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Author Topic: [Nevercast] - Indepth Setting Discussion  (Read 1851 times)
Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« on: February 02, 2010, 06:07:28 AM »

The Iron Element
The iron element represents the decay of that which was once shiny and beautiful. This setting element is predominant in the Vanaq Ir region, a graveyard of pre-Nevercast technology. The monolith representing this element is the Iron City, a labyrinthine complex of research facilities, both above and below ground, which hides the most advanced technologies ever conceived. Its inhabitants are extremely competitive in their endeavor to obtain these relics, and many have banded together to control portions of the city.
(The Iron City will be the perfect setting for players seeking adventure, exotic items and artifacts, post-modern dungeon crawling, or a kick-the-door-down style of gaming.)

The Earth Element
This is not a future where modern conveniences have made men soft and weak of will. The underlying theme is a return to nature, where the collapse of the previous social structures has allowed the opportunity for a more holistic and integrated approach to human progress, which gives rise to the Water Element.

The Water Element
From the failure caused by the rigidity of pre-Nevercast socio-political structures, the structures of post-Nevercast that will thrive will be fluid and decentralized. In order to get a feel for territory unknown to me, I've been looking up the philosophy of open-source government, government in general (because I'm personally apolitical and find government boring except for when I'm destroying and urinating on it in my fantasy world), the apparent need to do away with conventional military methods, and reading "The Economist" for clues to where things may be in the future.

The Heaven Element
Any good story essentially boils down to the human experience. And, after all, I wouldn't want to alienate the storytellers and character actors - the definition of role-player - from the game. It is in my opinion that the lethality and lack of "epicness" apparent in a simulationist system will cultivate a more interactive environment - an environment void of power-gamer and munchkin meta-elements - where every action has realistic and potentially deep consequences. Thus, it will be that much sweeter should your character actually reach magnitudes of epic proportion.
Getting down to the more tangible subjects, who you are and where you are from will have a large impact upon how NPCs perceive and interact with you. Playing in any of the Des Xiac nations, for example, will subject the players to extreme racial tension.
Eastern philosophies have great influence over the construction of the setting, as I'm quite fond of Ch'an Buddhism and Taoism, and also because their agnostic natures complement science so well. I've written in the far-future setting blog that the Masters had attained the ability to control nanomachines through practice and meditation - it's an example of the marriage between the two subjects I am referring to.

Discovery and Mystique
My favorite RPGs have one thing in common: secrets. I love discovering secrets, and I'm assuming a lot of other people do too. So I have the Nevercast, an event that makes secrets.
Pre-Nevercast technology is highly desirable, so why isn't it a normal part of the current world? Because the Nevercast cut off the money supply, and many innovative ideas still in the experimental stages were abandoned. Facilities shut down. These facilities hold many secrets, but they're out of reach because powerful groups have their hands in the cookie jar. There are, however, places they don't know about.
Generally, player character professions involve the procurement of technology, providing muscle to those who wish to procure technology, or providing other avenues of procurement to those parties. Therefore, there will be available many different methods to achieve your goals, based on many different PC skillsets:
1. Stealing or hunting information about new sources, either through hacking or tracking down references in old facility databases or scientific periodicals.
2. Diplomacy
3. Breaking and entering
4. Hijacking
5. Intimidation
6. Destroying the competition, such as through general slaughter or exposing illegal activities.
((Most of these methods aren't the most altruistic, but there will be other professions to choose from that aren't so morally ambiguous, such as the poor bastards from Urs Prime who are charged to stabilize those hot spot areas of activity.))
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2010, 06:08:20 AM »

What is Des Xi?
Des Xi is a group of 3 regions that are now individual nations. These nation/regions are Vanaq Ir, Ectanoc, and Dezonoc.

A Brief History of Des Xi
The original kingdom of Des Xi was taken over by the Outworlder tribes long ago. This occupation spread out over lifetimes, but much anti-Outworlder sentiment lingered.
Capitalizing on these tensions, The Urs Prime Empire offered its assistance in driving the Outworlders out. In exchange, Des Xi would be assimilated into the Empire, although its national individuality would be maintained with the installation of a native king; it would be a vassal state. As a result, Outworlder rule was removed, but many Outworlders had built their lives in Des Xi, so many stayed.
The Des Xiacs enjoyed their religious and cultural freedom under Urs Prime, whose rule continues to this day.

Modern-Day Des Xi
Xiam (King) Mefir had twin sons, Archaeon and Raqred. Before he named his successor, Xiam Mefir died of a stroke. At first, the two had agreed to a diarchy: Archaeon would manage Dezonoc, Raqred would manage Ectanoc, and Vanaq Ir would be split down the middle. However, their ideological differences on how to rule the state as a whole, especially in regards to the massive oil exportation in Ectanoc and Outworlder/Cult relations in Vanaq Ir, would tear their relationship apart. Civil war erupted.
The fighting was intense, but neither side showed signs of defeat. Amidst the conflict, Outworlder guerrillas and technology cults, who were once on fair terms with Xiam Archaeon, exploited both sides' inability to maintain order in Vanaq Ir, and the region was quickly taken.
The fighting ended in a stalemate, and Des Xi was effectively split into 3 parts. The nations were crippled and the brothers were left to pick up the pieces. Contractors and businessmen from Urs Prime, however, grew fat off the war, as weapons were traded for oil, which had dropped down dramatically in price in order for Xiam Raqred to meet their demands and arm his military. Dezonoc, on the other hand, with less money and resources, survived using the advantage of terrain and the strategic expertise of Xiam Archaeon's chief advisor and Old Master, Meh Kada. Overall, the war had lasted 4 years, with neither side benefiting from the ordeal.

What is the "Veil"?
The Veil was Meh Kada's secret operations unit that acted beyond the knowledge of Xiam Archaeon. It was led by Meh Kada's protege and emissary, Indra, an expert of stealth and the martial arts. This unit was formed after the war against Archaeon's brother, in response to the deteriorating political and socioeconomic strength in Dezonoc.
Although Meh Kada acted in the interests of Xiam Archaeon and the state, he utilized illegal methods in order to expedite those interests and break the stalemate between the brothers. Meh Kada's plan was to economically outmaneuver Xiam Raqred by dominating the means of energy production: coercing or persuading the energy giants into abandoning oil, which is the primary resource amongst the Des Xiac nations, and adopting the emerging fusion technology (cheap to produce, but the production will undoubtedly be fixed in order to inflate the prices).
Meh Kada estimated his plan to be fully realized in 7 years, roughly the same amount of time it would take to fight a war, but more sound because it would leave Archaeon in the position to release Urs Prime's choke hold on the nations. From there, Meh Kada convinced Archaeon that the Cult of the Star's fusion technology would be obtained through diplomacy. When diplomacy failed, however, he resorted to subterfuge, assassinated leading cult members, and stole many of their arcane schemata.

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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2010, 06:09:16 AM »

Who are the Outworlders?
The Outworlders are from the eastern continent, characterized by their bluish skin tones*.  They love to fight - enjoying the greatest success in military history - and their perceptions of the world are viewed as bizarre.


The Outworlder Religion<Divinity of the Tribes
Each legitimate tribe - one that can directly trace itself back to its founding Guardian patriarch or matriarch, or any existing tribe that has preceded the Guardians - has a divine right to sovereignty, and any entity that violates this divine right, whether another tribe or foreign power, is the enemy of all tribes (thus, the cooperation of many tribes commanded fear-inspiring magnitudes of military might). Squabbles between tribes, however, are denied the right to warfare, and must be settled either through mediation or duel (subterfuge was often utilized instead).
Foreign powers are recognized as sovereign so long as they don't invoke the wrath of the Ancestors of Nature or promote outright imperialism. (The Outworlder tribes made many enemies as a result. Ironically, the Outworlders assimilated their defeated enemies.)


The Old Masters
Outworlder organization and religious practices gave birth to highly institutionalized, effective, and advanced systems of martial arts. Powerful and sagacious exponents of these martial arts were called "Old Masters" and are said to be the exalted beneficiaries of the Ancestors of Nature because of their invulnerability in combat.
The Old Masters guarded their secrets with utmost ferocity, and typically dueled amongst themselves in order to obtain the others' knowledge. Over time, some of this knowledge managed to leak out into Outworlder-influenced cultures and spread from there. In post-modern times, Masters (albeit rare), may come from anywhere.

*The Outworlders are blue as in the way Asians are perceived as yellow, or as Native Americans are perceived as red.  My best attempt to explain this would be a reflection of their culture.  In India, a child was born with multiple arms and the people perceived her as a beautiful, divine creature.  They also have gods who are blue.  To make an analogy, Pio Mon, an Outworlder Ancestor of Nature, is depicted as having blue skin and is one of the most venerated deities.  I could imagine that in this futuristic world with the available technologies, many Outworlders would have biologically altered themselves and their children via gene-altering retroviruses to resemble their gods.

Note: as of right now, I have not come up with an official ethnic name for the Outworlders; they are only referred to as Outworlder colloquially.
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2010, 06:11:52 AM »

Artificial Intelligence.
The first A.I. systems were built by constructing a simulation of the brain composed of virtual neurons and the like. There are likely to be only a scant few systems to be built in this manner, and likely these few to be the only A.I. to exist at all for decades on because 1) the unpredictability of a human-based intelligence architecture is potentially dangerous 2) promoting such a construct as a commodity would raise vociferous ethical concerns (therefore, because of 1 and 2, this construct is commercially unmarketable) and 3) constructing a purely rational A.I. from the ground up would present a challenge of near-insurmountable difficulty in comparison. Also, because it will be very difficult to improve upon the construct's intelligence outside of natural learning (e.g. installing programs), it will be very unremarkable when intellectually juxtaposed to any other human, and probably won't be very effective at optimizing its quantum computing power for skills like breaking complex codes or doing calculation-heavy mathematics.
Furthermore, an article I've read of constructing artificial intelligence in this "brute-force" manner made a poignant insight: the system would have the same desires as everyone else does. Sex comes to mind, and the author points out that not addressing this desire appropriately would be downright cruel, as the construct would have no way of acting out those impulses. Nice! So, here we have the potential for some sexually repressed and very pissed off computers.

Swords
I feel that adding swords to a post-modern setting potentially undermines the level of seriousness and realism I'm trying to imbue upon it. There is an extremely delicate balance here. I know that, in the real world, actual swords that are used to slay people with are used in the context of terrorism, and they're utilized quite effectively in scaring the living shit out of people. With this insight in mind, I hope to be able to emulate that kind of energy and add heavily subjective value upon these weapons. These values will undoubtedly have traditional or religious significance.
Clearly, what I don't want is to make people associate this setting with that of popular movies or video games, as I will have succeeded in creating a barrier of disbelief between the player and the game world. In many of these sci-fi stories, you find heroes using swords because geeks think they're cool, and the heroes are immune to bullets so why bother with gunfights? So, right now, my mind is split whether to have swords be a deadly tool of the Old Master's arsenal, or to do away with them and strip the Masters down to the bare bones martial arts.))

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David Berg
Member

Posts: 612


« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 09:40:23 PM »

How have you chosen the proper names within the gameworld?  They don't remind me of any particular culture(s).

Is "discover unknown tech" the basic motivator of play?  You mention doing this for pay, but it can be unsatisfying to make a discovery only to part with the fruits of it.  If I got ahold of some unknown tech, I'd want to tease out its secrets, and in the process derive some personal benefit.

Is "overcome obstacles to get to the unknown tech" the basic activity of play?  Or "figure out how to use the tech you've previously found"?  Both?  Neither?

As for Swords, I like your arguments against them, and dislike your arguments for them.

I like the concrete bits of setting you've outlined ("there is a labyrinthine complex of research facilities which hides the most advanced technologies").  More of these!  The bits on philosophy and influences just make me ask, "Okay, how will that show up in play?"
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dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2010, 01:49:49 PM »

RK,
  Two things:
1) Shior Ah reminds me too much of Sharia (Law for Muslims)
2) I dunno if your sword thing is on target. There are some geek cultures around swords (Katanas for instance). But there are several martial cultures that use swords in modern times (Chinese martial arts for instance). Also, several military units have a sword as part of their uniform. For instance, when I think of swords, I think of modern marine dress uniform, not Terrorists or Samurai.
  The one thing to factor in with a post-modern setting is, a sword might be the highest tech weapon that a combatant has access to...

  Seriously though. As much as it might push your setting into D&D/Mad Max territory, you should stat out archaic weapons for people who only have access to just that, right?

  Anyways, good luck with your game man...
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2010, 06:49:06 AM »

Quote
Shior Ah reminds me too much of Sharia (Law for Muslims)
- Funny you should say that.  I derived inspiration for the Outworlder religion from several sources, including Islam, Native American/Ancient Mexican religions, and Taoism.  However, your observation is merely a coincidence, as I still have a lot to learn about Islam.


Quote
I dunno if your sword thing is on target. There are some geek cultures around swords (Katanas for instance). But there are several martial cultures that use swords in modern times (Chinese martial arts for instance). Also, several military units have a sword as part of their uniform. For instance, when I think of swords, I think of modern marine dress uniform, not Terrorists or Samurai.Quote
The one thing to factor in with a post-modern setting is, a sword might be the highest tech weapon that a combatant has access to.
- Post-modern, not post-apocalyptic.  Guns are fairly ubiquitous, although they are typically manufactured in less volume and with fewer quality standards than in the past.  The rare weapons are the magnetic accelerator rifles.  Post-Nevercast accelerator rifles require constant maintenance as the heat produced damages the integrity of the rails, but if you can find a pre-Nevercast version, you can shoot that thing all day and carve through walls, reinforced car doors, or class 6 armor like butter.
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2010, 08:31:16 AM »

Quote
How have you chosen the proper names within the gameworld? They don't remind me of any particular culture(s).Quote
Is "discover unknown tech" the basic motivator of play? You mention doing this for pay, but it can be unsatisfying to make a discovery only to part with the fruits of it. If I got ahold of some unknown tech, I'd want to tease out its secrets, and in the process derive some personal benefit.Quote
Is "overcome obstacles to get to the unknown tech" the basic activity of play? Or "figure out how to use the tech you've previously found"? Both? Neither?Quote
As for Swords, I like your arguments against them, and dislike your arguments for them.
- Please elaborate.


Quote
The bits on philosophy and influences just make me ask, "Okay, how will that show up in play?"
- This aspect colors the setting more so than directly influencing play.  Masters of the Martial Arts and Internal Arts will have a more direct link to philosophy, as such understanding is tantamount to their skill development.  The GM can present this process in the form of mini-games, such as when the player is in a drug-induced meditational trance.
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2010, 09:41:10 AM »

Nevercast<Urs Prime Republic
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Mobius
Member

Posts: 46


« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2010, 10:56:45 AM »

Interesting.  How did the Outworlders come about?  Are they just humans who developed (naturally or otherwise) a different skin tone or are they somehow connected to another world?
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Mobius a.k.a Charles
Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2010, 11:45:45 AM »

The Outworlders are humans.  Their name is just a colloquialism; they've always been around, but haven't always had that skin tone.  It takes a very isolated and internally-conditioned society to change on a wholesale level, independently of an interconnected world.  In the beginning, it was just paint used during war and ceremony to garner favor from Pio Mon.

As I'm no biologist and don't know any, I have no clue if the retrovirus idea could at all be feasible.  I was thinking the genetic source come from a tropical animal or something...hahaha!  So, I may make some alterations; maybe they were always that way and Pio Mon was envisioned as a reflection of their society.
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Luminous
Member

Posts: 43

Master of mayhem...


« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2010, 10:28:10 PM »

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/27338236/

Genetic alteration of skin pigments is a reality in the present day.  You might change their name to Outlanders though, to remove the perception that they're aliens.
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2010, 08:52:18 AM »

That's quite interesting.  I should really start looking up more stuff on cutting edge biology and the sort (genetic modification as well as medically-related), as the technology in this world still progresses at a steady, albeit slower pace.
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mark2v
Member

Posts: 10


WWW
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2010, 04:37:54 AM »

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Mark 2 V
"Light"
Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 190


« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2010, 06:33:47 AM »

On Lethality<On Player Roles
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