Soft power - healing

Discussion in 'Debates & Discussions' started by Dragon, May 2, 2021.

  1. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    So as far as I can tell healers are quite rare in the peninsula, HM, her colleagues and their apprentices at the HT (such as Sumiko) being a notable exception. The question is, how valuable is their power in a world where child mortality rates hover around 50% and few people ( well few humans, elves and dwarves are hardier) live to their sixties? Could they lower that child mortality rate to less than 1% and extend the averrage lifespan by decades? Reverse athrithis and other age related wear and tear?

    How do you convert that power into influence without becoming a monster? Do you extend the right to healing beyond your own people and allies, to neutrals and enemies?
     
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  2. Johan

    Johan Level 18 (Magician) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    If they want healing then join the mist village/kingdom/empire.
     
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  3. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    That's basically hard power (coercion). The problem with using hard power for expansion is that it causes resentment in subjugated populations. Don't get me wrong, its a tool in any would-be emperors toolbox. It just shouldn't be the primary one. Empires based on hard power usually collapse fairly quickly.

    Correctly applied soft power can sway people to your perspective, getting them to want what you want. A man forced to abandon his tribe or watch his loved ones die will resent the leader that forced him to make that choice. A man who chooses to leave his tribe because he believes said leader is worth joining will be far more loyal.

    As Joseph Nye puts it "when one country gets other countries to want what it wants might be called co-optive or soft power in contrast with the hard or command power of ordering others to do what it wants"

    Or in other words, more bees are attracted with honey than is with a stick. With his economic, military (protection) and healing power, Richter has a lot of soft power that he can utilize. Something as simple as a healer showing up in an independent village going door to door at no charge would have a tremendous impact on their perception of the mist village while costing relatively little apart from that healers' time and effort. That's the good thing with healing magic in the land, there is no substantive cost, no resources are spent.

    On the contrary, the healers would likely gain skill levels and possibly fame.
     
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  4. ShoughtLoud

    ShoughtLoud Level 17 (Theurgist) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    I dunno, honey is one thing but I've hit a beehive with a stick before and I got damn near every bee in the hive attracted to me after that.
    :p
     
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  5. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    Hahaha xD
     
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  6. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    To be fair, its not like you can't mix the two approaches. Say you have a few healers doing a track, visiting villages without access to a healer for a few days before moving on. Ensuring that people aren't dying off in large numbers to preventable diseases, getting cripples back to work, taking care of lingering injuries, etc. Say a two-three month period between visits, so the locals start thinking about how good they'd have it with a magical healer around.

    Meanwhile subordinate factions like the kindir receive their own fulltime healer(s) and everyone is tested for various magical affinitties. Hopefully allowing the mist village to gain more mages than they lose.

    Soft power approaches can be just as ruthless as hard power approaches. Its going to be extremely difficult for local leaders to stop Richter's influence from growing once the people get hooked on a .1% child mortality rate instead of a 30-50% rate, get used to having a full set of teeth, and all the other little things healers can do to help a community flourish.
     
  7. Johan

    Johan Level 18 (Magician) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    They are not forced to be healed, their own kingdom has healing. If they want better healing teniques, then join the the MV. That is not hard, it is soft. Healing is never 100%.
     
  8. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    Where in the books does it say magical healing isn't 100%? So far we have seen healing magic reverse most injuries and diseases, with greater injuries requiring the intervention of a stronger mage. The only thing it doesn't seem capable of reversing is aging and even that could be possible for a life grandmaster.

    Even without taking their life magic into account, Sumiko trains her people. She teaches them about disease, hygiene and all sorts of medicinal knowledge that local healers wouldn't know about. (before it comes up that the sprites were surprised by mouth-to-mouth resusiation, that's a technique that was developed in 1950, its far from obvious that blowing into someone mouth would be able to save someone unless you already know about it. Like many profound and amazing discoveries, its very simple to understand and utilize)


    I think its unlikely a faction with a few thousand people has more than 1-2 magic users, not when only Adepts and Masters can awaken magic and pass down spells. Furthermore, those magic users that do exist will likely be aligned with the magic their race has the highest affinity for, meaning earth magic for dwarves or light magic for high elves. Even if they have 1 or 2 people born with a life magic affinity once a generation, without a trainer they would never be able to develop it. With that in mind, I think we can say with some certainty that very few forest factions have well trained life magic healers with anything near the capabilities of HM's people. Herbalists and mundane healers probably exist.

    Bigger factions would have the numbers to support a more substantial magical community, like the sprites, so i'd expect them to have a few healers around unless the affinity is extremely rare for their race.
     
  9. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    Except for all the factions where there are no magical healers.

    In which case you have no real option in many situations. For example.

    Your son is dying. You have no means of helping him, potions don't work and the local mundane healer is at the end of her rope. You are offered the chance to save him, but only by abandoning everything you have ever known and loved to serve a stranger for life.

    Do you resent it? I would, especially once I realized that I just traded the remainder of my life for half an hours effort for the healing mage.
     
  10. Johan

    Johan Level 18 (Magician) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    sounds noble to sacrifice yourself to save your loved one. Mist Villagers have sworn to Richter for a lot less. The hypothetical resentment is likely a lack of honor.

    In the case we would actually be talking about, that case is not relevant. If a settlement's citizens wants to join the MV because of the benefits such as better healing, then you ask the settlement join the MV Empire because of access to the bonuses it provides. If you want free healing, first ask what you can do for that country that is providing it, like swearing fealty or allegiance or loyalty.
     
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  11. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    No its because someone is holding your childs life hostage when it would cost them next to nothing to fix the issue. That's the action that shows an utter lack of honor and emphaty. I'd gladly repay equal (or several times more) value for the service rendered and be grateful as well. But lifelong servitude to a foreign country doesn't seem proportional.

    Sending out healers costs Richter next to nothing, and it buys a ton of influence as well as relationship points with the factions in question. That's a really good deal in my eyes, and you have offered no reason to believe there is a significant downside.
     
  12. Johan

    Johan Level 18 (Magician) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    There is no one holder a persons life hostage. You might as well blame gods for the child's suffering while you have been asking and praying that he/she saves him. That healer owes you nothing, no one and no thing owes you anything unless there is an agreement made like fealty. Is the merchant holding a life hostage because you can't for the potion, no. If someone goes out of there way to save you, in which you would otherwise die, would you then pledge a life debt?
     
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  13. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    Its a common standard in most modern countries that you are obligated to render a stranger in life threatening danger what aid you can as long as it does not put undue strain on your resources or put you at personal risk. Hence if you knowingly leave a stranger to die from dehydration in the desert or walk past someone in danger without calling the police you can be held liable.

    The US is a rare exception, in that you can watch someone get run over/ killed/ raped/ hang by one hand from a bridge and walk away without calling an ambulance/ giving aid. Even a doctor does not have a duty to render aid to injured people, which again is different from most other western countries.

    By common standard a person is required to render what aid they can as long as it is not an undue strain on their resources. Thats a moral rule nearly anywhere and a legal rule in most places. Healers/doctors often have a greater duty to render aid and harsher punishments for failing to do so.

    TLDR:
    The healer does "owe" someone in life threatening danger aid as long as it is not an unreasonably heavy burden. If he refuses to render such aid as is reasonable he can look forward to being fined or put in prison depending on the severity of the neglect.

    I'd definitely acknowledge a life debt though, possibly promise a few years of service or a future favor to be called upon at need. Fealty is a life long commitment to obey, honor and deliver your liege their due (taxes, military service, etc.) or be foresworn. The only honorable ways out are either to be released from service or for your liege to break their own oaths, rendering all oaths sworn to said liege moot. I'd be loathe to pay for the service of saving my life by trading the rest of it away.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
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  14. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    To return to my primary point, the idea is not to deliver free health care to foreign factions out of charity, though it would certainly be a form of charity. The true purpose would be to build relationship points with said faction, overcome racial animosity if at all possible and eventually build a more formal relationship headed towards vassalage.

    Healers are a powerful diplomatic trump card against factions that have few or no magical healing resources, far more useful than another novice/ apprentice healer in the village or the army would be.

    I also think that at the least a few people would be glad to leave their homes and travel to the village. Ready access to healers, economic opportunity and safety would make the village a very attractive option.
     




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