« 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.