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Cosmic Pluralism / Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Last post by Scrasamax 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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Cosmic Pluralism / Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Last post by axlerowes 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? 
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Cosmic Pluralism / Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Last post by Aramax 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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Cosmic Pluralism / Re: Cosmic Era Progress Log
« Last post by axlerowes 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. 
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Cavern of Inane Natter / Re: Hi ho hi ho off to farm I go
« Last post by Scrasamax on April 15, 2016, 04:18:46 PM »
Garden update:

Picked up a truckload of discarded lumber from the hosiery mill last week, including nine sheets of 8x4 plywood. Going to be building a chicken coop shaped like a classic red barn, and the wife is already looking at where she is going to get her Americaunas chickens to live in it. They are cold hardy, have a docile disposition, and lay pastel green and blue eggs.

Some major good news:

I was looking at the daunting and unpleasant prospect of returning to my old position at work (2nd shift fixer, mundane work and a deplorable and inhumane 5pm-3am shift. I had previously petitioned to remain in the maintenance department and was declined. One of my fellow workers returned to the fixer position early, and another full time maintenance person accepted a higher paying job closer to his home, and the department couldn't handle losing 3 people in one week. I have been granted more than a reprieve. It looks like I have made the jump from fixing to maintenance.

I am still on dayshift, and I was given a company phone. Next week it's forklift operator training.

I think I've done it.

After nine and a half years, I think I have finally escaped the off shift.

Praise Cthulu
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Cavern of Inane Natter / Re: I am using a LOT of Strolen material in my Home game!
« Last post by Aramax on April 12, 2016, 05:27:33 AM »
Purism is overrated. Make Taqukaq as grim as needed for the setting. And do tell how it all goes!  :thumbup:
I'm really torn on this . Altering the material I'm using from here defeats my purpose.
I can't, of course, speak for your purposes specifically, but making alterations as needed is part and parcel of what this place is for. I'd hardly expect any of my idea to fit in someone else's game unaltered.
Oh I know I can do what ever I want(I'm honestly only interested in pleasing myself). I'm just sort of thinking that I WANT to make as little alteration as poss.Making it a TRUE Stolen (Strolen) World.
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Purism is overrated. Make Taqukaq as grim as needed for the setting. And do tell how it all goes!  :thumbup:
I'm really torn on this . Altering the material I'm using from here defeats my purpose.
I can't, of course, speak for your purposes specifically, but making alterations as needed is part and parcel of what this place is for. I'd hardly expect any of my idea to fit in someone else's game unaltered.
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Cavern of Inane Natter / Re: Mini-Con June Central Jersey
« Last post by Aramax on April 11, 2016, 02:08:49 PM »
If I get enough out of towners will provide entertainment Fri night or poss Sun morning/early afternoon
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Cavern of Inane Natter / Re: Mini-Con June Central Jersey
« Last post by Aramax on April 11, 2016, 02:05:12 PM »
OK June def, My House in Mt Holly(Basement is moldy)
Wait, is this a warning, or an advertisement? Moldy basements could make for an impressive gaming atmosphere/respiratory infection!
warning, lol peeps w/bad lungs need not apply!
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Cavern of Inane Natter / Re: Mini-Con June Central Jersey
« Last post by Dozus on April 11, 2016, 02:01:58 PM »
OK June def, My House in Mt Holly(Basement is moldy)
Wait, is this a warning, or an advertisement? Moldy basements could make for an impressive gaming atmosphere/respiratory infection!
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