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After the discovery of eldritch horrors and the existence of magic (never mind the subsequent apocalypse), people went underground. Special shelters called Labyrinths channel the chaotic energy of the one eldritch horror the humans managed to slay into powerful magic that protects them from discovery and supplies the shelter’s energy needs. (Think Cthulhu equals clean energy =) ) However, the Labyrinth has some, er, interesting effects:

  1. Anyone living inside is biologically immortal; they don’t die from old age, starvation, poison, or disease. Otherwise fatal wounds like a sword to the chest can be healed, lost limbs or fingers (but not heads) can be restored. Aging is determined by personal growth and stops when someone has reached their physical prime. Death occurs for such people only after their ‘time has come and gone;” when the next generation reaches adulthood, they turn to crystal.

  2. The Labyrinth’s ambient energies slow; everyone acts and thinks slower. This also makes people more likely to have a more long-term perspective (and more likely to get set in their ways) making them less prone to action and slower to realize a (non-obvious) emergency. If a house is on fire, they'll jump into action to fight it, temporarily entering a state of increased speed. However, if the emergency is more subtle, like the plight of those under discrimination, chances are it'll take even longer to solve.

  3. The Labyrinth’s outer “wall” of illusive, diverting magic has an equal reaction on the people inside; life feels like a very vivid dream for them, and knowledge of subjects one does not have a 'knack' or any fundamental knowledge of is more difficult to gain. This effect does not kick in for children until they reach 18.

  4. Additionally, the magical barriers outside the Labyrinth make people in the Labyrinth feel distant from those outside the Labyrinth. However, this has an opposite effect on those within the Labyrinth; they feel closer to each other. People in the same generation, occupation, or general area have increased feelings of camaraderie, which increases based on the closeness of the relation.

  5. If a seventh son has a seventh son, or if a seventh daughter has a seventh daughter, that child will have psionic powers, like ESP, telepathy, and telekinesis, or be able to cast spells. If two such ‘blessed’ children have a child, that child will have both psionic and magical powers.

What impact will these magical effects have on the survivors inside the Labyrinths and how can they be accounted for to keep things in order?

My Thoughts:

  1. Point 2 could be accounted for by training the people to keep an open mind, but it's still a danger.
  2. Point 3 can be accounted for simply by educating children in a wide range of subjects before they reach 18. However, it will likely be easier to find what the children are gifted in and focus their education on that, leading to set occupations and a class system.

As always, I appreciate your input and your feedback. If there are problems with this question, or if more details are needed, please let me know.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting concept! This is a lot to answer, and it might be better off split into multiple questions. $\endgroup$ – Karst Jan 21 at 2:30
  • $\begingroup$ Okay @Karst, I appreciate the input. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 21 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ Breaking the wall of text into smaller paragraph would improve readibility $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jan 21 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, @L.Dutch-ReinstateMonica! I didn't realize I had made a wall of text. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 21 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ The question is very broad so I won't be surprised if it gets closed. That in mind, some mundane context would be useful. Regardless of the Eldritch mumbo-jumbo, what is life like inside the labyrinth on a day-to-day basis? How many people live in how large/small a space? How are their basic needs met? How far has society re-advanced after the apocalypse? $\endgroup$ – Daron Feb 20 at 22:38
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Anyone living inside is biologically immortal; they don’t die from old age, starvation, poison, or disease. Otherwise fatal wounds like a sword to the chest can be healed, lost limbs or fingers (but not heads) can be restored. Aging is determined by personal growth and stops when someone has reached their physical prime. Death occurs for such people only after their ‘time has come and gone;” when it’s time for the next generation to take over, they turn to crystal.

You are going to need some sort of system for social groups to establish order and get rid of individuals who refuse to play nice. There is going to be someone who commits horrible crimes, and all societies need some kind of capital punishment or imprisonment to remove individuals who cannot behave from the population (e.g., serial killers...or serial attempted murderers in your case).

Best suggestion, have a system where extreme offenders heads get chopped off if decapitation kills them. If not, have a system where they are imprisoned with their limbs are removed. It's cruel, but you have to have some way from stopping people from harming others.

The Labyrinth’s ambient energies slow; everyone acts and thinks slower. This also makes people more likely to get set in their ways and resist change, and have a more long-term perspective.

The Labyrinth’s outer “wall” of illusive, diverting magic has an equal reaction on the people inside; new knowledge is harder to obtain to a certain extent. Take a carpenter; if he wanted to learn something new about carpentry, it’d be as difficult as it would be normally, but if he wanted to take up mechanics, it’d be very hard. This effect takes hold right after puberty starts, but after it does, knowledge about subjects you don’t have a fundamental knowledge of becomes esoteric to you.

These are pretty much going to have the same effects. Society will stagnate and refuse to adapt. Your entire society may actually come down with a blanket-wide case of depression, difficulty thinking and learning is one of the key signs of depression along with being sad. People with depression often describe the reason they are sad as because they can't think clearly and it upsets them. Your society might become so stagnant that even after the apocalypse is over they still refuse to leave their shelters because "that's the way they've always done things".

Additionally, the magical barriers outside the Labyrinth make people in the Labyrinth feel distant from those outside the Labyrinth, and distant from those not within their circle of friends or relatives, but less so than for outsiders. I believe this will make forming new friendships (and other relationships) more difficult.

This will be a problem. You've basically created a society of low-grade sociopaths (IRL high-functioning sociopaths describe their worldview as exactly like this, whereas low-functioning ones only care about themselves), which is going to cause havoc for social cohesion. In a confined space where people having few ways to escape, mantaining social cohesion is key, which is why a lot of species stuck on small islands have evolved low aggressiveness.

You've created a scenario where the average person is going to feel less empathy for the people around them. They'll be more likely to steal, backstab, and harm one another because they don't care about the people outside their immediate social group. In the worst case they may not have problems with outright murdering the people around them because they just don't care.

If a seventh son has a seventh son, or if a seventh daughter has a seventh daughter, that child will have psionic powers, like ESP, telepathy, and telekinesis, or be able to cast spells. If two such ‘blessed’ children have a child, that child will have both psionic and magical powers.

You ever see From The New World? The exact same problem is created here. Namely you're giving one individual a huge amount of power and the remaining people few options to fight back. Especially if everyone is a low-grade sociopath. You now have a person with the ability to impose their will on the rest of society and no moral qualms stopping them from doing so.

Most likely what would happen is having beyond a certain number of children would be forbidden, and those that are seventh sons or daughters would be killed or treated with extreme suspicion. You would probably have no children which have both psionic or magical powers for the simple reason that a population inside a labyrinthine bunker is going to be small. I honestly can't think of many seventh sons and seventh daughters having a child together in the present day, where the human population is huge.

A big problem with your system would be overpopulation. In a world where people cannot die of old age and disease and starvation are not longer constraints on population, what's to stop the population from expanding until it is as dense as the Kowloon Walled City?

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  • $\begingroup$ These are all great points; I'm going to have to fix some things here to reduce the sociopathy and risk of stagnation. I'm open to ideas if you're willing to share any potential solutions you've seen. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 21 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ Heads-up: I did some edits to account for the issues you pointed out. I would greatly appreciate your opinion here. $\endgroup$ – Alendyias Jan 21 at 21:09
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I've already seen this movie and it is glorious. Any film set to Beethoven's Seventh is bound to be something special.

The answer to their "order" problem is they make people age a year at a time somewhere outside the Labyrinth, until they are no more threat. That works until people stop caring about dying, anyway.

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