Friday, October 25, 2013

Good Guy Kusseth

I think Kusseth is a nation that my players typically think of as being "evil." I can understand that. I designed Kusseth the way it is because of my own complaints about my own homeland. Is Kusseth good or evil? Fuck if I know.Which is the point of my grey morality. I will however say that I think it is a more honest nation. Which doesn't mean it's a good nation.

All citizens have a Kussethian identification tattoo. A series of ten numbers tattooed usually on an arm that wardens use to keep tabs on people. The tattoo holds information about their race and citizenship status and such. I have a document on my computer listing what the various combinations of numbers mean. Any time you wander into a building related even slightly to the government, your number is logged. Any time a warden speaks to you, your number gets logged. Any time you pass through a checkpoint between wards, your number gets logged. Etc. This information is retained and stored in warehouse sized analytical engines to be reviewed or called up as needed. This tracking system is crude and horribly unwieldy, but it seems very much in the vein of 1984 evil. But you know, cameras record license plates and take headshots when you drive through intersection and cops ask for your driver's license whenever you meet them. They can also monitor your phone calls and track your credit card activity without your permission. I might call it an invasion of privacy, but not evil.

Kusseth runs on bribes and fines and special taxes. Anything can be bought or done or avoided, provided you have the cash on hand to grease the government's palm and pay for the privilege of doing whatever you want. Everyone knows this. It's not a shameful secret or dirty backroom deal. People with lots of expendable income in Kusseth have a significant advantage over everyone else, and Kusseth doesn't have a bunch of posters and propaganda about how this is the land of freedom and equality and everyone has a fair and equal chance at becoming whatever they want to be and doing whatever they want with their life. The United States is the same way, officials take bribes and increase their own wages and do whatever they want regardless of the law, but this country is still supposedly the land of the free, where all are totally equal and we can all be rich and awesome if we're smart enough and work hard enough. Does this make Kusseth and its officials "good" or something? No. But at least they're not relying on inbred, bucktoothed, hickbillies and their misplaced patriotism to keep them in power while the country burns to the ground around them.

Kusseth views its citizens as a resource, just like lumber or iron or coal. Something to be mined and utilized to keep the country strong. You won't find patriotic propaganda about serving your country (i.e. get shot at by natives you have invaded) overseas though. No, you'll see stuff like "Serve your country, get a tax break." or "Become a miner, get a tax break." or "Clean the streets, get a tax break." or "Deliver mail, get a tax break, and a breaching axe to deal with karthak." This isn't a land of patriotism, it's the land of equal exchange. If the government of Kusseth needs soldiers or sewer workers or whatever, they don't play on patriotism and loyalty to get it, they help you out for helping them out. Don't interpret that as the government being nice. You aren't being rewarded for your service. You're being compensated for filling a hole in the job market with your body. If you can't or won't make yourself of use to the government as either a producer or consumer, Kusseth won't be lifting a finger to help you out. There's no unemployment or socialized medicine. You're useless meat if you're not earning or buying, and if you can't pay your taxes, Kusseth will find a way to make you earn. 

Which brings us to Kussethian incarceration. All crimes in Kusseth carry a fine that depends on the nature of the crime and who the crime was committed against and how much money they have to burn in pursuit of making your life difficult. If you can't pay your fine, you enter the penal labor force until you work off the fine. When you enter the penal labor force, you are generally allowed to choose where you put your labor in, but it's not guaranteed. Some jobs pay more, which isn't saying much because you're also required to pay for equipment, training, and lodging from your wages. You broke the law, why the fuck should Kusseth pay to feed and clothe and train your ass so you can repay your debt to society? To me, it is unethical to make a bunch of laws, then catch people breaking them, then make me pay (via taxes) to feed, clothe, guard, provide medical attention to them, and house them. I don't care how small the living space is or about issues like dropping soap. You shouldn't get a free ride, regardless of its quality, for opting to step out of the rules of society. So Kusseth has laws, punishes those that break them, and forces lawbreakers to foot the bill instead of increasing the taxes of law abiding folks.

Kusseth is pretty warmongering by nature. They have a massively inflated military budget and they have no qualms about using it. Right now, they're invading a foreign land and planning to strip mine every inch of it while subjugating natives to bring them back to The Known World as a labor force with the promise of granting them Kusseth citizenship after a decade of service. Nevermind that they don't want to go do stuff for Kusseth and probably only a small percentage will survive their servitude. Kusseth is really just an explorer, think of the Orcunraytrel expedition just like you would Christopher Columbus' "discovery" of the new world. It's all totally benign and you should teach small children about it and celebrate it just like you would Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. Pulling away from my sarcastic commentary on bullshit genocidal explorer holidays being celebrated by the nation, look at it from Kusseth's perspective. What entitles the people of Orcunraytrel to safety and long lives? Specifically, the Giants. The tribal, warmongering race that can't live peacefully with others of the same race, let alone anyone else. A race that has made a lifelong commitment to subjugating the Goebleen. Meh. Fuck the Giants. They're dumb and they pick on the Goebleen, and I like the Goebleen. 

Look, if I had to pin a over simplified alignment on an entity as big as Kusseth, I'd go with Lawful. There are lots of laws, and there are laws for getting around those laws and lawbreakers are punished, but can get around the punishment via laws. Special fines and bribes and such aren't a corrupt bug of the system. They're a feature. Corruption is expected, but Kusseth's corruption is organized and bound in the same red tape as every other aspect of their government. Interestingly enough, no one gets their dick slapped as hard as a government official that Kusseth finds to be circumventing the laws governing all their special fines and bribes.

Is Kusseth evil? Nah. Is it good? Highly unlikely. What it is is honest and highly organized with a government committed to doing its job. The job of the government is to keep the country running by allowing no other nation to have the upper hand on it and having an unkillable economy, and the Great Lords see that that is done. No nation gets to take a shot at Kusseth without getting slapped down hard. The military is respected and paid well and does their job. If you pay your taxes and keep your nose clean, you get all the benefits of indoor plumbing, functioning electricity, and the most well supplied military in the world. If you make money, and can keep it, you too can be powerful and pay for the privilege of doing whatever the fuck you want.

Kusseth, fuck yeah.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you'll forgive my boldness but Kusseth does not sound like a very good nation. In all of your post, I didn't see Jesus's name once. What nation could be good without Jesus?

    Clint R.