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EDIT: I have since revised my question so that it [hopefully] more closely adheres to community guidelines.

I am trying to jumpstart a thought-experiment that would attempt to create a society whose government, culture, etc., is based off the conventions of fantasy games: I want to include as many conventions as are applicable: video games, MMOs, tabletop, LARP, the recent trend of gamification in everyday life, etc.

A group of nerds is given the opportunity to create their own society. Let's say they're transplanted to a virgin world without human life and [something that is at least analogous to] magic, and are allowed to just make their own society based on these rules. Like a LARP, but all the time. Several generations into this we have a society and I'm curious to see what it looks like.

I'm not so much worried about the question of how they got there or how they made it possible: let's just say they did, and they were successful. What I'm concerned with is finding ways to integrate RPG elements into this society and trying to understand how they would work on a literal level. Specifically, how the rules and regulations would be enforced on a governmental/bureaucratic level, and on the level of an everyday citizen.

While magic exists, I would like to leave it out as a convenient way to just explain things away. Like, "leveling up" would in this scenario be something akin to tallying progress and being recognized and enforced by some overseeing governing body. You don't magically gain strength or charisma, you earn it like you normally would, through training and experience; but those qualities would be gauged somehow in some nebulous process I have yet to determine, in which case you would be rewarded a badge or recognition of some kind that you ARE that level of...whatever quality is being weighed. You're stronger than this guy, you're less charismatic than this guy, you have this much magical experience, you gained a lot of fame from this deed, and this is all tallied up into being a final score: you are level 37, etc. So how would that work?

Please, discuss. And let me know if this needs further refining. Please and thank you.

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closed as too broad by Hohmannfan, DaaaahWhoosh, Frostfyre, Brythan, JDługosz Jul 2 '16 at 3:53

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ There are numerous anime series that do something like this. As a tip, the most important thing to do is make it natural to talk about such things. WHile we talk about how this one guy can throw a ball 50 yards/meters, they talk about how a new level 30 adventurer showed up and got a high rank in the adventurers guild. You make the RPG elements as mundane as sports or jobs are to us. $\endgroup$ – Ryan Jul 1 '16 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ I will suggest two webcomics for you to read, where the world is truly a game world: Order of the Stick (based on Dungeons & Dragons), and Erfworld (where the world is a turn-based strategy game). The latter may be just what you are looking for, in terms of inspiration. $\endgroup$ – Renan Jul 1 '16 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ You may enjoy my previous questions here and here, as well as other questions with the rpg tag $\endgroup$ – Kys Jul 1 '16 at 16:54
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    $\begingroup$ In addition to the answers, I would like to submit that there will inevitably be those who are skilled and dedicate themselves to power, while some just want to have a good time. It is human nature. The powerful elite will probably contain both good and bad. $\endgroup$ – Jeff.Clark Jul 1 '16 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ Not an answer, as you are looking for real world cultures, but my thoughts were immediately LARP and VR. Committed LARP players take the games very seriously, there are national organizations with sub groups and different positions of authority. Combine that with VR and you could reach most of what you are talking about without super advanced tech or magic. If the players could somehow be paid for playing the game -- maybe how many people on the outside are following them -- then it would be practical, in a sense. $\endgroup$ – David Rouse Jul 1 '16 at 20:49
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There is a great example based on this - that would be DanMachi (short form). This is the best explanation for your type of world. There is no need to read the entire Light Novel, just reading the wiki page (which I gave) is enough. I'll explain the points below.

  • Everyone lives in a RPG type of world,where there is a actual dungeon which is pretty much endless and spawns enemies according to the floor (the lower the floor, the stronger the enemies).

  • All the monsters have a energy crystal in their chest, which the adventurers take. Also after a monster is killed, it leaves behind a loot drop which is used for other purposes (crafting a armour or used as magical items etc). The drops taken from the monsters are sold to the Guild

  • The adventurers belong to a family, where a God is the leader. The Gods can level up the adventurers (so, magical based leveling up). After leveling up, the adventurers gain a increase in their basic stats (str,hp,speed etc) and also have a chance to gain a rare ability. So a person who has the talent to become a mage can get the ability for a new spell. The adventurers become eligible for leveling up after they've done a heroic feat, i.e, defeating a monster that is almost impossible for them (which is why many people die in that world). So there are boss monsters that adventurers kill in order to become eligible to level up. Killing normal monsters just increases your basic stats. Leveling up drastically increases ALL basic stats AND has the chance to give you a special ability (berserk,hunter etc).
  • There is a bureaucracy (the Guild) which keeps notes of the levels of the adventurers in the respective familys. If your level increases, you have to report it to the Guild.
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I imagine that society would work very similarly to our own; the only major difference being the existence of leveling.

In some (video game) RPGs, the economy is entirely player-driven, so the market acts very similar to that of the real world. Granted, you'd probably have a few new markets; namely those of Adventurers. People who go out and complete various quests that need doing. If the creators were to add in various lurking dangers, such as dragons, cults, ancient warlocks, etc., this would give the Adventurers something to do for money.

The leveling up, on the other hand, would be an interesting change in society. In real life, as I'm sure we know, strength is gained through using strength, and it is gained rather slowly. In this world, you may gain strength purely through levels. So, for a while, you may only be able to pick up 50lbs at once. This won't increase just because you do weightlifting sessions. This would increase when you level up, and probably at a noticeable rate. You could go up 10lbs every time you level. In my opinion, this would be accomplished through magic. Not a mage-like magic, but one that simply exists in the world and tells everything how to exist. The Laws of Magic, if you will.

If you put this into a feudal society, those at the top would presumably be the highest levels (assuming no level cap). Those who trained and fought the hardest would be able to beat lower levels, so a military leader could be taken out by someone a number of levels higher than them. Presumably, this would mean the military would spend time Adventuring, so they can keep their military at a higher mean level than any other military, or any individuals. It would supply the military with money and get them experience.

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    $\begingroup$ I level up my skills all the time at work, but they just call it "training" =/ $\endgroup$ – Kys Jul 1 '16 at 16:58
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Leveling up has its impact, certainly, but to contrast with the other answers, I'd like to explore the concept of Phoenix Downs (which, despite the name, may or may not be harvested from actual Phoenixes, or indeed look anything like feathers, in your society).

Let's suppose it works on anyone who is (a) currently dead, and (b) not dead for plot-related reasons (though this makes civilians inadvertent, posthumous plot detectors). Depending on supply, it may be fantastically expensive, available only to the high-level, well-connected, and/or law enforcement - or it may be as complimentary as breath mints for the really extreme sports (such as Adventuring as described in other answers).

Incidentally, if Phoenix Downs only work on some people - "Players" - you're going to have at least a two-tier society, with the NPCs ending up as more or less second-class citizens owing to their understandable unwillingness to get killed. This might be possible to mitigate if no one knows whether or not they're a Player before they get resurrected - if you guess you are, and guess wrong, you don't get a second guess - but in general, the kings and the tyrants alike in your society will be drawn from the ranks of the deathless.

Which, of course, can make for a plethora of stories about the Hero Saving The World From The Ancient Slumbering Evil, precisely because that Ancient Slumbering Evil can be Phoenix Down'ed by the next poor idiot to ignore all the crumbling Do-Not-Resuscitate signs on a dare.

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    $\begingroup$ Now I have the image of someone giving Cthulu CPR in my head $\endgroup$ – Marshall Tigerus Jul 1 '16 at 18:21
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The anime/light novel KonoSuba takes place in a world similar to this. Each person in the world has stats, skills, etc. which are tracked by a magical guild card each person carries with them. From a meta standpoint, the world appears to run on some innate form of magic which allows even 'mundane' characters to perform what we would consider supernatural actions. For example, the thief skill Steal allows you to steal an item from someone else from a distance.

For your scenario, I think the main question which would shape the society is how the 'players' level up. If you gain power from some innate magical force, a higher being like King of Snakes mentions, or some other neutral, non-partisan method then the society could indeed resemble a typical fantasy realm. However, if leveling up is based on a bureaucracy, a ritual, or some other form of player-controlled action you'll get factions attempting to control the method of leveling up. Perhaps stratified classes will emerge, where those who have the ability to level up are some form of nobility and control entry to their ranks very strictly.

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