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Author Topic: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis  (Read 780 times)

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Offline banditTopic starter

Lesleymoon and I are curious if there'd be any interest in a group game based on a group of scientists in the not so distant future in an under water laboratory studying remains that they believe may be the remains of the lost city of Atlantis?

This was a game we co-ran with an old friend who is no longer with us. Sort of in her memory we were thinking of relaunching the idea here.

The general idea is that these scientists and archaeologists are working to study what is very likely the lost city of Atlantis. At first their own relationships seem to be their biggest concern but in time it starts to become obvious that there's a lot more going on in the station than the standard human drama.

We want to build the game up with orchestrated moments of creepiness as we slowly reveal that something very otherworldly is going on here. Think less Stargate Atlantis and more Cthulhu.

So....Who's interested? Who's got questions?

Offline SeriousMoonlight

This sounds neat! I liked the premise and then you hooked me at "Cthulhu". Would it be freeform or based on any sort of system?

Offline TheHangedMan

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I am, myself, somewhat interested, and looking forward to seeing more details, in general, posted.

Offline banditTopic starter

Okay, so let me see if I can share some more details since there are a few people who are interested. (Thanks btw)

The year is 2055 when a satellite stumbles across what appears to be a square shape surrounded by rings at the bottom of the Mediterranean near the Gates of Heracles. Scientists pounce on the chance to study what by all rights appears to be the lost city of Atlantis. Within a year subs and diving crews are sent down to inspect the area and it's determined that the square structure appears to actually be a large pyramid partially buried in the silt. After some amazing artifacts are brought up it's announced that due to the cost of the operation it's highly unlikely that the archaeologists involved will be able to continue without seeking out funding...

By 2060, a joint venture between Germany, America, Spain, Italy, and France starts construction on an under water laboratory based on the one built on the moon twenty years earlier. Teams of scientists are brought in to study the ruins ranging from Archaeologists to Geologists. There are even robotics and diving experts down there helping with the project. Security is provided by a task force made up of members from each of the participating countries military's. Security is tight so as to protect the multi-billion dollar facility as well as the priceless artifacts being brought up from the dig site.

The whole things is dubbed "The Poseidon Initiative" and becomes fully operational by 2065, the facility officially opening on the tenth anniversary of the discovery of the site. As things get under way the human drama of so many people stuck in a confined space plays out and all seems well for the most part. But then strange things start to happen around the facility and at the dig site. Equipment malfunctions being the most common. Things will only get creepier from there and where things go in the end will be entirely Lovecraftian. While I have my ideas, this would be a group effort and I'd be really interested to get input from other writers.

I like the idea of this actually being the real Atlantis and the moral of the story being that sometimes things that are lost are best left that way. It could very possibly turn into survival horror at the bottom of the sea but I want to keep things paced so that it starts off as small things that are easily blown off or assumed to be something else entirely. Also I'm not opposed to sub plots like people who want to steal some of the experimental tech being used down there or certain groups wanting to sabotage the whole thing, stuff like that.

There are some general positions I'd like to see filled for the story and those can be discussed further if everyone likes the sound of the above...

Offline Eleah

Colour me interested!

Offline Starlequin

I'd like to join this as well.

Offline TheHangedMan

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I like this idea. Specifically, I am thinking for my character (just tossing some ideas around) that maybe he's a guard who is not quite satisfied with his paycheck, and plans to "accidentally acquire" some of the discoveries, in the hopes of selling them later on on the sly.

Offline FulfilledFantasies

I'd love to get in on this. I enjoy Lovecraft a lot and I think anything underwater is inherently creepy. If there's room for an older archaeologist university type who's read too many strange books and probably has a screw loose under his academic exterior, I'd be happy to hop on board the sub.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 03:05:39 PM by FulfilledFantasies »

Offline JDrew Spider

I'd be very interested as well, not sure what I would be though just yet.

Offline SeriousMoonlight

Definitely interested. I like the slow buildup to horror. Just an idea - how about if some of the artifacts recovered very slowly start to degrade human minds? But it's at such a slow pace that it's not really noticeable until it's too late. It could start with little things like headaches or a bit of memory loss and devolve into full-on false memories, hallucinations, total loss of sanity. I think that could contribute a bit to the Lovecraftian horror feel.

Offline Vaulera

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2012, 06:43:28 PM »
I will throw some interest in here, can't wait to see what happens with it.

Offline banditTopic starter

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2012, 08:51:26 PM »
It's really exciting to see that so many of you are already on pretty much the same page I was on.

SeriousMoonlight you are dead on with the sort of build up we/I had been thinking about. Some of the fun of it too is that so many of the symptoms including the insanity could be written off to a variety of factors that are part of being in an artificial environment at the bottom of the sea. So even when things are going crazy there could be people still writing it off.

Also there was talk of spirit activity as well and some other sort of Lovecraftian horrors.

The trick would be the group working carefully to let these things come out slowly so there would need to be a certain level of community control to make sure that we're all moving at the same pace.

Oh and this would be freeform, no system.

Offline jaybee55

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2012, 10:13:05 PM »
True horror-based RPs seem to be few and far between, both on E and elsewhere.  I attribute this to the heavy demands that the genre imposes on both players and GMs.  I've attempted horror myself three times as GM: the first time was a miserable failure because the play rapidly turned into one pointless orgy after another, the second time was wildly successful (mostly because the players were all excellent), and the third time was mostly good but with some rough spots (drop-outs and such).  So a mixed bag overall.

As it happens, though, I've never had the chance to play in someone else's horror RP.  And I'd really like to give it a try.

Three things that I need to get out of the way first: 1) If there's a chance this will degenerate into an extravaganza of tentacular porn - then I'm really a not interested, and 2) *Sacrilege alert* I'm not a big fan of the majority of Lovecraft's work (pointlessly pedantic purplish prose), nor his rampant reactionary racism.  That said, he did write a couple of real masterpieces and had a true gift building tension and dread.  3) I'm also not a big fan of the Cthulhu mythos, per se, so if this is going to be "according to canon"... tell me now.

I know, I'm a picky bastard, but I like to think I make up for it with consistently decent posts.  And from what has been hinted at so far in this thread I don't think I have reason to be concerned.  Nevertheless I wanted to make sure before I decide whether I'm interested or not.

So, if that's all hunky-dory, and you still have room, and you aren't convinced that I'm a total prick...

A brief character sketch: A mid-40s former US Navy diver (a salvage specialist, not a SEAL) who, on paper, was honorably discharged.  In reality he suffers from bouts of PTSD due to a series of near-catastrophic secret missions, the last of which he returned from alone.  The rest of his team, including his long-time girlfriend, having been killed.  After several incidents (odd behavior, bar fights, etc.) his commanding officer encouraged him to ask for a discharge (and to seek mental help) rather than see him end up in the stockade.  After his discharge - because his credentials clearly make him one of the top-10 people in his field, and because his official record spotless - he's recruited by The Poseidon Initiative to first help build the underwater facility, and later as the chief of the maintenance crew.  Because he's not exactly stable to start with I figure 1) He would dismiss any strange happenings or bizarre thoughts as being caused by his "problem" (which he's managed to keep hidden), and 2) He may be particularly susceptible to whatever is going on.

Offline banditTopic starter

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2012, 06:56:27 AM »
Jaybee55

I absolutely agree with you on true horror based rps being few and far between. I'm going to try and address each of your questions and concerns here based on what my expectations of the group will be. Obviously, I wont be the only writer involved so I can't promise that certain things wont happen but I'll do my best to avoid them.

First, the extravaganza of tentacle porn. While part of the fun of a concept like this is the human drama and how it's affected by the horror elements, no I don't want it to be an orgy at the bottom of the sea. Now, having seen science-y types put in a hotel for a weekend at a conference I will say that sometimes real life is even more extreme than art, but it's still not my goal. This is E and I fully anticipate that there will be sex, but this is not a smut based concept.

Second, you don't have to be a flag waving card carrying fan. Being Jewish myself, I'm not a huge fan of some of his feelings on MY people let alone others. That said, I do think he was a fantastic writer and I still love to read and reread and rereread lol his stuff.

Lastly, no this wont be cannon at all. I do plan on drawing from some concepts from things like Dreams in the Witch House and From Beyond for the story though. I like how Lovecraft played with the concepts of non-euclidean mathematics as  a source for some of the crazier things that happened.

I was talking to my friend Lesley and I was saying that it might be fun to say (and I'm grossly over simplifying this) that the Atlantian's greatest successes came from their mastery of non-euclidean mathematics. The Atlanteans might not have realized it but they were quickly figuring out the geometry of space and were using higher dimensions of non-Euclidean space as short cuts through normal space to allow for teleportation and extra dimensional travel. Lovecraft loved his little tales of how science was running a little too rampant and that's part of why I thought it would be fun to say that the Atlanteans nearly destroyed the Earth by tapping into powers and places that they could not have ever hoped to control. In this case though the one thing that prevented them from dooming us all was that their island sunk into the sea.

It's a rough sketch of what I was thinking, and for those who get the idea of what I'm trying to do I'd love to hear thoughts.

SeriousMoonlight, I'd especially like to hear your thoughts on this idea.

Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2012, 07:37:37 AM »
Will the angles start changing?  ;D Seriously, I think non-euclidean geometry would be one of the most intense mindfucks possible.

I also like Serious' idea about how certain artifacts may have a corrupting influence around them.

Offline jaybee55

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2012, 01:57:02 PM »
Sounds great bandit!

And, yeah, I am one of those science-y types, and I have been to conferences... whoa!  Still waters run deep and all that (pseudo-pun intended) ;-)  I certainly have no aversion to sexual content as long as that's not all there is (seriously... where's the "horror" in that?).

Since I love both From Beyond (which I still read now and then when I need inspiration for my own horror writing) and The Dreams in the Witch House I think I'm good to go.

Let me know what you think of my character sketch.  I'm perfectly happy to play somebody else if that guy doesn't really fit your concept.  Or if there's a character you want in this world that nobody is volunteering to play, I'd probably be willing.

Geek Alert
Regarding non-Euclidean geometry: These days the term only refers to hyperbolic and elliptic space/time models (because they specifically negate Euclid's fifth postulate).  Not very exciting.  In fact that term was already falling out of favor in Lovecraft's time, supplanted by the theories of Riemann and others.  Modern mathematics embraces an endless menagerie of hypothetical geometric models.  Perhaps a more up-to-date nomenclature like diffeological/non-diffeological spaces or even Frölicher spaces (because it sounds sexier) would make more sense?  That way the whole idea of unseen/hidden dimensions, bizarre space/time curvatures, "things" that our 3-dimensional Euclidean-based eyes/brains can't really comprehend, seems a bit more plausible (IMHO anyway).  It would also make it easy to drag superstring theory or quantum consciousness or who-knows-what-else into the story.

Ok.  Feel free to ignore that outburst ;-)  It's just a game, right?

Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2012, 02:08:38 PM »
That was pretty damn awesome, jay.  ;D And yeah, I did know that the term only applies to those two things, but I figured anybody familiar with Lovecraft would get the reference, and know what I mean, without geeking out about it.

You have proven my hypothesis correct! :D

Offline jaybee55

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2012, 02:20:01 PM »
...must ...suppress... inner geek... (Epic Fail!)

So, yeah, best if I do NOT play an uber-brainy character.  The other players (and characters) would have constant headaches from all the eye-rolling :-)


Offline BitterSweet

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2012, 03:24:14 PM »
I'd be interested too!  I love the Cthulu tabletop game concept (which is better geared towards adventuring than the books were) and I enjoy horror quite a bit.  The idea of a slow build-up to madness and so on sounds great.  And, I prefer games with a bit of communal guidance than totally freeform/sandbox type games and this sounds closer to what I'm interested in.

Don't have a character idea yet, but I'll think on one.

Offline SeriousMoonlight

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2012, 03:59:45 PM »
I certainly have no aversion to sexual content as long as that's not all there is (seriously... where's the "horror" in that?).

Haha, I completely agree. "Oh no! I'm having too many orgasms! The madness!"

I was talking to my friend Lesley and I was saying that it might be fun to say (and I'm grossly over simplifying this) that the Atlantian's greatest successes came from their mastery of non-euclidean mathematics. The Atlanteans might not have realized it but they were quickly figuring out the geometry of space and were using higher dimensions of non-Euclidean space as short cuts through normal space to allow for teleportation and extra dimensional travel. Lovecraft loved his little tales of how science was running a little too rampant and that's part of why I thought it would be fun to say that the Atlanteans nearly destroyed the Earth by tapping into powers and places that they could not have ever hoped to control. In this case though the one thing that prevented them from dooming us all was that their island sunk into the sea.

SeriousMoonlight, I'd especially like to hear your thoughts on this idea.

I like this a lot! I don't have much else to input other than I like it and I'm intrigued by the places it could go in RP and the possibilities it brings up. Maybe when my brain is a bit less dead I can add a bit more.

As for my character, I think I'd like to play one of the ship's doctors/the ship psychiatrist. She's in her early to mid thirties, and was brought on for her psychiatric specialties. Likely people foresaw issues with a group of scientists cooped up underwater for several months, so it made sense to send one down. And obviously she knows a fair bit of general medicine too, but she's definitely not the main doctor. Compared to the average age of people in her profession, she's on the young side. She had a very easy and sheltered life, not really enduring many hardships or any traumas. Her main strength is her ability to connect with people emotionally. I think this could also be something that turns sinister as the corruption slowly spreads throughout people's minds. Her natural empathy would make it easy for her to pick up on the mental state of others, and perhaps it rubs off on her. Perhaps whatever force is down there actually messes with her first, and through her therapy sessions with her clients she starts to subtly implant strange ideas into their head without even realizing what she's doing. We could play it either way - she could be a source of madness or she could siphon it away from people, only to store it inside herself until she goes fucking nuts.

Either way, I think she'll end up succumbing to the craziness pretty fast. The saddest thing she's dealt with was having a pet die of old age. Creeping Lovecraftian madness on the ocean floor? Doesn't bode well for her.

Offline Starlequin

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2012, 04:51:13 PM »
I believe I'd like to play an assistant to one of the professors, if that's alright. An undergrad/grad student finishing his degree in either marine archaeology or engineering, Reginald Barker has already dealt with some pretty awful events in his life. Living in an abusive household made his childhood a nightmare of anxiety, terror and pain. Being a chronic asthmatic didn't help matters much. However, in high school he managed to win a couple of high-profile competitions with his insightful papers on deep-sea salvage techniques, and earned himself a full ride scholarship to one of the best oceanographic universities in the world. Now four years after escaping his hometown hell, Reggy has grown a lot stronger; he's even outgrown his asthma (well, mostly). He's pretty clever, given enough time to think, but he's almost useless under pressure. An irony that's completely lost on Reggy, since he's going to be working miles below the ocean with some of the greatest minds in the world.

Reggy is more of a rabbit than a lion, much preferring to run or hide than face confrontation or conflict. I'm thinking he might be a little more perceptive to the weirdness going on, but perhaps a bit less susceptible due to developing a little above-average mental toughness thanks to his rough childhood. Sort of a 'last sane man in the asylum' thing, lol.

Offline FulfilledFantasies

Re: Interest Check Near Future Sci Fi, underwater lab studying atlantis
« Reply #21 on: May 09, 2012, 06:00:05 PM »
I know we're only doing this as an interest check for now, but since there seems to be plenty of interest I figure I should probably throw my initial thoughts on my character out there too, in a little more depth.

I don't have a name yet simply because it's something I enjoy spending a little time working with, so I'll get one sorted soon. My thinking is he'll probably be a university professor (maybe ancient history? Oxford potentially, still undecided but I think it's a safe bet it'll still be near the top), since we're dealing with ruins it makes sense to have somebody with an appreciation and veneration for the project beyond its scientific merit. Without going too much into his psyche, he'll be in his late 50s/60s and have been dragged away from his academic post by a good deal of money and a chance to recapture his younger days. Somewhat arrogant, very stubborn and with a fondness for anyone he views as having some measure of intelligence. Not a project leader, more of a consultant perhaps who views his station as more than it really is and tries taking charge.

I pretty much just brainstormed on the forum. Apologies for the mess!