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Author Topic: Cosmic Era Progress Log  (Read 2686 times)

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Offline Murometz

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2016, 08:58:31 PM »
That ebabies typo makes my question and your answer, somewhat disturbing. Lol
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Offline Moonlake

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2016, 09:32:18 PM »
I didn't even know there was a typo cos no idea what an ebaby is till I looked it up on Google now (it's actually the title of an Australian play? but no idea whether that's same thing as what Scras's using the term for) and I jest not but then you all know I'm a serious-minded person. I just chalked down the reference as Scras saying there won't be graphically horrific scenes that people can conjure in their own minds.

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2016, 09:35:17 AM »
That was my bad, i think my cursor jumped around when I hit the quote button.  My phone will do that
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2016, 05:25:32 PM »
I find lists of random trivia, and these provide some interesting ideas, some of which are just background information for the CE, others grow into deeper more profound aspects.

Factoid: Blind people experience 4X more nightmares than sighted people, 25% versus 6%

CE: the more extensive a person uses the CogNet, their propensity for having nightmares increases. Casual use only ticks the gauge up to 10%, while habitual use rises to 20%. Regular exposure to unsanitized feeds, deviant feeds, and otherwise off the mainstream can see their level rise to 33-50%, often facilitating the need for sleep therapy, anti-psychotic meds, and so forth. Hackers often develop a fear of sleep. Like Jhonen Vasquez, the creator of Invader Zim

Comic Book Character: Ruby Thursday, typical cheesecake supervillain, but has a shiny red ball for a head. Easy to draw, no funny ethical qualms about a sexploitation body with no human face.

Organic circuitry? Nah. How about Ruby's 'head' is a small S2 Core ala Evangelion. Ruby is a human/angel hybrid.

There are only 13 active blimps in the world

In the CE, no longer bound by large terrestrial infrastructures (power grids and highway systems) makes routine use of zeppelins as heavy freight haulers. They are clean, efficient, and stable. Tethering to arcos, docking with aerostats, hooking to flying ships, zeppelins and smaller blimps are common sights in the CE, and they are likely numbered in the thousands.

in China the word censorship has been censored

in the CE, this is the application of stopthink, or whatever Orwell called it. Things that those in power do not want are culturally edited out of society. once you force something into the realm of euphemisms, it is undermined and starts to fall apart.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 05:47:34 PM by Scrasamax »
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2016, 08:12:00 AM »
" If the muse comes to your bedside, don’t tell her you’ll f?$! her later."- Allen Ginsberg

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2016, 05:45:06 PM »
Wife decided to take and afternoon nap. I decided to do a bunch of wrapping up on stuff and kicking it out the door.

Started with this:

https://strolen.com/viewing/Vince_Appelhof

Resurrected as a cyborg, Appelhof is an agent for the shadowy Neogenecists. Inspired by the rather turgid Babylon A.D. starring Vin Diesel. In a game role, he is a tank, geared towards combat. Outside of combat, he is an introvert who would rather spend time around children than around adults.

Followed with this:

https://strolen.com/viewing/Luciana_Holt

Luciana was a lowlife smuggler until a ruptured cargo turns her from mule into parapsychic. Inspired by the somewhat disjointed Lucy, staring ScarJo. It was awesome until she started dissolving, and it jumped the shark when she started time traveling. Luciana is Lucy when she is at about 30% brain capacity.

Then there was this:

https://strolen.com/viewing/Kizzie

Kizzie is a variation on the Frankenstein story, inspired by the purple nipple zombie boob filled Frankenhooker, a B-movie from the 80s. Kizzie is reanimated by her bf, she wreaks havoc before killing him, and then getting her just revenge. This sub has been in works for a while, I caught the movie months ago, and it took a while to get around to finishing her.

And finally:

https://strolen.com/viewing/The_Petroleum_Era

The Petroleum Era is frequently cited in the Cosmic Era timeline. It's set in our not quite distant future, and features a burgeoning global population, frightening levels of waste and a lust for war and government manipulation. I think the Petroleum Era would look better if it didn't look so much like today.

Peace out

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2016, 05:49:29 PM »
Who are the Neogenecists?

At the moment, I don't know. I am planning on drawing on elements of the Progenitors from Mage: the Ascencion. They are technomancers and geneticists who are designing and building their own spec ops and human elites. Most all of their assets are in various ways highly flawed, and unsuitable for player characters. I can spin stories off of them, such as Appelhof and Holt frequently working together, along with other more generic augments.

The Neogenecists are also the sort of a-holes who would cook up something like Khan and the rest of his eugenic augments from Star Trek infamy
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Offline axlerowes

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2016, 11:30:17 AM »
I have been thinking about the cosmic era stuff again.  I think you have stated in the in the past that there two main goals to the setting.  The idea is to have a world that has the opportunity to mix genres and setting but is centered around a “apple-slick post-consumer  ” dystopian world in which people are dehumanized but the masses (like ourselves) don’t realize it.   The theme of this central setting (aside from technology and structure that provide ultraconvenient satisfaction of basic needs that leads a strong disconnect of the individual from reality) is that reality is horrible.  Thus a conceit of the setting is that if somebody unplugged from their enhanced reality games long enough to look around they would realize how vapid  they are and how the technology they are using is bringing about their own destruction.

 (lets leave the alien invasion and the puppet master AIs on the shelf for the time being)

 The second major engine of the setting seems to be to drawnin all the wish fulfillment concepts and stories of 80s and 90s media directed to your typical male pre and post adolescent (transformers, battletech, robotech, video games such as street fighter, GI Joe and many more).  This second point has the potential to directly conflict and negate the horror and dystopian themes of the cosmic era.  It is not really dystopia or horror if our hero gets to fly around with a super cool jet backs and use their superpowers for moral purposes that they ultimately find uplifting.  I think your attempts to fuse almost all media characters into the cosmic era is ultimately damaging to the setting. 

Lets take for examples something you fused with cosmic era that I think did work really well: GI Joe.  With GI Joe you turned Cobra into Amerika Command (a pro-classic United States rogue state) and you reboot the GI Joe characters as limited personality clones.  I found this to be brilliantly subversive, speaking directly to the corruption of the setting  and retaining the rule-of-cool fetishizing of pseudo-military technology and fashion  that was fun about GI Joe. 

Other stuff you have dropped in was done almost whole cloth without respect to the setting.  (Yuna Aoki, cosmic era avengers, Agamemnon Spengler, Tekken Characters, Mortal Combat characters) Where is the horror?  All these characters seemed self-possessed and very much in possession of their own fate.  That is when the character’s place in the world is described at al.  The characters are often just given new “cosmic era” technobabble to describe them.  Don’t get me wrong the cosmic era technobabble always refers to the horror just beneath the surface, but the end result is fun wish fulfillment characters.   Maybe in your head there is horror, but often in the write ups it is just high kicks, hot chicks and cool weapons.   Yuna Aoki is the best new example of this.  If New Themiscyra  exists and there is a haven for the morally upright types such as Yuna Aoki are we leaving the horror behind in favor of a good versus evil morality stories?  Did Yuna Aoki escape the horror of the cosmic era except for when she gambles with martyr style for a good cause? 

Don’t get me wrong either, if you tone down the dystopian aspects in favor of the rule-of-cool fun stuff, it doesn’t undercut the setting-it just changes it. 

 I believe you have spent more time on the uplifting parts of the cosmic era and less on the dystopian parts.  I also feel like you haven’t pushed the “human experience” in the cosmic era to something that merits a horror setting.    Are you trying to create a feeling of frailty, smallness and paranoia like Lovecraft, embracing the dehumanizing vapidness of Huxley’s world (there you have come closet), the vicious ignorance of Raybradury’s future,  or the ruthless, cynical, sadistic pragmatism  of 1984.       

Can you give us a cosmic era yarn that takes something people loved (i.e. Teddy Ruxbin, A-team, the care bears, Zelda or Megaman)  and use it a tell us a story that is both subversive, a little disturbing but still pretty cool. 

Offline Aramax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #33 on: April 16, 2016, 02:00:25 PM »
I see your point axle but not sure if I agree with it. The NPCs you site are the exceptions to the rule and are diametrically opposed to the dystopian setting, yet help define it. The tales so far have deeply dealt with the horror of the setting, the NPCs have escaped this. It's not a setting where you are going to play a prole. Things (my 80 yr old mother just completely put me off track on this, lol)
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Offline axlerowes

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2016, 02:31:11 PM »
Okay so the NPCs are heroes and they represent a type of rebellion against the cosmic era and if the story line of the NPCs and (similar PCs) are followed to conclusion they will transcend the horror of the cosmic era and reform society?  So Max, do you see the cosmic era setting is a pallet into highlight the outlines of moral righteous characters? 

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #35 on: April 16, 2016, 10:55:19 PM »
First I would want to cover the difference between horror and terror as I understand them. Terror is a visceral response, a reflexive action tied to the fight or flight mechanism. Gore, violence, and other traumatic events trigger the terror response. Horror is cerebral, and intellectual response that comes from the inability to change or accept something that is going to happen.

Terror is the zombie surging at you, teeth snapping and tearing at your flesh. Horror is sitting afterwards looking at the bite on your arm and knowing that in a few hours you are going to die a painful and horrible death and will become a mindless monster very likely to attack the people you care about, and the only way around that is to commit suicide in a fashion sufficient enough to prevent your reanimation.

Lovecraft

Smallness and Indifference

Despite the great accomplishments of the Cosmic Era, the Earth is a ghost of what it once was, and there are reminders all around. Empty cities, crumbling structures built to house billions now reduced to millions. All the epic level characters written up won't matter in the face of the enemies of the Era. Star Whales would pass through the massive and powerful Federation warships, stripping them of their crews, leaving the ships filled with only corpses. A strain of teratomorphic influenza, a dimensional fatigue event, the appearance of a cosmic horror, and it's all gone. The heroes who stand against the monsters aren't going to win. At best they can force a draw. The Liu Kangs, Ryus, General Dukes, and sundry anime characters aren't going to win. They are likely going to die, go insane, become corrupted, or otherwise fall or fail.

Huxley

Dehumanization

I agree, I think this is the point I have made the strongest, and it is the one I think I am the most familiar with. It is also drawing more strongly from my personal experiences, and observations on technology and culture. In my opinion, this is also tapping into my own personal projections and thoughts on what has happened to us as a society and culture.

Bradbury

Vicious Ignorance

Bradbury is a writer that I haven't drawn a lot of lines to, Fahrenheit 451 would fit solidly into my vision of the Cosmic Era, but not so much all the Mars stuff. I like the terms vicious ignorance, and it fits. Despite the advances in tech, the general population is dumb, complacent, and accepting. That being said, compared to our previous generations, while we may act and feel smarter, we are generally less capable than they were. As the tech grows more sophisticated, the number of people who understands it dwindles. As it becomes more ubiquitous, the more people become addicted to it and complacent to how it manipulates their lives, until we reach a point where we struggle to remember basic passwords and only retain the most vital of phone numbers when I can recall having quite a few phone numbers once memorized.

The cult of ignorance, believing celebrities over professionals and experts, etc

Arcanotech is a disaster, it rips holes in reality, releases anomalies, diseases, distortions, monsters, aliens, and other horrific stuff. After Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, there was a moratorium placed on nuclear power plants and we still haven't moved past it. Tens to hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, maimed, mutated, or otherwise disfigured by failures of this technology, the Cosmic Era is insane for still using it.

DFEs are lethal, and the majority of reflex teams and first responders who arrive at one are among the first to suffer it's effects.

Orwell

Brutal pragmatism

The Cosmic Era is brutally pragmatic. It sacrifices population centers to keep it's arcanotech infrastructure running. Clones are created for exploitation and experimentation in a manner that would leave the Tuskeegee researchers sick to their stomachs, on par with the acts perpetuated by the Nazis or the Japanese medical researchers. Dissidents are nerve stapled, the media is a leash on public opinion, and so forth. I think this ties in with Huxley's dehumanization, as I see a lot of this going on now, with media spin, and data mining.

Where's the HORROR

The horror is on the other side of the DM's screen. The players, the protagonists should build their kick ass characters, the sort that are broken out of the CE mold and are aware of the vicious stupidity, the conspiracies and manipulations, the scale and vastness of the setting, and their ultimate unimportance to it, and then try to be big d**n heroes.

The DM/storyteller then drives them insane (followed by psychotherapy, asylums, and medication) maims them (and replaces their broken bodies with cyborg parts, or grafted body parts, and more body horror) kills them (resurrecting them as clones, or robot copies) and eventually, they might succeed.

They close the DFE, but they haven't and cannot address the underlying cause, they cannot vanquish arcanotech anymore than the Amish can vanquish electricity. They defeated the conspiracy, but only a single layer of it, there are more.

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #36 on: April 16, 2016, 11:09:20 PM »
Re: The Whole Cloth stuff.

I've said this more than once, and hopefully I won't have to keep saying it.

I write a lot of the Cosmic Era stuff for the purpose of getting it out of my head. If I don't write things like the mortal kombat dossier, or the Harold Ramis tribute piece, it keeps tumbling around in my head. That means I don't sleep, it means I get distracted, and it takes up space for other ideas. So, I write it down.

For a while I went through the effort of filing off the serial numbers, but that took more time than it was worth. (the longer it takes to get out, the less likely it is to be finished). Once I switched over to 'whole cloth', the stuff gets out faster, the neat tidbit or cool idea is extracted, and I go on.

Let me give a specific example: two characters from the Gundam SEED section of the Character File submission are functionally broken and only continue on because they have teams of therapists, handlers, and so forth. That is the part that I found while I was writing, that the Federation will do horrific things like creating a duplicate of a person killed in battle, then keep them mentally stitched together because they are too valuable of a pilot to leave dead. The Neon Genesis Evangelion section let me vent some of my adoration for that series, as well as stumbling into the notion that that is what a reflex unit would look like, sortieing out on missions to stop monsters and breaches, and the clashes of personalities in an area full of bleeding edge tech and horrific slaughter.

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #37 on: April 16, 2016, 11:10:19 PM »
I have decided to leave the aliens on the shelf, and you can consider the Perpetual War and the Cosmic Era to no longer be canon.
" If the muse comes to your bedside, don’t tell her you’ll f?$! her later."- Allen Ginsberg

Offline Aramax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2016, 07:38:08 AM »
Okay so the NPCs are heroes and they represent a type of rebellion against the cosmic era and if the story line of the NPCs and (similar PCs) are followed to conclusion they will transcend the horror of the cosmic era and reform society?  So Max, do you see the cosmic era setting is a pallet into highlight the outlines of moral righteous characters?
I think I see it as Scras does(?).The heros fight is very lovecrftian, minor victorys but no real change. The struggles of the hero's are heroic for heroic sake, not that they could do anything other than maybe find an out of the way Place(Figi?, Beleze?, New Themisacra?) and retire after a minor victory or two.
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Offline axlerowes

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2016, 10:47:32 AM »
Alright Max so the basic arc of stories in the CE will be stalwart moral characters who maintain their heroic personas and eventually find a way to personally escape the horrors of the by retiring to places like Fiji or New Themysicara. 

Offline Aramax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2016, 12:34:12 PM »
Alright Max so the basic arc of stories in the CE will be stalwart moral characters who maintain their heroic personas and eventually find a way to personally escape the horrors of the by retiring to places like Fiji or New Themysicara.
my kind of game
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2016, 08:46:18 PM »
The hero faces their inner demons, and the cosmic horrors in their line of work. No one will know if they succeed, because it'll be brushed under the rug by the higher ups. If they fail, no one will know because there will be another contingency, another layer of action, and there will be an 'incident' and still no one will know, there will just be lots more dead bodies.

The horrors come, they fight.

Some die.

Some go mad.

The monsters keep coming.

They win the battle, they retreat, they escape, sometimes they don't.

It doesn't matter, the people that the PCs likely work for are monsters all the same. The PCs are expendable, they are liabilities, they are written off and left to die, left to rot in sanitariums, given field retirements (suicide missions to take them off the dossier).

The plan to retire to Fiji, Belize, New Themyscira (Good luck getting there, that's like trying to move to Israel)

That plan isn't going to happen. It's a tattered photograph left in a bunk or footlocker.
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Offline axlerowes

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2016, 12:31:42 AM »
Great.

Point of feedback being is I don't see that coming through strongly in your posts of late  (the recent Universe 26 is its own thing).  I think if this is what you want us to take away from the cosmic era posts you could turn up the volume on the horror. I think the whole cloth stuff undercuts and dilutes your setting.  I get writing stuff to deal with being tired and restless but how do you want that to change our view of your posts?     

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Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2016, 03:23:02 PM »
how do you want that to change our view of your posts?     

It's going to take a little bit for me to come up with an answer for this.
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