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August 24, 2019
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Mesmer DevBlog: The powers that be

by Peter Wingaard Meldahl on 02/07/19 10:13:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Of course, like any other ruler, the King of Mesmer isn’t just going to let some revolution happen on his watch! And there are those under his rule that are also quite comfortable with things just the way they are. Let’s take a quick look at the social organization in Mesmer.

For the people, the king and his ancestors have ruled this land for as long as anyone can remember. Well, at least since those bad old barbarian days, and no one wants to go back to that!

But… There are also some more recent developments to the pyramid of power.

The faculty of Mindbending has been kindly requested to aid the crown in its prisoner detail— It’s so wasteful to execute criminals after all, and in this time of dissent the prisons just end up getting full fast. The perks of leading this project —privileges, power over others and a clear road to endless experimentation on the human mind— means that there are a lot of people vying for the position as the Head of Mental Corrections.

This is how you’ll look like if you have the disgrace to become a Mule… forever and ever.

The program is simple: brainwashing that leaves the prisoners in a fugue state where they won’t try to escape, and will mindlessly do as they are told. This treatment only really leaves them able to do simple manual labor, but these “Mules” are employed through the city in a number of different tasks.

The most famous and visible example of these are streetsweep parades that endlessly patrol the city. Keeping the streets clear of litter as they trudge forward, they are accompanied by a police officer safeguarding them from public interference.

To further dissuade members of the public from attempting to rescue a loved one, all “Mules” wear the same baggy clothes, with a basket woven effigy of a mule head obscuring their identity and reminding everyone of these people’s status in society.

Should any of our collaborators be caught, this is where they will be headed!

The second new tool of the state is the newly founded secret police. Everyone is a potential revolutionary, though some are more suspicious than others. In the game, you have a suspicion score, and certain actions will add to this. If you are not careful, the wrong action at the wrong time will make you wanted by the police. Once the secret police has identified a revolutionary, then it becomes the regular police’s job to apprehend you. Moving around during the day will quickly get a lot harder. In Mesmer, the searching eye of the secret police opens as an UI element onscreen whenever you are being pursued by them.

The eye in the sky is more than a metaphor.

Of course, a branch like the secret police will attract a subset of not very nice people, and overall they are known to have far less scruples compared to any regular copper. If you make any fuss, you are more likely than not to have a run-in with them sooner or later.

Besides the king and his direct servants, the nobles also hold a fair deal of power. Residing outside the city center, near the glow of the royal palace, they are like little kings onto themselves. Their loyalty to the king is a fundament of the current state, and in return, the King gives them broad powers within his domain. If you think you can drag a lord to the courts for personal wrongdoing, then you are sorely mistaken. In the eyes of the rulers of the land, there are two kinds of people: Nobility and commoners. Whether a commoner is the wealthiest man in the realm, or a street urchin sleeping on cobblestones, is a minor distinction.

Things tend to look different from the top.

That will be all for this entry!

If you would like to leave a comment, make a suggestion or just ask a question, then the Rain Twitter and Facebook pages are both great arenas for that. And of course, don’t forget to check our forum for more pics and discussion around Mesmer!


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