Thursday, July 23, 2015

Anarchist Towns: Anarcho-Primitivist

You often see lists of random towns with everything from hamlets to cities run in all ways: monster theocracies to run of the mill monarchs, and everything in between, except for anything without a government. Well, I suppose they are included, unless you mean the crazy, violence filled 'anarchy' a la Mad Max. As an anarchist myself, I do have to say that this is more than a little inaccurate. Let me blur the line between anarchy and gaming a little bit.


3. Anarcho-Primitivist
If I am being honest, this form of anarchy was the most mysterious and unknown to me. Far from meaning that this town was hard to write, I was very curious to read about anarcho-primitivism. My understanding of this is that the foundational thinkers of primitivism see other forms of anarchy as striking at the branches (albeit large ones) of the problems facing modern society. To a primitivist, the whole foundation of modern society is based on the fundamental hierarchy created by division of labor, agricultural practices, and denial of access to land. Ancient societies formed for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. A truly free society must rework everything from the foundation up to break the people free from rulers and hierarchy.


Not but two generations ago, a wave rolled through this town. A revolution was afoot. It wasn't fought with violence or with demands, but with a peaceful change of thought. After the noble family perished, the people of the town began to understand a philosopher's words and decided to fundamentally reorganize. No matter how the surrounding lands have organized themselves in the past, they always suffered and felt oppressed. They cut back the roots of oppression, destroying the very fundamental problems of society, civilization as it was currently known. Now they organize for common good, freely, and without the root problems associated with hierarchy and the denial of land.

There is no economy or structure as would be understood in the normal terms. People here work collectively to supply what they can to the common good. No one is denied access to land, food, or necessary resources as was used as the building block of hierarchy in every other society. The folks that live here value social equality and memorable experiences. It isn't uncommon for people to give away skillfully crafted goods or to rotate into other jobs as needed. The town is rich in what matters, satiated people free to explore self-actualization.

While the traditional family structure is not necessary, large extended families (both by blood and by friendship) are quite common. The primitivists value the company of others and having a large social network is a way for them to hedge against misfortune.

Communes of nearby families meet regularly to host festivals, gatherings, and to design solutions to problems they face. Outsiders that wrong a primitivist or want to trade usually have to get approval or face judgement from these communes. The center of the territory hosts a communal longhouse and granary for the storage of common food, goods, and lodging. There is always someone around maintaining or improving the structure and visitors are welcome.



Criminals are easily forgiven if restitution is made for any damaging crime and repeated offenders are warned off or attacked as a last resort. With no need for hierarchy, weaponry is heavily focused on powerful stunning and disabling techniques like sleeping powders, flash powder bombs, and tangle-vine bolas. It is rumored that they have special defensive techniques that repels and move metals at a distance.

Currencies and trade goods are useful here, but only in so far as it facilitates trade and betters each party. The accumulation of wealth outside those necessary to safeguard against misfortune is frowned upon.

People here live in an eclectic mix of carefully maintained stone architecture, mobile yurts, and cozy brick houses. With none of their efforts being spent towards a central coercive hierarchy, the people take great pride in their infrastructure, houses, and community lands. The lands are kept as nature friendly as possible, and other life forms only killed in a kind, sustainable manner.


d6 People you'll meet
1. A doddering, cane-leaning old man is hunched down singing a mumbled tune to a crying infant. He turns to a bashful child and beckons him over to kiss the bump in the infants head.
2. Around this broad shouldered woman's waist hang three different children as a dozen others run around her yurt. She lets out a light-hearted sigh, offers a hurried greeting, and extends an invitation to stay for dinner.
3. The patchwork jacket of this young, stumbling man is stuffed full of vegetables and beans. Through a full mouth, he launches into bawdy song describing the utopia he has found here.
4. A 'poof' and a cloud of smoke forces this scrawny, middle-aged man out of his yurt. As he extends a hand in greeting, a small clump of powder flies out of his sleeve. As it lands it explodes in a loud 'POP'. He apologizes and returns coughing into his yurt, mumbling about farm equipment.
5. Outside the yurt, a well-dressed young man is handing out scrolls. He loudly and boisterously exclaims that this place is the answer to all of this worlds problems. The first player to catch his eye will have significant trouble getting him to leave, as he is convinced he can convert the player.
6. A loud sigh comes from behind the players, where they see a woman sitting heavily on a stump. She says nothing but shrugs her shoulders in response to any questions and sighs. If pressed, she will explain that even this town still relies on the oppression of the world to survive.


d6 Things that might happen
1. Two families argue loudly, while drunk, about the nature of property and possessions. Each side wants to use the ox to help with their tasks over the next week and each family thinks it has a better claim for its use.
2. A broad-shouldered woman shoos a patchwork jacketed young man out of her house. He stomps his feet on the way out, while the woman shakes her head before returning to playing with her children.
3. A mid-season festival is getting setup and a family is on their way to the central long-house. It will be a great party, great food, and free love. Too bad when the players finally wake up, the people have cleaned up and left, but the players beds are left behind as a gift. Each player should make a save or remember that they gave substantial gifts to the people last night
4. A council is meeting to give suggestions of ways people can help as eager young boys and girls are looking on from the trees. This is most likely just a bunch of normal tasks and chores but may have some more difficult tasks the players are needed for.
5. A monocled prospector is trying to claim land near the central longhouse. He is storming off, threatening to return with the deed and armed enforcement. A robed, formal young man looks extremely worried about this turn of events. When he sees the players, he will ask for their help in showing the prospector the truth of anarcho-primitivism.
6. An empty cart rolls by, being pulled by a roughed up man. He asks, slowly and with a stutter, if he heard right that this would be a good town for him and his family. A single tear rolls down his cheek before he goes quiet. Investigation will reveal that he is from a far away town.

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