
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Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Greg » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:14 pm

I've been musing on a thought a bit this week, and thought I'd share the question with you all, and my own thoughts on what the answer might be.


How would we come across, dressed and equipped as we are, if we were to enter a Historical European location/town/etc. in-period?



Obviously, there would be some cultural differences. They wouldn't know what to think of a Silver rayed-star holding my cloak open, and my deerhide jerkin and back quiver might make their head spin a little bit...but the overall impression, issues in authenticity aside?

For a weather-beaten Ranger, my persona (in truly historical period) would probably be considered quite wealthy. A Yeoman/free-man/land owner at minimum, I suspect would be the automatic assumption. I'm not quite sure anyone in-period went around lightly armored or without any, yet carrying both blades and bow...and I may be way off on this.

What exactly would be the reaction of those who saw us? I would suspect that the lowest classes would immediately and automatically defer to myself as higher-ranking than them purely on the basis of my having the audacity to carry (or possess) such a wealth of equipment. We have discussed before the specialization of a Ranger's gear, such as shelter tarps and other presumably expensive items that in history might not have been so readily available (or likelihood of being carried/owned at all.). The sheer number of Buckles on a typical Ranger persona would likely stagger the imagination of poorer types.

I guess I just wonder if we shouldn't compare our personae to where they should[would?] fit within the strata of historical social classes, and see if we are comprehensively matching the Middle-earth equivalent of that.


Knowing that the Numenorean line originally hails from Royalty/Nobility, a Ranger certainly has the potential to be well-supplied with both clothing and arms. Still Aragorn has a very bedraggled appearance from the moment we meet him, and he even speaks of the months or years it would take for someone such as the Hobbits to 'catch up' to him in odor or appearance. Still, the Bree-folk are both wary and curious of the wandering Rangers, and I wonder if some of this wariness and caution stems from the hidden wealth they seem to possess: they don't seem to have jobs, they turn up randomly yet always (assumedly) are capable of paying, and they appear to be armed at all times, despite their otherwise roughish appearance.

Thoughts? Do you see a place where your persona should fit...and do you think you're on the right track? What details/variables am I missing here?
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Ghostsoldier » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:46 pm

That's an interesting question, and as a new guy building his first Ranger persona, it's one I've been pondering, too: Should I equip myself in the regalia (or trappings) of royalty (even if a vestige of past association), or should I represent the 'common' Ranger, who doesn't sport such 'flashy' accoutrements, and is just there to do a job without obvious external fanfare?

Much like the background of WW2 reenacting that I come from, not everyone in the field could portray a sergeant, lieutenant or a general; some of us had to be the Regular Joes, or we would never have fought any tactical battles.

I also wouldn't want to be perceived as a roving thief or cutpurse brigand... I'd like the balance of appearing to be a believable Ranger to those I might encounter.

Rob
Last edited by Ghostsoldier on Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Greg
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Greg » Tue Dec 04, 2018 9:51 pm

Udwin has written extensively on pursuing a 'common persona' (much like you said that not everyone can be a sergeant, etc.) Very good concept to follow.
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Elleth » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:18 pm

Interesting question!


Generally when thinking about this kind of thing, I try to imagine what it would be like in a more familiar context?

Let's say we're sitting in a modern American burger joint - but to make it fair, let's say we're pretty far out, since population density changes a *lot* in human behavior.
So let's say our watering hole is out in the middle of the Montana plains or something.

In walk a party of strangers we haven't seen before.

They're wearing fairly mundane clothes - though the sharp-eyed would probably notice they've comparatively little wear.
They're carrying expensive mountaineering gear, festooned with strange logos from niche companies.
Most notably, they've got assault rifles over their shoulders and pistols at their waists.


I think we'd be some combination of uneasy, suspicious, and extremely curious.
(But much less suspicious if we knew there were outlaws out in the plains, and driving to Wyoming meant you might or might not come back)

I expect in short order those strangers would be talking with the sheriff.
Not necessarily arrested or forcibly disarmed: but there'd definately be a conversation happening.


By anology then, I expect a MERFer would be similarly received in a previous century. (for simplicity's sake, let's assume there's no language barrier)
An armed party would be more harshly received in comparatively settled and sedate lands, perhaps with a bit more leniancy in a more chaotic or empty place or time.


Physically, I think having grown up with adequate nutrition and modern dental care could potentially mark a modern person as from a noble class, which might give a bit more leeway in interactions - not something I'd count on though.
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Elleth
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Elleth » Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:48 pm

That said, I think "stranger MERFers dropping into a medieval village" isn't quite a perfect analogue, since the Dunedain are *known* to the Breefolk. Not trusted certainly - but they've presumably been passing through the the Breelands since time out of memory and presumably haven't killed anyone. Their coin spends well.

So I think while wariness is everpresent, there's not the "run get the sheriff" response a bunch of armed unknowns stepping into the inn would cause.

Likewise it seems the Breelanders are comparatively well off materially: they have glass windows even! Thus I don't know as the *absolute* level of material wealth seen in a typical MERF kit would seem outlandish, but the comparative investment would stand out.
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Straelbora » Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:46 pm

I think one of the biggest problems for a Ranger in, say, historical Europe prior to the Renaissance, would be connections.

In medieval Europe, society was seen as a continuation of a chain of beings, from God down through various classes of angels, then in parallel, the chain from King on down or Pope on down. Everyone except the very pinnacle of the political or religious pyramid was a vassal of some sort. This system categorized each person with a public ranking as recognizeable to others as military rank is now when looking at a uniform.

Pretty much the only people outside of a vassalage relationship were outlaws. "Outlaw" was actually a designated legal status. A person outside of the law was 'out in the cold,' and couldn't request the aide of the court system or of the rudimentary policing system. An outlaw could be robbed or killed without legal consequence to the person who robbed or killed the outlaw.

I suspect a Dunedain Ranger would be seen and treated like an outlaw.
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Greg » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:41 am

Interesting thoughts...but was an outlaw's money good anywhere? I feel like some but not all qualities of outlaws are applicable.
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Straelbora » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:46 am

Greg wrote:Interesting thoughts...but was an outlaw's money good anywhere? I feel like some but not all qualities of outlaws are applicable.


I'm reaching back to my Crimnal Law course in law school over 25 years ago, but I believe that a self-sufficient outlaw, or band of outlaws, were kind of like biker gangs in the movies- they had to watch their own backs, were often subject to being stabbed in the back (likely literally) by a fellow outlaw, and if their had more 'firepower' than the local constabulary, could move about with impunity.

Of course, most people weren't as tough as outlaw band members. It was a form of ostracizing a person, the 'stick' for those who refused to take part in the King's justice. In earlier iterations, especially under Anglo-Saxon law, where extended families had to pay for the transgressions of individual members, and those who testified on behalf of the accused could be penalized if it were later found out that the accused had committed the alleged crime, there was little incentive for friends or family to aid an outlaw.
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Greg
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Greg » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:00 pm

Elleth wrote:That said, I think "stranger MERFers dropping into a medieval village" isn't quite a perfect analogue, since the Dunedain are *known* to the Breefolk. Not trusted certainly - but they've presumably been passing through the the Breelands since time out of memory and presumably haven't killed anyone. Their coin spends well.

So I think while wariness is everpresent, there's not the "run get the sheriff" response a bunch of armed unknowns stepping into the inn would cause.

Likewise it seems the Breelanders are comparatively well off materially: they have glass windows even! Thus I don't know as the *absolute* level of material wealth seen in a typical MERF kit would seem outlandish, but the comparative investment would stand out.


I like this description of the social dynamic between the two. I'm nothing your mention of the "comparative investment". In more detail, this sounds to me like "What has this wanderer prioritized that I haven't?" That may be one of the biggest lines drawn between a local and the Ranger type...where the money is spent.
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby caedmon » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:10 am

Elleth wrote:That said, I think "stranger MERFers dropping into a medieval village" isn't quite a perfect analogue,




Why do I only see MERF herder when I read this?
-Jack Horner

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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Ghostsoldier » Sat Dec 08, 2018 3:57 am

caedmon wrote:
Elleth wrote:That said, I think "stranger MERFers dropping into a medieval village" isn't quite a perfect analogue,




Why do I only see MERF herder when I read this?


As in "Scruffy-looking Merf Herders"? :D

Rob
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Re: Food For Discussion: What Would We Look Like?

Postby Peter Remling » Sun Dec 09, 2018 1:47 am

Just responding to the original question: If we had a believable reason for carrying what we had , we'd probably be okay. Carrying all that gear might illicit questions but saying I'm returning from a Crusade and heading to my home. I could name any large city or small town 150 miles away and with my different accent I'd be believed.

People like uncomplicated answers, so make your lies simple. :P

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