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Offline faerytech

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Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« on: September 28, 2015, 12:26:21 AM »
Hi, I'm Maddy. Desperately in need of someone to bounce ideas off, since I'm working on a top-secret project that I can't tell my normal buddies about.

I'm going to be gming a campaign on the Strands of Fate system. As I go along, a lot of the story is changing in order to fit with the new awesome ideas I'm having, so nothing is really set in stone yet, but I'll put a mark next to things I'm really attached to. There are a couple of themes I'm going for here. First of all, I want to base it all in a world that at first glance seems very simplistic, reminiscent of childhood and the grand adventures I remember reading at that time. However, as gameplay continues it becomes clear that every action has real consequences, that there aren't any "evil" people, and that every person you meet has something to teach you and every fable or myth might contain a shred of truth.

Some info:
The basic premise is a standard fantasy world which is actually hiding a huge secret.
There are a few kingdoms about to be plunged into war due to controversy that hinges on magic, religion, and technology.

There are a few intelligent, humanoid races:
-Hunter/Gatherer fawns, a gentle race of magical creatures that believe the universe was called into being by song, and whose culture and innate magic reflect this.*
-A species of highly intelligent creatures whose native habitat is an island surrounded by ocean. (see below) These creatures have already mastered a bit of technology by studying the wreckage that was found on their island. They also managed to blow up their island by activating some of this ancient technology, setting off a series of natural disasters that don't exactly make them popular. The newly separated islands are known as the Broken Lands, and even the people are broken, many choosing to immigrate to a safer haven. That's how they came to be introduced to magic, and although they lack any natural ability, their scientific minds immediately began to unlock its mysteries. This essentially created at least three factions within their species: The Enlightened (technologically advanced), The Descendants of the Enlightened (those who study magic), and the ones who only call themselves The Werin (who abhor on principle both magic and technology).
-Another incredibly diverse species who worship a pantheon of Gods and Goddesses. Their society revolves around the temples to these Gods and Goddesses, and the priests and priests who live, work, worship, and craft incredibly powerful magical artifacts. Children are tested at birth and raised in the temples their entire lives, devoting themselves to the secrets of their orders. There are many different groups amongst them, including spartan-like berserkers who serve as their warriors. They believe that the other two races are their kin, and have strayed from the path. They do not hate them, but rather pity them.
-Deep underground there is a hidden race whom none of the others have uncovered. This race is ancient, and existed before a great cataclysm wrecked the world. They are highly intelligent advanced creatures that have fallen. They are physically weak, with large blind eyes and pale, hairless bodies, and those that remain are of indeterminate age and a bit mad. They commune with the "astral plane" via obelisks, and worship them as gods. Their purpose seems to have been as servants to service these obelisks, and that they are fulfilling, but they have lost anything of their own history and being beyond that due to... (haven't thought about it yet).

Although the world, being quite large, has many, many possible quests and plotlines, the two biggest quests are to discover the source and truth of magic, and to uncover the truth of the universe. It is detailed below.
The Fantasy world that is known as Tyrin is actually a distant Earth. The human race was facing certain extinction due to war. Three possible survival plans were hatched.
1. Space travel. They sent off a group of humans on a large ship, with smaller sister ships for exploration, in order to find a new Earth.
2. Ascendance. Many humans chose to abandon their physical bodies for an immortal life within a virtual reality. They would need servers to keep this place running, which is why they buried them deep underground...
3. To be serviced by machines, and the third group of humans, those who sought shelter deep underground.

Explanations for the creatures on Earth.
1. There were still those who were unsure if any of the other methods would work, but could not stand the thought of intelligent life and all their work dying, so they encoded a blah blah just had this idea just now and it needs work, but could explain magic
2. They evolved naturally, or with increased speed due to radiation.
3. They were created or modified by the Space Humans who returned to the planet and
     A. Needed to create a species to incubate their young and/or to breed with due to their females being unviable?
     B. To serve as slaves
     C. As a test
     D. As an accidental biproduct of reterraforming the planet
     E. Creatures already existed and had magic so humans decided to leave them alone and see how it went for them.

Magic works (all verbal) because:
1. Magic always existed but humans stamped out those with the genetic predisposition to it during the dark ages and witch hunts.
2. Magic is an evolved/mutated ability that these creatures have that humans simply never did.
3. There is no magic, it's all nanotech or insufficiently explained tech. Supported by the fact that the "Astral Plane" is really just the internet, essentially.

 
« Last Edit: September 28, 2015, 12:29:06 AM by faerytech »

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2015, 08:18:46 AM »
So where/what do you need help with? I like the basic premise, especially post apocalyptic transcendence with an entire society uploading itself, a morlock like society of server custodians, and magic being a legacy of nanotechnology and terraforming efforts. Another idea to just toss in their, the larger more dangerous animals from typical fantasy are bioweapons, created by the last factions of the war that ended the world.
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Offline faerytech

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Re: Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2015, 12:53:41 PM »
I'm really enjoying the post apocalyptic transcendence myself, especially since it gave birth to the idea that the simpler creatures now inhabiting Tyrin/Earth would believe that the ....(what exactly would I call the place the transcendent humans live on?) "Astral Plane" was Heaven/Hell, and the creatures there demons/angels. I even had a whole bit worked out about how the transcendant humans had become bored in their world as thousands of years passed and many of them longed to return to physical bodies. They would hijack the bodies of those creatures that would allow them to, (those who had worked out how to do so). The Transhumans would then get to experience life again, and the creatures hosting them would have an open link with the astral plane... my idea was that through that link they could access the minds of other earthly creatures and influence or control them, create illusions. However, that idea was hatched back when Transhumans were just demons on an alternate plane, so it doesn't fit quite as well anymore. How would earthly creatures be able to access it through sleep and meditation? How exactly does this plane of existence work? I would like to find a reasonable way for it to influence the Earthly Creatures.

Secondly, if I'm going to say it was Terraforming efforts, I need to expound on the idea a bit, and know exactly WHY and HOW "terraforming" caused races of intelligent creatures to evolve. As for larger more dangerous animals, my idea was that they were part of the "terraforming" efforts left by the SpaceHumans. Not weapons, per se, but incredibly powerful beasts of burden. I had considered the idea that the Spacehumans had come and messed around, built some stuff, (much like the fabled "ancient aliens") and then for some reason left again. Could that reason be as simple as that they needed to wait for the terraforming efforts to be done? In that case the fantastic beasts of burden would be like Titans, each carrying out a singular purpose until that purpose is done. If not, could it have to do with the fantasy creatures having gained intelligence, with the Transhumans, or with the subdwelling Humans?

Offline valadaar

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Re: Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2015, 01:49:18 PM »
Well, with so much in flux, monsters could simply macro manifestations of defects - tumors  if you will - of the terraforming process. They were _supposed_ to be normal animals, etc, but something when awry. Could even be the influence of hostile elements.

Scras has similar concepts in his Cosmic universe, where jacked in humans could end up possessed by AI intelligence, for example.

   
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2015, 01:59:10 PM »
Astral plane being the internet is easy, there are machines, transcendent machines, hidden under the ground, in space, that broadcast the carrier wave for the network, but rather than requiring towers, the antenna is a nervous system. If you are sufficiently advanced, you will start interacting with it. Lacking passwords and such, this is nothing more than transient acces.

As new life emerges, the life that accesses the network, even fractionally, is going to have a leg up on those that don't. Evolution over time, and there are new humanoid races, because the signal bouncing back from the network is humanocentric. It will over the course of eons turn things into very human looking and acting things, even if they started as fish, insects, or algea.

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Offline faerytech

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Re: Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2015, 03:29:15 PM »
It's a lot of interesting ideas, but I feel like I like the scientific background to be able to properly utilize them. Why would a nervous system act like an antenna?
The idea of monsters being the result of mutations due to the terraforming process makes sense to me. How long does it take radiation to fade, could that have an influence on the growth of the animals?
If I go with the idea that the SpaceHumans came, did some terraforming, but left part way through the process, could it be because they were in direct opposition to the SubdwellingHumans? Enough time having passed that the two races no longer recalled the other and were different enough in appearance to fight each other?

The "Astral Plane". There has been a lot done with the idea of humans Transcending and escaping their physical bodies to live in cyberspace. I think if I flesh it out more clearly it might give me more ideas. Right now I'm not really sure how that would work. Why would a nervous system work like an antenna? Are you implying that was built in when they created the system? Because at the time they believed life would be wiped out...

Offline valadaar

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Re: Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2015, 03:46:47 PM »
Re. Nervous system as an antenna - any conductive path will potentially pick up emf signals, though the ability to pick apart an actual signal would take some major miracles of handwavium, quantum entanglement, etc.  There are a number of species that apparently can perceive magnetic fields -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetoception.  Some can detect electrical fields as well:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroreception  so I think there is a seed of possibility for people to be able to tap into a wireless internet with the correct mutations or organic/technological implants.

The ability to tap into the network might not have been expected to be permanently available - it was used to maintain the system (non-uploaded sys-admins) and to 'upload' consciousnesses into the grid before they were done.  Maybe no one was left to turn off the interface when they were done - having being overcome by the disaster before uploading themselves.  As a result, the door was left open.

Now, I am a little confused - do you have 1 world or 2? If 2, are they linked via the 'Astral' plane? (You could use 'quantum entanglement' to explain how the 'net could be linked over interstellar distances). 


I would sooner blame software, sabotage or mutagen chemicals for the life form mutations over radiation. Radiation, except in pulp fiction, is far too unreliable a mutagen. It usually destroys.

   
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Offline faerytech

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Re: Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 04:11:27 PM »
Thank you for the helpful links! I'm not a big fan of handwavium, I'd like to try and make it as close to scientifically accurate as possible. Your ideas are quite interesting!
There is 1 world, and the "astral plane" is "cyberspace". The group of humans who travelled into space might have a new planet by now, or have settled on Mars, or just have been wandering around looking for a new home planet, but it doesn't count as a second world for the purpose of this... I might develop it later.

As to what causes the mutations... I DON'T HAVE THE SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND FOR THIS. (Edit: oops, didn't mean to hit post) No, really, I don't. If anyone has any more reading they think is relevant to this, I'd love to take a look at it, as I'm just a bit out of my depth here and it's making it hard for me to go any further in this direction)

Offline faerytech

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Re: Need to Bounce Campaign Ideas Off Others
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 05:34:05 PM »
Perhaps it wasn't the SpaceHumans (note: come up with a better name for them), but rather the subhumans (note: ditto) who terraformed the planet? They were left to be the caretakers of the world, entrusted with the resources to revitalize Earth once enough time had passed for the [contaminants] to have faded. In their labs deep beneath the surface they began with simple Earth creatures and began to craft new life, considering themselves artists of a sort. Some were slaves, some were beasts of burden, all were created simply to pass the time between generations. Perhaps they each at some time had a purpose, and their powers reflected this. As time passed and the subdwelling humans began to change and forget their purpose, their numbers dwindled. Finally the time came to plant the seeds of the new world. But catastrophe struck and the subdwellers were trapped beneath the rocks with no way to communicate with the surface. Many of the few that remained died, and rather than risk tunnelling back up and disturbing the ancient servers that was their link to [cyberspace/heaven], the final resting place of those that served the community well, they decided to stay put, and eventually their divine purpose faded to myth and legend...
I remember in a tidbit I watched of the 4400 that each had unique skills that were supposed to help humanity as a whole. Like the one man whose saliva contained an enzyme powerful enough to degrade the ancient ships and trash in the ocean. Maybe the powers of these species reflect that. Perhaps some are more human than others simply because the subdwellers thought it would be cute for them to be that way. The same reason we create machines and robots who have humanoid features, and our media is full of these creatures. It's clear, if humans need to create things they're vain enough to make them look human, right? And in an advanced civilization who is meant to wait hundreds of thousands of years, with no job except to keep these great machines running... I think it quite likely that they would begin to play around with what they had. Of course, many of them can connect with the [servers] and access the [astral plane] so that's a good source of pleasure for them, and a true -after death- thing.
Perhaps they would have created the machines to be able to copy a mind at the instant of its death.
In order to do that... it would have to be constantly scanning the entire world. They wouldn't suspect that someday the subdwellers would have created creatures who were humanoid enough that the machine would scan them as well. Perhaps they didn't realize that in dreams... even in meditation... these creatures would be close enough to "death" to experience it. Or maybe they did? Maybe it would be more useful for the subdwellers if they never had to hook up to the servers at all, but the machine scanned them automatically.
But the really interesting thing would be if the subdwellers, upon being rediscovered by these species, now intend to take over the surface world the way they'd always intended. Of course these were their slaves, their creations. They were as God to the lowly creatures. I quite like the way I'm going with this...
So my new question... How does the machine do it?