Random ideas (again)

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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Invictus » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:26 am

The elephant with the pipe and the potentially super-intelligence needs to be a Comix supervillain like, yesterday.

EDIT: Nefarious, super-intelligent apes are so played out.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:58 am

He's gone up in the world.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Invictus » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:14 pm

It's not surprising that a blogger who made it his duty to dissect the Left Behind series of evangelical wank-fiction would also come up with a good idea of what The Salvation War series could have been:
Fred Clark wrote:For subscribers of Tim LaHaye’s End Times innovations, though, it’s clear why the possibility of life on other planets must be rejected. I’d guess that LaHaye himself wouldn’t strongly reject the idea — he’d simply regard every other intelligent race in the universe as unsaved Space Ninevites who deserve to have their sinful worlds destroyed at the same time ours is. But if any of the thousands of speculative storytellers who have dreamed of advanced alien races are right, then we’d also have to consider this: Those aliens would never let LaHaye’s imagined apocalypse happen.

It’s their universe too, after all. So if we were to stipulate, for the sake of kicks and giggles, that anything like LaHaye’s heretical mythology were true, then every species in the universe would have an overriding interest in making sure that all of the items in his prophecy check list were prevented from occurring.

I don’t just mean there might be some benevolent rogue Gallifreyan racing about to save the Earth once again. It wouldn’t just be the Doctor working to prevent LaHaye’s apocalypse — the Daleks would be trying to stop it too. And the Atraxi, Slitheen, Klingons, Romulans, Vulcans, Rylans, Sykarians, Jedi, Sith, Wookies, Kryptonians, Halosians, Weevils, Cardassians, Ferengi, Skrull and Ood. Any of them and all of them.
tl;dr the scheduled apocalypse will end the rest of the universe along with Earth, the rest of the universe doesn't want this to happen

I'd like to share this idea with O1 and see what kind of stories can come out of it. The blog post I linked to proposes a few options, and I'm sure we can come up with more. There are a few sliders to be played with, even after accepting the basic premise that the egregious premillenial dispensationalist rapture timeline is entirely true - like how omnipotent the forces behind the apocalypse are, and whether it's actually possible to mess with the events as dictated by prophecy.

It's of course more interesting if the legions of Hell weren't biblically locked in the Bronze Age - it's not like the Rapture and the Antichrist taking over the UN stuff is particularly biblical either - because *something's* got to put up a fight against the great big interstellar coalition of the willing that possibly shows up at Earth's doorstep. Maybe the Rapture doesn't kick things off until humanity has already gone Full Fuck Yeah and set up its own interstellar presence, but that seems a little too conventional. I don't even mind putting the Humanity Fuck Yeah trope on full display here because I want to see how the Fuck Yeah deals with this dilemma: on one hand, humanity's own (prophecized) supreme leader being the one who will end the universe and consign the vast majority of the its sapient beings to eternal torment; on the other hand, lots of invading aliens who will do anything to prevent this from coming to pass.

My own, immediate story idea is it settles into some kind of Cold War. On one side, the numberless alien hordes press in from every quarter of space, licking their wounds from testing the wrath of God but completely undeterred and watching the humans like hawks. On the other side, humanity under the Antichrist has carved out a bloody sphere of space around itself using its inherent FuckYeahness, infernal assistance and whatever. It's not a war humanity can win and it's only a draw because the Antichrist has gone native - delaying his part in the implementation of the End Times checklist to keep humanity alive, but also as a weapon of mutual destruction to hang over the aliens' heads. at the same time he's also holding the legions of hell back from claiming their due and resisting increasing pressure from both his bosses to finish the job. Humanity may or may not be aware of the Antichrist's true nature, and may or may not be okay with it. And as the stalemate drags on year after year, plagues and cataclysms of increasing intensity wrack the entire universe. The tensions between the factions build, and something's gotta give.

What are your ideas?
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Heretic » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:08 pm

That would be interesting to see the universe react to The Rapture. I am also interested in how various faiths would react to this ("I told you so you stupid atheis....wait? Only he can go? Damn.)
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:52 pm

Also, consider what local human resistance would be like - non-Christians and shit, most of the human race, won't be interested in seeing Revelations come to pass. The aliens could start arming Hindus and Buddhists and Taoists and Confucianists for a proxy war. A Viet Cong army of billions of godless heathen pagan infidels, armed with alienoid Killyshnikovs and ZiGs, turning Gog and Magog into God and the Devil's Vietshroom, Vietraqistan, and Black Shroom Down combined.

Man. A bunch of Jewish Pharisees get pissed, saying that they had Jesus crucified once, and they can have him crucified again. So they buy some alienoid biomechanical Evangelions, have it piloted by teenage Romans Italians, and have these guys stick chainsaw-spears into all the angels and demons rampaging through the Gaza Strip. CAST LEAD 2: CASTER LEADER.

It'll be like how the IDF parked Merkavas right across Yasser Arafat's doorstep for Christmas, except with AT-ATs and the AntiChrist.

Of course, it won't be a one-sided victory for the forces of good, namely the non-Christians and non-humans. It'll be a mighty fight. Angels ascending into Heaven, or demons descending into Hell, but it turns out that the Intergalactic NVA have stuck interdimensional punji spikes into the stairway to heaven and highway to hell, so you've got these translocating angels and demons tripping and falling into space bamboo spears smeared with Dalek shit.

God and the angels and demons will go all ARC LIGHT BARK BLIGHT and shit and carpet bomb entire continents for OPERATION BIBLICAL FREEDOM and shit, but our brave rebel freedomfighters terrorizing insurgent scum will hide in Boom Tube tunnel networks provided by Ho Chi Darkseid and the Old Dogs of Low Father and shit.

Angels can go into town and there'll be Twi'lek and Orionian hookers wanting to love them longtime, so we'll end up with blue and green head-tentacled Nephilim.

It will be a bath of blood.

If this Zorian RAR is assuming works of fiction like Star Wars, Doctor Who, and the Bible are true, does this also include other works of fiction like (other) religon(s)?


I am having so much fun imagining a cosmological Vietnam-like war with God and Christianity as the Americans/bad guys.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Mobius 1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:32 pm

I've mentioned before that one of the maybe top five story ideas I've always wanted to do or see done well is a three-way war between Hell, Heaven, and Earth. Earth can be in a post-apocalyptic (the sense of the genre, though the literal meaning works as well) mode, or can be all cyberpunky - or both. But the idea of the Angels either using Doom-style magitek or simple having badass magic and durability to back them up in the face of AFY would make for a really interesting setting, without even getting into obvious things like society's reaction, the theological implications, and the characters and stories you could invoke on each of the three sides.

At the very least, it'd be dramatic and interesting.

And not Balls.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:35 pm

Arty had something like that too. It was pretty fucking badass.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Siege » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:35 pm

I find the idea of the Antichrist gone native very amusing and evocative, but the biggest problem with adapting Revelations is that it's... Well, that it's Revelations. It's a piece of condensed nutsery at the end of a book already well-renowned for its dubious sanity. And there's something about putting Christianity front and center in not just humanity's tale but that of the entire cosmos that's just hubristic in a way that massively offends my personal tastes.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:42 pm

Hmmm...

Maybe Revelations is only a localized event, and the only reason why it's at the fore and center of Earth is that there's a fuckload of Christians and they're pretty much geopolitically economically socially and militarily dominant on Earth.

Maybe the rest of the galaxy isn't really gonna get eaten by giant flaming sword-mouth Jesuses.

Maybe the alien intervention is because the Space Nations don't like seeing billions of people incinerated because of sectarian religious differences and hate-crime on an unknown level.

So the space alien intervention on Earth is just like Bill Clinton bombing Serbians and aspirin factories. With Judeochristianity starring as Slobodan Milosevic.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Mobius 1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:43 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:Arty had something like that too. It was pretty fucking badass.
Yeah, I was mostly thinking of Apocrypha and couple of RPG campaign ideas I've read in sourcebooks.
Siege wrote:And there's something about putting Christianity front and center in not just humanity's tale but that of the entire cosmos that's just hubristic in a way that massively offends my personal tastes.
One would imagine that, if writing a story, that would be a good mid-story twist. Humanity is getting its ass kicked in a new heaven/hell civil war and BAM! in teleports Thor and Ares and a couple of Hindu gods with a whole bunch of resurrected soldiers, stroking their beards and going 'NOT ON OUR WATCH.'
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:50 pm

The Hindu gods I can get, since they have a billion plus worth of followers. But Thor and Ares? Nobody believes in them anymore. In American Gods, their personifications were all retired washed out geriatrics. In this context, they won't be descending from the skies and laying the law. They'll (the neglected religions and deities) be hiding in sewers, tunnels, eating rats and chucking IEDs at Born Again Hunter-Killer machines and shooting at Evangelical Infiltrator units. They could go on the radio, and tell these religious minorities hiding from the CHRISTNET concentration camps, that "I am Thor Odinson, and you are the RELIGULO-RESISTANCE."
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Mobius 1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:53 pm

If we're actually putting thought into this and assuming a rough correlation between belief and strength, then I can point to the Dresden Files as an example of how this was handled. While it's implied the Christian god has some sort of chicanery to put him over the edge in terms of supernatural superiority, old gods are still around, but have less power. The best example is Odin, who heads a big badass security company with valkyries as bodyguard and shit. He's got an eyepatch and occasionally intervenes to help save the world and be badass and serve the hero tea.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:01 pm

In American Gods he was a rat bastard SOB trying to get back on top by inciting a war between the old forgotten gods and the new gods (TV, radio, internet, Lady Liberty), and by declaring the ensuing pantheocides a blood sacrifice to Odin. To make up for the centuries of being forgotten and un-honored.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Mobius 1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:06 pm

I'm pretty sure I prefer my version more. :lol:
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Siege » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:10 pm

There's an interesting Catholic theological debate (now there's a phrase you don't use every day) about this sort of thing that argues that if there's aliens out there, it could just be they're still in a state of grace with the Creator. So if you wanted to run it that way it could be they all got carried up to heaven on chariots of fire or something (and humanity finds tons of technical goodies in the remains of their cathedrals), or they show up with a buncha Archangels leading the way like the Cavalry come to bail out your proverbial wagon train.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Heretic » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:40 pm

All interesting points, especially Shroom's (as usual). This should become a short-lived collab effort!

I only know an inkling of Salvation Wars, but what would be the status of Heaven and Hell? Will they be literal or like a pocket world/dimension?

I can probably also see alien fundamentalists of their own religions exploiting the situation as punishment for their sins from their own deities. Or probably real ticked that some obscure Mammalian gets to have the end times and not them. I don't know where I'm going with that thought.

I probably think Jews everywhere would try to form a unified organization and ramp up MOSSAD style tactics to 11, with members ranging from Orthodox to Reconstruction and the occasional Samaritan (yes, that's a controversial sect of Judaism) all banding together to fight a heaven and hell they either don't believe in or consider their style. But as is the nature of my faith, a organization possibly that large would be filled with arguments over tactics, the role of Israel in the organization and how much power it has, theology, politics, communism, etc. While filled with competent men and women, and the support of one of the most experienced armies in the Middle East, this Jewish front would most likely be stifled to the point of dissolution from internal strife and distrust amongst the sects. Islam could be a complicated issue, with both allies and enemies to the Jewish Front, and causing a three-way war and intrigue. Kinda like how Soviets and Chinese in the 1960s had a small cold war while pretending to be together and fend off the west.

Shroom said:
They could go on the radio, and tell these religious minorities hiding from the CHRISTNET concentration camps, that "I am Thor Odinson, and you are the RELIGULO-RESISTANCE."
Gosh dangit, Shroom, I almost spilled my drink.

EDIT: Man oh man, Siege, I didn't know Catholics actually debated on aliens. That's awesome.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Siege » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:49 am

Heretic wrote:EDIT: Man oh man, Siege, I didn't know Catholics actually debated on aliens. That's awesome.
Catholic dogmatic exploration is as diverse as US army war plans. And that's actually one of the things that gets me in things like Preacher or indeed The Salvation War: it man-handles the source material until it's pretty much unrecognizable except for the 'lol christians r teh dumbz'.

I hate that. I hate the simplistic reductions to absurdity inherent to it. And I hate that it makes me want to state "don't get me wrong I'm not a believer" because gosh darnit I might be taken for one if I go on about this for more than ten seconds.

Look, here's the thing. The Catholic Church, for all its many flaws, has managed to produce two thousand years of pretty much consistent theological dogma. And Protestants have expounded a metric fuckton of thinking to that in the last, oh say, five centuries or so. Now, you're perfectly free to just dump all of that in the trash as far as I'm concerned. But shit, if one is going to handle a subject in one's writings surely certainly it won't hurt to do a readup so one doesn't make a complete fool of oneself?

It would be interesting to see, for once, concepts like God, scripture, angelic messengers and the end times not reduced to the usual guns vs. magic shoot-'em-up. One presumably wouldn't reduce Plato's Cave to The Descent, so why not do other forms of philosophy the same favor? It's fucking cheap to man-handle this stuff into a reliably pulpy format for mass consumption by the fashionably cynical hipster market. Square pegs into round holes. Here's a dude blowing an angel's face off with an SMG. Christ. What's that even say?
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Heretic » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:49 am

I'm just not used to the discussion of aliens part of the religious theme other than the occasional musing or Arabic text.
Look, here's the thing. The Catholic Church, for all its many flaws, has managed to produce two thousand years of pretty much consistent theological dogma. And Protestants have expounded a metric fuckton of thinking to that in the last, oh say, five centuries or so. Now, you're perfectly free to just dump all of that in the trash as far as I'm concerned. But shit, if one is going to handle a subject in one's writings surely certainly it won't hurt to do a readup so one doesn't make a complete fool of oneself?
Wow, for all my preconceived notions about you, Siege, I didn't think you had some respect for religious stuff, especially the Catholic one, who are seen as the symbol of Religious cruelty.

Anywho, it would be interesting to add some depth to this universe idea, while maintaining high speed AFV battles. The demons should probably have an idea what humanity is capable of and adapt as well, similar to BATTLE: LA where the aliens spent time examining humanity and our war doctrines before attacking with hovercrafts and infantry tactics.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Siege » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:10 am

I kinda flew off the handle there, I didn't mean to imply that this train of thought was heading for what I was rambling about. Sorry 'bout that, it's just that this is kind of a pet peeve of mine.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Somes J » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:37 am

^ I'd say these ideas definitely have potential.

On a different note, another copy/paste from my personal universe message board that I'm posting here too, a description of another dystopian world I made up for my personal universe (man, I seem to be doing dystopias a lot on that front, I should get around to posting my "Global China World" for something arguably better than our world for a change):

-------

Slaver World orbits a star similar to or brighter than Sol, tentatively I'm considering Zeta Tucanae as a candidate for its sun. It's a hothouse world, with a climate similar to Cretaceous Earth. It has maybe around seven or eight continents, concentrated in the tropical and subtropical zones (between ~30N-30S). The continents are mostly covered by a mix of tropical forest, grassland/savanna, and desert. Adapted as they are to this generally tropical equatorial environment the native humans tend to be tall and dark skinned (offhand, I kind of envision them as looking sort of like tall very dark South Indians).

The original First Civilization colony was relatively geographically restricted, so for most of the planet's history human habitation was limited to a cluster of three or four continents that could be reached from one another without extensive ocean voyages. Colonization of the Ocean Continents (seperated from the inhabited lands by thousands of kilometers of open ocean) and mid-ocean islands had to await the invention of long range deep water ships and the Age of Discovery, within the most recent millenium.

The social structure of the planet's dominant culture was initially formed when an agricultural civilization (probably a river valley one) was conquered by subtropical grassland nomads, think Mongols taking over China as an Earth history analogy. These nomads set themselves up as feudal rulers over this region, with the original inhabitants as their serfs. It was at this point where the rather unique toxic brew that created the present day conditions of the Slaver World started to ferment. The nomads had, or developed, what could roughly be described as a religious racial superiority doctrine. They believed, or came to believe, that their ruler was directly descended from a god (parallels with the Japanese Emperor cult IIRC - I figure it might have started out as a Genghis Khan-like figure who eventually got diefied), and they were the special children/charges of this god, in effect the "chosen people", chosen to rule and have dominion over others. As a terrestrial analogy, think of the society that resulted as sort of like a cross between the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China, the early nineteenth century US South, and the Indian caste system, with maybe a pinch of Judaism and Japan (with the whole idea of the "master race" being elevated by virtue of being god's "chosen people", with a divine ruler claiming descent from a god).

A note here though: in this early preindustrial period this social order might not have been all that much worse than conventional feudalism. For your average peasant whether the nobles justify taking your crops by appeal to common good or divine right or racial superiority doesn't really make a huge difference, the end result is about the same.

I'm not going to get into much detail with the history here, but major highlights of development of this culture:

- Development of deep water long range sailing ships and Age of Exploration, first exploring around the inhabited continent cluster and then striking out across the ocean and the discovery of the uninhabited Ocean Continents and far ocean islands. Seeing all this resource-rich, fertile, empty land with no people just sitting there for the taking the Slavers begin exploiting them, shipping huge numbers of underclass over there to work giant farms and mines they set up to bring mineral/gem resources and cash crops back to the mainland. This might be a point where things get worse for the underclass in a big way, with a shift from race-caste feudalism to the "efficient" slavery methods developed on the Ocean Continents (think something a lot more like Earth's new world African slavery system).

- A schism dividing the Slavers into two competing empires. What I'm thinking happens here is there's some sort of falling out in the diefied royal family resulting in a civil war ending with two "divine" rulers in different areas, each claiming the other to be illigitimate - one of them says the other one is too distant a relation to count as divine, the other one says the other guy is only related to the divine bloodline through the female line and only relation through the male line counts (with each side having bribing/convincing/coercing out theological study "proving" that their claim is the legitimate one). You end up with a permanent politico-religious schism, resulting in two states with relatively similar, perhaps only microscopically different ideologies that are nonetheless serious rivals/enemies.

- Industrial revolution and eventual world domination by the Slaver culture.

I kind of want to expand on that last one, yes I know, some people may think it's implausible to get industrialization in a culture like that ("why should I make a machine to do my work when I can just get 10 slaves to do it instead", slaves aren't good for skilled labor etc.). Personally I'm a bit skeptical of this - it sounds to me like a line that sounds good to people because it suggests that our values are somehow inevitable or necessary or what smarts would tell you to impliment. I can't see why slavers wouldn't necessarily see the attraction of a machine that would let you get 10X as much work and profit out of their slaves, and assembly line work seems to me like the kind of thing slaves could be just fine for - unpleasant, can be broken into lots of simple tasks etc.. What I could see, eventually, is the emergence of a technically enslaved but relatively well-treated "middle class" as labor needs shift away from low-skill manual labor to skilled jobs, and maybe with the economy left to its own devices much of the population ending up in this class, technically slaves but maybe living not all that terribly differently from the way we do. I was reading an AH.com thread today that had some interesting discussion of slave labor in US South factories, in a society like the Slavers I could see that going a lot farther. Anyway, I'm not sure what exactly things will look like on this front, but a big part of the point of this scenario is questioning the idea that a modern civilization will inevitably get away from what we consider dark age barbarism practices and become nicer, and a big part of the idea is to show a world where this happened to a relatively minimal degree. Maybe the industrial revolution will start in some other place that the Slavers crushed militarily later after copying their ideas and implimenting them (maybe not as well, but if they're a lot bigger they don't necessarily need to be as good to win), maybe the Slaver industrial culture is really pretty third-rate but they manage to stay dominant by a combination of sheer size and preventing the emergence of any more more efficient industrial societies by diplomatic, economic, and military means (this might not require real awareness of their weakness, just their manufacturers not wanting foreign competition).

Anyway, state of Slaver World today:

It is mostly dominated by the two schismatic Slaver empires, which are engaged in a Cold War-like conflict. These empires own big chunks of the Old World (the originally inhabited continent cluster) and all or pretty much all of the Ocean Continents. The Old World also has a number of lesser nation states. The two Slaver empires vie for influence and control of these lesser states, rather like the US and USSR on Earth. I'm thinking rather than proxy wars direct military clashes between the two great powers often happen, as here the "things just got serious get ready for armageddon" line is less direct clashes between the great powers and more an attempt by one to violate the other's direct territorial possessions (as opposed to proxy states).

I'm thinking there may be some 1984-esque aspects to the scenario; the Slaver culture is big on the patriarchal-militaristic idea of war being something that makes boys into men and is good for giving men "character", and there are those among them who say that victory of their own side or even just rolling up all the puppet states into direct territories and going to simple MAD standoff would be bad, as the Slaver race would grow soft and weak and effeminate from lack of manly conflict to keep them virile. I'm not necessarily saying I'd make this an actual basis of policy - but I could see there being strains of political/philosophical thought among them that go along these lines. I should mention here as it's vaguely tangentially relevant that the Slavers' ideas on gender relationships are pretty much still in the thirteenth century - these guys would probably make 1900 Britain or America look positively feminist by comparison.

As far as Slaver internal politics goes, they're a god-king state, and I'm thinking a major point of political breakdown in their society would be between traditional feudal landed aristocracy and "new rich" capitalists created by industrialization (I'm not sure if the latter would be nobles or some other kind of free class). I'm thinking maybe due to the influence of the former agriculture is kept deliberately inefficient, with much of the population still being agricultural laborers - basically the landed gentry's idea of the good life is to live like a feudal lord or nineteenth century Southern USA plantation owner, and they'd like to keep things that way. A major point of conflict here may be the capitalist/technocrats encroaching into their turf with efficient industrial agriculture organized around maximum profit. Industry may also be kept deliberately inefficient in some ways, as the rulers are threatened by the idea of educated slaves and would like to keep that to a minimum. Nonetheless, a large "middle class" of valuable skilled slaves has emerged, and compared to the manual labor/agriculture variety I'm thinking these people are treated relatively well, enjoying something like a First/Second World lifestyle and relative freedom, and quite possibly legally enjoying a privilidged "middle caste" position with limited legal rights. I'm sure a lot of the rulers would rather these guys didn't exist...

I'm thinking there might be significant regional differences between the Ocean Continents and the Old World territories. Maybe the Ocean Continents would be basically giant slave plantation and resource extraction zones with minimal urbanism or industry, a power base of the traditional aristocracy, while the heartlands would be the power base of the new rich with efficient industrial agriculture organized around pure profit, a large urban population, and a large urban "middle class" in contrast to the more brutal slavery on the Ocean Continents. Alternately, maybe the heartlands are a stronghold of the old aristocracy, while the Ocean Continents are giant resource extraction zones that are exploited efficiently by profit-minded capitalists. I'm not sure which one I'll go with.

Finally, to address conditions outside the Slaver Empires, I'm thinking the Slavers are somewhat unusual in how bad they are, but by no means unique, and generally conditions are fairly nasty by our standards. Most or all nations have some degree of slavery (though it may often be only a small percentage of the population), most or all governments are some kind of authoritarian, cultures are generally traditionalist and conformist, and feminism/gender equality is pretty much an alien concept to this world, don't expect to find many places if anywhere where, say, "it should be OK to beat your wife as long as you use a reasonable instrument" wouldn't be considered a fairly respectable position, and often a softy liberal one.

This would be the state of the Slaver World at the time of contact with the rest of the Human Community...

So, decent/interesting sounding dystopia? I realize it's not a particularly original premise (SM Sterling, Ursula K. Le Guin, and probably some other people did it already), but I figure it has some potential anyway.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Malchus » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:59 pm

Invictus wrote:What are your ideas?
Well, a little late to the party, but there has been this idea I was kicking around regarding Thoth and most of the gods and goddesses directly associated with him.

Basically, it goes something like Thoth being the true power behind the massive and ever-changing Egyptian pantheon, which was why he figured prominently in most versions of Egyptian mythology. Most of the "primary" gods in the many concepts of said mythology were just figureheads. Later he used his association with Hermes to forge ties with said god in an alliance that allowed them both to manipulate the Egyptian and Greek pantheons. They later forged the same alliance with Mercury, Hermes's Roman doppelganger.

Toward the decline of those civilizations and their pantheons, the Thoth-Hermes-Mercury alliance started to draw inward, realizing that the days of their open worship would eventually draw to a close and making preparations to go underground.

Flash forward to the future, and now the trio of gods had long since syncretized, going by whichever identity is convenient for heading the multiple secret magical, technological, and scholarly societies they've set up over the long, long years (Hermeticism is only one) to keep the world in working order (one of Thoth's major functions in Egyptian mythology). All was going well until Aten the Only (Thoth-Hermes-Mercury's derisive term for any monotheist central deity insisting sole worship as supreme being) decided to play his sever-year-long end of the world game by deciding some poor shmuck was the Anti-Christ.

So begins the seven-year-long battle between the forces of the Only and all of the syncretized Thoth's subordinate secret societies, starting with an aborted Rapture that ended up getting far less people than intended. Things become more complicated when some of the Hindu gods get involved (some for, some against, and some going with whichever side they think is having the most fun). One of the survivors of the Norse pantheon (long thought annihilated by Thoth's forces when they made the mistake of trying to Ragnarok a world he's just had running just right) also get involved. In a bid for relevance and/or pissed off at the Only hogging the spotlight for the last few centuries, so do several aboriginal gods from all over the planet.

Clusterfuck?

Maybe.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:15 pm

Outstanding. That sounds like it is veering into Neil Gaimany American Godsy territory with deific personifications waging proxy wars and vying for influence and relevance in a crumbling modern world, rather than folks going balls and shooting Satan with an AMRAAM. I like the former better. I still love Gaiman, while the less said about Bart Blade the better.

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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Somes J » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:02 pm

Regarding Jesus in this setting:

I kind of like the idea that the sheer success of Christianity was sort of an accident, with even the Only being shocked at how big he won when he just happened to hit just the right note to kickstart a massive world religion. He was only really planning to create a religion that would be more popular than Judaism, he never really imagined he'd be able to take over so much of the world, at least not in that one stroke.

I kind of like this idea because with a worship = power set-up you have to wonder how the rest of the gods just sat there and let some antisocial minor god pull a coup of that magnitude. If the sheer success took everyone by surprise then it makes sense why they didn't try (very hard anyway) to stop him.

Also I like the way it puts a certain agency in the hands of humanity; a huge power shake-up among the gods was pretty much all due to human sociology; the Only just sort of accidentally provided the spark that lit the dynamite keg, and rode the resulting human socio-cultural phenomenon to massive power. I think that makes for a rather neat "humanity fuck yeah!" bit - more subtle than "and then they shot Satan in the chest with a cruise missile and he died", and I think also rather thought-provoking, as it isn't really an umabiguous HFY thing.

I wonder what the relation between the Only and Satan is? Are they enemies, or are they allies playing a good cop/bad cop routine? Or a little of column A, a little of column B - allies of convenience who nonetheless want to destroy each other eventually?
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Siege » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:21 pm

One wonders if, since belief creates these gods, changes in belief also change them. In which case the Almighty presumably started out as the stereotypical bronze age raging asshole god of the Old Testament... But learned some humility in the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt, the destruction of the Second Temple, the scattering of the Jews and the persecution of Christianity. Presumably at this time He had some stiff local competition and I don't think the early Christian communities were full of fundamentalist assholes (well, not anymore than any other community of the time at any rate), so maybe He was operating more like the godlike equivalent of Che Guevarra against the established deities.

Likewise you might have seen periodic mood swings during periods of intense medieval fanaticism, followed by a major identity crisis during the Reformation that continues to the present day. I'm not exactly sure what the religious outlook of the average peasant in the Dark Ages was but I'm pretty confident it's massively different from the typically tolerant mainstream Christianity of today, and that ought to reflect in the attitude of the gods.

And I suppose under this scheme communism was the asshole rockstar god that shook up the scene something fierce then died at 27 from a speedball overdose.
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Re: Random ideas (again)

Post by Somes J » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:50 pm

Siege wrote:One wonders if, since belief creates these gods, changes in belief also change them.
That seems like both a plausible (given the premise) and interesting idea.
In which case the Almighty presumably started out as the stereotypical bronze age raging asshole god of the Old Testament...
Hmm, which came first, Yahweh, Aten, or Ahura Mazda?
And I suppose under this scheme communism was the asshole rockstar god that shook up the scene something fierce then died at 27 from a speedball overdose.
I don't know about making gods of secular ideologies - I mean, I see the point that the line between secular ideology and religion may be a bit blurry and this might be an interesting thing to play with (personally I find the question of how secular ideologies might arise in opposition to and yet also imitation of religion rather interesting), and I suppose having secular gods wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea, but it seems like something that could get a bit ridiculous if you don't establish some limits. I mean, is there a god of the Republican Party, for instance? Does pretty much every widespread political platform get a god?
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