Notes and Stuff

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NoXion
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Possible rules for a potential combat system for an action-RPG forum game set in Nova Mundi. As is my usual philosophy I've tried to keep things simple at first, but with the potential for future complexity if I feel it necessary:

I've decided that your basic unenhanced human gets 100 "health points", to be evocative of the classic first-person shooter. Enhancements and phenotypical variation can change this number.

Basic enhancement: +100 health points.
Typical enhancement: +200
Advanced enhancement: +300
Ultimate enhancement: +400

Your basic unenhanced human also gets 81 "weapon slots" with which they can purchase weapons. I'm thinking that certain phenotypes would be able to carry more weapons and hence have more weapon slots due to their inherent strength or better ability to carry objects. Other penotypes may have fewer slots, but have other advantages. Characters with access to sealed and/or powered armour suits would also get additional slots.

A basic outline of weapon costs is as follows:

Knife: 1
Melee weapon: 10
Holdout weapon: 5
Standard pistol: 10 (can be dual wielded for a total of 20)
Heavy pistol: 15 (Can be dual wielded for a total of 30; requires greater strength)
Standard revolver: 15 (Can be dual wielded for a total of 30)
Heavy revolver: 20 (Can be dual wielded for a total of 40; requires greater strength)
Standard DEW pistol: 15 (Can be dual wielded for a total of 30)
Heavy DEW pistol: 20 (Can be dual wielded for a total of 40; requires greater strength)
Small SMG: 20 (can be dual wielded for a total of 40)
Standard SMG: 25 (Can be dual wielded for a total of 50; requires greater strength)
Large SMG: 30
Carbine: 35
Standard shotgun: 40
Assault rifle: 40
Heavy longarm: 50
Rocket/grenade launcher: 70

Flak armour is cheap and widespread from the 22nd century onwards. The following numbers show how many additional armour points a character gains from each type:

Vest: 100
Helmet: 20
Arms: 40
Legs: 40
Full kit: 200

Sealed armour suits are standard kit amongst more well equipped military and paramilitary organisations by the 22nd century:

Armour points granted: 300
Weapon slots added: 24

Powered armour suits go one step further by enhancing strength, enabling even more weapons and armour to be carried:

Armour points granted: 500
Weapons slots added: 48

Battlesuits are another matter entirely, I think. I imagine them as having integrated but interchangeable weapons systems mounted on the arms, due to battlesuit weapons being much bigger than standard infantry weapons. This is something that will have to await more inspiration for now.

Vehicles and structures could have their durability measured in "structure points", equivalent to 1000 health/armour points. In weapons, damage is caused by two stats - one that affects only health/armour points, and one that only affects structure points. I may have to introduce another stat for weapons in order to account for cumulative damage.

That's it for now.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Some basic thoughts on the next strategy game I intend to run:

I'm thinking of having the game start in the year 3000 CE - or at least, the year 3000 CE from the point of view of someone from Earth - this is a tricky part I will have to somehow work out due to relativity, suggestions are welcome.

It's going to be interstellar in scope, with say, a couple of dozen or so Terran factions, several smaller interstellar alien civilisations (perhaps at the edges of known space at the time?), and perhaps later in the game, the Fang. Whether the Fang come into the game or not will depend on a number of factors, not least of which is how much in-game time a single turn covers. As for whether the Cybershadow will turn up, I'm thinking of leaving that an open question until the end of the current game. If they do turn up, then I intend to have them as an earlier threat in the overall meta-narrative, with them having been safely neutralised by the time the Terrans encounter the Fang, whenever that is.

The smallest territorial unit I was thinking of having in the game would be a planet or large moon. Energy and Resources would still be used, but multiplied by a factor of a million. The shorthand for 250,000,000 Resources would be 250MR, or 250ME if it was Energy instead.

Actions would be similar, although perhaps the amount and type of actions will be expanded.

Projects and installations would be correspondingly expanded - perhaps to Megastructure size!

Anything else?
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Heretic »

Will the polities be set and we must choose one, or can we create smaller ones of our own as well? And will there be ideological factions as well? I liked being something different.
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NoXion
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Re: Notes and Stuff

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Heretic wrote:Will the polities be set and we must choose one, or can we create smaller ones of our own as well? And will there be ideological factions as well? I liked being something different.
Given that there's even more space to play with in a very literal sense, I don't see why not. That list I made in the introduction thread is certainly not intended to be exhaustive. I still want to add a few more factions myself.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Le Socialiste »

The new game sounds really interesting, perhaps due to the numerous possibilities extra space will provide. The expanded scope is pretty enticing, too. How long do you think the current game should play out? Until everyone's ready to move on, perhaps? Or sometime down the road, regardless of where we are in the game? Either way, I'm excited.

The introduction of "alien" civilizations offers a much broader diversity in terms of philosophy, ideology, social makeup and outlook. That's one aspect I'm curious about, because it will probably affect gameplay in a significant way.
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NoXion
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Le Socialiste wrote:The new game sounds really interesting, perhaps due to the numerous possibilities extra space will provide. The expanded scope is pretty enticing, too. How long do you think the current game should play out? Until everyone's ready to move on, perhaps? Or sometime down the road, regardless of where we are in the game? Either way, I'm excited.
This new game is only in the planning stages, I'd like there to be a nice big war (and perhaps it's aftermath) at some point in the current game before we think of starting another. If nothing else, a big war in the current game will be a learning experience for me as a GM, meaning I can do a better job the next time round!
The introduction of "alien" civilizations offers a much broader diversity in terms of philosophy, ideology, social makeup and outlook. That's one aspect I'm curious about, because it will probably affect gameplay in a significant way.
Yeah, I really want to try to be inventive with the aliens when it comes to it. Imagination has no budgetary constraints.
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Red Commissar
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Red Commissar »

Could you explain what you mean about your trouble with 'relativity'?
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Red Commissar wrote:Could you explain what you mean about your trouble with 'relativity'?
The problem is twofold. First I have to consider the effects of relativity with respect to journeys that do not exceed the speed of light - if two different sets of colonists set off to the same star system at different speeds, their calendars won't match, so which one takes precedence?

Secondly, if FTL comes into the picture, it will be possible for starship to return to a star system before it left. This is because I have decided to keep Relativity and FTL travel and throw out causality, at least for relative speeds exceeding C, rather than throwing out FTL travel as any physicist worth their salt would do. :P
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

I couldn't think of a better place to put this:

THE NEOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL - A PLATFORM FOR ALL

On the 22nd March 2071 the following Platform of the NeoSocialist International was affirmed via the signatures of all the attending delegates from across the Solar system, and is to be considered binding for all subsequent signatories:


CLASS ANALYSIS

Despite the historically recent rise to prominence of allegedly "post-capitalist" economies borne out of Technocratic and/or Transhumanist ideologies, Capitalism still divides people into proletariat and bourgeoisie. Political Marxism, as opposed to the ivory-tower Marxism of academia, seeks to permanently efface this division from global society. The NeoSocialist International will agitate for class struggle wherever and whenever possible.


ANTI-CAPITALISM

At the time of writing capitalism is on the retreat, but ultimate victory for the oppressed classes is still far from certain. The NeoSocialist International will undertake every action within its power to bring the final demise of capitalism that much closer.


RADICALISM

The NeoSocialist International upholds a revolutionary approach to sociopolitical change. The fecund corrupture of "representative democracy" is a matter of historical record. Cultivating the material conditions required to foster widespread revolutionary sentiment remains a primary political goal.


INTERNATIONALISM

With the increasing colonisation of the Solar system, the importance of solidarity across political borders remains absolutely essential to the core of NeoSocialism and the NeoSocialist International. On other planets, settlements with a capitalist mode of production provide fertile grounds for the flowering of interplanetary NeoSocialism.


SOLIDARITY

The NeoSocialist International stands with oppressed peoples everywhere, no matter their phenotype. An injury to one is an injury to all.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Magister Militum »

I for one fully support the idea of a new game. Maybe Tharsis manages to settle some distant star in the distant future? :P
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Magister Militum wrote:I for one fully support the idea of a new game. Maybe Tharsis manages to settle some distant star in the distant future? :P
Well, the idea is that all the ideological blocs as of 2100 will have descendants, offshoots and/or successors by 3000 CE. Although the Preservationists will have "lost" in the sense that Transhumanism is a continuing influence on Terran society as a whole, there are still their philosophical successors such as the anti-AI anarchists of the Shadow Network, the human Supremacist factions and the various types of Rogue societies.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

[This is an unfinished piece, written as part of what will hopefully become an article on the history of the 21st century. My original intention was to set the scene by writing a few short paragraphs about the facts of what happened in various parts of the world, but when the subject of Africa came up I got sidetracked into an exposition of the history of the Malagasy Nanotopia. I thought the results were worth sharing for the purposes of gathering feedback.]

"Viewpoints on the 21st Century"

Background

The 21st century is considered by many to be a time of transitions, one which many popular histories point to as sowing the seeds that would grow to become the world familiar to those living in the 22nd century and afterwards. But apart from this general sentiment that the 21st century represented some kind of turning point in history, little else is agreed upon. The collapse of the USA into civil war preceded momentous developments elsewhere in the world. With the USA busy tearing itself apart, the People's Republic of China was free to use means both fair and foul to influence their neighbours and bring them closer in economic and foreign policy terms, shifting them further into the PRC's sphere of influence. As these links strengthed the African and South American polities found that they were losing their ability to assert themselves in the markets, in the case of South America weakening the economic base required to sustain the social-democratic policies that were until then holding at bay the same kind of revolutionary sentiment that in Europe was picking up in response to increasingly callous and purblind governance by an increasingly alienated elite. Over the course of the 2020s the trickle of social spending that had become a flow was rolled back (echoing the earlier downsizing of social programs previously undertaken by European governments earlier in the century), and by the 2040s, the familiar tactics of divide-and-rule and strong-arm maneuvers were introduced to a new generation of South American political agitators.

Meanwhile in 2020s Africa, many polities were suffering heavily from the effects of a global economic machine thrown heavily out of wack by the effective removal of one its biggest players. While rich in resources and having an abundance of potentially arable land, a relative lack of development meant that African polities would have to fight hard and endure insult atop injury in order to achieve the heights they went on to attain in the 22nd century. With North America in flames, Europe spiralling inwards into a dystopia, South America experiencing increasing internal unrest, and Asia in the process of being consolidated, African economies suffered from a severe lack of inward capital flow and many bodies were tempted by the global situation to take advantage. A farrago of private companies, political organisations, and evangelists of all kinds made their way to the continent. This situation was to have at least one major consequence for Africa; in 2022, the Californian company Pluto-HEX Nanotechnologies established a research center on the island nation of Madagascar. While the world has lost to history the precise nature of the general research undertaken at the facility, as well as the exact project which precipitated events, what is known is that all was quiet until 2026 when one of their nanotechnology research projects must have gone out of control, resulting in the explosive growth of nanotechnological self-replicators which rapidly adapted themselves to the new environment in which they suddenly found themselves. Archives of satellite images suggest that events initially happened very quickly, with the entire facility showing signs of rogue nano growth in under 24 hours. Over the course of the next 6 months the rogue replicators proceeded to take over the entire island, covering roads and paths, clinging to trees and shrubs, and blocking doors and windows as the growth engulfed entire buildings.

Despite extensive and strenuous efforts by the humanoid inhabitants of Madagascar to clear and destroy the mass of replicators, already too much had grown for the islanders to contain with their limited resources and methods. Within that year the intrusion of nanotechnology had become such that the island's agricultural production and wildlife began to seriously suffer, such that by late 2027 the Madagascar government issued a general plea for assistance. The nanotechnological growth was not only growing back, but was also becoming increasingly resistant to clearing efforts, rapidly dulling tools used to clear it and becoming more and more difficult to burn away with either fire or chemical applications. However, at the same time as the growths of rogue nanotechnology were becoming harder to remove, they began to display increasing physical differentiation; as the growth further established itself, it adopted a variety of macroscopic forms and shapes optimised for functions such as solar energy collection, the gathering of raw materials, protection of sensitive assets and so on. At this point many observers were drawing comparisons between the nanotechnological growth and naturally-evolved ecosystems. In 2028 several cases were found of islanders actually cultivating the nanotechnological growths for various purposes such as growing and preparing food, brewing/distilling alcohol and the production of psychoactive substances, as well as small-scale production of energy and manufactured (grown?) items. The dominance of the nanotech growth over the environment of Madagascar encouraged the increasingly widespread adoption of this practice, despite official government policy remaining one of unconditional eradication of the growth. By the beginning of the 2030s the government of Madagascar had effectively lost control, with many people electing to join what was becoming an increasingly symbiotic/commensalistic relationship with what many were beginning to refer to as the Malagasy Nanotopia. By 2033 the government of Madagascar had quietly collapsed and nanotechnological growths were being found on the shores of mainland Africa as the nascent Nanotopia got better at growing forms capable of crossing rough, salty seas without being chewed on by something.

Following the attack on Washington DC, the political and economic elites of Europe began more and more to isolate themselves from the general population physically, as well as by other means. Using their wealth and connections to ensure that they remained in a comfortable position of power, (as the general pool of human labour required to sustain their lifestlyes continued shrinking), the European elites begun accelerating their programs of "economising on non-essential personnel" which included the increasing neglect and underfunding of general utilities and services.

[After the delivery of facts, we can then move on to the narratives in which those facts are interpreted.]

The End of the Old World

The Extropians have always been strong advocates for a clean break with the past, which forms part of what they call the "Old World", a term encompassing concepts and institutions which existed during or before the early 21st century. In this framework, capitalism is an economic system whose time in the spotlight is over, shouldered aside in the quest by all sapient beings for greater autonomy from restrictions both material and conceptual. Extropian polemicists are also liable to include such things as religion, anti-transhumanist positions, and human exceptionalism as part of the Old World.


The Great Emancipatory Leap and the New Imperialism

For the NeoSocialists, there are two main aspects to the 21st century which are considered from a Marxist light. The first being the popular revolutions which took place in many parts of the world over the course of the 21st century, events in which the plethora of NeoSocialist entities arising over that period played a direct and, they would argue, vital part. The second concerns the activities undertaken by governments and non-governmental entities in various parts of the world, made to further a range of political and economic interests. This "New Imperialism" was and is a constantly-evolving addition to NeoSocialist thought, being formulated first on the basis of events in Africa and other relatively poor and powerless but otherwise resource-rich parts of the globe. Later, it was adapted and extended to encompass the various players of the new geopolitical scene that prevailed by the time the 22nd century rolled around.

The First Singularity

It must not be forgotten that despite their prominence, the Extropians are far from the only advocates of transhumanism. In the general milleu of this school of thought, there is some debate over whether social and technological events in the 21st century (especially the latter half of it) constitute a Singularity or not. The pro side argue that the rise of non-human intelligence, the scope and magnitude of technological advances and the associated sociopolitical upheaval constitute an event that can be considered a Singularity in that the events of the 22nd century could not be predicted on the basis of developments in the 20th and early 21st centuries. The anti side argue counter that while those developments were transformative, theories of history such as Marxism are still applicable even in a world where capitalism is losing its grip.

The Long Market Shrink

Speaking of capitalism, the 21st century saw the eventual recognition by its defenders that it had lost the prominence it once had. As one nation and polity after the other fell under the sway of anti-capitalist revolutionaries, the intricately interlinked systems of international capital found themselves fighting over a rapidly diminishing slice of a pie that was shrinking overall, despite the opening up of the inner Solar system in the 2040s. Things looked especially bleak in the latter half of the 21st century, especially outside of the newly-formed Pan-Asian bloc. With the new Extropian and NeoSocialist blocs also rising to ascendancy, some ardent advocates of capitalism openly talked of a kind of historical defeat, the old capitalist supremacy being replaced by a dynamic struggle between NeoSocialist and Extropian powers. However, the rise to prominence of the Republic of Texas during the early 22nd century, despite experiencing domestic terrorism issues, has served to put a question mark over the eventual fate of capitalism. Some supporters of capitalism are cautiously optimistic, believing that if Texas manages to gain enough diplomatic, economic and military clout to ensure the economic system it is based upon remains viable, and/or that they manage to establish a sufficiently significant interstellar presence to overcome Extropian and NeoSocialist influence, then the continued existence of capitalism can be ensured. Others question the long-term future of capitalism as a globally significant economic system in a world where productive forces continue to improve and where many apparently viable examples of non-capitalist economies continue to flourish.

The Big Mistake

Then there are those who are not so much concerned by the passing of capitalism as much as they are by certain social developments. There are those who for religious or philosophical reasons reject the emerging consensus that seeks to treat non-human intelligences as fully paid-up members of society. Objections to transhumanism in all its forms also fall under this narrative framework, in which we have purposefully dehumanised ourselves to our moral and spiritual detriment. From the right transhumanism is decadence and hedonism, an affront to decency and arrogant of God and Nature. From the left transhumanism is instrumentalist and alienating, born of a Protestant work ethic that values productivity and industriousness instead of humanity's social expressions.
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Red Commissar
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Red Commissar »

That's a good look into the seeds of conflict before the events of the game. Some of the religious movements would be interesting to hear about in the context of the world's decline. And now I understand what the Nanotopia is :lol:
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NoXion
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

OK, so I've started on the "Viewpoints..." section where I talk about the collapse of the US in more detail, since I think the crumbling of a major world power is something that deserves a bit more than a throwaway explanation within the setting's "pre-history". Here's what I've got so far:

"The break-up of the United States of America began in 2020 with a nuclear explosion in Washington DC, but some claim that the seeds of the collapse were planted earlier. Incumbent President [whatstheirface] was a mere two minutes into his State of The Union Address when the 20 megaton explosion occurred, believed to have been caused by a thermonuclear device. Analysis of contemporary documents as well as recorded live feeds of the event indicate that there was no apparent awareness of any imminent attack. Mere minutes after the detonation, all designated survivors were discovered to have been brutally murdered, in some cases while inside secure locations or just out of the sight of bodyguards."

OK, so I might (will) need to read up more on how the USA plans to maintain Continuity of Government (COG), but my understanding was that at some point it devolved down to the state level if enough federal officials are taken out of the picture. I'm thinking that is probably the point at which the various state governments start taking secession seriously, if not earlier; perhaps the world economy is still in a craphole, providing fertile ground for secessionist sentiment if not prompting overt bids for independence before the DC incident?

I'm also thinking it might be easier for the Star Kvlt if they have at least one person on the inside, so to speak. Perhaps they've compromised a General or some high-ranking official from the US Department of Defence (AKA The Pentagon, which would be apposite since one of the Star Kvlt's symbols is an inverted pentagram). I have a fancy of tying this into the general disaffection spreading among the ruling classes, that same alienation which in Europe lead to the Final Austerity Solution (in partnership with EU-Thanatos Ltd). Maybe I can weave in a tale of a power-hungry politician or general getting involved with the Star Kvlt in order to further their own goals, but whose ambitions lead to them being inexorably sucked into the orbit of the eldritch abominations (and the Inner Circle, if it exists)

If any secessionist sentiment makes an appearance before the DC incident, then my expectation is that the US federal government will deal with it peacefully, unless economic circumstances are such that strong-arm tactics make sense (California and Texas, for example, are pretty big economies in their own right and the federal US would suffer for their loss, especially if they were to take any neighbouring states with them). Once the DC incident occurs, however, I expect whatever is left of the US federal government to have something of an air of desperation about it - they've just been attacked in a major fashion in a manner that does not reveal the perpetrators, and it seems a strong possibility that they will quickly realise that their security arrangements have been compromised, promoting fear and uncertainty among them. In such circumstances I would expect them to come down hard on secessionism, and it seems plausible that in their state of fear they will use heavy-handed tactics that could in certain circumstances provoke a backlash, leading to civil war.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Czernobog »

Er, it's going to take a lot of explanation to get a 2nd US Civil War in just 8 years. How did this 'Star Kvlt' (who are these people anyway and how did they get a hydrogen bomb?) get to simultaneously nuke D.C. and murder all designated survivors at the same time? 'People on the inside' doesn't really cut it. Besides, I think that Congress can raise a new President if all designated survivors get killed anyway (if nothing, martial law could take over). And this blatant terrorism is going to unite pretty much the whole country against whoever is seen as responsible.

Besides, I don't really think that seccessionist sentiment is anything major at all in the US as of right now. Things would need to get BAD for another Civil War to even be thinkable of.

I'm not meaning to impugn you or your worldbuilding skills, but I'd suggest you think it over and justify it heavily or simply replace it with another scenario leading you to your desired state (a suitable replacement would be military overreach ruining the US as a world power and leading to the rise of China, if that's what you want).
You have ruled this galaxy for ten thousand years.
You have little of account to show for your efforts.
Order. Unity. Obedience.
We taught the galaxy these things.

And we shall do so again.
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NoXion
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Czernobog wrote:(who are these people anyway and how did they get a hydrogen bomb?)
There's a bit more information HERE.

As for how they got hold of a device, I'm undecided.
Er, it's going to take a lot of explanation to get a 2nd US Civil War in just 8 years. How did this 'Star Kvlt' get to simultaneously nuke D.C. and murder all designated survivors at the same time? 'People on the inside' doesn't really cut it.
Why not? It's only the barest outline of an idea, I've yet to decide on the specifics of how the Star Kvlt infiltrates the USG. Assuming that such infiltration is even necessary in order to lead to federal collapse.
Besides, I think that Congress can raise a new President if all designated survivors get killed anyway (if nothing, martial law could take over).
If the Star Kvlt have an influence within the US military, would not then declaring martial law be playing into their hands? (claws? tentacles?)
And this blatant terrorism is going to unite pretty much the whole country against whoever is seen as responsible.
The Star Kvlt aren't a political organisation, so they're not going to claim responsibility, as it would go against their objectives of spreading the chaos and unfocused fear they need in order to feed their gods.
Besides, I don't really think that seccessionist sentiment is anything major at all in the US as of right now. Things would need to get BAD for another Civil War to even be thinkable of.
How bad? I'm open to suggestions.
I'm not meaning to impugn you or your worldbuilding skills, but I'd suggest you think it over and justify it heavily or simply replace it with another scenario leading you to your desired state (a suitable replacement would be military overreach ruining the US as a world power and leading to the rise of China, if that's what you want).
Well, that's why I'm posting drafts and extracts in this thread, because then people can comment on things I may not have even been aware of.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Czernobog »

NoXion wrote:
Czernobog wrote:(who are these people anyway and how did they get a hydrogen bomb?)
There's a bit more information HERE.

As for how they got hold of a device, I'm undecided.
Ah, so they're basically Mythos cultists. Did Lovecraft exist in this universe?

The new US civil war lasts 80 years? Or does the US turn into Mad Max-ville for some reason and stay that way?

Getting hold of a thermonuclear weapon isn't exactly easy. Even Russian ones would be pretty well-defended, and I just can't see people giving them or these guys making their own H-bomb. Just have them summon Great Cthulhu or something if you're so attached to the Star Kvlt. Oh, and make them a lot older than five years old at the time of the bombing. Maybe a secret age-old conspiracy - it's cliched, but it would make everything they do much more reasonable.
Er, it's going to take a lot of explanation to get a 2nd US Civil War in just 8 years. How did this 'Star Kvlt' get to simultaneously nuke D.C. and murder all designated survivors at the same time? 'People on the inside' doesn't really cut it.
Why not? It's only the barest outline of an idea, I've yet to decide on the specifics of how the Star Kvlt infiltrates the USG. Assuming that such infiltration is even necessary in order to lead to federal collapse.
You'll need something like the scenario in the TV series Jericho to lead to a federal 'collapse'. Nuking D.C. (even with assassinations of cabinet members) won't cut it. And how do they infiltrate the USG? It's five years old. Christians weren't 'infiltrating' the Roman government five years after Jesus got crucified. The 'idle rich' turn to the Star Kvlt because...they're secretly massive Lovecraft fans and want to get round to worshipping Nyarlathotep already?
Besides, I think that Congress can raise a new President if all designated survivors get killed anyway (if nothing, martial law could take over).
If the Star Kvlt have an influence within the US military, would not then declaring martial law be playing into their hands? (claws? tentacles?)
Why would they? Why would a five-year-old crank (to everybody not part of them) religion worshipping Great Cthulhu get military influence or support? 'The rank insignia are a five-pointed star' is not a sufficient explanation for a bunch of generals deciding to risk their political and military career on this insane gambit and/or turning to 'dark and destructive' nihilists. Did they get the Necronomicon shoved in their faces or something?
And this blatant terrorism is going to unite pretty much the whole country against whoever is seen as responsible.
The Star Kvlt aren't a political organisation, so they're not going to claim responsibility, as it would go against their objectives of spreading the chaos and unfocused fear they need in order to feed their gods.
And they're all 100% devoted to this cause because...something. And they keep their involvement in the biggest terrorist attack ever secret from everybody else (including lots of intelligence agencies) for 67 years...somehow.
Besides, I don't really think that seccessionist sentiment is anything major at all in the US as of right now. Things would need to get BAD for another Civil War to even be thinkable of.
How bad? I'm open to suggestions.
You'd need a major decline in US goverment power and ability to project its citizens for secession to be considered. You'd need to undo the social-cultural effects of the ACW and nuke the economy as a starter.
I'm not meaning to impugn you or your worldbuilding skills, but I'd suggest you think it over and justify it heavily or simply replace it with another scenario leading you to your desired state (a suitable replacement would be military overreach ruining the US as a world power and leading to the rise of China, if that's what you want).
Well, that's why I'm posting drafts and extracts in this thread, because then people can comment on things I may not have even been aware of.
I don't think the 'Star Kvlt' is a reasonable addition to the setting. If you must put them in, you can add them at a later in-universe date because putting them so early on in its history, when it's so tied to the present-day world, is utterly incongruous. I recommend you think of another reason for American decline and Chinese ascendancy, because the current one is (trying to be constructive) ridiculous.
You have ruled this galaxy for ten thousand years.
You have little of account to show for your efforts.
Order. Unity. Obedience.
We taught the galaxy these things.

And we shall do so again.
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NoXion
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Czernobog wrote:Ah, so they're basically Mythos cultists. Did Lovecraft exist in this universe?
I suppose so, but I wanted to at least invent my own gods and things like that.
The new US civil war lasts 80 years? Or does the US turn into Mad Max-ville for some reason and stay that way?
That was the idea. Obviously there would have to be at least one major interest meddling with the continent to keep it divided and relatively undeveloped over the course of the conflict. I'm thinking Pan-Asia but the thought occurs that there's no reason why other factions with an interest in a divided N America couldn't stick their oars in.
Getting hold of a thermonuclear weapon isn't exactly easy. Even Russian ones would be pretty well-defended, and I just can't see people giving them or these guys making their own H-bomb. Just have them summon Great Cthulhu or something if you're so attached to the Star Kvlt. Oh, and make them a lot older than five years old at the time of the bombing. Maybe a secret age-old conspiracy - it's cliched, but it would make everything they do much more reasonable.
Well if the idea of a bunch of Kvltists stealing a nuke from the US or Russia stretches your credibility (even with potentially inside and/or supernatural assistance?), then there are other potential sources for loose nukes. Like Pakistan. Although I'm not sure if they currently have any 20 megaton devices, but I can easily re-write that figure if necessary, as long as its enough to do the job (i.e. larger than tactical)

The timescale thing I may have to gloss over, as I've had doubts about the overall timescale of developments during the 21st and 22nd centuries myself. However, since starting (and restarting) the game, I feel I have to live with the rapid pace of history I've effectively written for that period. At least it justifies all that talk of a Singularity or some other great disjoint in human history. In any case I've always felt that a fuckload of changes happening really rapidly is what should characterise the (pre-)history of the setting.

Regarding the conspiracy; the thought occurred to me that I've always wanted to write something that pokes fun at conspiracy theorists. Indeed, the name "Nova Mundi" is somewhat reminiscent of "New World Order" rendered in Latin (the kind of little detail that drives conspiracy nuts into a tizzy). Early in the re-creative process of Nova Mundi, I came up with another shadowy organisation, in some ways the precise opposite of the Star Kvlt. Called the Syndicate, I imagined them as something of a cross between the Men In Black and Blackwater/Xe/Academi. Since their mode of operation is centered around technology and conspiracy rather than magic and ritual, they would have a much easier time of it ingratiating themselves with the pre-2020 authorities. The further thought occurs that perhaps the Syndicate, being an older organisation with an interest in keeping a distance from their actions so to speak, effectively used the young Star Kvlt as a bunch of useful idiots and stooges, not knowing at the time that their gods were real, at least in some sense. To give them plausible leverage with pre-2020 governments, the history of the Syndicate could well have it's roots in all that strangely focused madness of the Cold War. The rise of the Star Kvlt to their current (2100+) level of power could be the result of the Syndicate's biggest screw-up/miscalculation to date (since in conspiracy theories the conspirators are almost always completely and 100% fully competent and make absolutely no mistakes or slip-ups, except for some reason leaving around publicly viewable web pages detailing all their nefarious plans - yeah right!).
You'll need something like the scenario in the TV series Jericho to lead to a federal 'collapse'. Nuking D.C. (even with assassinations of cabinet members) won't cut it. And how do they infiltrate the USG? It's five years old. Christians weren't 'infiltrating' the Roman government five years after Jesus got crucified.
I don't think that a fair comparison. Jesus may not have even existed, and even if he did he got killed. Abdullah Al-Hazared and his Star Kvlt co-founders really do/did exist (they may even be still alive by 2140). Also, Jesus and his immediate followers don't strike me as being particularly high on the social ladder, at least as compared to a university professor and his potential associates.
The 'idle rich' turn to the Star Kvlt because...they're secretly massive Lovecraft fans and want to get round to worshipping Nyarlathotep already?
It's exciting, dangerous, maybe even forbidden. Plus it's a chance to obtain something that next to no-one else will have; a certain kind of hedonism, special connections, knowledge of things undreamed of... the Star Kvlt has something to "offer" for all those arrogant enough to think they can pay the price. I think you underestimate the potential perversity of those people with orders of magnitude more money than the sense they were born with.
Why would they? Why would a five-year-old crank (to everybody not part of them) religion worshipping Great Cthulhu get military influence or support? 'The rank insignia are a five-pointed star' is not a sufficient explanation for a bunch of generals deciding to risk their political and military career on this insane gambit and/or turning to 'dark and destructive' nihilists. Did they get the Necronomicon shoved in their faces or something?
I didn't imagine it like that. I was thinking more, ambitious general type hears of the Star Kvlt through dispatches, then hatches a plan that uses them as henchmen in order to keep his own hands clean, while not realising their gods are real. The Star Kvlt take advantage of this opportunity by making the ritual preparations which will allow their gods to feed off the mass death, pain and fear that the event will cause.

Although if I include the Syndicate angle I mentioned above, that gives the potential conspiracy much more reach, which means that more than one device could be detonated, as in Jericho. Alternatively, I could have the single nuke detonation in a "ritualised" DC precipitate some kind of minor invasion of extradimensional monstrosities (kinda like the eldritch abominational equivalent of those birds that pick stuff out of alligators' teeth) that contributes to the collapse of the US. Or perhaps some kind of combination.
And they're all 100% devoted to this cause because...something. And they keep their involvement in the biggest terrorist attack ever secret from everybody else (including lots of intelligence agencies) for 67 years...somehow.
My thought was that first they enticed one with the kind of things mentioned above, then the sanity slippage sets in. With the proviso of course that insane is not the same as stupid or incompetent.
You'd need a major decline in US goverment power and ability to project its citizens for secession to be considered. You'd need to undo the social-cultural effects of the ACW and nuke the economy as a starter.
You mean the first American Civil War? The real one?
I don't think the 'Star Kvlt' is a reasonable addition to the setting. If you must put them in, you can add them at a later in-universe date because putting them so early on in its history, when it's so tied to the present-day world, is utterly incongruous. I recommend you think of another reason for American decline and Chinese ascendancy, because the current one is (trying to be constructive) ridiculous.
I'm not aiming to produce a work of "hard" science fiction (even though I like to include a lot of trappings and tropes from that genre), although I guess I am trying to aim for a kind of "fantastic realism" with a kind of pulpy flavour. I'm not entirely sure what to call it, but I know it when I see it.

I certainly agree that it needs a lot work, and I'm already thinking of ways to change the Star Kvlt's role, as above. Nothing has really been set in stone apart from the rapid pace of historical and technological development necessary to lead to the geopolitical situation depicted in the year 2100.

Thank you for discussing this so far with me, you have literally been an inspiration.
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Mather
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Mather »

With regards to the story leading up to the collapse of the US and it's resulting civil war, I think both Czernobog and Noxion have made some good points.

I would have to disagree with Czernobog on the point that 2020 is too near a time frame for the US to have a civil war. There is already an increasing trend of political polarisation in the US between those on the political left and political right as well as the secular vs the religious. While it is a largely manufactured and astroturfed phenomenon, the culture wars as they are called in the States do represent real divisions and such divisions only seem to be getting more pronounced. If we then add the current economic crisis, the costly wars that America is engaged in and the competition from a rising China, it is not that implausible for the US to find itself in a civil war come the 2020s.

Where I take some issue with the story narrative is that the Star Kvlt (even with the backing of the Syndicate) are able to take out the entire leadership of the US and plunge it into a civil war. Even if such an attack did take out the top leadership positions and their replacements, to ignite a civil war would require a lot more than just that. Civil wars are not the products of individuals and their actions, but of wider social forces and social tensions. If the US was socially and economically stable then such an attack, while devastating, would not result in the collapse of the US and it would be more likely that some type of emergency regime or a military government is formed.

Obviously the Star Kvlt are now part of the story, but I think that the narrative should focus more on the material conditions and social forces that caused the US to collapse and that the actions of the Star Kvlt be seen as merely a fuse that ignites a civil war that has already been builing up over the course of this decade and decades past.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Red Commissar »

I think that some alt-history here would help with some event discrepancies, if some events before 2020 and even into 20th century are adjusted, maybe the events of 2020 would make more sense.

Possibly the Star Kvlt were operating through another group? Maybe attempt to pass off the bombing as "Islamic extremism" which gives the US government a pretext to declare martial law that greatly exacerbates existing political tensions that have steadily built up from the end of the previous century?
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Red Commissar wrote:I think that some alt-history here would help with some event discrepancies, if some events before 2020 and even into 20th century are adjusted, maybe the events of 2020 would make more sense.
That's definitely an option, but I want to try and keep a sense of verisimilitude by having Nova Mundi follow real-life history (at least to a point).

First, I'd like to try the idea I've had of linking together odd and/or unusual events (like Tunguska) that happened in the 20th century in order to tie them into the future history. In this approach, the macrohistory of the 20th century remains the same (at least on the surface), but there are additional details that are unavailable to the historians of the time (I.E. now). I'm thinking if I go down this route this wold probably involve the Syndicate in the manner you talked about.

A third option is a more extreme variant on the alt-hist route. I'm thinking the Cold War was a hell of a lot worse than it was in real life, which generated the necessary conditions for an alternative to the US/Soviet binary (I.E. Extropianism) to arise. This also sets the scene for the rise of NeoSocialism in the so-called "third world", as a reaction to both US/Soviet imperialism as well as the "Otherness" and perceived Eurocentrism of Extropianism.
Possibly the Star Kvlt were operating through another group? Maybe attempt to pass off the bombing as "Islamic extremism" which gives the US government a pretext to declare martial law that greatly exacerbates existing political tensions that have steadily built up from the end of the previous century?
Well, I mentioned the possibility of the Syndicate being involved, which is a bit more plausible as far as them working with the governments of various polities pre-2020 goes.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by Mather »

First, I'd like to try the idea I've had of linking together odd and/or unusual events (like Tunguska) that happened in the 20th century in order to tie them into the future history. In this approach, the macrohistory of the 20th century remains the same (at least on the surface), but there are additional details that are unavailable to the historians of the time (I.E. now). I'm thinking if I go down this route this wold probably involve the Syndicate in the manner you talked about.
Sounds good.
A third option is a more extreme variant on the alt-hist route. I'm thinking the Cold War was a hell of a lot worse than it was in real life, which generated the necessary conditions for an alternative to the US/Soviet binary (I.E. Extropianism) to arise. This also sets the scene for the rise of NeoSocialism in the so-called "third world", as a reaction to both US/Soviet imperialism as well as the "Otherness" and perceived Eurocentrism of Extropianism.
Given the strategies and politics of the Cold War era, I doubt that a third force (Extropianism) in Europe could of arisen. Such was the balance of forces that Europe faced either US aligned capitalism or Soviet aligned Stalinism. Both power blocs would have crushed any dissent in it's infancy. The Cold War as a historical era, was stable (relatively speaking). Therefore the type of upsets that would have been needed for Europe to revolt and capitalism to have collpased would have had to have come from a different historical era (ie: not the Cold War). The current course of RL contemporary history (9/11, War on Terror, current global economic crisis, rise of new economic power blocs) provides more in the way of building up on the historical narrative of Nova Mundi.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

Mather wrote:Sounds good.
I've sometimes wondered how many events from this page I could shoehorn into the timeline of Nova Mundi (if I feel the need). Although they're described as "end of the world" scenarios, I think a few of them (if suitably modified or reduced in scale/scope) would serve as world-changing rather than world-ending events. I've already got a major nanotechnology-based event in the rise of the Nanotopia.

I would also include at least one financial crisis before 2050 (either a Long Depression-style continuation of today's or a new one, whichever works best), and perhaps another one in the latter half of the 21st century. Since the 21st century in Nova Mundi involves the first major colonisation and exploitation of the Solar system, as well as the development of a number of "promising" new technologies like nanotechnology, AI, advanced robotics and genetic engineering (which could be the subject of intensely focused research due to their perceived "silver bullet" effect in resuscitating capitalism), I think there's plenty of opportunities for economic bubbles.
Given the strategies and politics of the Cold War era, I doubt that a third force (Extropianism) in Europe could of arisen. Such was the balance of forces that Europe faced either US aligned capitalism or Soviet aligned Stalinism. Both power blocs would have crushed any dissent in it's infancy. The Cold War as a historical era, was stable (relatively speaking). Therefore the type of upsets that would have been needed for Europe to revolt and capitalism to have collpased would have had to have come from a different historical era (ie: not the Cold War). The current course of RL contemporary history (9/11, War on Terror, current global economic crisis, rise of new economic power blocs) provides more in the way of building up on the historical narrative of Nova Mundi.
What if the Cold War became hot at some point? I'm thinking that Europe may not end up particularly disposed to either the US or the Soviets following a Battleground Europe-style conflict. If the fallout from Battleground Europe leaves both the US and the Soviets in a state of collapse or decline, could that provide the opening necessary for the Extropians and the NeoSocialists to assert themselves?
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

In between talking to Mather about the more general history of the setting, and reading about the Greek Dark Ages, I've been inspired to introduce an Interplanetary Dark Age/s at some time between the end of the 22nd century and the beginning of the 31st century, of an as-yet unestablished duration. There's something weirdly appealing about the idea of a Solar-wide civilisation experiencing, if not a near-total collapse, then at least a significant back-slip in terms in terms of overall development. Here are some initial characteristics of that time which occur to me:

- Temporary (in historical terms at least) loss of certain technologies that helped to make the 22nd century as we see it in the game. One example being the loss of a steady supply of Extreme and Ultra High Temperature Superconductors, without which Magnetic Confinement Fusion Reactors, Torchship drives, and the high-efficiency particle accelerators required for the manufacture of antimatter, become impossible to build or maintain for long.

- As a result, traffic between major planetary bodies becomes more scarce, perhaps to point of being monopolised by a single institution, the Spacing Union/Spacer's Guild, which like the Church in early Medieval Europe represents the only major inter-political force for the period. This more isolating situation could provide for the increased division of the Solar system along geographical lines, as it were.

- This technological, political and developmental decline seems like a plausible impetus for a major reduction in the population and political power of Earth. The triggering events for the Interplanetary Dark Ages are likely to have been wars, or similarly devastating occasions with high mortality, resulting in a reduction of the Earth's population from a peak of 20+ billion down to ~10 billion people. Although I haven't yet decided how quickly that drop in population occurs, as it's plausible that Earth's population may continue to shrink throughout the Interplanetary Dark Ages.

- Although I at first imagined a fairly "soft" Dark Age in that there is still at least some interplanetary travel and general technological development exceeds the early 21st century still, the establishment of a number of self-sufficient extrasolar colonies in the 22nd century means that even if the Solar system experiences total and utter collapse, recovery of some kind is still possible.
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Re: Notes and Stuff

Post by NoXion »

OK, so I came across Misspent Youth, an RPG which can be downloaded for free off the website. Reading the PDF, I was struck with an idea.

In this game the players create and control a Clique of rebellious 12-17 year olds, a bunch of misfit friends who set themselves in rebellion against The Authority, using whatever Exploits they can to circumvent various Systems of Control the Authority have put in place that sap the freedom and spirit out of the setting. You're a bunch of idealistic teenage rebels who basically want to change the world by fighting The Authority. Will you be able to stick to your Convictions or will you end up Selling Out?

Obviously, my idea involves adapting this game (it's meant to flexible in terms of play setting so don't worry) to the setting of Nova Mundi. The setting idea for this game that I was struck with follows below:

The Authority

Name: The Russian Federation (Year 20XX) My first idea for who to take the Authority role. I've been meaning to elaborate on the whole "fascist Russia" situation in Nova Mundi and it seems like this game could be an interesting and novel way of exploring that aspect of the setting.

Description: A neo-fascist government Think Putinism on steroids, with lashings of Orthodox fundamentalism (or at least a willingness to use it as a tool of control), and all the bullshit baggage concerning religious, racial/ethnic and phenotypical purity that such a worldview creates.

Vice: Fear The underlying motivation of the Russian Federation is fear. This Authority is afraid of what might happen when people are allowed to control their spiritual, social and biological destiny.

Victim: Progress The times they are a-changin', and the Russian Federation don't like it one bit, and will do everything in their power to stamp out and/or pervert the fruits of what many are seeing as a progressive era. With revolutionary rumblings in neighbouring Europe and elsewhere in the world, radical and easy bodymods/augments becoming cheaper/more widely available, and the opening up of the Solar system, there is much to fear for a controlling and authoritarian system seeking self-preservation.

Visage: State The Russian Federation is of course a state entity, making it a formidable opponent.

Need: The Russian Federation has a need to curtail the spread of transhumanism/body modification and revolutionary sentiment in order to justify and secure their own continued existence. However, the Clique of Youthful Offenders present a threat to this agenda and must be terminated.

The Dystopia

Rating: 18 Like film ratings. I'm expecting violence, so...

Systems of Control: [this is where the players are supposed come in with ideas] but to get us started, I'll suggest surveillance drones, legal control of transhumanist/bodymod tech, and state-run/organised youth clubs which kids are "encouraged" to join, to start with.

Exploits: Holes/flaws in the above Systems of Control. In this case, geopolitical tensions with Revolutionary Europe should provide plenty of opportunities for the Clique, by dividing and occupying the attentions of the Authority. The Russian Federation has external enemies (and possibly other internal enemies?) to deal with that at least look a hell of a lot more dangerous than a bunch of rebellious kids. Whether this assessment is correct or not is down to the players. Other Exploits are possible.

Clique: Who is this group of Youthful Offenders? In the game this is something the players have a hand in creating, and I'd like to encourage some imaginative character creation. My suggestion in this case would be to think along the lines of who would be the disadvantaged in this situation - immigrant kids, orphans and runaways, hybrid pups and recently-built mechanoids, and youth subcultures The Authority hates - but the important thing is that the YOs have a reason to regularly hang out.

---

I'm probably not explaining it too well, so I recommend checking out the the PDF on the site and the above will make more sense. Thoughts?
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