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Author Topic: Sorcerer 2289: Technological Demons in the Science Fiction Solar System  (Read 1844 times)
Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« on: September 17, 2009, 10:23:16 AM »

I posted this thread a while back.

But nothing has come of it for a long while and I just saw this thread and listened to Rob and Joshua talk about making a transhuman RPG and it got me thinking about this one again.

I have these batches of google docs that got vomited forth in a flurry of activity and then school hits and/or inertia lags and they languish half-done.

I thought I'd toss this one out there in hopes that someone might play it or discussion might occur that might break whatever lock I have in my head.

Here's the link to the google doc, Sorcerer 2289:  Technological Demons in the Science Fiction Solar System

The Intro

The setting is the solar system at the end of the 22nd century, rapidly becoming colonized by nation-states, corporate entities and refugees from earth.  Probes have been sent into the void beyond Pluto and Charon; data is transmitted from the deep black.   Some settlers have even found remnants, evidence that something had touched down in this system before us.  Something else is out there.

Humanity is not waiting for first contact to come to them.  Technology continues to change what it means to be human and how humans relate, to one another and the worlds around them.

The Jovian Frontier is becoming the New World, the wild west, the great unknown of its era as science makes space travel more accessible to civilians.   Just as they have done throughout history, human nations, corporations and religions push the desperate beyond the frontiers, towards the great unknown.

The nearby planets, moons and asteroids within the Terran Confederacy are the battlegrounds where earth-bound wars, espionage and politics continue from the solar paneled energy farms of Mercury to the city-states of Mars.

Human space travel is slow and tedious  When one travels to another planet, it is akin to a European in the 16th century going to the New World.  Even using gravity to sling-shot a ship at speeds thought impossible a century earlier, it is still a harrowing 5 month space journey from Earth to Pluto.

To most, technology is a tool, a means to an end.  There are those who use technology to change what they are, who they are or even attempt to ascend beyond or descend below what it means to be a part of the human race.   In this game, Sorcerers are beyond either of those people.  They have access to a piece of transgressive technology that has no place in the human worlds.  Maybe this is because it is from an alien culture, or perhaps they just wish to bend the worlds to their will by twisting that technology that every takes for granted until it is something else entirely.

These pieces of technology, bastardized un-science gone wrong are referred to as Demons.  In this game, through the Sorcerers who bring them to life, they will change the entire solar system, for good or for ill.
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weaselheart
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Posts: 19


« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2009, 01:34:28 PM »

Hi,

I don't think I'm qualified to comment on how "sorcerer-y" anything is, because of the number of mistakes I know I made with my recent science-fiction sorcerer campaign (basically trying to run it with too many pre-plotted ideas). However, a couple of things spring to mind, so in case they're any use in stirring the muse:

1. If you haven't seen District 9 yet, I suggest it would be a good idea. Amongst other things, it shows how taking in alien tech (in that case by accident) can change someone's world-view.

2. I like the idea that alien contact is determined by the ultimate humanity of the players and I wonder what effect on the players this knowledge would have. Would you intend to display it happening in response to each humanity change, or would it all happen at 0 or 10?

Having it happen in response to humanity changes would be like a scenario-long summoning spell, which might be interesting. As if you were running a Cthulhu game in which a gate slowly opens throughout play and the weather goes worse and people die. It'd be extreme anthropomophism, from the character's point of view.

3. This may be correct for good Sorcerer play, so take this as coming from someone who isn't sure,  but the setting seems quite static. I.e. it's a set of places the characters could be and local colour, but there's no sense of it being in the middle of changing from one state to another. I'm still learning about narrative play, so perhaps that's what it needs -  as open a canvas as possible to allow players to tell their own stories.

On the other hand, if I was prepping this for a game I was more familiar with,  I'd add in some dynamic factors, like a religion sweeping the galaxy based (falsely or truly) around what people think aliens are, or a growing war between two factions.

4. It'd be interesting to see how finding the resources to do contact works. How does a sorcerer come across the alien tech for instance? Does it call to them across space? Do they have to track down local legends such as corn circles or lights in the sky? Can they just mess around with common materials? Or do they have to harvest alien residue from humans it's partly bound to?

5. Does 0 humanity mean they have a tech-based approach to life, or that they now see things as an alien would? From the description of the aliens, I wonder if that might be more relevant.

John
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2009, 02:18:57 PM »

Thanks for the response, John.  I appreciate the feedback.

1. I saw District 9 and was pretty lukewarm on it all in all.

2. In order for the aliens to come into play, a player has to hit either 10 or 0 and be removed from play.

3. Static, really?  Hm, that was not intentional.  Cold war on the moons of Jupiter, terran politics running rampant on the inner planets?  A transhuman revolution gone silent in the void and a multi-national science station on Pluto, staring out into the void?  If that seems static, I've made some kind of error as a writer.  I'll fix that.  The planetary write-ups aren't finished yet by a long shot.

4. I'm thinking of pushing the descriptions of Demons are more and more into firmly alien-tech.  Recent re-writes have begun this process.  All depends on their Lore descriptors and the context I reckon.

5. Zero humanity means the character is overcome and their alien tech overwhelms them.  What exactly that means is up to the context of the roll that puts it there.  It also means the tech goes out into the world and makes it worse.

I hope that helped clear things up for you as much as it did for me.  That was really helpful.

Thanks.
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Judd
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Posts: 1675

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2009, 06:00:41 PM »

Posting this up and John's awesome questions have stirred up the demonic science fiction pot a bit, which is nice.

I've tightened up the text a little bit here and there.  In my first draft, demons were just technology, rather than specifically alien tech.  Once I made that change, things began to fall into place, descriptors became easier to write and parts of the text that were vague became solid.

And there are things about the text that I had forgotten and looking back on it, really like.

I dig how getting to 10 Humanity is as dramatic as dropping to 0.  I believe that is one of the many rules variants Ron thinks about people toying with that I dig.

The first character to get to 10 or 0 unlocks a bit of the setting...kinda like a video game.  The aliens remain off-screen as enigmas until that occurs and then once a player ascends or descends as far as the rules allow, the loaded gun on the stage goes off.

In Dictionary of Mu, players create the history of Marr'd through summoning and binding.  In Sorcerer 2289, players create the alien culture(s?) who have left artifacts throughout the solar system.  Did they leave nothing but weapons, generation ships, psychological brain programming techniques? That is how we discover who the aliens are, through sorcerous archeology.

And once we know who these aliens are, we have the angels rules from Soul to help make these beings.

I want to play with the lay-out of the back of the character sheet somehow that isn't clear to me yet.

There is a vague rule that I have not sunk my teeth into fully yet, where I take the rules for Sorcerer & Sword, the Immanent rules, and apply them to planets, allowing sorcerers to pact with planets.  It isn't that planets are demons, but that sorcerers are movers and shakers and this represents their ability to effect politics and society on a planetary scale upon first arriving.  That pacting roll will represent how they arrive on the planet and how much leverage they have once they get there.  I have no idea if that shit will work at  all.

So, yeah, I am getting excited about this one again.
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Judd
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Posts: 1675

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2009, 12:05:26 PM »

I wanted to toss in a few more inspirational threads for my own research purposes:

Solar System's Demons: Sorcerer Science Fiction

Sorcerer Sci-fi: Demons of Mercury 

So, I'm Flying a Spaceship...

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