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Author Topic: [Perfect -working title] Dystopic gaming, attributes as a hinderance.  (Read 9663 times)
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2006, 08:16:11 AM »

Okay.
In this dystopia, capitalism is still the system of the day...
but money is basically of no help.

Houses are government awarded. Vehicles are government awarded.
anything of importance is of government handout.
Food is "scarce" and thus government awarded.

The only thing people can spend money on is clothing.
And clothing and accessories are going to be a central theme of oppression (this is Victorian era, remember).

Think about what already existed in Victorian england -
people spent exorbitant amounts on clothing, and they followed strict and rigorous dressing guidelines.

Now... those guidelines have been restricted to almost-uniform state.
And the more money people spend on clothing, the more they are spending their own lifes dressing in new uniforms.
I'm trying to verbalize the concept, and it's not quite there...

But I want the government to basically have turned clothing into a "metaphor" for oppression and constriction, and have people basically oppressing themselves by spending their lives chasing a wardrobe.

Status is everything, just like how it really was in 1984.
But money does not equate status.
The government has basically designed a rat race where the only way to gain power is to conform, to lose identity, and to silence yourself (like Freedom of Thought has done).

In the end, you can only ascend to Citizen First Class if you take on several freedoms and several certifications....
and thus you have to become a deaf mute who isn't allowed to use their hands in public, or a man who has to attend mass 3 times a day and cannot let people into his home ever....

Basically, the government wants you to be ornamental.
Look pretty, don't think, don't speak, don't touch anything.
Do your job, and don't have any form of communication or escape.


That's my vision of the Victorian dystopic nightmare.

Which is why I was thinking scarves.
Because at the end I want to make sharp suits, umbrellas, billowing dresses and scarves objects of fear.

And... does this jive with your interests, guys?
Do you dig this approach?
scarves now? or change to armbands?


I'm still fairly mold-able at this stage, so give me some seriously critical feedback of setting and colour.

And just for reference,
my sources of inspiration are:
-Eyes Wide Shut
-Paranoia
-victorian literature (like The Importance of Being Earnest)
-Shock: Social Science Fiction
-1984
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dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2006, 09:17:20 AM »

Hi!
  I think that is a good question that was missed, What happens to those who do not conform? Torture, drugs, prison, conscription, deportation?
  Other than that mystery, the setting sounds pretty tight.
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2006, 09:36:58 AM »

there are two levels of punishment.

The first is subjugation to peer pressure. the pecking order. social outcasting. a drop in status.
And that's how the people and government suppress the more "individual" people.

The second is the real punishment. What the inspectors do when they arrest you. This is the torture.

All mental torture, emotional abuse, interrogation, confusion.
The government can also take your home, car, and anything they gave you.

Leaving you with nothing but your clothes.

I think Room 101, but withuot the physical elements, for the most part.
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Chad
Member

Posts: 45


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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2006, 07:37:11 AM »

Hi Joe,

Although I can imagine this Victorian dystopia of yours, and can see creatively what you are aiming for; I have a have a concern that Victorian dress is associated with opulence and wealth. And if everyone is dressed in this way, it seems to me to clash a bit with the oppression from the state. I have thinking about it a bit and came up with a suggestion.

How about this: instead of a signifier like a colored scarf or whatever; the signifier is the the extravagant Victorian dress itself. So the more status and 'freedom' the citizen has the more elaborate and luxurious is Victorian costume becomes. The clothes themselves become the symbol of earned privilege, yet perversely this privilege is brutally enforced by the state.

Ironically, the more elaborate the costume the more oppressed and psychologically controlled the citizen truly is. It would also mean that those who are dressed the best would also be the most cunning at turning friends in and other espionage. This ties nicely into themes about the social intrigue and betrayal of the Victorian era. A gilded cage, as it were.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2006, 10:04:51 AM »

Quote
The clothes themselves become the symbol of earned privilege, yet perversely this privilege is brutally enforced by the state.

Beautiful.
Simply beautiful.

Are we not working magic here?


But, the idea with the scarves.... Freedoms are a mechanical part of the character sheet.
And they are a mechanical part of this society as well...

I need some way for the inspectors to be able to identify which citizens are enforcing which freedoms.
So...
the concept WAS that if an inspector sees someone with an orange scarf (free thought) speaking, then he ARRESTS him on the spot.



So...
I was thinking the two concepts worked together.
The dress represents status, for sure.
but I need a very distinct marker, for the inspectors.

Also... the idea of it being criminal to have a bare neck, and scarves having significance is huge.
If my character has a freedom which prevents him from using his hands in public, and a red scarf....

Maybe he has a mission that requires the use of his hands in public.
So... I rob a guy in the alleyway for his orange scarf, so that I can swap scarves and not have the inspectors arrest me.

But I'm still worried that if the inspectors for some reason do talk to me, they might check my papers.. which would prove I am wearing the wrong scarf, and what I'm doing is illegal.



Make sense?
I love everything you wrote about clothing, Chad.
But I don't see that marker the inspectors will need in that post.
So I think scarves fill that marker void.

Opinion?
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Chad
Member

Posts: 45


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« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2006, 12:26:56 PM »

Hi Joe,

I did a quick search on Victorian costume, regarding distinguishing articles of clothing and I think I may have found a possible alternative to scarves which work well with the Victorian theme.

A quick quote: "Whereas in previous centuries a courtier or gentleman would be noted for his lavish and colourful style of dress in contrast to the modestly attired poorer classes, from around the 1850s good cloth in sober colours and immaculate tailoring and grooming became increasingly important. It was left to lively members of the working and lower-middle classes or the nouveau riche to indulge in a flashy tie or figured waistcoat. Both Charles Dickens and Benjamin Disraeli received derogatory comments during the 1840s on their somewhat flamboyant style of dress with brightly coloured and decorated waistcoats" ( http://www.victorianweb.org/art/costume/nunn3.html )

How about the waistcoats? Colour coded waistcoats for men and bodices for ladies? It would work thematically and still meet the requirements. Inspectors could all have black waistcoats with a certain ornate insignia embroidered perhaps.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2006, 04:02:01 PM »

Okay, Chad.

The scarves are gone.
*does a magician's trick, and poof*

I like the coloured waistcoats idea. its in the mix, for sure.

This obviously isn't about characteristics as hinderances right now is it?
I'll open a new thread for clothing/culture/inspector fleshing out.

Then sometime soon I'll open a new one for images/freedoms too.
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dindenver
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Don't Panic!


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« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2006, 07:57:53 AM »

Hi!
  OK, to get back on topic, If this Government values Freedoms (if only in a twisted way), why are they aucioning them off to the highest bidder? If nthey want to homogenmize the population, why not homogenize the rights/freedoms?
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2006, 11:22:39 AM »

the idea is that if the government homogenizes the population themselves, they will be hated and potentially brought down.

What they are doing is setting up a system whereby the people homogenize and destroy themselves.



With Freedoms, people do it to themselves. They accept a contract, by wearing the new colour stripe on their waistcoat.

To rise in social status, a person must take on more freedoms.
The technical legal wording is "It is culturally and legally expected that a high citizen will display no fewer than three colours upon their waistcoat."
And, of course, the only way to legaly display a colour is to be constricted to the corresponding freedom.


See, in order to:
1.) Have access to more colours
2.) Have access to more status and power


Also, just a final note on colours:
Colours, in the hands of the government, are symbolic of falsity, backhandedness, and a cheap facade.
In the hands of the rebels, are symbolic of freedom, humanity and struggle.
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TroyLovesRPG
Member

Posts: 150


« Reply #24 on: April 15, 2006, 06:11:07 PM »

I've been reading this thread and trying to understand the big picture. There are plenty of details regarding clothing, colors, culture, privileges, freedoms, etc. I see all of this as an analysis of a rigid pecking order. It can be found in the castes of India, feudalism of Europe and levels of government in the U.S. Its a part of society that people respect and as long as everyone plays the part, then it functions. As soon as dissent is expressed then the system must deal with that party or change if the new ideal emerges.

My friend arrived. I'll post more later.

Troy
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TroyLovesRPG
Member

Posts: 150


« Reply #25 on: April 15, 2006, 11:36:44 PM »

So, the government controls the population. What if the levels of the government are rigid in their relationships within the hierarchy, but the methods vary by level? Look at school systems, the postal service, military, health clinics, local, state and federal governments. They all have chains of command, responsibilities, classes and missions. How they perceive all of that and achieve their goals are different. Apply that to the extreme in the game.

Imagine using the color coding as the level in terms of whom is "above" and "below" in any section of society. Let's use the colors of the spectrum. Infra-red is the lowest and the color is invisible except for those with the correct device to view it. Therefore, the majority of the population perceive themselves as color-less and not truly part of the order--but they are...  The reds are there to maintain the infra-reds (infrastructure?) The reds instruct the infra-reds how to serve society through the execution of commands from the red. The reds receive their instructions from the oranges on what goals they need to achieve yet tell them nothing about how they should command the infra-reds. And the reds no nothing about the commands and goals of the yellows. Each human (hue-man?) socializes only with those of their own color. They obey one group while commanding another. The interesting part is that they know nothing (or very little) about the other colors. This effectively makes parts of society hidden. No one knows how many colors there are above or below. Infra-reds, being colorless, give no indication to the reds that they are at the bottom. The infra-reds are unaware of the oranges because they are taught that the reds are the leaders.

So, you are born into a particular color and that's where you will stay. Curiosity will lead you to the society below or above, depending on what attracts you. The stats are a boon and bane depending upon the perception of the person. Perceptions are rigorously molded by the leaders. The infra-reds tend cattle yet don't eat steak. The reds process the meat and the cuts are sent to the oranges for inspection. The yellows receive the meat and distribute it.

My train of thought was derailed.

Troy
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2006, 01:19:29 AM »

Quote
Perceptions are rigorously molded by the leaders. The infra-reds tend cattle yet don't eat steak. The reds process the meat and the cuts are sent to the oranges for inspection. The yellows receive the meat and distribute it.

Brilliant, Troy.

Everything you are saying is bang on.
Everything you are saying is solid.

I think that the Victorian "caste" system will be rigorously enforced, and the way you describe such a system gives some great inspiration.

Quote
So, you are born into a particular color and that's where you will stay.

Except this part.
This is a game that people will play.
I want the hierarchy to be something that people can climb through, albeit with great difficulty and personal sacrifice.

Because... I want that Orange to turn into a Yellow.
And then I want him to take on the job of beating down his old friends.

I want the players to feel disgusted with rising to power, and i want that ability to rise to be readily available.


Quote
Imagine using the color coding as the level in terms of whom is "above" and "below" in any section of society.

I like this Troy, except there are two things that need to be easily denoted in a person's clothing -
1.) their freedoms (ie, their crippling conditions)
2.) their status

I was planning to represent freedoms with colours,
and represent status with how elaborate thier dress and garb were.

I think that if I used colours to represent status, I'd be at a loss for how to represent freedoms.
Make sense?


Do you dig that?
dressing in a certain fashion - status
wearing a certain colour - freedoms (crippling conditions)
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TroyLovesRPG
Member

Posts: 150


« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2006, 10:45:17 AM »

It took me a while to understand the use of the word "freedom". I gather that the meaning is "freed from certain thought, task or possession" instead of "able to think, do and have without restriction". The idea of status in terms of traditional exclusiveness now makes sense. To focus merely on the status and put great emphasis on desiring it becomes clear. A person must conform to the ideal of their status to maintain their status. Deviating from it pushes you in one direction or another.

The use of colors and garb is great. Their reverse meaning makes more sense to me. Articles of clothing, traditionally, were worn for functionality. Aprons allow you to work without harming or soiling your body or clothing. Hats protect your head. Scarves warm your neck while you work in the cold. Goggles shield your eyes from metal shards. When I see a person wearing a hardhat, I know he or she is in some type of construction occupation (purely subjective). Rawhide gloves give the impression of labor, while kid leather shows cultured society. When I wear a suit, I am free from menial tasks. I'm strictly a hands on the keyboard man. If I wore overalls then I would be expected to route cables and take out the trash.

Color reminds me of insignia; therefore, status. When I see a white hardhat, I assume the person wearing it is a supervisor or manager of that crew. Just as purple is a royal color, so the colors show status. In the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) color was a great indicator of status. It didn't matter how elaborate your garb was, only that you wore color appropriate to your status. Purple and ermin where reserved for the nobles.

In the school system, everyone had pins with the logo and an embedded crystal. The pin shown you were a representative of the school system (freedom) and the color indicated how many years you worked in the school system. The superintendent fussed about his pin and wanted one that reflected he had 30 years experience in education, although he only worked for the school system for 2 years. That opened up a whole can of worms, because the color changed its meaning. Eventually, the board voted to use only the number of years in the school system to determine the crystal color, and gave the superintendent a special plaque engraved with "30 years educating children". Within the school system, the pin had no status but the color was paramount. To the public, the pin shown we were school system employees and the color (guess what?) had no meaning.

I'm off to help my friend.

Troy
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2006, 11:28:25 AM »

You're talking good stuff here Troy...

But I kind of have another thread open that I'm trying to focus "pure colour" in.
I was using this thread to solidify some of the basic fundamentals of the game "theory"...

Can we carry this colour/costume conversation over to that thread, just to keep things a bit tidier?

Thanks.
the other thread being the "waistcoat" thread.
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dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2006, 02:17:00 PM »

Hi!
  To get us back on topic, I would suggest that a picture should be worth more that one refresh. If you want to balance it mechanically, may limit it to one per scene or something...
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
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