Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An Interesting Faction Idea?

Lord of the Flies, by Greyflea
It's not that often that you run across a novel human social structure. But I recently ran across a couple of articles that describe the Ik people of Uganda. Whose social organization might make for an interesting sub-faction of humans/aliens.

From Wikipedia:
"The Ik (sometimes called Teuso, though this term is explicitly derogatory) are an ethnic group numbering about 10,000 people living in the mountains of northeastern Uganda near the border with Kenya, next to the more populous Karamojong and Turkana peoples. The Ik were displaced from their land to create a national park and consequently suffered extreme famine. Also, their weakness relative to other tribes meant they were regularly raided. The Ik are subsistence farmers who grind their own grain."
"Children by age three are at least sometimes permanently expelled from the household and form groups called age-bands consisting of those within the same age group. The 'Junior Group' consists of children from the ages of three to eight and the 'Senior Group' consists of those between eight and thirteen. No adults look after the children, who teach each other the basics of survival. However, it is not certain whether this practice is typical Ik tradition or merely triggered by unusual famine conditions. Tainter[1] proposes this fragmentation to be an artifact of the dire circumstances where each person must depend on their own resources alone to find food and the age peers band together primarily to protect themselves from older stronger children who would take their food. He also argues that the present social fragmentation is the result of extreme deprivation on a more complex and functional culture, an argument also made by Turnbull."

There's some controversy about the researcher's methods, and it's Wikipedia after all, but as an idea it's fascinating. Especially in the context of resource depletion, which is a core theme of our fluff. The Human Republic is trying to conserve theirs, to outlast the spendthrift Colser. You also have the Genii doing everything in their power to keep feeding the Colser and their outrageous appetites.

But what happens when the Colser run out? What happens when the energy expended to move a resource to a region of Colser space exceeds (to the Genii) the value of the resource itself?

I'm imagining a Colser world/orbital/whatever going 'dead'. Then whoever doesn't leave devolves into an Ik-like social structure. You get a sort of caste system centered around age. With the oldest (and least numerous) castes hording resources from the younger ones.

They're still Colser, with a lot of discarded tech lying around. The lifespans we're talking about would also be thousands of years (assuming nobody kills you). So the affected Colser would go from 'Anything we want!' to a very different mentality. Scavenge, re-use, and stay practical. In 40K terms, they'd be sort of like Orks crossed with Eldar.

There could also be some links to the Fallen here too. Where do the Colser banish you when you don't behave? Probably not to a rich, pristine world. Which would explain why they don't get all the best toys. But the (former republic) humans stick together at least. While the bands of resource-starved Colser are much less cohesive. So there's a bond there, but also a LOT of friction. Particularly if those pointy-eared aliens have something the humans want/need.

Thoughts? What would we call these Colser?

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