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Author Topic: Edgeworld - Survival Beyond Sci-Fi  (Read 890 times)

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Offline adifferenceinsizeTopic starter

Edgeworld - Survival Beyond Sci-Fi
« on: January 30, 2011, 05:14:12 PM »

Hey, y'all. This is an idea I've had for far too long and this seems like the place for it. The concept is solid, but I have left few specifics defined; I invite interested parties to help craft the space of the setting. And the setting? Here you go...


As humanity took to the stars, various factions reached out in the wake of automated terraformation probes. One of the largest factions was firmly entrenched in the ideals of eugenics, crafting its people for specific roles on the ships and in the colonies. Over the next couple of centuries, they developed a caste-based society where each person was designed into a specific form and purpose; natural fertility was abandoned in favor of the precision of the artificial birth methods. This is the realm of the High Council of the Society, the heads of the first-tier castes (mostly related to the sciences, along with the military and macro-economists), who pass down their decisions through the castes in the Grand Collective. Their home system is based in what's known to modern science as Gliese 581, renamed by them as part of their ancient claim as Concord.

As often happens with humanity, the faction found itself embroiled into a war with another, the Altair Cloud, having focused more on cybernetic enhancement to where most of its 'life' had migrated into mechanical shells. Despite the efforts of the military caste, they were being beaten back by their foes, and even with the birthing chambers all converted to pumping out warriors, they couldn't keep up with the war of attrition. In order to turn the tide, the high council which leads the society ordered members of less essential castes to serve in the military for the term of the war. Thanks to some crossover in modifications and talents, many of the 'courtesan commandos' and their ilk end up being very useful in the fight, and the war ends in a stalemate.

With a peace negotiated, the high council makes a determination that, due to certain egregious problem cases with early reintegration efforts, there may be issues of trying to put the non-warrior-caste fighters back into their old roles in society. To that end, a secret order is sent to scuttle them along with a set of their warships which were no longer going to be necessary. Despite the best efforts of some dissidents to the suicide order, the majority of these warriors are wiped out in the extermination, only a few ships of the abandoned fleet capable of crash landing on a planet on the fringe system they were in.

The setting starts with either of two scenarios: Day Zero and Settlement. On Day Zero, you're literally coming out of the cataclysm, either a refitted warrior or one of the few true military caste members one of the lucky derelicts. You'll need to scrape out your survival, blessed only that this world was reached by an old terraformation probe; the world is still no caring mistress. In Settlement, some time has already passed since Day Zero, and various factions have arisen in light of the need to survive in the harsh environments.

Making a Character

For either scenario, there are a few common points of consideration for any character.
  • Original Purpose: Unless you are making a warrior-caste character, your character was not made for war, but for some other purpose. Since the assumption is that members of the higher castes were preserved, you are most likely from some form of entertainment or ancillary caste. Examples include sport performers, gymnast / dancers, students of unnecessary sciences (botany, archeo-engineering, etc.), or pleasure givers.
  • Position In the War: If you were not particularly favored by someone sufficiently high up in the Council hierarchy, you were put into the military; as befitting their nature, everyone was given a role that was presumed to make particularly good use of their designs. A bulky sport star might have ended up a front-line warrior, for example, while a gymnast could serve well as an infiltrator.
  • View of Life: For some, the transition was traumatic, and they only wished for the war to end so they could forget about it. Some exult in the relative freedom they get in the war as compared with their regulated lives at home. Others might end up with even more divergent views, a few becoming mentally unstable and becoming like the bad apples which served as the catalyst for the Edgeworld Event.
For the Day Zero scenario, this is pretty much sufficient to know. Distrust of surviving warriors will be pretty high among the survivors, since it was their commanders which were willing to sacrifice themselves and everyone with them. That said, not all warriors ended up being so blindly loyal, and may struggle to prove they're as against their masters as the others. For the Settlement scenario, there is a bit more you may wish to consider:
  • Survivor Group: The presumption here is that multiple groups survived the crash, either from different ships or occasionally pieces of a larger vessel which separated in the crash. The location of the crash and the makeup of its inhabitants will define a lot of how a character develops on the new world.
  • Current Role: Small societies will begin to form as the survivors come to grips with the planet, and it's likely your character has adapted independently to fill a niche that keeps him a useful member of his new society. Former niche scientists may prove invaluable on the planet, and skills picked up illicitly in their original life or through military training could end up becoming very powerful. Conversely, many skills and talents lose value if they rely upon infrastructure which no longer exists by and large.
Applying for a Role

Depending on the interest level and a vote on the scenario to use, I will provide a framework to ease communication of characters. I haven't made a decision as to whether to use a freeform or mechanic-based system for managing the game, which I invite others to discuss here. My leaning right now is an adaptation of Spirit of the Century if we use a mechanic, since the character creation system fits almost perfectly with the layout I provided above (the three phases of character story creation fit the tirad of Pre-War / War / Planet roles, and it also brings characters together with the 'pass the sheet' part). I have some initial characters that I can share if people are interested.

Offline adifferenceinsizeTopic starter

Re: Edgeworld - Survival Beyond Sci-Fi
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 12:49:25 AM »
Personal Concepts

I see there've been a few lookie-loos, but no explicit interest. I figure what might help get the gist of the idea here better is to present some of the character ideas I've come with for this setting. They don't have to be used, but can be inspiration for other characters and stories in this world. It's worth noting there's room here for different sorts of stories, which I hope to show as well.

Faction Leaders

For the Settlement scenario, it's rather safe to assume certain individuals will take or be bestowed mantles of leadership based on various factors, and it's these personalities and the circumstances of their arrival on the Edgeworld which defines much of the character of the world they forge. I have for some time now pondered on two main groups and their heads, formed from a mixture of Aeon Flux and pulp stories (Conan, John Carter of Mars, etc.).

The Mountain of a Man
In the world of the Collective, even the members of the High Council within their halcyon ivory towers feel the occasional pang of envy over the temporal power given to the Collective's great performers, and the king of all athletes chief among the source of this jealousy. Even as a member of the rather gladiatory combative athletic caste holds little power over his own life, the currency of fame and popularity for a star of the vid-streams can be a heady feeling. Dyros-317 is a bull of a man, designed in equal measure for performance on the field of play and for show, towering over his peers with wasteful height and frivolous muscles; more practically-built caste members could nearly equal his feats of strength with a fraction of his bulk, but the aesthetic value of the rippling figure he and his ilk share made them figures of adulation among the Collective Worlds.

Fitting Dyros and his peers in gear designed for the military proved difficult as they were integrated into the forces, but just as Dyros proved an indomitable force on the arena, he quickly earned his rank as a front-line warrior against the mechanical forces of the Cloud. Leading a segregated force of men drafted as he was from unseemly castes, he began to enjoy the measure of true freedom he had in the thick of battle, away from the brass and the society's constricting bonds on what he could do; even his access from fame felt as little more than dressings within a cage compared with it. Just as he began to feel truly uplifted as a person, the war came to an end.

Before the great betrayal, Dyros was one of those who found his new, unplanned calling a great fit, and was among the leaders of those rallying for a permanent reassignment. Fearing this could be part of an unraveling of the fabric which bound the Collective, his kind were spread onto the vessels of the mothball fleet, ostensibly described as a border defense fleet. On of the men under him overheard a private discussion between staff members of the vessel they rode, and fearing the worst, they began an impromptu uprising just as the self-destruct protocols were put underway. Without that mutiny, their ship would have imploded in free space as its stardrive collapsed, but brave actions in the penultimate moments of the cruiser put the major bulk of the hull on a crash course onto a nearby planet, the Edgeworld.

Between the mutiny, the stardrive collapse, and the crash, only about 15% of the crew made it onto the planet. After reveling in the miracle of being able to leave the wreck without suits or rebreathers, the survivors erupted with violence as hatred between the soldier-castes and the mutineers boiled over. The taste of freedom on his lips, Dyros refused to let himself or his friends be held in the custody of the ranking survivor of the command staff, and thus became head of the final coup which established firmly his dominance over the system that betrayed them. Despite being at the head of his ship's crew in large part due to his sheer physical prowess and martial skill honed by decades of near-constant trials, Dyros had little desire to control the others, acting more as a commander than a king. Even so, as they slowly explored outward from their crash site, they tended to get into fights with other survivors which led him to slaughter or absorb his foes until his nascent banner cast a shadow over nearly twenty-five thousand. With a population that large, scavenging from the land proved difficult after the first few months, supplies on the hulks exhausted and the land stripped bare. By this time, to their fortune, other groups had coalesced elsewhere on the continent, and so with the force of their victories propelling them, Dyros leads his people in marauding against the lands of the others, using their progress in taming the world to their benefit. The price of freedom is strength, and none can pay it better than his people.

The Wage of Peace
Just as in the history of long-lost Earth, carnal desires taint much of mankind's interactions within itself, and despite such overriding desires, those meant to serve it are often placed in the dregs of its hierarchy. Of the three women that form the leadership of the Free City of Maurya, two began from such lowly positions. Even within the lower castes, there was a semi-formal understanding of rank within them, and the 'princess' of her people, the visible voice of the triad, was born into that lowest of the low, the order-crafted pleasure drone. SPD-Agi|Acc|LSF-1 was the designation given to her, names mere appellations given by her clients as she was passed among them, a plaything of a few other pleasure-crafted performers who desired someone made to accommodate their own unorthodox anatomies. As such, she was carefully made to house superlative flexibility and an internal system that could meet the exceptional demands her partners would put on her in both exertion and internal accommodation.

As Fawn (a name she kept as her own from an automated pronunciation of her ID) was of such low stature, she was among the first drafted into the war for the highly dangerous job of infiltration. As the Cloud long since eschewed its people's physical shells, the challenges of evading mechanically-powered, electronically-driven foes to reach their nigh-inaccessible inner sanctums was a fool's errand for most. However, hers was one of many happy accidents which challenged the notion of the High Council's perfect wisdom that she managed to blow away the estimations on her performance and survive mission after mission. Despite her successes, she took no joy in her work, the dulling of her senses to the alien horrors she faced down making her step away from the emotions which bound her in her former life to her string of non-committal lovers.

By the time of the betrayal, the years of war and her efforts in it had worn upon her. Made for sex, the separation from it began to open her eyes to the nature of her world. Despite her younger self having an induced feeling of love for her suitors, she understood they used her as they desired without any concern for her, she merely a puppet under their power. Likewise, her commanders used her to destroy server banks and sensor suites with the same lack of regard. Power, she understood, was what drove everything around her, and she had resolved to no longer let anyone have power over her. When her ship was made derelict, she disappeared as soon as the dying husk made planetfall. While at first, she feared that her dereliction of duty and avoided anyone else, after a few weeks, her fear began to subside, and she began stealing food and items from others when they rested or slept. In fact, if it wasn't for one of her future sisters in the Triad of Maurya catching her mid-heist one night, she may have remained a human raccoon to this day. Calling herself Fawn, she joined the small wandering band that was searching for a way to communicate with the Collective, her fears melting as they explained there was no sign of Council ships coming to them.

The city of Maurya rests in a vast cavern formed as remnants of a support vessel merged with a mountainside, found by Fawn's band in their search for a beacon home. To this day, nobody but she knows that the only reason the communication system of the derelict is unable to reach outside of the inner planets of the system is because of her expert sabotage. As they set up shop in the hulk and slowly took in other refuges, a makeshift town grew in and around the core. Seeing the eyes of many of the men and some of the women drawn onto her as those she remembered from those now ancient times in the bedchambers of her elders, she grew disgusted at their natures, but learned from her spiritual sister how to use that to gain power rather than be a victim. And so Fawn arose as a lusty matron, provocative and attention-getting in the public eye of the city. Even so, as the population of the city grew, she served as the silent enforcer of the Triad's laws, quietly dispatching problem elements so as to maintain their city's idyllic profile.