Wyrmhero

quest
Chromaticity: A Warbreaker Quest

117 posts in this topic

I think, that we should act in a decisive way. Show that we have an opinion. Otherwise the way we acted during the council will seem strange. And additionally it might move us into a position, where we might push the others to interact with us.

I like the safety regulations for the worker, it also fits our background. Additionally you can never have enough libraries. The one with the colours is terrible. Even to find everybody wearing a wrong colour will most likely cost more than the tax will be.

Therefore I vote like that:

Tax on clothes dyed a Returned’s colours - Coinspender

[X] For

[X] Abstain

[X] Against

 

Impose new safety regulations on dockworkers – Firesoul

[X] For

[X] Abstain

[X] Against

 

Build a new library near the slums – Brightweave

[X] For

[X] Abstain

[X] Against

 

I don't have a good idea for something we might have the others vote for right now, but I'll add that, should I think of something. I'd like to have something around the whole be kind topic, so maybe some stricter laws around some crimes. Or to punish some actions, that weren't punished so far.

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This continues to be an interesting read :)

Also we appear to have gotten reasonably lucky so far.

 

Tax on clothes dyed a Returned’s colours - Coinspender

On one hand, with Coinspender’s clarification about shades and priesthood exemption, it’s not an unreasonable proposal. It would realistically only impact those wealthy individuals who wish to wear the specific shades of heraldry for a Returned. Similar issues of branding definitely do exist in the real world.

But while it isn’t a bad idea, I’m not convinced it’s a good idea either. There’s an opportunity cost, since unrestricted access to our heraldry earns us both goodwill and free publicity. As a brand new Returned, I think publicity is probably more valuable to us than a small amount of tax revenue.

I would actually consider supporting a proposal that allows each Returned to tax their own colors if they want to, but I think Songbearer should still choose to allow free access to his colors.

[X] Abstain.

 

Impose new safety regulations on dockworkers – Firesoul

Wheeeeee polarization. It comes part and parcel with any legislative body.

I am a little curious how the structure of labor works in Hallandren. I would expect the existence of lifeless to make kind of a big difference. The existence of the type of hired labor described herein also suggests a rather different system of labor compared to pre-industrial earth.

Judging by Quickfell’s assertion about most dockworkers knowing injured people, and Firesoul's statistics, we have pretty clear confirmation that dockworkers conditions are pretty unsafe. We should do something about that.

This seems like a close vote. But, I am also not eager to get embroiled in taking sides. Moreover, I don’t think we have to. Lets try and play the part of peacemaker, and come up with a policy that the Returned can actually agree upon (see my proposal at the bottom).

[X] Abstain.

 

Build a new library near the slums – Brightweave

I like Brightweave. Also, this proposal agrees with Songbearer’s bookish inclinations, is relatively inoffensive to anyone but Coinspender, and is in the very long term all but guaranteed to be a good investment. I am assuming from the context of the discussion that Hallandren is financially able to build this library.

[X] Support.

 

[X] Peacemaker Proposal

At the risk of throwing Songbearer headlong into a situation he doesn’t adequately understand, I have an idea that should help dockworkers while being something the Court might actually be able to agree upon. I will disclaim my proposal with the statement that I have very little actual knowledge in the field of labor regulations:

A potential way of increasing dockworkers safety is that you could just require employers to continue paying their injured workers the same amount for a duration after they have been injured, more or less equal to the expected recovery time of the injury, as determined by a third party within a window of discretion based on the general type of injury. I’m pretty sure this can sometimes be a thing IRL anyhow.

This system is not a substitute for a basic body of regulations to illegalize the most egregious cases of negligence. However, I would be surprised if such a barebones system were not already in place, since Firesoul’s discussion was more about the correct degree of regulation than about whether regulation should exist or not.

The benefits of this proposal are as follows:

  • It gives workers who do get injured the opportunity to recover and get back on their feet. Even if you reduced the frequency of injuries with conventional regulations, this would have still been a concern.
  • It gives employers a fairly hefty incentive to create safer working conditions, without prescribing exactly how they should do it. Because, while they may sometimes lack the morals to create safe conditions in the first place, they likely have much more expertise about the best way to do that, once they are properly motivated to do so.
  • Compared to a comprehensive set of regulations, it’s simple. There aren’t really any obscure details or footnotes that the average person wouldn’t know about. There also aren’t a lot of failure points. The only decent one I can think of is bribing the third party, and discouraging that is much more doable when it is one of the only failure points to cover. Randomly auditing officials (or better yet just doing some light statistical analysis on their past rulings to determine who needs auditing) and requiring multiple opinions in borderline/contested cases should do the trick in most cases.
  • Last and most importantly, it addresses the foremost concern of the Returned who were against it. Namely, that people ought to be free to choose to take a risk if they want to (all three voices of opposition brought up this point), which is somewhat valid. By the terms of this proposal, people are still completely free to take those risks. All this is doing is creating fair accountability for the consequences.

It’s hardly perfect, but the point is it’s a compromise that the council might be less divided over, while still addressing the problem.

Edited by DrakeMarshmallow
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10 hours ago, DrakeMarshmallow said:

A potential way of increasing dockworkers safety is that you could just require employers to continue paying their injured workers the same amount for a duration after they have been injured, more or less equal to the expected recovery time of the injury, as determined by a third party within a window of discretion based on the general type of injury. I’m pretty sure this can sometimes be a thing IRL anyhow.

I like that idea a lot. It fits the way Songbearer focused on kindness and it also supports the dockworkers.

Maybe it is neccessary to add a maximum time frame for the pay, also to protect the employers from paying for employees that never will be able to work again. In the end this quickly leads to a whole health insurrance system, maybe with the employer paying the first weeks of recovery and then health insurance taking over. Not as a first step, but there is definitly room to up this throughout our journey.

Edited by Sorana
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*Tries to think of a way to look as cool as everyone else making super awesome posts* *Fails*

I agree with DrakeMarshmallow

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12 hours ago, Sorana said:

I like that idea a lot. It fits the way Songbearer focused on kindness and it also supports the dockworkers.

Maybe it is neccessary to add a maximum time frame for the pay, also to protect the employers from paying for employees that never will be able to work again. In the end this quickly leads to a whole health insurrance system, maybe with the employer paying the first weeks of recovery and then health insurance taking over. Not as a first step, but there is definitly room to up this throughout our journey.

Guys, are you seriously going to make me look up how Britain's National Insurance actually works? :P 

But hey, why not? Just need to be convincing :P

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4 minutes ago, Wyrmhero said:

Guys, are you seriously going to make me look up how Britain's National Insurance actually works? :P 

But hey, why not? Just need to be convincing :P

I was more thinking along the lines of what Bismark introduced. He'd combined several ones to a larger package. I need to look them up in detail though, I only have a vague memory of what exactly he made and how the rules were. Still iirc they were simplistic and had a notable effect.

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On 9/15/2019 at 11:33 PM, Sorana said:

Maybe it is neccessary to add a maximum time frame for the pay, also to protect the employers from paying for employees that never will be able to work again.

Right, fair point. There are limits for each type of injury, but the fact that the duration can’t be lifetime should be explicit. Lets say that there is a maximum payment duration (it being a duration, and not an amount, means that this system automatically scales with inflation and cost of living and what have you). Lets also say this maximum is the same amount that families receive if a worker is killed in a workplace accident.

On 9/16/2019 at 6:47 AM, Lord Furret said:

*Tries to think of a way to look as cool as everyone else making super awesome posts* *Fails*

I agree with DrakeMarshmallow

You are selling yourself short. In any case, I don’t really feel like I know what I’m talking about, but I’m glad it sounds interesting anyhow :P

On 9/16/2019 at 11:42 AM, Wyrmhero said:

Guys, are you seriously going to make me look up how Britain's National Insurance actually works? :P 

But hey, why not? Just need to be convincing :P

Not intentionally :P Are you from the UK?

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1 hour ago, DrakeMarshmallow said:

Right, fair point. There are limits for each type of injury, but the fact that the duration can’t be lifetime should be explicit. Lets say that there is a maximum payment duration (it being a duration, and not an amount, means that this system automatically scales with inflation and cost of living and what have you). Lets also say this maximum is the same amount that families receive if a worker is killed in a workplace accident.

So I spend some time reading about this topic. If we want to leave the state out of it, if will be difficult to finance all of it, not without haveing the workers pay a part of it as well.

Basically we could aim for some split system, like everybody throws some money into a pot and we use that to pay for those injured. Half of what they would have to pay comes from the employees, the other half from the employers. We also have to work out details what counts as injury. Loosing a limb, or having a cold. And I doubt we can have some general guidelines, we need to have a medic/ healer (whatever) look at each injury/ illness to guess how long they are ill.

In germany it's six weeks in general, then you're off the payroll of your employer and health insurance kicks in and continue your pay at 60%. (just because it's a number I know, as we don't have a health insurance it's most likely irrelevant)

 

So maybe we should start easy and say that at first we focus on those unable to work anymore (e.g. lost limb/ death). In that case they receive another x months full pay or the double number of months half pay. What we have to keep in mind is, that without some kind of insurance system (what ever it's called) nobody will be ably to pay for several workers that aren't productive anymore for a longer time. So if we want to avoid that monster, we most likely end up with a shorter duration. But then, if we can cover the time, until they at least can move again/ their wounds are healed, then we maybe helped a bit. In the end we have to face the fact, the without a larger pot of money that is regularly refilled, we have no chance to sustain a larger number of persons unable to work for a useful length of time.

Additionally: when Bismarck introduced the first social laws/ insurances back at the end of the 19th century he faced the following problems: he created a split system, with both sides contributing, but he only offered 40% of the the pay to sustain the workers. As wages were already low, they couldn't live by the 40%. In the end the system was seen as an attempt to buy their votes, and not as something benefical. Whatever we do, we might need to take that into account as well.

 

TL,DR: it's way more difficult than I thought. Sorry for the long post.

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17 hours ago, DrakeMarshmallow said:

Not intentionally :P Are you from the UK?

Yup. Though to be fair, NI (National Insurance, not Northern Ireland :P) doesn't work quite like that. It's a tax on income (around 9%, I believe?), which was originally ring-fenced for generally taking care of people when they fell out of work (it's an insurance against being unemployed, basically), but now it's been expanded quite dramatically, including welfare and some NHS stuff, so part of the health insurance stuff Sorana mentioned above is covered by it or just generally by other taxation that funds the NHS. So it's not actually what you guys are considering here, I suppose, which is more just sick pay in some form or other. For comparison's sake to Sorana's post again, we get it for 28 weeks paid by the employer, though it's a relatively tiny amount compared to current living costs. It's £94.25, a flat amount not related to your pay at work. You'd be hard-pressed to survive on it while unwell, that's for sure, especially if you didn't have another earner in the household, or had kids. But we're not here to discuss politics outside the game, but inside it ^_^.

I think suffice to say that I'm not looking to implement this in any mechanical way, but your arguments (and any visiting you do) may help to push people in one direction or the other. I'm not going to be trying to figure out if the country can afford it long-term, particularly as this story probably won't go on for years in-game :P.

15 hours ago, Sorana said:

TL,DR: it's way more difficult than I thought. Sorry for the long post.

Not only do you have nothing to apologise for, it's great to see! If this has captured your imagination and thoughts enough for this, that's a fantastic thing, and I hope to see more of it. Remember, it's not just me telling this story, it's you guys too. I might decide most of the details within the writeups, but you guys set a direction and a method of approaching everything, and ultimately Songbearer is your character as much as, if not more than, mine, and your discussions will shape his thoughts on things. :) 

Edited by Wyrmhero
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21 minutes ago, Sorana said:

So I spend some time reading about this topic. If we want to leave the state out of it, if will be difficult to finance all of it, not without haveing the workers pay a part of it as well.

Basically we could aim for some split system, like everybody throws some money into a pot and we use that to pay for those injured. Half of what they would have to pay comes from the employees, the other half from the employers. We also have to work out details what counts as injury. Loosing a limb, or having a cold. And I doubt we can have some general guidelines, we need to have a medic/ healer (whatever) look at each injury/ illness to guess how long they are ill.

In germany it's six weeks in general, then you're off the payroll of your employer and health insurance kicks in and continue your pay at 60%. (just because it's a number I know, as we don't have a health insurance it's most likely irrelevant)

 

So maybe we should start easy and say that at first we focus on those unable to work anymore (e.g. lost limb/ death). In that case they receive another x months full pay or the double number of months half pay. What we have to keep in mind is, that without some kind of insurance system (what ever it's called) nobody will be ably to pay for several workers that aren't productive anymore for a longer time. So if we want to avoid that monster, we most likely end up with a shorter duration. But then, if we can cover the time, until they at least can move again/ their wounds are healed, then we maybe helped a bit. In the end we have to face the fact, the without a larger pot of money that is regularly refilled, we have no chance to sustain a larger number of persons unable to work for a useful length of time.

Additionally: when Bismarck introduced the first social laws/ insurances back at the end of the 19th century he faced the following problems: he created a split system, with both sides contributing, but he only offered 40% of the the pay to sustain the workers. As wages were already low, they couldn't live by the 40%. In the end the system was seen as an attempt to buy their votes, and not as something benefical. Whatever we do, we might need to take that into account as well.

 

TL,DR: it's way more difficult than I thought. Sorry for the long post.

Hm. That does sound rather complicated.

Well, I've already started in on this, no sense in turning back now :P Again, I preface this with the fact that I don't actually know what I'm talking about. My knowledge of the history of this kind of thing is kind of fuzzy at best, and I'm doing this because I enjoy following rabbit-holes and extrapolating the necessary consequences :P

First of all, yes, to clarify, the definition I am going for of an "injury" under this system is something that 1) occurred as a result of your job and 2) prevents you from working. Also note that employers also are not being required to pay for medical expenses, just for a period of recovery time. This is a system of narrow scope, designed to serve as a (relatively) simpler and more agreeable stand-in for a truly comprehensive set of labor regulations. The narrowness of scope is part of what should make it hypothetically doable.

Second of all... On the ability to finance this system:

Well, you raise a pretty good point. I'm not sure I would frame it as a lack of money though, per se. In the grand scheme of things, it is highly doable to provide for the small percentage of the population that is temporarily disabled by workplace injury, and the state pitching in would be more a cost sharing mechanism than anything else (however, a rudimentary cost-sharing mechanism is arguably necessary, for reasons I will describe later).

The thing is, it requires people to adapt. This is the logical consequence of both wanting employers to modify their behavior and not wanting to impinge on their freedom. It requires actually learning, which isn't a bad thing. I have faith that people could adapt to a system like this, just like Brightweave pointed out that they could very well adapt to new regulations, and just like humans have done historically for stricter cultural expectations than this. In short, I think it could work, but at a cost, because adaptation takes time: you could reasonably expect a calibration period during which the economy takes a hit for a couple years before equalizing again (which, pragmatically speaking, would seriously risk making this proposal non-viable in a democratic society, as in Bismarck's case, but you have a much better chance of pulling it off in a theocratic Returned-ocracy :D).

Like you have said, the major problem arises in that in the case of a large-scale disaster, it isn't unthinkable for a company to fold under the cost. And, from what you are saying, it sounds like trying to go around that monster leads to conclusions that are not satisfying. So, if we want to tackle the monster head-on, and we still want to keep thing simple, there are two ways I can think of to do that:

  1. Let the cards fall as they may. Employers will still be held responsible to pay their workers as much as they are able, and if a building collapses in an earthquake or something, injuring a bunch of workers all at once, then the employer will probably go bankrupt, unless the company is large enough and has a good enough track record overall that they can tank the losses. The workers caught in this accident will maybe not receive their full compensation of injury pay, which is a shame, but you kind of expect natural disasters to suck. No government policy is going to successfully prevent natural disasters from sucking. Or in the least, such a policy falls well outside the scope of a labor payment system, and if it is to exist it should be a standalone thing with broader applications, and the subject of a completely different proposal.
  2. Create a specialized fund to guarantee injury pay to workers in the event that a company folds for any reason. This is a mandatory (hence why it is administered by the state) insurance system that every employer pays a small head tax towards, which only is withdrawn from infrequently in the event disaster, when an employer doesn't have the money for injury pay. If the fund is managed competently, the damages incurred by any disaster is spread across many more people and over much greater timespans, so this tax could theoretically be rather modest.
    • Unfortunately, I doubt this could work effectively unless we also exempted businesses under a certain size from this entire system. Because, it takes far less than a large-scale disaster to fold a small business, even just a single worker getting injured at a bad time could do it, and that would drain the fund a lot faster.
    • On the bright side, there are actually pretty legitimate reasons to make small businesses exempt, in addition to our ulterior motives:
      1. Workers have a much greater degree of choice to decline a job offer from a small company they believe has unsafe work conditions, so it isn't quite as necessary to regulate them.
      2. Giving businesses under a certain size makes it easier on startups, which is generally a positive thing.

/shrug that is what I can come up with right now

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I'm not quoting you're whole post @DrakeMarshmallow , as I post directly below it and feel like it would only expand my own unneccessarily. But feel quoted ^_^ And since you added it to your post: I am by no means an expert in this kind of topic, I' mostly intrigued by the prospect and the challenge to come up with something simple that might work at the same time.

Just to make sure, I understand this correctly: you aim for an "injury-pay" for those temporarily unable to work for their company when their injury was caused while working.

I have to admit I see one large problem here, especially when we take into account that I doubt that there lots security mechanisms in place to protect the workers and prevent injuries. Basically this will lead to situations where two men/women are injured, one looses their arm, one only ends up with a nasty scar. We support the one with the wound, until they can work again, but not the one crippled for live? To explain and argue that to the workers - I am not sure if that's possible.

 

Based on your two ways, what do you think of the following: (all time frames I mention are open for discussion, I simply put here, what felt logical for me)
1+2 are the small version // everything else is the larger monster

  1. Every worker has a right to receive "injury-pay" if he is injured while working. There is no right to receive money, if the injury is a consequence of your work. (Like a bad back after years of hard labour).
  2. The "Injury-pay" will be paid until the worker has recovered, for a maximum period of six weeks. A medic/ healer has to view the patient at least once to give an estimate how long the recovery should take. If an employee is unable to return to work after the six weeks there are two options:
    1. if there is a chance that the employee will return after an additional recovery time, the company has to keep their position or an aquivalent position open for another six weeks to give them a chance to work again.
    2. if there is no chance that the employee will be able to work again in their job, the company should try to see if they have another position, that might suit their them. If there isn't they are asked to organize the worker a chance to start at another company/ learn a new trade fitting their new condition.
       
  3. Every company has to pay a small tax per worker into a specialized fund. This money will be used to pay for the recovery of workers, who are so gravely injured that they need more than six weeks to recover, for a maximum period of another six weeks. During this additional time, they will receive 60% of their usual pay. The fund will be organized by the Returned (Create special position here?)
  4. Exemption 1: The worker is so severly injured that they won't be able to work in their previous job anymore
    1. In this case they will receive the full six weeks "injury-pay" and able to get another six weeks of additional pay at 60% of their usual wages, should their recovery take a total twelve weeks.
  5. Exemption 2: The company is a small company that can't afford to pay for one worker for six weeks without getting something in return
    1. In this case the family of the worker as the right to supply someone else to take over the job. The company has the right to reduce the pay of their original employee to 60%, should the replacement doesn't meet the same qualifications their employee has.
    2. If the family isn't able to supply the company with a replacement, then the worker has the right to receive 12 weeks of "injury-pay" paid by the funds, all at 60% of his usual pay.
    3. A small company is every company with less than ten employees.
       

Things we might need to think about (or not ;) ):

  • If we create a fund, then theoretically we need to think of a way what to do with all the money. Take inflation into account and probably invest it. As Wyrmhero stated, that most likely the rp won't span years, I suggest we leave the details of that part away for now.
  • I'm not entirely sure about the part with the medic. Today it's easily possible to go to a doctor, but I'm not sure if everybody can afford it, to even see one, only to get told how long they are supposed to take to recover. Also we have to decide who has to pay for the doctor (imo: the employee, as we don't work on a health insurance system). Still, if we really want them to see a doctor, to make sure they aren't getting the money for nothing, this might lead to bad feelings towards the system.

 

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On 9/19/2019 at 6:43 AM, Sorana said:

Just to make sure, I understand this correctly: you aim for an "injury-pay" for those temporarily unable to work for their company when their injury was caused while working.

Yep, pretty much. And for people who are unable to work in this position for the foreseeable future, they just receive the maximum temporary injury payment amount.

Quote

I have to admit I see one large problem here, especially when we take into account that I doubt that there lots security mechanisms in place to protect the workers and prevent injuries. Basically this will lead to situations where two men/women are injured, one looses their arm, one only ends up with a nasty scar. We support the one with the wound, until they can work again, but not the one crippled for live? To explain and argue that to the workers - I am not sure if that's possible.

This is a good point.

Neither worker is fully being repaid for their injury (I'm not sure that mandating this would be practical, or even that employers should be held 100% responsible for a workplace injury). But, especially in a job that people are typically only going to take because they have to, there is a pretty big difference between being able to support yourself and others and not being able to do that. Pragmatically speaking, one of those workers is still able to get their feet under them, and the other is pretty badly screwed over. Giving the second one some semblance of a chance to get their feet back under them takes priority, to me, plus I think it is more clear-cut that employers should be held responsible for that.

This distinction might be hard to explain to people, but, then again, maybe it won't be. Remember that we are proposing implementing a security system where there was likely nothing or very little before. Even for those people who will think it isn't enough, who maybe aren't wrong, their first thought will still be that it's better than nothing and a step in the right direction.

  • This is, of course, assuming that it actually is better than nothing. If the system completely doesn't follow through on what it is supposed to do and/or can be easily exploited, then that will instead be people's first thought. This is part of why I am shooting for something simple and robust, even though in theory something more complicated might address the problem with slightly more coverage.
On 9/19/2019 at 6:43 AM, Sorana said:

Based on your two ways, what do you think of the following: (all time frames I mention are open for discussion, I simply put here, what felt logical for me)
1+2 are the small version // everything else is the larger monster

  1. Every worker has a right to receive "injury-pay" if he is injured while working. There is no right to receive money, if the injury is a consequence of your work. (Like a bad back after years of hard labour).
  2. The "Injury-pay" will be paid until the worker has recovered, for a maximum period of six weeks. A medic/ healer has to view the patient at least once to give an estimate how long the recovery should take. If an employee is unable to return to work after the six weeks there are two options:
    1. if there is a chance that the employee will return after an additional recovery time, the company has to keep their position or an aquivalent position open for another six weeks to give them a chance to work again.
    2. if there is no chance that the employee will be able to work again in their job, the company should try to see if they have another position, that might suit their them. If there isn't they are asked to organize the worker a chance to start at another company/ learn a new trade fitting their new condition.
       
  3. Every company has to pay a small tax per worker into a specialized fund. This money will be used to pay for the recovery of workers, who are so gravely injured that they need more than six weeks to recover, for a maximum period of another six weeks. During this additional time, they will receive 60% of their usual pay. The fund will be organized by the Returned (Create special position here?)
  4. Exemption 1: The worker is so severly injured that they won't be able to work in their previous job anymore
    1. In this case they will receive the full six weeks "injury-pay" and able to get another six weeks of additional pay at 60% of their usual wages, should their recovery take a total twelve weeks.
  5. Exemption 2: The company is a small company that can't afford to pay for one worker for six weeks without getting something in return
    1. In this case the family of the worker as the right to supply someone else to take over the job. The company has the right to reduce the pay of their original employee to 60%, should the replacement doesn't meet the same qualifications their employee has.
    2. If the family isn't able to supply the company with a replacement, then the worker has the right to receive 12 weeks of "injury-pay" paid by the funds, all at 60% of his usual pay.
    3. A small company is every company with less than ten employees.

Generally pretty good :)

Two things:

  • It's hard to say if 60% pay would realistically be enough for a laborer, although it might be, and is certainly better than nothing. Who knows exactly how Hallandren economy works, so this is maybe one of those details we can gloss over :D
  • I really like the idea of employers and employees partnering together to find the injured employee a suitable means of supporting themselves. However, I am worried that employers would resent being forced to accept certain employees without a choice. If people are not acting in good faith, some ways this might break down:
    • What constitutes an "equivalent" position is a thorny issue. It's easy enough to claim two things are equivalent when in practice they really aren't.
      • Also, if employers are required to accept injured workers back into the fold, but need somebody to be doing that work in the meantime, we are indirectly encouraging them to hire and fire temporary workers in the six week interim. Seasonal labor by short-term contract can be a pretty raw deal compared to something more stable, and not necessarily something we want to inadvertently encourage beyond the scope of what would naturally occur. It wouldn't be difficult for the workers forced into that niche to resent the state for it.
    • What are the requirements for helping people find a new kind of position, if their old one is no longer possible? This is something that would require fairly involved and dedicated help, and it would be easy enough for an unwilling employer to check the boxes without actually helping the injured employee, fostering bad feelings on both sides of the interaction and leaving the employee without the support they were meant to receive.
    • In general, when you are requiring an employer to accept an employee, is the employer still generally free to fire that employee? I don't think there is an easy answer to this:
      • If they are allowed to fire them from the get go, then the employer can abuse that to avoid being obligated to offer injured people a position.
      • If they aren't allowed to fire them for some period of time, then the employee can abuse that to draw pay regardless of anything they do.
      • If the law states that they can't fire them for reasons related to the injury that gets quite messy legally speaking because how can the law judge a person's intent. It can try, and that is sometimes a thing in the real world, maybe even it is justified in some of those cases idk, but it's something to avoid if possible.
Quote

Things we might need to think about (or not ;) ):

  • If we create a fund, then theoretically we need to think of a way what to do with all the money. Take inflation into account and probably invest it. As Wyrmhero stated, that most likely the rp won't span years, I suggest we leave the details of that part away for now.
  • I'm not entirely sure about the part with the medic. Today it's easily possible to go to a doctor, but I'm not sure if everybody can afford it, to even see one, only to get told how long they are supposed to take to recover. Also we have to decide who has to pay for the doctor (imo: the employee, as we don't work on a health insurance system). Still, if we really want them to see a doctor, to make sure they aren't getting the money for nothing, this might lead to bad feelings towards the system.

You are probably right that it should be invested, if Hallandren actually has an investment market worth speaking of. Otherwise I guess a bank would be the way to go? Either finding one willing to hold these funds or (?)creating one.

Hm. I guess it depends on how good the estimation needs to be. Because, for the average person with a broken bone or something, giving a decent estimation for recovery time takes like a few minutes. We could ask the examiners to err slightly in the favor of the worker. As it is, this kind of basic examination could be provided by the state on the cheap (I am making a somewhat perilous assumption that public officials could administer this efficiently, which doesn't always happen in the real world), and this sidesteps the issue that a regular doctor is beholden to the party who is paying them. However, what I am proposing may not be scale-able in the long run. It is also likely to allow some weird cases to not get adequately handled, although that was probably inevitable.

On another note, I'm still really interested in how the existence of lifeless might affect labor in Hallandren. They cost a dead body plus one breath, which isn't really that much for a supernaturally tenacious worker that requires neither sleep nor pay nor moral consideration, does exactly as it is told, and retains some of the manual skills of its past life. Even in a modern and automated economy that would probably revolutionize things, let alone in one that is primarily based on human labor. How common exactly is it for regular humans to be doing manual labor? (this is another something we can decide not to think about ;))

...this is getting pretty far afield, isn't it XD Well, perhaps Songbearer has more of a part to play in the council affairs than we thought.

Edited by DrakeMarshmallow
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I will be posting the next Day tomorrow - Don't worry if your arguments above aren't fully formed, you'll have time to decide what to go for still :P.

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8 hours ago, DrakeMarshmallow said:

It's hard to say if 60% pay would realistically be enough for a laborer, although it might be, and is certainly better than nothing. Who knows exactly how Hallandren economy works, so this is maybe one of those details we can gloss over 

I agree, let's just gloss over this. We don't know how much the workers have left over, we are guessing here.

8 hours ago, DrakeMarshmallow said:

I really like the idea of employers and employees partnering together to find the injured employee a suitable means of supporting themselves. However, I am worried that employers would resent being forced to accept certain employees without a choice. If people are not acting in good faith, some ways this might break down:

I actually based the first part on laws in germany and adapted them to fit the injury part, but I feel like I wasn't too clear what I meant. I'll try to explain. I am by no means a lawyer or anything like that, so don't take the formulations for final.

  1. The employer has to offer a suitable position to an injured worker, if there is one available, should the injury prevent the owrker from going back to his previous position.
    • the keyword here is suitable. It means, that only these positions need to be offered, that the worker can fulfill. Usually you have to give him some time to get used to it/ learn the new requirements, but he has to be qualified for this. E.g. someone who worked with his arms before, but lost one, could be moved to a position where he has to stop on grapes to make wine. He meets the qualification and he can learn in short time what he has to do there.
    • the rights of the company regarding firing their employee stay the same (although I doubt, that there is anything like that)
  2. The employer has to try to support their worker to find a new position, should they have nothing in their own company.
    • Actually I only thought of maybe talking to some friends, getting the worker a few interviews. If they are hired or not, is up to the other company.
8 hours ago, DrakeMarshmallow said:

Hm. I guess it depends on how good the estimation needs to be. Because, for the average person with a broken bone or something, giving a decent estimation for recovery time takes like a few minutes. We could ask the examiners to err slightly in the favor of the worker. As it is, this kind of basic examination could be provided by the state on the cheap (I am making a somewhat perilous assumption that public officials could administer this efficiently, which doesn't always happen in the real world), and this sidesteps the issue that a regular doctor is beholden to the party who is paying them. However, what I am proposing may not be scale-able in the long run. It is also likely to allow some weird cases to not get adequately handled, although that was probably inevitable.

This is a point, where I feel like we don't know enough about Hallandren work condition and economics to really judge and decide this. We can go by the medieval ages, in that case the common, poor people usually died instead of being able to see a medic. But we don't know, so we can come up with something, that suits so, so I am in favor of your idea.

8 hours ago, DrakeMarshmallow said:

On another note, I'm still really interested in how the existence of lifeless might affect labor in Hallandren. They cost a dead body plus one breath, which isn't really that much for a supernaturally tenacious worker that requires neither sleep nor pay nor moral consideration, does exactly as it is told, and retains some of the manual skills of its past life. Even in a modern and automated economy that would probably revolutionize things, let alone in one that is primarily based on human labor. How common exactly is it for regular humans to be doing manual labor? (this is another something we can decide not to think about ;))

Well, if we assume, that they do all the hard work, then we can basically stop now :P (let's just gloss over this as well)

6 hours ago, Wyrmhero said:

I will be posting the next Day tomorrow - Don't worry if your arguments above aren't fully formed, you'll have time to decide what to go for still :P.

that's good. I feel like we might need a bit more time.

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Week 2, Day 1: Breath of Life

 

You awake restless, and alert. Distressed, even, would be an accurate descriptor of your waking state. Your mind whirls with thoughts and half-forgotten memories, your uncomfortable and disturbing dreams already hazy in the light of the new day.

“Your Grace?” Hera asks, after a moment, as you stare at your hands. They shake a little, and you will them to stop. They do, but one almost instinctively curls itself, and for a brief moment you can imagine holding a sword. Blood streaked across the palm of your hand. It’s not yours. “Is something the matter?”

“What?” You ask, roused from your stupor. “Oh. No, no… Just uncomfortable dreams.” It’s not entirely true; there are many things the matter. To begin with, your head hurts, either from the restless sleep, or from a general weakness. You feel lethargic and listless, even though you’ve just slept a long while in your comfortable bed. Perhaps it’s because you’re going to die again soon, your body knowing that it’s running out of Breath.

“I see…” she nods. “It might be useful if we record these, so my priests can analyse them.”

You think about it, but already the memory is slipping. Books in a library. You take a book from a shelf, and the pages crumble as you open the cover. You aren’t sure if you’d want to keep a grasp of it, even if you had the choice.

“It’s gone,” you lie, though it’s not too far from the truth, the dream slipping more from your grasp every second. “I suppose I’d better get up.”

“Indeed, Your Grace,” Hera nods, and she heads towards the door. “I will see you shortly, then.”

You get up after she leaves, and begin your morning routine. A luxurious bath awaits you, followed by an equally decadent breakfast. Then you are dressed in your finest robes, though the competition there is fierce. You can’t help but think they’re laying it on thick. The appointed time arrives, and you take a deep breath. Time for the worst day of your new life.

 


 

The room you are led to is a small room, more of a space than an actual room. There is little in the way of furniture on the room; two cushions, nothing more. The walls are decorated, but not with your colours; these are darker colours, of many varieties. This room isn’t yours, but belongs to the Iridescent Tones. They flare up as you approach, your Divine Breath twisting them to a more true version of themselves, simultaneously more vibrant, but just as dark, and even more foreboding. This is a room not of comfort, but of harsh realities, of sacrifice. Today is a day of sacrifice.

A small girl sits on one of the cushions, an utter contrast to the finery around you in your day-to-day life. She looks uncomfortable, shaking slightly, looking down at the floor. The robes she has been given hang loose on her thin frame, and already seem to have been scuffed up. She makes no sound as you make your appearance, and doesn’t even look up to see who it is. A priest stands beside her, and it’s clear she has been prepared for this quite heavily.

You kneel on the other cushion, crouching down a little so you are closer to her height, though that will never be entirely possible. You are a Returned, a giant amongst men, both figuratively and literally, and she is a small girl, not even a decade old. Does she truly understand what she’s doing? It can’t be her choice, only her parents’ trying to sell their child’s Breath. But even if it was her choice, how could she arrive at it herself, when fed a life of the devotion you see from your priests?

But ultimately, you don’t want to die. She won’t die from this, just give up her Breath. She will be paid handsomely for this, or at least her parents will. Maybe it would be enough to get her out of poverty, to provide a life that she would never normally be able to have. Maybe she’d get a good enough education to earn enough money to buy a replacement Breath. You realise belatedly that it would be a Breath that someone else gave up, in a never-ending cycle. Or maybe she wouldn’t, and there’d always be something missing from her life, something she might not ever recognise.

You feel hesitant and regretful over your decision, but it’s one you know you’ve already made. You still don’t want to die. You reach out, cradling her head in your hands. Your heart beats hard in your chest, and each pulse seems to resonate with the drapery. The girl stares at you, and while her eyes are somewhat sore, she seems determined. Afraid, you can tell, but certain.

“M-my life to yours,” she recites, stumbling slightly as she starts, but gaining surety as she continues, “my Breath become yours.”

Almost a vapour, but not one with any physical presence, puffs into the air from her mouth. Almost immediately, it starts creeping up your arm, travelling up, and you breath it in.

At once, your headache clears, your fatigue vanishes. You feel entirely reinvigorated, as good as you did the first day of your revival. And yet, the opposite happens to the girl. She dulls, slightly, her eyes less bright, and her hair losing luster.

You know that she might never realise what being a Drab means. She is young enough that she probably won’t remember how bright the world used to be to her. She won’t miss what she won’t remember. Indeed, it might not even be obvious to anyone without Aura Recognition that she ever gave away her Breath. The money she gets for this service, one she may even have believed was the right thing to do, will help her achieve a better life, you tell yourself. That’s a good trade, you say to yourself.

But the girl isn’t the only one to whom the world becomes darker today.

                                                         


 

You task yourself to the petitions afterwards. It seems like the least you can do, and even if you don’t feel in the mood to hear any, the guilt gnaws away at you. Maybe someone needs your help badly enough that you will give them your Breath, and the pain will go away. Perhaps someone will inspire you, and you’ll both get what you want today.

Would that be cowardly? It’s certainly contradictory; you want to help people, but you took that Breath because you didn’t want to die. If you balance the two out though, perhaps that is a reasoning you can follow. A Breath to prevent anyone’s death seems like a small price.

But would you follow through, and give your own life to save someone else’s? It, too, would be a cheap price, if one considers the girl’s Breath in exchange, rather than your own life. But something tells you otherwise, that it doesn’t feel like a small price. Your Breath feels like it’s worth more, because it’s your life as well. Even though it wasn’t yours originally, it was someone else’s, and only by their grace are you alive. They made a sacrifice for you, so why was it so hard to decide that you would do the same for someone else? To pass it on to someone else, as though you were just a conduit?

You’re a hypocrite, but this is your life on the line. Perhaps it doesn’t make it any better, but you feel it’s more understandable. You can hardly tell yourself anything else.

Hera calls the first forward, though the queue isn’t particularly large. Maybe it’s because you’re a new God, and they don’t think you’ll kill yourself for them.

“Your grace,” the man begins. He is dressed in fine clothes, and has something of a gut. He reminds you of an older Coinspender, in a way, he certainly has the same bearing, though he seems more deferential than the other god. “I will not waste your time, but will get to the point. There is a woman that I wish to marry, but she is gravely ill. Her family have said that I may have her hand if I can cure her disease.”

He stretches his arms out in a helpless gesture. “I am no god, who can heal such a thing so easily. I have asked Firesoul for aid, but I fear she is disinclined to help, due to our status. So, I have come to ask you if you will save my wife-to-be.”

You wait, aware of all eyes on you. “I… I cannot decide immediately,” you say, after a moment. The man’s face falls slightly. “I will hear everyone. Then I will decide.”

The man grits his teeth, and bows. “As you desire, Your Grace,” he says, stepping aside. The others waiting seem more hopeful, now. It strikes you as rather morbid.

More step forward after that, and you hear them all in turn, letting them plead their cases, and then an unexpected man steps forward. The elderly man wears robes of soft teal and royal blue, and you realise after a moment that this must be one of Kindsmile’s priests. He is accompanied by a woman of around his age, who helps him forward. He looks at you, but you realise quickly that his eyes are unfocused, and vacant.

“Your Grace,” he says, kneeling to the floor in supplication. You feel guilty about such an old man feeling he should kneel, but it’s not necessary. As a priest, he would know this, and you feel you must respect his choice. “My name is Benan,” he says, “and until a month ago, I had the honour of being the High Priest of Kindsmile. My sight has been failing me for some time, but until that point, it was manageable. I have no great wealth that I can afford to buy Breath, and fix my eyesight in that way, for I gave all that I had away, following the generous example of my god.”

He sighs. “I… admit that my faith has been shaken by this condition. I cannot see the beauty of the colours of the world, not can I carry out my duties as a High Priest since my eyesight rapidly deteriorated. My priests are lost without me, I understand, and I have heard… rumours… of dissent within Kindsmile’s priesthood,” he says delicately. “I ask if You would honour me with your Breath, and allow me to return to my life in the priesthood.” He bows his head to the floor again, and then slowly stands. “Regardless of your decision, thank you, Your Grace.”

More petitions, the requests almost blurring into one. You are thankful of Hera’s presence, recording the details that they give, though none stand out to you again until your final petition.

The woman settles down before you. “Your Grace,” she says, “My husband is a prideful man, and would not come to You even if he was able. In truth, he wouldn't want me to be here, but I can no longer sit idly while he suffers. He has been struck down by a wasting disease, and even movement is painful for him. He worked hard in the docks, which was all that kept us eating, as I cannot support our family myself. Certainly I cannot nurse him to health without the food his money would bring, and even if he overcomes this disease anyway, he will not be able to return to work for many weeks without his strength. I ask if you will help him, and our family, by restoring him to health.”

Perhaps this one, at least, does not necessarily require your Breath, just a better system in place to support workers. It would be a shame if, long-term, the docks lost an apparently hard worker due to an uncaring attitude towards the workers. Wheels turn in your head as you think of a potential motion you could raise in the Council this week. But to argue your point, you’d need to be there, wouldn’t you? Though perhaps Firesoul would argue your case.

“I will consider it,” you promise, though you know it might be a different idea you’re considering.

Hera takes you aside to another room, while the petitioners await with baited breath to see who you’ll die for.

“Have you made your decision, Your Grace?” she asks.

 

Who will you give your Breath to?

[X] No-one

[X] The merchant’s wife-to-be

[X] Benan, Kindsmile’s ex-High Priest

[X] The Dockworker

 

Free Time

Assuming you're not dead, how do you wish to spend the following day? Choose two.

[X] Visit Quickfell the Digilent [Charm]

[X] Visit Fatespinner the Fortunate [Charm]

[X] Visit Brightweave the Creative [Charm]

[X] Visit Firesoul the Merciful [Charm]

[X] Visit Coinspender the Generous [Charm]

[X] Visit Kindsmile the Cordial [Charm]

[X] Visit Lawmaker the Honest [Charm]

[X] Ride through the city

[X] You may suggest others not on this list

 


 

Week two begins! I'm glad that people are enjoying this, it's really pleasing to see. For those that are thinking that nothing much is happening yet, don't worry. I have a solid plan in mind, and many seeds of the wider plot have already been sown.

 

Motions for the Next Council Meeting

The meeting will take place on Week 2, Day 5. You will not vote on these until that day, but you can talk to other Returned about them.

  • Install an ‘insurance’ system to take care of dock workers while they are unable to work - Songbearer
  • Lower taxation on Breath sales – Kindsmile
  • Forbid carriages in the centre of the city on one day a week, to allow a grander market - Quickfell

 

Previous Motions

 

In the event of a tie among the players, I will default to Abstain. Note that Influence rolls do not apply to motions that you Abstain on.

From Week 1, Day 5, Influence Roll: 2d6 – 2 + 1 = 7, Partial Success

 

New tax on clothes dyed a Returned’s Colours – Coinspender

Motion Failed - No new tax was created. Due to a tie between For and Against, Lawmaker votes for the status quo.

For: Coinspender, Fatespinner, Kindsmile

Against: Firesoul, Quickfell, Brightweave, Lawmaker

Abstain: Songbearer

 

Impose new safety regulations on dockworkers – Firesoul

Motion Passed - Safety regulations to protect dockworkers will be phased in to prevent more injuries.

For: Firesoul, Quickfell, Brightweave

Against: Fatespinner, Coinspender

Abstain: Songbearer, Lawmaker, Kindsmile

 

Build a new library near the slums - Brightweave

Motion Passed - A new library will be constructed at the edge of the slums to teach poorer children and adults how to read.

For: Songbearer, Brightweave, Firesoul, Fatespinner

Against: Coinspender

Abstain: Kindsmile, Lawmaker, Quickfell

Edited by Wyrmhero
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Are we even going to be allowed to choose how to save a life? :P

Well, now that we've got a new slate of actions to choose from - I'm going to repeat my vote for the Tarachin game. Maybe less specific now: get a bunch of gods, preferably those we haven't already talked to, and play a game of Tarachin with them. We aren't out to win, just to socialise, feel them out, and so on. Thus:

[x] Be a Tarachin superstar Play a game of Tarachin with a few of the gods

Also, we've spent eons cooped up in the Court of the Gods. Time to get some fresh air.

[x] Ride through the city

No duty, no rules, no petitions. Just fresh air and the city. Everyone's gotta see the world sometime, after all.

Edited by Kasimir
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I have to think about the Breath part for a bit, but there is something that I think Songbearer should do.

 

If we really propose our motion at the next meeting, I think he should prepare for it. Read some textes, learn about motions and the correct way to propose one. And of course he has to think about the whole topic and prepare it. In my opinion we can only profit if we prepare this IC as well, and don't only discuss it here in the thread.

[X] Prepare to propose our motion regarding a 'insurance-system' for injured dockworkers.

Additionally I think we should mix with the other Returned, get to know them, so that we might be able to sway them to support us.

[X] Play a game of Tarachin with a few of the gods

 

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21 minutes ago, Kasimir said:

Are we even going to be allowed to choose how to save a life? :P

Oh, you certainly can. It would mean the end of the story, mind ;)

But I do need you to vote there. Even if it's for the unspoken fourth option :P

Edited by Wyrmhero
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5 minutes ago, Sorana said:

If we really propose our motion at the next meeting, I think he should prepare for it. Read some textes, learn about motions and the correct way to propose one. And of course he has to think about the whole topic and prepare it. In my opinion we can only profit if we prepare this IC as well, and don't only discuss it here in the thread.

[X] Prepare to propose our motion regarding a 'insurance-system' for injured dockworkers.

Good point. 

[X] Prepare to propose our motion regarding a 'insurance-system' for injured dockworkers.

4 minutes ago, Wyrmhero said:

Oh, you certainly can. It would mean the end of the story, mind ;)

But I do need you to vote. Even if it's for a fourth option :P

Excellent.

I vote: [x] Give Breath to Wyrmhero.

There we go :P 

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Just now, Kasimir said:

Excellent.

I vote: [x] Give Breath to Wyrmhero.

There we go :P 

:huh:

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Thanks for the latest installation!

I don't think that Songbearer is willing to die yet, but there are other ways we can help. We saw in Warbreaker that some Returned try to help their petitioners even without sacrificing their lives. For example, we could help the priest find proper eyecare (have glasses been invented in this world? I don't remember) or give the sick woman some medicine. Actually, based on these petitions, there seems to be a great deal of need for public healthcare. Perhaps some future proposal of ours can center on that.

In addition, I think visiting some other Returned, and perhaps discussing some potential political compromises, could be useful. Therefore, I vote:

[X] Give Breath to no one, but assist them in other ways

[X] Visit Lawmaker the Honest

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Interesting. The plot is thickening.

Sorry if this seems like I am trying to break things, but what if you established a fund of breaths, enough to reach the fifth heightening? I am assuming that even temporarily attaining the fifth heightening would cure most poisons and acute diseases, meaning that you could loan it to certain types of petitioners as a way to cure them. Of course, this does require that every recipient of breath is willing to return the breath after being healed, but you can create steep disincentives for attempting to keep them.

Anyhow, I vote:

[X] Prepare to propose our motion regarding a 'insurance-system' for injured dockworkers

[X] Play a game of Tarachin with a few of the gods

Feels bad to not do anything for the petitioners, though.

Edited by DrakeMarshmallow
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There's a quasi WoB (i.e. Sanderson has stated he likes this but is not 100% certain about confirming this) that the effects of the missed years hit you all at once when you give up the Fifth Heightening. If the same applies for diseases, this would not be workable. 

Edit: Aha! Knew I'd read it somewhere. Thanks/ht @Weltall :

Quote

Hoiditthroughthegrapevine

If a person held enough breath to attain the 5th heightening, lived for a thousand years, and then sold all but their initial breath, would their spiritual age force them to rapidly age as we saw with Rashek, or would they resume natural aging from the point at which they ceased?

Brandon Sanderson (written)

I think they would rapidly age.

But I'm not ready to say 100%.

 

Edited by Kasimir
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On 9/22/2019 at 9:02 PM, DrakeMarshmallow said:

Interesting. The plot is thickening.

Sorry if this seems like I am trying to break things, but what if you established a fund of breaths, enough to reach the fifth heightening? I am assuming that even temporarily attaining the fifth heightening would cure most poisons and acute diseases, meaning that you could loan it to certain types of petitioners as a way to cure them. Of course, this does require that every recipient of breath is willing to return the breath after being healed, but you can create steep disincentives for attempting to keep them.

Anyhow, I vote:

[X] Prepare to propose our motion regarding a 'insurance-system' for injured dockworkers

[X] Play a game of Tarachin with a few of the gods

Feels bad to not do anything for the petitioners, though.

 

16 hours ago, Kasimir said:

There's a quasi WoB (i.e. Sanderson has stated he likes this but is not 100% certain about confirming this) that the effects of the missed years hit you all at once when you give up the Fifth Heightening. If the same applies for diseases, this would not be workable. 

Edit: Aha! Knew I'd read it somewhere. Thanks/ht @Weltall :

Interesting ideas, and it's a shame I wasn't able to reply earlier in the day. My thoughts on this were as Kas has posted for age, that it would most likely be as we saw in Mistborn, with rapid aging.

We see in Stormlight Archive that limbs can be regrown, but I think there's an implication that it only works because Lopen never really 'believes' his lost arm isn't a part of him anymore. His image of himself that he holds in his mind is before that occurs. This is why Kaladin keeps the slave brand, even when the others have theirs healed - It's how he sees himself, and I expect that his personal apotheosis will be when it finally heals, and he forgives himself for his failure to protect his brother, and accepts that he is no longer a slave and no longer deserves his punishment. I think this matches with how Returned work, in that they shape themselves to their cognitive ideal of themselves. The fact that healing in general is cognitive is confirmed here: https://wob.coppermind.net/events/31/#e9623

Diseases and conditions, I think, depend on the nature of them. If someone lives with it for many years, does it become a part of themselves? Could a person blind from birth have their eyesight restored if they never knew anything different? It's a strange and unusual form of healing that the Cosmere has, to say the least. I expect you could definitely make use of Breaths for someone who is dying if the illness isn't killing them but the weakness that causes them to die. Something like a last-resort if someone is too weak to eat, a few days of perfect health could be a miraculous boon to someone who needs to shore their strength up, even if the illness returned after they gave the Breaths away.

I do feel that there has to be some 'consumption' here though, for healing. Stormlight seems like a good comparison for Breath, and that gets used up by healing. Likewise, we see Breath be used up by Nightblood, and the Divine Breath loses its extra power when given away. Does the underlying Breath go away too? I don't know if we have a WoB on that, but it seems like it would be fully expended, as they're not quite the same thing. We also know that the Divine Breath is not the same as attaining the Fifth Heightening using many small Breaths. My - entirely unfounded - thought would be that there needs to be some 'loss' here to convert Investiture into an effect or physical matter, but that might just be that I'm a physicist :P.

In general though, I think the reason this doesn't exist comes down to the fact that Breath is highly valuable capital in Hallendran. Fifth Heightening is approx. 2000 Breaths, so two thousand people need to sell or give them away. Most people who buy Breath stop at 50, which is enough to give an extra 10 years of life, so it seems that anything above this is very, very pricey. Not insurmountable, mind, but very valuable. The question also becomes 'what do you do if someone doesn't give them back?'. Fifth Heightening makes someone strong, and lets them Awaken things easily. I imagine it would be quite difficult to give that sudden power back, especially since it has to be voluntary; you can't steal them from someone (not without Hemalurgy, anyway, which has its own issues), and you can't hurt them too badly trying to stop them escaping, as killing them would lose you all those Breaths. So overall, it seems like a huge hassle to sort out in such a way that it won't be abused.

Also, I have to say, I would expect that the Priesthood wouldn't be happy with it, as it would upset the Iridescent Tones quite a bit. People approach gods for their Breath, asking for a miracle, and if suddenly miracles were available easily, you don't need the gods anymore. It seems to me as though there's a political reason as much as there is a security one.

But as I say, just my thoughts on the matter. Maybe if Brandon's doing a signing near someone soon, they can ask for a WoB on what would happen if such a thing was set up :P.

Edited by Wyrmhero
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That's an interesting WoB, thank you for pulling that up.

The difference between aging and disease is that, aging is a chronic thing that will happen if something is not actively preventing it, but diseases are often acute conditions (not always: long-term conditions and genetic disabilities behave differently, as you have already pointed out). An acute, temporary condition like a cut or being temporarily intoxicated is not nearly as much a spiritual fixture as things like your literal age or a slave brand you have lived with for years. I would expect a more temporary ailment to exist mostly on a physical level, with some impact on the cognitive level and very little spiritual footprint.

Physically speaking, the most obvious way the fifth heightening would make somebody immune to disease and toxins is by bolstering the body's natural ability to combat infections and break down toxic substances. But if that is the case, than even after temporarily having the fifth heightening, the offending microbes/chemicals are already gone. So you would stay healed of certain types of conditions, including a hazardous virus or something (you would probably revert to being physically drained from having been sick, and any symptoms like rashes or scarring or whatever wouldn't disappear, but the underlying disease would still be cured). Incidentally, I would expect the energy required to cure the disease to come not from the breath itself (which would necessarily deplete them over time) but from the body of the host.

Another possible interpretation is that the heightening lets you somehow ignore the symptoms of poison/disease without actually curing the problem: either by physically allowing your biology to ignore those symptoms (effectively making you a disease carrier that can still transmit diseases to other people), or through some process vaguely reminiscent of transubstantiation (or, perhaps, forgery?) by which you fundamentally and spiritually are still sick but the physical reality is somehow suppressed by the heightening. In this case, you would revert to being sick again, exactly like with aging, as you have suggested.

Even if it does work, yes, it isn't necessarily economically or socially viable: Most infections can be cured for far less. It does weaken the political structure (although, less so if it is one of the Returned who is organizing this system). It does require some pretty ruthless enforcement to guarantee that people return the breaths they are given. It is, however, an interesting thought experiment for what biochromatics is theoretically capable of doing, especially since whether this is possible or not suggests a lot of things about the nitty gritty of how heightenings work. Even if finding an Edgedancer or healing fabrial would be far less hassle to cure a disease.

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