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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ring of Metempsychosis

Yesterday I came across the word metempsychosis. It's an ancient Greek concept of transmigration of the soul at death from one person or animal to another. It struck me immediately as a likely theme for a good magic item. A ring seems like the obvious candidate, but it might be an amulet or something else. I'm still mulling over how it ought to work mechanically, with an eye towards what makes for the most interesting situations. The wearer could be able to choose or it could be random. The pool of soul recipients could be in a radius around the wearer at time of death. Does the soul co-inhabit or replace the existing one (probably competing co-inhabitation is more interesting if the destination is a PC)? Does the ring move with the soul? Should it "Magic Jar" the soul and it moves to the next wearer or do an instant jump? And so on. There are a lot of possibilities to how the idea could play out.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Oxfam report on wealth concentration

Oxfam released a report on wealth inequality that is hitting the news sites today. It says that from 2009 to 2014 the percentage of world wealth owned by the richest one percent rose from 44% to 48%.

If those figures bear out and the trend continues, it is very troubling for world political health. That's 4% in five years. A simple linear extrapolation of what happens if this continues is the richest one percent owning everything by the year 2079, as 5/4 of 52 = 65.

Given that wealth ~= power, the natural tendency of such a trend unless intensely disrupted is positive feedback acceleration. We are looking at a pharaonic political landscape within this century unless things change drastically from business as usual.

 And we just elected the party that favors wealth concentration in its economic policies to control the U.S. Congress. Don't expect leadership towards balance from there.

 The scary thing is the kind of political action that swings things the other way tends to be nasty and violent and wanders off topic to concentrate as much or more power in somebody else's hands as often as not.