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In the OTU In the Official Traveller Universe. Any milieux that's been published in any edition. Not for discussion of rules except in reference to how they reflect the OTU

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Old March 7th, 2016, 11:13 PM
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Default All things Zhodani

The evil psionic Zhodani, scourge of the spaceways. Or the best adjusted Human society ever? Mere babes in the woods dealing with the nefarious, treacherous Imperials and Solomani? Or Psionic mind rippers out to subject all to a supine satrapy under their evil mind control?

Lets discuss the Zhodani, perhaps even more misunderstood than the Solomani....
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Old March 7th, 2016, 11:15 PM
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I'd say Second Fundation or Orwell's 1884?
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Old March 7th, 2016, 11:39 PM
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2nd Fundation? the party side of the 2nd Foundation?
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Old March 7th, 2016, 11:51 PM
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I would tend to the better adjusted if only because of the constant mental adjustment going on. None of this fool the shrink stuff either, they dig in to the root of the problem whether you want it or not. Hmm mental psychological surgery? From what I recall reading, and I could be off, the Zhodani stopped expanding when they felt they had reached a manageable size, I did not get the feeling they wanted to take over the universe so much as prevent being overwhelmed by it. Imperials were expanding way too fast in their direction, so they slowed them down some. On the other hand a free thinking society would consider what they do as mind control, or brainwashing to an extreme.
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Old March 8th, 2016, 01:23 AM
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On the other hand a free thinking society would consider what they do as mind control, or brainwashing to an extreme.
The Zhodani are partly a Traveller incarnation of Williamson's Humanoids, but minus the all-conquering Prime Directive. Horrific in appearance from the outside, their societal goals approach idyllic from the inside.

But to really appreciate them, you have to be able to adopt their societal framework and look outward at the vast empire of crazed sociopaths, the space-faring pack animals, and the obsessive-compulsive land grabbers they see around them. The Zhodani are just as perplexed and horrified by Imperials as the Imperial are of them.
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Old March 8th, 2016, 02:28 AM
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There's also a very intrusive psychiatric technique where you drug someone up and make them reveal their deepest secrets while "asleep" or "semi conscious". I first saw it explained in NOVA, but it's alluded to in Disney cartoons and other films, but was used in WW2 to "rehab" soldiers suffering from shell shock, and get them back to the front.

So deep psychological surgery would be correct. A society that thrives on that, and tries to control everyone's thoughts by implanting suggestions and deeming you "in need of surgery", in my book, is not misunderstood, but in fact evil.

The Imperium, for all its flaws, thrives. Oh sure, there's piracy, larceny, grand-theft-starship, uprisings on suppressed worlds, strikes, internecine military conflict among nobles, and areas that make the Zho Consulate look like some amusement park, but it's free (depending on where you live and how much money you got), and doesn't empower anyone to screw with your very existence like the Zhos.

I vote evil...for the Zhodani thing. Zhos --->
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Old March 8th, 2016, 07:53 AM
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That is a very good point, although with an enhanced knowledge of psychology, could they also not be the most stable of the human races due to psionics? I just re-read Alien 4 from GDW last night and a point is not clear, is it once a noble, always a noble regardless of psionic strength, or do non-psionic nobles get booted to Intendent?

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There's also a very intrusive psychiatric technique where you drug someone up and make them reveal their deepest secrets while "asleep" or "semi conscious". I first saw it explained in NOVA, but it's alluded to in Disney cartoons and other films, but was used in WW2 to "rehab" soldiers suffering from shell shock, and get them back to the front.

So deep psychological surgery would be correct. A society that thrives on that, and tries to control everyone's thoughts by implanting suggestions and deeming you "in need of surgery", in my book, is not misunderstood, but in fact evil.

The Imperium, for all its flaws, thrives. Oh sure, there's piracy, larceny, grand-theft-starship, uprisings on suppressed worlds, strikes, internecine military conflict among nobles, and areas that make the Zho Consulate look like some amusement park, but it's free (depending on where you live and how much money you got), and doesn't empower anyone to screw with your very existence like the Zhos.

I vote evil...for the Zhodani thing. Zhos --->
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Old March 8th, 2016, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyComet View Post
The Zhodani are partly a Traveller incarnation of Williamson's Humanoids, but minus the all-conquering Prime Directive.
I'll have to pick up a copy. Never read it.

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Horrific in appearance from the outside, their societal goals approach idyllic from the inside.
I have always found it ironic that the Zho Consulate is probably the closest the Traveller Universe major races have to a democracy.

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But to really appreciate them, you have to be able to adopt their societal framework and look outward at the vast empire of crazed sociopaths,
Third Imperium? Vargr Extents? Both?

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...the space-faring pack animals,
K'kree?

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...and the obsessive-compulsive land grabbers they see around them.
Aslan?

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The Zhodani are just as perplexed and horrified by Imperials as the Imperial are of them.
It sure isn't hard to spin the Zho as the good guys...

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Old March 8th, 2016, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyComet View Post
The Zhodani are partly a Traveller incarnation of Williamson's Humanoids, but minus the all-conquering Prime Directive. Horrific in appearance from the outside, their societal goals approach idyllic from the inside.

But to really appreciate them, you have to be able to adopt their societal framework and look outward at the vast empire of crazed sociopaths, the space-faring pack animals, and the obsessive-compulsive land grabbers they see around them. The Zhodani are just as perplexed and horrified by Imperials as the Imperial are of them.

I would never, ever, ever, EVER willingly contradict Jim.

However, I might as well insert a comment.

If television taught me anything, it's that no empire, no matter how thoroughly efficient in its indoctrination, is fully united and uniform. There are reform parties, dissention, free thinking, revolutions, and terrorism. The major party need not be the majority party.

Now if REAL life taught me anything, it's that those reformers, dissenters, free thinkers, revolutionaries, and terrorists are shaped by a common culture. What that means is the outsider might not find it easy to TELL that any particular Zhodani is actually a reformer, dissenter, thinker, or so on. To us Imperials, they all seem the same.

In other words, to the player, they're all alike. To the referee, things are complicated but subtle.
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Old March 8th, 2016, 12:35 PM
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First off, well adjusted is in the eyes of the beholder. Who decides what is 'healthy thought' and what is not? By what criteria?

Secondly, the Zhos may be cutting off several crazy geniuses, profit motivated empire builders and lines of inquiry by fixing everyone in sight, ultimately affecting their tech level.

This may be a wash to an extent as the Zhos make otherwise non-functional geniuses rehabilitated and 'happy', but technology and knowledge growth is not a straight line planned event and crazy geniuses/monetary moguls are one path to new that is closed off.

Some of the most important advances have been from some very unhappy people, and sometimes it's hard to separate out the genius from the misery.

Finally, there is the underlying issue of 'psychodiversity', similar to biodiversity except of paramount importance to sophont technological races. When you are deciding and enforcing what is 'normal', you are eliminating entire coping/development options from your society, with potential inabilities to deal with altered environments and conditions.

Conversely, the Zho program can confer 'unity' like few other Major Races which can certainly be a coping advantage, so it is not all downside.
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