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Development => Writing and Quests => Topic started by: BobBobson on January 11, 2011, 12:52:28 AM



Title: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 11, 2011, 12:52:28 AM
Getting very over-excited today about that lead writing position, and inspired by zenzbitz' thread about a world getting steadily colder, I began to splurge ideas at work. This irritating puppy-like enthusiasm led to quite a hefty plot proposal, complete with horribly premature sample quotes which did, at least, I thought, give a sense of the tone I was going for. I've cut most of it out, including small setting suggestions and sidequest/character ideas.

Anyway...it's not an actual proposal so much as a collection of random thoughts and bad ideas. May be useful to someone in the future, though, and I thought I should maybe just try to clarify my very muddled attempts at explaining some of it to barra back in IRC.

Ideas, Suggestions and Themes in Short:
-a story in which the PC's true goal is escape from the rapidly freezing, increasingly inhospitable Scandanavian wilds, and, through escape, a chance to go on living.
- in which the antagonist's goal is roughly the same - he's not a villain after world domination, just a man whose fear of death has led him to do some exceptionally ruthless things.
-A story about escape (whether from life, reality, or responsibility), about the problems of 'hope', 'faith' and positivist thinking in a world that's suffered a horrendous catastrophe and that is now dying, slowly and painfully, and about individual man's purpose once mankind's mission has, collectively speaking, failed.

Also - PC's written as 'he' for clarity.

*


"I just can't believe it turned out to be nuclear, y'know? Nuclear had had its day, and now it was all about global warming, global epidemics, supervolcanoes, Malthusian decline. Nuclear holocausts were so passe...so dead. That's irony for you, I suppose."
Fiona
 
"World shoulda ended outright when the bombs went off. No sense clinging on like this, watching the snow pile up heavier every winter, waiting out the years for our concrete to crumble away into dust. If it'd had any sense, the world would've died easy, instead of struggling on."
Matti
 
This is how the world ends
This is how the world ends
This is how the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper
T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men
 
"Unlucky is the man with a double-barrelled shotgun and nothing whatever to do with himself."
Agatha

*
Opening.
*


“How long do you intend to remain idle? I’m serious, boy - don’t give me that look. Nineteen months since, rest her bones, Helena Laine blew her brains out in the stairwell. And we sit here, we score money off the whores and the drunks, we play whist…a man’s got to have a purpose. Life isn’t all about the games we play. And every year, boy, it gets colder.”
Matti - example opening lines.

The player is sitting in the back room of Last Orders, his seedy bar, playing cards with his old friend, part-owner Matti. Once the introductory conversation is complete, he strolls out into his bar, and completes a few small dialogue-based quests with the characters inside. He can also encounter an amiable traveller, Moller, dressed in black.

 The player then has free reign to explore the town of Webber’s Post – before stepping out into the woods beyond on a minor errand to check the fuel station. Inside, bleeding and hypothermia-ridden, is a dying man. With his final breath, he hisses something to the player about the existence of a paradise - ‘Bifrost’, a refuge against the encroaching snow with an inexhaustible power supply - and that only one person will be allowed to enter. He presses, bloodily, a golden scrap of paper into the player’s hand. A ticket. He warns the player that a man called Moller shot him and was hunting him for the ticket.

“Moller…that bastard Moller…one bullet in my thigh and another through my chest…listen. The paradise is real and it can be yours. Yours…alone. Bifrost. Its golden halls…refuge. Out of the cold…out of the cold! Only one may enter…take it! Take the ticket! Don’t tell…out of the cold…and into the warmth…”
The Dying Man

The story opens out.
 
From here the story is one of initiative on the player’s part; he can hang around Webber’s Post, kicking their heels near-indefinitely…but sooner or later he will be driven to ask around about Bifrost, which appears to be gathering popularity as a legend amongst travellers from the north. The most-told version is that it’s a hidden city where scientists have found a way to hold back the cold, with immense power reserves and prosperity – the final refuge against the snow. And, it’s said, occasionally tickets are handed out secretly to lucky people who are chosen as being of benefit to society, who are then given leave to enter.

Some of the cynical folk say it’s a lie told to stop the children from giving up hope. But there are those who claim to know people who’ve gone there, and never returned.

*
Main Plot Bulk
*

"Reminds me of a funny story. I hunted a man once. He'd stolen something of great value to me, and as he ran, I shot him once in the leg and once in the chest. Would've stopped an elk. But he stumbled, then got up once again, and kept running. There was something in him - something he had, that was driving him on, - that gave him strength. Three days later, I found his body in a fuel station a hundred miles to the west, just outside a town called Webber's Post. But the thing this man had stolen, this precious treasure...it'd been stolen from him as well."
Moller

The player explores openly, his path being very gently suggested to be north, further into the wilds, getting colder all of the time. Gradually, the player is led to two major factions who, he is told, might know the location of Bifrost. He can side with one or the other – I had some ideas for these factions, but let’s simply say here, for the sake of clarity, that they’re diametrically opposed, one idealistic and one practical.

In exploring, the player is likely to encounter Moller at least once – usually in a way in which the relationship between the two can be cemented, the character can be explored…without making him appear weak or useless as an antagonist. One thought – meeting him at a ‘governor’s ball’ or similar public event in which he cannot attack you openly, so instead trades words.

The player may also (if possible) recruit party members. Much can be made of the value of this ticket – this chance for one person to escape inevitable death. Should the player tell them about it? If so, will they try and kill him and take it for themselves?

*
Climax
*

“Of course I don’t blame you.  You want to get out of here just as much as I do, and you’ve played me well for the privilege. But this is the endgame…and only one of us is getting on that boat. Give. Me. The. Ticket.”
Moller

If the player sides with the idealists, he will be told what the idealist leader truly believes…that there is a city called Bifrost, far to the east, which is an escape from the snow. A place of salvation.

If the player sides with the pragmatists, he will be told that, according to their information, there are two Bifrosts. One is a ‘dead city’ to be avoided at all costs. The other is a boat that arrives once a year to take ‘special’ citizens away to an unknown country near the Equator that’s still relatively untouched by the snow.

In the first ending, the player travels to the given location…and finds the ruins of a city, eerily deserted. At its heart – skeletal remains dumped out in the snow all around – he finds a power station. Inside is a great abandoned furnace; and he discovers that the machine is, essentially, a mass euthanasia device, powered by the very bodies that are fed into it. The only escape is death. Moller confronts him here, but is horrified to realise the true nature of his ‘paradise’. A fight (or climactic dialogue) ensues, after which, despairing, the player can step into the device, or step back out to face the inevitability of the growing cold…

In the second ending, the player reaches the cove where the boat is supposed to pick up its single passenger, and lights the beacon. A confrontation with Moller, after which the player can escape onto the boat and away, or, perhaps, give the ticket to a party member and choose to stay.

*

Whew! If you read through all of that, you have every right to make insightful yet devastating comments about how it just isn't a very good idea.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on January 11, 2011, 10:49:29 PM
I like this; it needs tweaking but overall the style seems to fit.  Maybe we could expand the choices to one or two more than idealism vs. pragmatism.  I don't know how much of the "existing" material you read, but you do seem to "get it".

One thing we have to talk about is the "antagonist".  I don't (for this game) like the idea of having a single nemesis (person) that works at odds to the player.  Although this is practically "standard" in fiction.  It just seems a little too artificial for what I am thinking about - the "relationship" between protagonist and antagonist has to be hard coded early and I don't like that approach in a more free-form game.

I was thinking that perhaps one way to do this "naturally" would be to set up the game such that in order to progress "further" (more south?) the PC has to make some tough choices - and end up favoring one faction over another (faction in the totally generic sense).  He can try to balance his actions, or play one side against another, but eventually the game is set up such that he MUST screw over someone ... and that someone (or someones) morphs into his nemesis.

There should be  a way to "balance" this along another axis, in terms of a player who wants to be Lone Wolf type or Psychopath, or whatever.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 12, 2011, 12:34:57 AM
  I don't know how much of the "existing" material you read.

A fair bit!

In terms of multiple nemeses, co-ordinating to the various factions - yeah, I think that would definitely fit! And the whole 'ticket everybody's after' concept would work quite well with it.
Say, if a certain party member is told your true purpose, they might betray you at the climax. Another party member might be able to figure out the significance of the scrap of paper in your pocket by themselves.
Or even, once you've proceeded far enough with one faction, its leader - your chosen *ally* - may start to get suspicious about these questions about 'Bifrost' or what-have-you. Having the guy you pick as your buddy, under certain circumstances, become your enemy would work great...simply because you've got to know him the best out of any of the faction leaders.

I did have at least three factions planned, as two would be, I agree, a bit too simple, especially if they're opposed philosophically like that. But as it turned out, it was too much to expect to get three slightly interesting and individual groups planned out in a day's worth of scribbling, so I cut it down...I am quite proud with one of them, though.

Of course, the kicker with having that interactivity is that you're going to have to write *several* compelling antagonists instead of just one, and they all have to feel unique...and feel like proper 'nemeses' without being as hard-coded into the game as the example above.  A challenge!


For the 'Psychopath' path...hmm...so we're thinking, Fallout-style, about a game it's possible to complete even with killing almost *anybody*, right?


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: molchsender on January 17, 2011, 05:33:49 PM
The cold is like a leech, you see. It bites you, but you don't really
feel much. More numb than painful. And then it starts to suck the life
out of you. Slowly, drop by drop. You start feeling weak and hopeless,
and then your toes fall off, and then you can't bother anymore.

"Hey, old-timer, you coming or you gonna just sit there and freeze to
death?"

"You watch who you call old-timer, sonny!"

Actually, just sitting here and freezing to death doesn't seem too bad
an idea.

When I was younger, I read this story, see, about a family that lived
in the future, after the atmosphere had frozen. And I thought, yeah,
that's us, that's humanity, we don't quit, we can survive anything. We
are like cockroaches, we'll just shrug off the nukes and start from
scratch. But it didn't work out that way. Turns out the cockroaches
can't stand the cold, and neither can we. We're going extinct.
Everything's going extinct.

It doesn't bother me much anymore. If I can survive another year,
that'd be pretty good. Another two years would be a major victory.
Probably won't happen, though.

"You coming, or what?"

"I'm coming, I tell you."

So, I stand up, and my joints creak like ice floes. And I take one
step, and then another. Easy as pie. Easy as pie.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 18, 2011, 12:42:10 AM
 *THOUGHTS FOR BUILDING CHARACTERS*

Fallout was all about how societies attempted to rebuild themselves after a nuclear holocaust – and how, often, they founded themselves on the cultural ruins all around them, taking on the 50s aesthetic, old notions of morality and behaviour, etc.

So what’s the key difference in the PARPG setting? Quite simply, cold. This is a landscape in which a civilisation could only function to modern levels with sufficient sustainable electric power – which it no longer possesses. When you step outside, who knows if you’ll fall down in the snow and freeze to death before you reach your destination? Every winter, the cold gets worse. Most areas simply cannot use their frost-bitten ground for effective arable farming. Tinned long-life foodstuffs are increasingly rare and unreliable. Firewood is essential for heat but this means the remaining forests close to any civilisation are being hacked down. A great deal of every ordinary person’s day becomes about staying alive – piling the snow off the top of their roofs to ensure that their shacks don’t cave in under the weight, finding food, travelling great and dangerous distances to find wood…

This is a world that’s dying, slowly and painfully. This is a bleak place – bleaker than Fallout, where mankind’s violence towards mankind has started off a natural process…and nature’s revenge upon humanity is long, and hard. So what becomes of great importance to us is the question – how would people react, under these circumstances, with a sentence of death over their heads?

Some of them might give in to despair and wish for death – the existence of a town euthanasiast could be a strong possibility in some settlements.
Some of them, more positively, might find joy and meaning in the personal experiences of the day-to-day.
Some of them might become deeply cynical and amoral, surviving just one more day by exploiting those around them.
Some of them might steep themselves in every kind of pleasurable, extreme sensation.
Some of them might kid themselves that everything’s going to be all right and try to rebuild civilisation all the same, or talk endlessly about a ‘solution’, through science or religion, that will turn back the snow.
Some of them might lie, very deliberately, to others about mankind’s chances of survival…either to prevent them from giving up hope or, perhaps, to exploit them.
Some of them might just try not to think about it.
Some of them might try their hand at escapism, day-dreaming off into a better place.
Some of them might obsess over personal matters – power games amongst a household, for example, love affairs, or even pet projects – delivering a package, for example, or finding a murderer.
Some of them might try and ‘skip’ the horrors all around them – by freezing themselves, for example, in a crude kind of cryogenesis.
Some of them, with the understanding that *they* might just be able to accumulate enough electric power, fuel or food to survive a little longer, might form into factions and become very ruthless about taking these things from others…

****

“They told me, yes, your baby’s a prince. Going to save the world some day, going to unite all the people. He’ll cast out the cold, the snow will fall back, he’ll know what to do. He won’t falter. Don’t let them snatch him from you. Keep Baby safe, no matter what you do.”
*ELSA* (NPC)

*Location:*

In an abandoned building, far to the north, you stumble upon a savage-looking man struggling with a screaming woman. She’s crying out that he’s trying to hurt her baby – and in her arms, she cradles something swathed in blankets. The player can creep away, unseen, or intervene. If they save Elsa, they can choose to take her along with them.

*Character*

(Before you stands a pale, raggedly-dressed woman. She carries a shotgun on her back, and in her arms, in a loose sling, hangs a cracked, broken plastic doll. Her sad, wide eyes constantly drift down to it, and she strokes it, like a mother caring for her child - the most important thing to her in the entire world)

Elsa will not tell you how far north she's walked in search of the "airfields", where, she claims, a zeppelin "like out of the old films" is waiting to take her and 'Baby' far south, to safety and the "old meeting of nations." But any fool can see that the old, broken plastic doll she carries around with the utmost care is no real child.

Elsa's only concern is for her Baby. She goes hungry so that she can press scraps of food into its ever-open mouth. She removes her own precious items of clothing to swaddle it in warmth, and she whispers to it that it will be a great hero; that it will turn back the cold. Sometimes, in passing, a name will seem to slip out -  Joel - suggesting that, perhaps, she lost her own child some years ago in the wilds, and never recovered her sanity since. She can even speak of 'the hospital' where it all went wrong. Her in-depth knowledge of medicine, delivered quite rationally and sanely, implies that she was once a doctor.

*Aims*

A genuinely tragic, heartbreaking character. One whose delusions keep her alive - belief that her doll is a real child gives her purpose, and holds back her loneliness. She finds purpose in being a mother - in safeguarding the 'future'. There is no easy answer to her problem, no switch to flip back on - it would kill her to admit that her Baby is not real. Essentially, we want all the players who thought Minsc with Boo was hilarious in BG to collapse in on themselves in little sobbing heaps.

Furthermore, Elsa's idea of 'Baby', as, essentially, the PC character of most RPGs - saving the world, uniting the nations, defeating the great evil - can be explored to great effect.

The trick will be to make her moving rather than irritating (frustrating at times, perhaps, but in an engaging way); she cannot be a one-note 'mad' character. Baby is, indeed, her one purpose, but she can also talk apparently rationally and calmly about medicine, classic cinema...essentially, she's an innocent. A genuinely good character who shields herself from the horrors all around her by giving herself something to care for.

*Quests*

At any time, the player may try and talk Elsa out of it or even, horribly, snatch Baby from her and shatter it on the ground (the consequences of this will be devastating). The player can also take her to a mental hospital and check her in there (but she will, the player may learn later, escape into the snow in nothing but a bathrobe, still searching for her 'airfields', never to be seen again). The player may take her to an airfield and convince a couple of locals to 'act out' a scene in which, as envoys from another land, they take Baby to safety. She will be happy at first, and seem a little saner - though she will occasionally show melancholy and reminicise about Baby. (And, the player may later learn, the locals simply threw Baby away into the trash). If the player pushes Elsa too hard in trying to 'break her out' of her madness, she will seem to regain her sanity...and then, the next time the player speaks to her, she'll have reverted back to her old delusions.

****

*BOWIE (NPC)*

"19th of June, 1988. As the missiles hit Northern Europe, David Bowie performs to a concert of thousands in Stockholm. The city is struck by the outer wave of impact of the bomb that lands on the Agbar military facility. Much of the population is killed by falling masonry, collapsing buildings - and more are wiped out more slowly by the radiation poisoning. But David Bowie's body is never found."
 
"Nine years later, a woman who passed out drunk in the ice-fields to the north of the city reported being picked up and carried to safety by a man in a strange costume to referred to himself as 'The Thin White Duke'. Another two years after that, a gang of tribals who'd been preying on a local village were found massacred in their shack. The word 'ZIGGY' was written on the wall in blood."
 
"David Bowie is still out there, man. And he's kickin' ass."
Conspiracy Theorist
 
*Location*
 
At some point in his wanderings, the PC can encounter a small collective of heavily-armed, aging nerds, trying to get an old power station going so they can start up their very small-scale, very primitive internet system. They also have a passion for conspiracy theories, arguing that the nuclear holocaust only occurred because the governments of the world had far, far more devastating atomic weapons than they ever let on, and that scientists to the north have figured out how to turn back the worsening climate. One of them, mocked by his fellows, believes that David Bowie is still alive and in Scandanavia, doing good as a kind of gun-toting vigilante.
 
The player can, in a location far away, contact 'Bowie' through a cryptic message - or, if the player is particularly virtuous or particularly villainous, 'Bowie' will come to them. In the former case, he may join them - in the latter, he may attempt to kill them.
 
*Character*
 
(You see before you an emaciated man. His torn, twisted face is partly coated by strange white make-up featuring a purple lightning-bolt. He is ferally dressed in furs, with animal tails and even what seems horribly like human hair hanging from his belt. At his hip he carries a hefty knife.)
 
'Bowie' was one of those in attendance, barely older than an adolescent, at the Stockholm stadium when the missiles struck. Horribly disfigured by the blast, he spent years in the wild, shunned by communities. Finally, painting his face with the colours of his hero, he elected to hunt down wrongdoers across Scandanavia. One can only be, he argues, through doing. One only finds meaning in personal activity - in his case, by ridding the world of murderers and thieves, one by one.
 
Years of vigilantism have made Bowie understandably grim and humourless about his peculiar occupation. He doesn't care that the world is coming to an end - so long as there are criminals alive, he can be a hero for just one more day...and take another scalp for his collection. Sometimes, quietly, he will speak of his father, who attended the concert along with him - and his life before the apocalypse. A life, he claims, without purpose. But he seems to remember it with fondness, all the same.
 
"The music shut off. And someone came running onstage to whisper in His ear. He turned to us, his crowd, his people, and said in English, "There's missiles falling all over Europe and apparently we don't have long. Many of you may want to flee. But if someone hands me a joint, I'd quite like to play Major Tom with all of you." Maybe a hundred left. He hopped down off the stage and began to sing."
 
"Round about the second verse, we heard a whistling sound. We kept singing along to Major Tom. Dad lifted me onto his shoulders. And just as the third verse began, the impact struck the side of the stadium. After that, it's all...it was strange. Surreal. Bodies bouncing off into the air."
 
"I crawled across to Him. Part of the gantry had collapsed onto His legs and His make-up was torn. His face was slipping away but you could still see his eyes and his mouth. I knew my face was the same...I could feel my face creeping down my cheeks."
 
"He said, 'Will I be remembered?'. And I said, 'By whom?'"
Bowie
 
*Aims*
 
A more colourful, funnier character concept - but a character who is  rooted in realistic possibility, not a one-note caricature - and a 'funny' character with a darker, bleaker side. This is a lonely wanderer who scalps those he sees as being 'wrongdoers' - the fact that he paints his face in David Bowie's style doesn't make that any less true.
 



Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Gaspard on January 18, 2011, 03:03:34 AM
I have to say I really like your take on the genre and the characters in the last post are powerfully real for me.
Your writing has the same kind of vibe the writing in Planescape: Torment had - there's this surreal-ness about it, as if it is all taking place in a very alien, foreign place, and it happens to be just that - a post-apocalyptic world, which should be alien to us, the fat well-fed peace-time kids.

EDIT: damn, I'd like to sit down and start drawing : D too bad I have an exam in 6 hours


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Roach on January 18, 2011, 03:30:36 AM
I find these characters great. They fit well in a psychotic twist i would like to see in the game, they show how the apocalypse devastated humanity on mental level.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Gaspard on January 18, 2011, 11:02:33 AM
Just a snippet:
If you wished to further explore the "oven scenario", there's an island near St Petersburg, the Kotlin Island, on it is the town of Kronshtadt (right now separated from St. Petersburg (Leningrad in the 80s) by a great long bridge), that has a giant blackened fort, I believe it is called the Northert Fort, which used to house giant ovens where they burned horses.

Here's the English Wikipedia link, the Russian page has more pictures and more text, though:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kronstadt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kronstadt)

Here's a few more images:
http://spb.siladvijenia.ru/online/2010-01-24/2714
 (http://spb.siladvijenia.ru/online/2010-01-24/2714)

Also, recently it housed a Night Club, but even more recently was closed down, because drunk people would jump off the walls of the monstrosity of a building and fall to their deaths in the cold waters below õ_õ


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: dracre on January 18, 2011, 11:09:33 AM
That's some good stuff BobBobson

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_4ow2Juu7nMo/Sbfa46PS-LI/AAAAAAAAO88/gvg0tJjFS7w/s400/thumbs_up.jpg)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 18, 2011, 01:45:59 PM
Cheers, everyone! The design for those little character sheets - quotes an' all - was pretty much ripped-off from PS:T's design document, hence the similarity.

Gaspard - whether or not anyone would want to use the oven plot-bit, that iron horse-furnace place looks fantastically bleak! It'd make a great location, all out on the ice, rusted and forgotten...

EDIT: Good luck with your exam, incidentally.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 18, 2011, 07:44:08 PM
Some more of Bob’s bits and, uh, bobs.

*Stockholm* (Location)
 
The snow comes and goes in Stockholm, but the frost endures. In amongst the broken avenues and tin-roofs of the ruined city, ice coats the concrete pavements, and strangles the the barren allotment gardens. Nobody has managed to unite the townships and collectives scattered about the islands of the city - those who've tried are dead or gone, despairing of the greed and poverty that causes so many of the tiny settlements to send out savage raiding parties out to steal food or fuel from one another. Only the children run freely from township to township, ducking under washing-lines and wire fences, ignoring the stubborn enmities and all-too temporary alliances of the adults.
 
To the weary eyes of a northerner, having travelled hundreds of miles south through pelting snow and ice, Stockholm might as well be a paradise. Buying up as much cheap alcohol as they can afford, they'll try and find a local girl - or boy - and sing themselves stupid in some grimy bar or abandoned theatre. Often, letting their drunkenness get the better of them, they'll cause a scene in the streets and face punishment by the locals - many a hungover northerner has found himself dumped outside the gates of a township at dawn, bruised, naked and ashamed, and a few more have been tossed over the side of a bridge into the freezing water below.
 
The wealthiest townships, such as Black Crown Lane, tend to exist on the southernmost islands of the city, their buildings relatively intact and with easier access to the waterfront, whereas the poorer collectives are forced out onto the northern side where there is mainly rubble. Sometimes, however, these more desperate groups will band together and bring down a rich township entirely with violence, taking the inhabitants as slaves and gorging themselves hungrily on the much-needed food and fuel (as happened with the ill-fated township The Wolf's Pride just six months ago). As a result, they face castigation from the wealthier settlements - which, however, rarely do anything to actively stop the violence - but the spokesmen for the poorest townships insist that they're only doing what's necessary to survive, and that there wouldn't be any need for violence if the wealthy townships gave out more food.
 
Only one place is avoided outright - the enormous, shattered Dagens Nyheter skyscraper, where the most dangerous man in the city lives - Illvatte, the walker in darkness. It is not known whether he has any purpose beyond malicious mischief - but he seems to amuse himself by taking pot-shots at locals who venture too close by with a high-powered rifle. Sometimes a man or a woman taking a short-cut too close to the tower will die in an explosion of blood - sometimes, when Illvatte is apparently in a better mood, a bullet will smack into the wall centimetres from their head. Only the children are allowed to pass by, every time they scamper through the ruins, unharmed. After an attempt by the Packhousers to flush him out ended in bloody defeat, the townships mostly stay clear of the Dagens Nyheter.
 
*LOCATIONS*
 
*The Dagens Nyheter*
 
"Ah-ha, ah-ha, so you can stand still. But can you run? Shall we find out together?"
Illvate
 
As the player approaches the ruins of the Dagens Nyheter, he hears someone speaking to him through the square's loudspeakers, telling him to stand very still. (Through dialogue) a bullet hits the ground right next to the player's ear. A second bullet slips past the player's ear, bloodying them. The third bullet must be actively dodged with a dexterity attempt.
 
Should the player pass Illvatte's little test, he can enter the building safely and take the elevator up to the top floor. There, surrounded by newspapers, Illvate squats, his sniper rifle trained out of the window.
 
Illvatte is a man with too much power, too much boredom and no moral compass. Remember that scene in The Third Man with Harry Lime, on the ferris wheel? All that talk about not caring if any of the dots below were snuffed out? Illvatte is living that dream, amusing himself by playing God and snuffing out those tiny dots below. An overweight man, who barely moves from his perch except for necessities. Illvatte is becoming a little frustrated, as adults rarely venture into his range any more...he is beginning to fear that he will have to kill a child. And killing children is Illvatte's one ethical scruple. So he wants the player to lure interesting people into his rifle range on the street. "Priests, scientists, great visionaries! Bring me someone I haven't killed before!"
 
And from this we can create 'evil' quests that are the good, non 'Chaotic stupid' sort of evil. The player has an NPC who's causing him problems...so he ruthlessly lures him out as prey for Illvatte. This could easily tie into an evil alternate ending for the 'uniting/dividing the townships' quest idea.
 
*
 
*Black Crown Lane*
 
"If you'd asked me before whether a man who knows he's going to die wants to hear Shakespeare, or Ibsen, or Tennessee Williams, I'd have said 'Of course he does' - and with pride, too. But he doesn't, as it turns out. He wants to see tits."
Bitter Out-Of-Work Actor

Black Crown Lane survives well-enough through the traders and travellers who come to visit the old Black Crown Theatre, formerly a  Shakespearean performance platform, that now serves as a grimy burlesque bar and de-facto brothel. Father Natanael, former priest and bar owner, serves as the unofficial head of the township as a result - and the dozen or so mothers of Black Crown Lane spend all of their efforts trying to ensure their daughters grow up beautiful enough to work in the Black Crown and provide for their family. As a result, the young men of the settlement are frustrated and often directionless, drinking in the bar and picking fights with the foreigners. In the corner, an old Shakespearean actor sits, shaking his head sadly and drinking himself to death. Outside, in Rat's Alley, the traders from various climes peddle their wares too each other, ignoring the penniless locals. This is the place you'd come to if you wanted to hear gossip of the condition of foreign lands - even of the survival of settlements, far to the south, where the earth is still warm enough to grow crops year after year, to survive...
 
The defence force of Black Crown Lane is smaller than the other townships - it avoids being swallowed by its neighbours mostly due to the two strapping, fearsome Nylander Brothers, and by relying upon the many travellers who can be called upon to protect their own interests should a raid occur. One of the Brothers is generally stationed at the entrance to the Theatre, checking guests for weapons, and the other waits at the alley entrance. Meanwhile, although many traders are still coming seeking barter, fewer are bringing sufficient goods to sell, and Father Natanael is looking for diplomatic solutions to his problems, as he faces anger both from the merchants from the inhabitants who feel that he is spending all of their resources on keeping his bar stocked-up for foreigners.
 
*The Packhouse*

Separated from the other islands by a stretch of water, the bridges of Lidingo collapsed when the missiles struck. Now, lurking in an old meat-packing factory, the Packhousers keep watch. Thought of by the others as a bunch of ferals, the Packhousers encourage this view, dressing in scraps of rat-fur and very deliberately taking on animal tendencies, naming their leaders after wolves and bears and howling ferociously as they attack, even letting the myth spread that they consume their victims. The image is, at least partly, a sham - in their isolation, the Packhousers simply don't have the strength or the resources to be genuinely aggressive. Their usual tactic, in the middle of the night, is to paddle across the water in their one-man coracles, and raid the sleeping townships for good. While they preach a return to the simplicity of nature and a rejection of the old capitalist ways, in reality, Packhousers like to show off publicly with shiny trinkets and gewgwaws, and their society is as based on materialism as any in the city.
 
Ursa and Lupus, the husband-and-wife leaders of the Packhousers, are beginning to divide in their views on the situation of Stockholm. Ursa wishes to expand, opening up new opportunities for growth, by conquering a township across the water and occupying it; Lupus believes that they will be safer remaining on the island. Slowly, the marriage is starting to fall apart in public as well as in private, creating a divide within the faction as the two take on lovers.
 
*Salem's Boys*
 
"You know what's frightening about manipulating a bunch of idiots? The day you realise they're too stupid to be manipulated by you any longer."
Mr. Sandstrom
 
Unlike some of the townships close to the waterfront, Salem has never recovered its wealth fully - or established its society properly. Its rough gangs accumulated together slowly through petty violence, only forming a whole in order to raid other settlements. Six months ago, Salem's Boys, predominantly made up of tough young men, spearheaded the attack on the Lion's Pride township, where many of their gang members still take up residence, squatting in the ransacked buildings. Since the invasion, Salem's Boys have lived in relative luxury, eating well and taking on airs as they order about their captured slaves. But, as time's gone, the food's begun to run out - and their prisoners have become just another mouth to feed. The majority of the young toughs are now clamouring for another raid, but the Boys' smart, capable leader, Mr. Sandstrom, knows better - a great many of them were killed in the last attack, and another raid could weaken them beyond the point of no return. The problem is convincing his swaggering, war-like lieutenants that violence won't help, and ensuring that he isn't overthrown. He was the one who successfully managed to form the gangs into a coherent collective, with backstabbing, Machiavellian politics and street-smarts...but now, he fears, even he may not be able to hold them together and prevent them from charging onwards to their own destruction.
 
Not the 'evil' faction by any means; acts of kindness and brotherhood are common. But their intense poverty, their hunger, and indeed, their fraternal spirit has set them to violence against the rest of Stockholm - and the pressure to be tougher and more manly than those around you has led to acts of uncommon cruelty against outsiders.
 
*The Riksgard* (Not completely happy with this one)
 
In the great, classical Rikstag ruins, the Riksgard keep watch with a monkish devotion, refusing to associate too openly with the other settlements, keeping their doors locked and hoarding their government supplies. The military men and women who once ran the township, protecting the building's archives until the Prime Minister was found or replaced, have mostly grown old and died. Their positions have been usurped by volunteers - some kind-hearted, patriotic souls, but also obsessives, petty-minded bureaucrats, and fanatical nationalists who award themselves army ranks and titles. The Riksgard, under the command of the pompous, devious Field Marshal Wiik, have become self-important, issuing decrees, announcing the Nobel Prize winners every year, and logging the 'crimes' of the city, that its citizens might be punished once law returns to Stockholm. Within the boundaries of the Rikstag, they claim, is all of Sweden - outside is only wilderness.
 
Some of the remaining soldiers, under Captain Johannesen, plot to fix up the hull of the abandoned tanker in the water outside the parliament, but they have to be careful - under Wiik's regime, abandoning your country and your government counts as treason.
 
...and more, if possible. Probably 1 or 2 smaller ones. It'd be nice to have at least 4, maybe 5 factions planned for a major 'hub' city - and if needs be, we could cut one of them out.

******
*Accelerated apocalypse – getting you the nuclear holocaust YOU want, fast* (Background suggestion)
I noticed that every historical timeline that’s been played with has set up years and years of alternate history leading up to a tyrant in Russia causing a nuclear holocaust. As another possibility, how do we feel about, rather than creating a strictly alternate historical background that goes back several years, we take one moment that went, from an anti-Soviet point of view, magnificently well...and make it go horribly wrong, fast?
 
I.e., 9 November 1989 - as East German protestors attempt, in their thousands, to break down the Berlin Wall, one soldier fires a shot. It remains unclear if he's given orders by his superiors, or if he simply panics; but the crowd goes wild, some attempting to flee back, others trying to reach the wall first, some trying to attack the soldiers in righteous fury. Some are trampled; the soldiers open fire on the crowd. As some East Germans scramble over the partly demolished wall into West Berlin, the guards fire after them into US Territory. An American captain is hit; his comrades return fire.
 
From there matters escalate quickly. Neither Bush nor Gorbachev want a full-on war, but in the chaos, nobody has any real idea what's happening. As US, French and British soldiers attempt to hold a watchtower on the wall to protect the civilians from East German fire, Gorbachev is told that American troops have invaded East Berlin. Rioting and violence breaks out amongst the youth in the remaining satellite states; disorder reigns. A false report reaches Bush that a nuclear missile has been sent into flight, heading for London. He orders the launch of US missiles against strategic positions in China and Russia. Gorbachev, pressurised by his aides and the Russian army, retaliates.
 
Essentially, an 'apocalypse' which is nobody's fault - which came about through chaos and miscommunication, and which takes place at an iconic moment in history. Ordinary people in the game, of course, will have no idea about any of this. All they know is that, just as things started going right, something went wrong.
 
The whole issue of 'were there really ever enough nuclear weapons to destroy all of society?' can be dealt with in-game. Our position could be that there were, in fact, a great many more missiles than any government left on. Characters could even then dispute the fact that they didn't think it could have really ever happened.
*****
*OLD MA DEATH* (NPC)
 
"Not a problem, lovie. I quite understand. You think there's hope - not for mankind, perhaps, but for you, because there's always been something special about you - and you want to go on living. I don't mind. But I can make you a guarantee. Six months from now, a year, ten years - you'll be freezing to death out in the snow, or you'll be lying on the dead earth with some savage's knife exploring your intestines as he takes your last hunk of bread from you, or you'll be twisting and turning on your cot as the TB makes you spit out blood...and you'll pray for Old Ma Death to come with her long-barrelled revolver and make it clean, and make it quick. And I'll come. But I'll take my time."
OLD MA DEATH (if the player refuses her services)
 
*Location/Character*
 
On the very edge of the player's starting town, unconsciously, quietly shunned by the rest of the people there, is the house of Old Ma Death. The house itself is quaintly decorated, in an old, chintzy style, hung with the photographs of long-gone family members. And, sitting in the corner in a matronly black funeral dress, is Old Ma Death. She'll offer her guests a cup of tea - and ask them if they're certain they want to die.
 
If her visitor agrees, Old Ma Death will let them finish their tea, and then quietly lead them into the parlour, sit them up in the chair facing the plastic sheeting pinned up on the wall, and shoot them in the head with her long-barrelled revolver. No patient of hers has ever been known to die anything other than immediately. Afterwards, she'll drag the body outside, break a hole in the ice of the frozen river at the back of her house, and shove the body under, letting the currents beneath the ice carry it away.
 
Old Ma Death remains cheerful about her occupation, reasoning that she is helping her patients out of a terrible place. Her only fear is that she may run out of the components for making her bullets before she has a chance to 'do herself'. Because that would mean she has to learn how to use the knife. Her services, she argues, are indispensable to the town...because if you kill yourself, how can you be certain you're going to do it cleanly?
 
*Aims*
 
A way to foreshadow to the player, from the very beginning, using character rather than exposition, the theme of mortality and the probability of his own death. And a way of doing it that's blackly funny, as well as bleak.
 
Could it be possible to give the player an option to *actually* let Old Ma Death take his life? Say he can come in, talk to her, explain why he wants to die...and he does, indeed, get shot and gets a game over screen?


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 20, 2011, 01:29:16 PM
Bob again writes far too much. Huzzah!

*Webber's Post* (Idea for a starting location)
 
"This was a town once. A real town, not twisted concrete and a few dull-eyed souls too cowardly or too stubborn to flee. A society, not a history exhibit encased in snow."
Webber's Post Citizen
 
There are no more than a few dozen regular citizens left in Webber's Post. Most gave up and headed south years ago, as the winters became colder and agriculture became a near-impossibility. More died of the fevers that came with the first great chills. Some continue to die every year, cutting wood from the forest six miles out of town and selling it on to travellers, protecting it from bandits, or simply walking into Old Ma Death's chintzy house on the edge of town and paying her to shoot them dead.
 
The player, after years of wandering, has settled in this ghost town, running the dim, grimy little bar by the name of Last Orders with their partner, Matthias. There's not much made from it, only the food and fuel bartered by wanderers hoping to escape from reality with a drink or five - but just enough to survive. The player is going nowhere, with no prospects, no future - but for the moment, they're surviving. They make their own vodka from potato scraps - PLAYERLASTNAME Vodka's even become rather famous amongst the nomads for having a truly disgusting taste but getting you blotto faster than anything else. The local men spent their days cutting wood from the forests and making the dangerous, slow journey home with it. In the evenings, they come to Last Orders and drink.
 
Some of the local girls hang out at Last Orders. Occasionally they sleep with a wanderer for a little bread in one of the back rooms, and it helps them stay alive a little longer.  Sometimes a local father will find his daughter working there, drag her away and beat her; sometimes he will acknowledge her with a sad, grateful nod. It's just the way it goes.
 
There is no official leader in Webber's Post; no real communal aim. Every family looks after themselves - but some folk will always show a little charity to others who aren't doing so well. All of the settlement's energies are focused on getting through another day. Some look to the player for guidance, others to Moe, the old, fat doctor who hoards the medicine and vaccinations and barters them out at frequently harsh prices. Occasionally, a young couple will get together, and marry, without a fuss - the town will play out the wedding ritual, rolling out the vodka from Last Orders and having Matthias conduct the ceremony...but most often now, it's not love that drives the union, but necessity. There are less and less young people in Webber's Post. And as Moe gets older, more paranoid and inept, more and more women are dying in childbirth.
 
*Locations*
 
*Last Orders*
Candle-lit, grimy and dim, this is a place where tired and broken men come to forget where they are and who they are. You sleep in the back, playing cards with Matthias in the day, recording your thoughts in your diary, and in the evenings you drink with your customers, exchanging gossip, even flirting, as the local girls try to charm the occasional traveller or barterer. It's repellent, and it stinks, and the rats scurry about the floor and the walls...but it's home.
 
Quest/NPC ideas-
Solving a heated discussion between a father and his daughter about her, er, trade, through persuasion or by threats, or simply by punching the man out.
Matthias' idea to build a water-tower for the town in the spring; just a character-establishing choice where the player could agree delightedly, show cynicism about either the future of the town or the usefulness of trying to help the community as a whole for free...
The issue of the girls as a whole - does the PC try to take, essentially, 'pimp' money from them, or let them be?
A young lad's been out all day with the woodcutters, working furiously hard - his adult friends claim that today he's a 'real man', and insist that he gets a real man's drink. Serve him alcohol, or refuse to?
Bartering with the merchants in exchange for your alcohol - a neat way for the player to pick up a small assortment of starting-level goods.
Breaking up a potential fight between the locals and the travellers.
 
*Moe's Shack*
 
The increasingly-hostile doctor locks himself inside most days, burying himself in his memoirs which, you suspect, contain a savage indictment of pretty much everyone in Webber's Post. Medicine he hands out now at near-extortionate rates, apart from to those he favours. When he is called out for a birth, he often comes too late, or is too sloppy. Occasionally, however, he will come through, but his growing belief that everyone in town is against him, (a suspicion which is becoming partly true)
 
Quest/NPC ideas-
The player could schmooze Moe for medical supplies, threaten him (is there some way this could result in Moe taking revenge by drugging the player's supplies?) or break in secretly. Killing Moe would, of course, mean that there was no doctor at all in Webber's Post.
A birth is taking place - the player can, if they wish, attempt to bring Moe out to help through bartering-negotiation, threats, persuasion...or, perhaps, attempt to deliver the baby themselves.
 
*Old Ma's House*
 
Old Ma Death, as she's come to be known - a nickname which, you suspect, she doesn't mind - sits out in her pretty little house by the ice-river on the edge of town, where she's lived for over half a century. Occasionally someone will come to her with some food, fuel, or an expensive trinket, and explain to her why they want to die. Old Ma will lead them out to the living room, sit them down on the chair in front of the plastic sheeting, and shoot them in the head with a long-barrelled revolver. Then, breaking the ice on the surface of the water, this frail old lady will dump the body below, letting the deeper currents carry it out to sea.
 
Quest/NPC ideas-
A young man outside, known to the PC, who's considering going in and asking Old Ma to make an end of it all...
 
*The Logging Collective*
 
The old building where the cut wood is stored every night, and dried out as much as possible to make it serviceable as fuel. Every household stores their wood there, under the watchful eye of old Andersson, who ensures that nothing is stolen.
 
*Tessa's Watch*
 
About a mile out of town, in a lonely camouflaged tin shack on the slope of the hill, Tessa watches for bandits, wild animals or travellers on the road. In return, each household pays her a small dividend of fuel or food. Tessa doesn't mind being alone; in fact, she relishes the quiet.
 
Quest/NPC ideas-
Just a chance for a chat, really, a 'safe' area for the PC as they enter the wilderness, and a chance to point out nearby quests without doing so in the awkward 'Hey, I heard there were some bandits on the road' NPC way. I.e., Tessa saw a bright light about two miles to the north a little while ago...she lit up her own beacon but nobody responded. She hasn't had a chance to investigate yet.
 
*Aims of the location as a whole*
 
An introduction to the setting, most obviously. I'd argue that 'themes' should be treated in much the same way as an author would treat them in a novel - they're introduced right at the beginning. So this is a chance to bring in the themes of the game that will be explored in detail later, as well as establishing the tone.
 
Secondly, this would be a simple way to have a player easily placed in the world without a) doing an 'amnesia' thing (Grr) or b) having not simply multiple origins at character creation, but multiple origins in-game (which would be great, of course...but a serious amount of pressure on the size of the game. If players have those multiple origins in-game, they're going to want them referenced throughout, and they're going to want to see the consequences of their actions in those origins. Fantastic to do, again, but such an intimidating prospect that it's worth seriously considering if it'd take too much time and draw too much writing-effort away from the bulk of the game.
 
In this sort of 'eking out a living in a very small settlement' start, the PC can have a past, which gets referenced...but it's in the past. And they can be dropped straight into the world as a character without the player feeling overwhelmed, because aside from gossip from travellers (which the player can pick up at the bar) neither the PC nor the NPCs around them really know a great deal about the larger picture. Enough isolation from the more complex elements of the setting to enable easy starting-immersion on the player's part, is my point. I'd actually love to start the player off in a city.
 
Thirdly - cliche though it may be, there's a reason it's a cliche. A smaller starting environment just works better for a controlled prologue - a way for the player to settle and the story to have a strong foundation before the scope widens out.
You avoid the cliche by giving that small town its own individual character.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: dracre on January 20, 2011, 10:30:04 PM
By the way, if you wish to keep the setting realistic, then there's no water except below extremely thick ice. 20 years of winter is enough to freeze the entire Baltic Sea. The Gulf of Finland alone freezes every winter and icebreakers are needed to keep the ship lines open.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 21, 2011, 08:31:19 PM
Oh. Ah. Er.

Good point. Completely failed to consider that.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Roach on January 21, 2011, 10:20:16 PM
Do You think our starting location ideas can be merged?


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 22, 2011, 01:25:57 AM
Do You think our starting location ideas can be merged?

In the most basic elements? Well, your locale is more of a new, almost Native American 'tribal' settlement, whereas my idea is more of a settlement clinging desperately onto the ideas of how society should work from the past.

But in terms of 'should we guiltlessly steal ideas from each other?'...of course! You've come up with some brilliant stuff - and from my perspective, at least, it'd be a shame not to bounce this stuff around acculumating other thoughts.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 24, 2011, 01:32:49 PM
*The President in his Bunker* (Quest idea)



*



"At 12.31 a.m., the Prime Minister of Norway and 124 aides, bodyguards and government workers made it safely into the Third Haven. The door was sealed shut from the inside.



At 12.42 a.m., the sound and impact of a large nuclear blast from outside was observed. The presence of others outside - who had wished to enter the Third Haven - was observed no longer. The Prime Minister made a speech to all assembled, and preparations were made to try and contact Oslo through the emergency hotline. The emergency hotline was found to be unworking. The Prime Minister ordered all who were not directly involved with communication to the outside world or food supplies to find a bunk below and try to get some sleep. In the morning, it was agreed, three specialists in radiation suits would venture outside in order to explore the surroundings and make contact with any nearby survivors."



*



The player can eventually come across an underground entrance, fused shut, and attempt to open it from the outside. Inside, they realise, the bunker is truly enormous - and marked with the symbol of the (fictional - the real PM from 1988's still alive. Cool and edgy though it would be, best not to get a blood libel going.) Prime Minister of Norway. There are scratch markings on the door interior, and old, gnawed bones littering the chilly bunker corridors.



As the player goes deeper, the huge bunker's purpose becomes clear - a place where the entire Norwegian government could function safely, in the case of nuclear war, with adequate food and water supplies for a very long time. But the food seems to have been consumed. Official records, kept by several aides, seem to make it clear that 124 government workers, and the Prime Minister made it into the bunker, but discovered after the blast, to their horror, that they could not escape or contact the ruined outside world...and as the player explores further, they find diaries, scrawled on the backs of secret documents, and even on the walls, addressed to,



'My loyal and beloved citizens of Norway'.



Further and further in, and the journal entries become more manic; they speak of a 'great patriotic sacrifice' - far more recent scrawlings refer to 'an invader' (you) and 'the traitor Hedda', who apparently began a treacherous uprising against the established order. The player becomes aware of crude traps placed in their way. Occasionally they will encounter a ravening lunatic, who may speak to them before attacking, or flee. There are also signs that some of the newer corpses may have been eaten.



Finally, they encounter an ancient, emaciated madman, in the farthest corner of the bunker, who claims to be the Prime Minister of Norway. He has survived for 20 years, as the others have, through cannibalism since the food supplies ran out - and the agreement that he should be the very last to be eaten.



The meeting will be interrupted by Hedda, as elderly and almost as mad as the Prime Minister himself, who's turned murderous against him. The Prime Minister responds,



"We were trapped; our rescuers could have come any day. Some had to die. Not all had to die. And if anyone was going to be last, it had to be me. If anyone could have united this country again - if anyone could have rebuilt it - it would have been its leader. Tell me, Hedda, that I shouldn't have been the last to go. Tell me I was selfish, and cowardly, and not taking on the responsibility of our nation's future. Tell me I don't bear the weight of those who died...those patriots, who allowed themselves to be consumed for the good of their country...tell me I don't feel their suffering, Hedda."



The player can take either character's side, trap the Prime Minister in the bunker for good, or help either character out into the open. If they do so, Hedda/the Prime Minister will not last long in the cold.



*Aims*



A slightly outlandish, dark 'vault'-dungeon story that doesn't feel *too* Fallout. First and foremost, no mention of 'vaults', the word is bunker. Secondly, it's government-military. Thirdly, by having that very real connection to the past and how much has changed in the instant the bombs hit.

And...well, it's also a chance to play around with ideas of patriotism, isn't it? At what point does a nation's leader cease to be any more important than another human being? And then there's the rather cool idea of having the most important person in the nation...sinking to the level of a savage animal.



Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on January 26, 2011, 11:20:37 PM
Jiminy Crickets this is all great stuff.  I particularly like an ancient crazy David Bowie (or is it just a DAVID BOWIE FAN...) psychopathically slaughtering people.   Maybe we could have the PC align with Billy Idol to stop him!

Some minor issues:  Stockholm is a HUGE city.  Think about how hard it would be to model in the game.   That doesn't mean we cannot use it, or that the parts you outlined aren't good - but it's something we have to consider.  For this reason, I hated the "San Francisco" area in FO2.  New Reno was at least.... tolerable in it's sillyness.


*Accelerated apocalypse – getting you the nuclear holocaust YOU want, fast* (Background suggestion)
I noticed that every historical timeline that’s been played with has set up years and years of alternate history leading up to a tyrant in Russia causing a nuclear holocaust. As another possibility, how do we feel about, rather than creating a strictly alternate historical background that goes back several years, we take one moment that went, from an anti-Soviet point of view, magnificently well...and make it go horribly wrong, fast?
 
Quote
I.e., 9 November 1989 - as East German protestors attempt, in their thousands, to break down the Berlin Wall, one soldier fires a shot. It remains unclear if he's given orders by his superiors, or if he simply panics; but the crowd goes wild, some attempting to flee back, others trying to reach the wall first, some trying to attack the soldiers in righteous fury. Some are trampled; the soldiers open fire on the crowd. As some East Germans scramble over the partly demolished wall into West Berlin, the guards fire after them into US Territory. An American captain is hit; his comrades return fire.
 
From there matters escalate quickly. Neither Bush nor Gorbachev want a full-on war, but in the chaos, nobody has any real idea what's happening. As US, French and British soldiers attempt to hold a watchtower on the wall to protect the civilians from East German fire, Gorbachev is told that American troops have invaded East Berlin. Rioting and violence breaks out amongst the youth in the remaining satellite states; disorder reigns. A false report reaches Bush that a nuclear missile has been sent into flight, heading for London. He orders the launch of US missiles against strategic positions in China and Russia. Gorbachev, pressurised by his aides and the Russian army, retaliates.
 
Essentially, an 'apocalypse' which is nobody's fault - which came about through chaos and miscommunication, and which takes place at an iconic moment in history. Ordinary people in the game, of course, will have no idea about any of this. All they know is that, just as things started going right, something went wrong.
 
The whole issue of 'were there really ever enough nuclear weapons to destroy all of society?' can be dealt with in-game. Our position could be that there were, in fact, a great many more missiles than any government left on. Characters could even then dispute the fact that they didn't think it could have really ever happened.

Here the draw back with this situation, because you are not the first to suggest it... why would anyone nuke Stockholm in this situation?  Or Helsinki for that matter?  It's makes no sense.  Back when this game first started I did a bunch of "research" (in the internet sense of the world) about Soviet plans, and it seemed MOST plausible to me that if you want to REALLY, REALLY wreck a place, you need to have something like a biologicial/chemical war on top of a nuclear war on top of a conventional war.  So, I can see (thematically) why it makes sense for the Apocalypse to be no one's (or rather "everyones") fault (kind of like WWI), but it really needs to escalate into complete and utter nuclear and biological mad-dog insanity.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on January 26, 2011, 11:32:53 PM
Quote
By the way, if you wish to keep the setting realistic, then there's no water except below extremely thick ice. 20 years of winter is enough to freeze the entire Baltic Sea. The Gulf of Finland alone freezes every winter and icebreakers are needed to keep the ship lines open.

Only partially true!  I mean, the latter part is true - and is actually somewhat important to parpg setting.  But I think that for OUR purposes (and we control the amount of climate change) it's has not been 20 years of winter.  Maybe ~10 years of nuclear winter, and then some warming for 10 years and then it's starts to get colder.

Hey, I just found this via google: http://portal.fma.fi/sivu/www/baltice

and this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_Sea#Sea_ice

We might want to assume that the "first" parpg winter (2010 or whatever) is just a "Severe" winter (but with most of the Baltic NOT covered in Ice) but subsequently the ice coverage grows - so that by the end of the game (2016??? really no idea here) the whole baltic would be frozen to the Danish straights (but the more open ocean to the west maybe just has ice pak).

See http://wiki.parpg.net/Encroachment_of_Ice_Age for more about crossing the Baltic as a plot element.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on January 27, 2011, 12:26:46 AM
The president in the bunker idea isn't bad.  It needs some kind of twist though.
Like maybe there are two crazy old guys each one thinks/pretends he is the President of Norway.

And of course, they are both lying.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 28, 2011, 01:55:07 PM
Cheers, zen; I like all of your suggestions, understand all of your reservations...hopefully we'll get a chance to chat about some of them on IRC at some point.

And, of course, here's some more wall of text.



A couple of play-arounds with zenbitz' profession 'origins' as it were - the trick with these, I'm thinking, has to be to get the player character to the 'starting point', giving them as much of a character and a background as possible in the process, as well as the potential for a couple of later origin-specific side-quests, while retaining as little lasting baggage as possible. Each origin has to be broad enough to include a number of professions, and the possibility of the player being a nasty jerk or a saint. And - hardest of all - each one has to be equally engaging and have an equal amount of love and detail put into it. It'd be too easy to end up with one origin that the writers love and obsess over and one that becomes a glossed-over 'type'. With that in mind, I only had a go at the ones where something leapt out at me straight away.



*



(General New Blood thoughts)



(A different style of language to the Old Bloods. I'd suggest more slang (working out a 'slang' list would be great fun), slangy names rather than traditional Scandanavian ones. And, as zenbitz says, a different attitude - more practical, potentially more amoral.)



*



*New Blood Tribals*



"Crunt! Fuckers got a machine-gun mounted on a sled.We going to make a run for it, or what?"

Tak



The player opens their eyes in a natural dog-hole of snow, gunshots and screams echoing all around them. Beside them, Tak, a member of their tribe, is wounded in the leg and complaining. Through dialogue, it quickly becomes clear that the menfolk (and a few womenfolk, too) of the player's tribe have set out to try and pillage some much-needed supplies from a neighbouring tribe...but things have gone horribly wrong. Caught in an ambush, being massacred, Tag speculates that they've been betrayed. Here we can also have some profession-specific dialogue, i.e., a medical practitioner could try and bandage up Tak's leg, a mechanic could ruminate on the mysterious breakdown of their own sled, etc.



As the victorious other tribe leaves the scene of the battle, to raid the player's village, the player can finally leave the dog-hole (I'm uncertain whether Tak could be a long-term player companion or if he'd be better off being a victim of 'Introductory NPC Killing-Off Syndrome at some point) and explore the battlefield. A chance to loot bodies, perform mercy kills, attempt to find out which body is missing - i.e., who could have betrayed the tribe; even attack a group of enemy stragglers, hide from them, or attempt to bluff your way past them by pretending to be a member of the same tribe. The player can head back to their village, now being smashed apart by the enemy tribe, to attempt to rescue the womenfolk and children, to grab some of their own equipment, or to fight the tribesmen. Sneaking in to grab their stuff is relatively easy, but in attempt to attack the tribesmen head on/save all the women and children will end in death...well, almost certain death. Tak can warn the player about this, and instead suggest they head north to try and find a friendly settlement.



...and so the player enters the game proper.



The enemy tribe's stronghold will be visitable on the world map throughout the game, and the slaves rescuable...so long as the player survives what is essentially a suicide mission. I also like the idea - though I don't know how practicable it would be - of a timer on the situation of the slaves; if the player rescues them early on, they'll happily revolt and still be strong enough to do so. If the player waits too long, some of them will have died - but more will have married into the tribe and forgotten who the player is.



*New Blood - Wild*



"Wolf-boy. Saw one of these out in the woods south of Oslo once. Little shit's barely even human."

Hunter



I had a think about this and I actually do like this idea a lot - but its success would be contigent on whether or not we allow non-dialogue in, er, dialogue. My point is, we can compellingly create a 'child raised by wolves' scenario with something like 'Wolf: (Old Grey stares at you. Then, gently, he touches his snout against your wrist. It's a submissive gesture. For now, at least, you've won)' but you can't do it with 'Wolf: Arrroooo!'. It also relies on being realistic - I'm actually thinking 'child lives alongside wolves' rather than 'raised by wolves'. Closer to Shaun Ellis than Romulus and Remus - the player is suffered to live with them, running with the pack, occasionally coming into conflict with the big males, eating their food...but the wolves must always remain wild animals rather than faithful doggy companions.



The player wakes in a heap of fur on the floor of an old abandoned shack. A few tattered books remain around the hut from which, it is suggested, the player's learnt a small amount of reading and writing. As the wolves doze, the player can interact with them, help themselves to a reindeer carcass, etc. The player will have around their neck an old golden keepsake - they don't understand its significance, but feel that it's important.



Once outside in the snow, the player and the pack will attempt to hunt a reindeer - but are attacked by hunters. Shots ring out; the pack flees. The player can run with them, or attempt to stand and fight. As the pack is gunned down, the player is knocked to the ground. The hunters, finding nothing of worth on the player, snatch the keepsake and crack the player unconscious.



The player wakes a second time - amongst the tortured, skinned bodies of their pack. Only one body is missing (leading to a gentle sidequest in which the player can later track down the last pack member, who's become a grizzled, aging lone wolf). With nowhere to go, the player heads south and into the game proper...and, should they choose to track the hunters down and retrieve the keepsake, they can enter a quest in which they discover the identity of their parents and how they came to be abandoned to the wild...



The issue with this is dialogue. Do we want a whole sub-set of 'primitive' dialogue for a player who's been raised in the wild and cannot, therefore, speak fluently?



*Oldsters - Civilized*



"A man's got to eat, doesn't he? So he's got to work, he's got to use his hands. Tell me, kid...what are your hands prepared to do in order to feed your mouth?"

Gamel



I really, really like the idea of having a 'mundane' set-up that's just as involving and exciting as the action-y ones - think the plight of the dockworkers in The Wire. The player doesn't head into the game proper because the baddie murders their village or they get given a quest...they head out because there's no work in their town and they can't afford to buy anything.



The lumber mill where the player works is being closed down by Larsson, its owner, who claims it's going out of business because he can no longer afford to run it. As Larsson makes the announcement, the player's fellow workers complain and groan. Some of them say they'll head east to try and find work (hint, hint); some mutter that Larsson's hoarding cash and supplies for himself. The player fast finds that food is rapidly becoming unaffordable.



The player can head out with the streams of unemployed workers...or sneak into Larsson's house and try to steal from him/murder him. There isn't, as it turns out, that much money there, and the player will then find themselves hunted by the local law enforcement, causing them to flee into the wilderness and into the game proper. Desperation can also drive them to find unethical work in the town with Gamel, leader of a local gang of criminals, depending on their profession - a medic gets hired to torture a prisoner, a war veteran, obviously, is the muscle, a scientist might be asked to water down a drug shipment with dodgy ingredients to make it last longer. Eventually they will be given the chance to get paid work with Gamel's higher-ups in a larger settlement, leading them...you guessed it...into the game proper.



























Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Gaspard on January 28, 2011, 05:41:35 PM
I haven't the time right this moment to reply, but just to have it out in the writing forums:
I think the character origins could (should) have an impact throughout the game - as dialogue options + else.
Like in Fallout 2 the NPCs addressed the PC as "tribal" 'til the very end of the game, sadly it had no real effect on gameplay...


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on January 28, 2011, 05:42:50 PM
I'm not so sure it should. THat would essentially lock you into some things, which sounds a bit... like a class.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on January 28, 2011, 09:51:43 PM
I actually just wrote this in the Gameplay art.  But only on my draft copy.
I think that your origin should influence how others view you.  This means both "reputation" and general "get-along-ness" but also can influence dialog options/branches/text.

It's really up to the individual quest/dialog writer as to how much this (or any other "mod") effects the branch.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Gaspard on January 29, 2011, 01:34:34 AM
I'm not so sure it should. THat would essentially lock you into some things, which sounds a bit... like a class.

why class ? if you're an oldster then you're "from before" and doesn't matter whether you're a car mechanic or a peddler (more of a class class) - you're still an oldster. I would think it interesting if certain characters take that into account when dealing with you.

also - what zenbitz said - it's up to the writers how much effect the origin has on any given situation or dealings with a given char


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on January 29, 2011, 02:04:50 AM
Very true. My objection isn't particularly strong, so i'll withdraw it.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: molchsender on January 31, 2011, 01:46:08 PM
*Accelerated apocalypse – getting you the nuclear holocaust YOU want, fast* (Background suggestion)
I noticed that every historical timeline that’s been played with has set up years and years of alternate history leading up to a tyrant in Russia causing a nuclear holocaust. As another possibility, how do we feel about, rather than creating a strictly alternate historical background that goes back several years, we take one moment that went, from an anti-Soviet point of view, magnificently well...and make it go horribly wrong, fast?

We came close to nuclear war several times. I noticed the wiki mentions "Able Archer", which might have been the closest shave, in 1983. Apparently, the Soviets were afraid that NATO would strike first. And at the time, I considered that likely, too. Those were the Reagan years, after all.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on January 31, 2011, 04:27:30 PM
A tatty faction proposal and an NPC proposal below; I hope - nay, expect - that anyone who reads the 'Ubermensh' joke will groan and put their head in their hands.


http://wiki.parpg.net/Mensh (http://wiki.parpg.net/Mensh)

http://wiki.parpg.net/Konstantin_Ekk (http://wiki.parpg.net/Konstantin_Ekk)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 01, 2011, 05:30:12 PM
MORE!

I'm just starting to consider the nature of factions now, and play with ideas for that...because actually, the specifics of the plot and characters will all bleed into the factions, the little societies that inform the social/cultural landscape of the game...

http://wiki.parpg.net/Hvalbyen (http://wiki.parpg.net/Hvalbyen) - a water-based settlement controlling trade and policing the waters in the strait of Skagerrak.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on February 01, 2011, 06:49:09 PM
You have inspired me Bobson. I'll get to work on my faction idea sometime.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 03, 2011, 03:46:31 PM
Two more faction ideas:

http://wiki.parpg.net/Red_Guard (http://wiki.parpg.net/Red_Guard)

http://wiki.parpg.net/Sins (http://wiki.parpg.net/Sins)

It's a slow week at work. What, you couldn't tell?


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Gaspard on February 03, 2011, 04:36:07 PM
Hm, I instantly grew a liking for the Sins. Are you thinking of them as a pure-blood Inuit/Eskimo peoples or mixed with post-war wanderers ?


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 03, 2011, 05:00:06 PM
Well, I was lifting aspects of their lifestyle/the way they're treated in 'civilised society' fairly wholesale from Inuits, definitely. As to their actual provenance, I was going much more for a kind of mix of tribes and devolved Scandanavians - the idea being that lone survivors from the different nations, having spent years in the wilds, have banded together, picked up patches of each other's language, and become slowly feral - mingling with the tribes in the far north. That in a particular tribe, the PC might be likely to find an elder with perfect, though ill-practised use of in-game English...who was, in a former life, a stockbroker, but who barely remembers it!

The notion, essentially, of people who very deliberately, though unconsciously, choose to repress their memories of modern society, because modern society destroyed them - that the horrors of nuclear devastation could cause a psychic gap, if you like, a return to primal infancy, joining with existing primitive peoples and immersing themselves into that culture. The idea, if you like, that you could have a quest where a husband's searching for his wife who's been 'kidnapped' by the Sins, but who has in fact joined them, found a husband amongst them, and who now appears not to remember him at all.

Bit out there, I know. Sounds less convincing written like that.

And, yes, this is the sort of stuff that could have been included in the wiki entry.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on February 04, 2011, 03:49:26 AM

Sins I like, although seems a bit too generic for a faction.  More like a group of factions.

Contrarily, Mensh seem way too much for a faction.    Like I can see a few individuals with this mindset - maybe even they know each other, but it seems TOO quirky to be a serious "faction".    I like the quirkyness, but I don't see it being a "thing" with religious like status. 

The Red Guards?  Implausible as written.  I mean I cannot see a whole lot of native Norwegians and certainly NOT Finns going Russkie.  Consider that there ZERO possibility that Scandanvian nations intentionally got into WWIII.... not even Norway (in NATO).  So I would imagine the "default" native stance of any survivor or decendent raised by survivors to be strongly anti-russian, and secondarily anti-american/british. 

That being said, the details of this faction are pretty good.  I can see them either in strongly pro-russian areas (Kaliningrad), or maybe MAYBE in a little socialist swedish enclave.  Near Stockholm.  For http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome.

Hvalbyen is good.  Very good.   And fits with "pre end game baltic crossing" in draft story framework.
Note that not only are refugees a problem, but if the Skaggarak freezes (possibly outside of game), Hvalbyen loses it's "moat".


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 04, 2011, 09:25:59 AM
(Bob gloats at having correctly gauged zenbitz' aversion to Russian-based factions)

As to the Sins - absolutely, it was always my plan to go on to detail the idiosyncracies of the tribes themselves, while keeping that 'view' of them amongst others as being a single entity. But I'd only, er, come up with one so far, so I thought it best to leave 'em out for now.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 06, 2011, 11:13:05 PM
MORE FACTIONS! Stagsfire is very clearly in need of fleshing out and is currently just as focused on a single NPC as on the faction. I also need to start thinking of alternative names. Too many darn Ss.

http://wiki.parpg.net/Savos

http://wiki.parpg.net/Stagsfire


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on February 07, 2011, 12:10:27 AM
Bob, you're starting to steal all the good ideas. I reckon we should just leave you to make all the factions (while humbly submitting whatever travesties we have to offer).

Oh, by the way, I really like both of them.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 07, 2011, 12:49:22 PM
Oh, no. You don't get off that easily. Write up your cowboy and viking proposals. ;)

In the meantime, here's another gang faction; this one being closer to a seedy, bloated City Of God-style organisation. I think I like it a bit better than the previous one.

http://wiki.parpg.net/Ostling (http://wiki.parpg.net/Ostling)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on February 07, 2011, 03:22:30 PM
I could put this somewhere else, but this is the place it's most likely to get noticed (Translation: Bob, I'm hijacking your thread).

http://wiki.parpg.net/Cowboy_Cultists


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 07, 2011, 09:19:31 PM
THOUGHTS OF BOB TO CONSIDER FOR WHEN YOU FLESH OUT THIS FACTION, O HIJACKER OF THREADS.

1) Cowboy Cultists is your name for them. They aren't going to call themselves that, because it implies that they aren’t real cowboys. So what's their name?

2) You want to avoid kitsch, I'm thinking. So I'd play to the grotesque ironies of the situation - the idea of children playing cowboys and injuns...with real guns. Lynching people.

3) In your fluff bit, you have one of the kids quoting Conan the Barbarian, which, obviously, isn't a cowboy film. Which raises the question...if they have other film genres, why cowboys? What is it about cowboys that makes them want to act like them and not, say, like sword-wielding barbarians? If it’s just, as you say, about wanting to kill on a whim…then why does it have to be cowboys?

4) The TV issue. I've just started to read your response in the logs, where you suggested they might have their own generator. But this leads us to two problems. If it's solar power or wind power, it's deeply unreliable, and must be conserved. If it's an unrenewable power source, it needs to be saved up. Either way, it seems pretty unlikely that they'd have enough power to waste on watching movies again and again and again when they need it for heat, lights, etc., first and foremost. Have you considered having the Elder *telling*them the stories of the cowboy films he himself adored as a child? It removes the whole obstacle, and it adds a layer of irony to the fact that he’s horrified by the way their fantasies end up playing out in reality.

5) The Elder himself. His plight seems the most interesting. Does he try to rid them of the fantasy, or does he go along with it?

6) Why does the orphanage have money/spare supplies to spend on a presumably huge stockpile of guns? Who is this arms trader who’s able and willing to provide children with all of these weapons that happen to be outdated six-shooters?

7) I think there’s a serious problem with your trying to make these guys a big faction. It just isn’t conceivable for a single orphanage, in a single location in the wilderness, to continually pump out the kind of manpower you suggest in the later paragraphs.  There’s just no way enough orphans would keep turning up.  Even if we’re thinking that a lot of children in the game will be orphans – bear in mind, they’re just kids. They’ll be far more likely to latch on to the nearest adult than to trek hundreds of miles on foot to find some orphanage. Even if we accept that the cowboys themselves are travelling far afield picking up other kids, that’s quite hard to swallow, so I’d advise you to keep it smaller-scale.

8) Problems with the behaviour of the children once they head out of the orphanage. Kids/adolescents are deeply impressionable in a group – definitely. But once they’re on their own,  in the big wide scary world, I’m not sure how likely they are to keep up their cowboy charade.

9) Problems with the reactions towards the children. One kid being treated as a sheriff in a small town, sure.  But this is a bad, bad world we’re creating – why would a grown man pander to the whims of some snot-nosed, deluded kid who isn’t even that good a shot with their antiquated pistol? (It seems especially odd to treat them as sheriffs if they’re rebellious and like killing people).

Hope that ain’t too critical.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on February 08, 2011, 04:17:11 AM
Savos - Oh yay, super finns   :-\.    Remind me to have the Finnish army get annihilated by the Russians in the first 2 days of the war.    Actually, I like the design.  Even as a Finn.  But maybe 1 guy, not a  a legion of crypto-fascist dead shots for hire. 

Stafsfire - So, don't you require some sort of Law and Order to have a criminal organization?    I mean, feudalism is essentially a protection racket.   So, this faction looks to me like what passes for a "government" in parpg-land.

Ditto Ostling... although both are well written.  I think that they should be re-cast as islands of stability rather than "extra legal" organizations.

We should probably just have a "Factions" thread and an "NPCs" thread.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 08, 2011, 05:11:36 PM
Savos - Oh yay, super finns   :-\.    Remind me to have the Finnish army get annihilated by the Russians in the first 2 days of the war.    Actually, I like the design.  Even as a Finn.  But maybe 1 guy, not a  a legion of crypto-fascist dead shots for hire. 

Stafsfire - So, don't you require some sort of Law and Order to have a criminal organization?    I mean, feudalism is essentially a protection racket.   So, this faction looks to me like what passes for a "government" in parpg-land.

Ditto Ostling... although both are well written.  I think that they should be re-cast as islands of stability rather than "extra legal" organizations.

We should probably just have a "Factions" thread and an "NPCs" thread.

Totally agree with you about the two gang factions.

Savos...did I miss something? Why the Finn hate?


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on February 08, 2011, 07:43:09 PM

Savos...did I miss something? Why the Finn hate?

It's not Finn hate, it's Finns as "super soldiers" based on performance in Winter War 39-40 hate.

Speaking of which, if you guys like history - maybe throw in something to Sweden's golden age 1600-1700, Gustavus Adolphus, Charles XII...


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Yorum on February 10, 2011, 10:58:47 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakkapeliitta

From the Swedens golden age.
Under the command of King Gustavus Adolphus.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Ninjerk on February 11, 2011, 03:17:40 AM
The notion, essentially, of people who very deliberately, though unconsciously, choose to repress their memories of modern society, because modern society destroyed them - that the horrors of nuclear devastation could cause a psychic gap, if you like, a return to primal infancy, joining with existing primitive peoples and immersing themselves into that culture. The idea, if you like, that you could have a quest where a husband's searching for his wife who's been 'kidnapped' by the Sins, but who has in fact joined them, found a husband amongst them, and who now appears not to remember him at all.

Bit out there, I know. Sounds less convincing written like that.

And, yes, this is the sort of stuff that could have been included in the wiki entry.

Someone's been watching the Searchers :P


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 14, 2011, 02:44:46 PM
Someone's been watching the Searchers :P

Not recently, actually!

A couple more-

http://wiki.parpg.net/SCUC (http://wiki.parpg.net/SCUC)

http://wiki.parpg.net/Trollkyrka (http://wiki.parpg.net/Trollkyrka)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Ninjerk on February 15, 2011, 01:58:38 AM
That faction would make for an interesting homage quest.  The two newer factions look interesting.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on February 15, 2011, 02:03:03 AM
I'm not sure we need more religious groups. We've got a whole bunch of cults and beliefs going round, so why do we really need any more?


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 15, 2011, 09:25:32 AM
I'm not sure we need more religious groups. We've got a whole bunch of cults and beliefs going round, so why do we really need any more?

We-ell, if we're going to have *any* religious groups at all, I'm pretty sure Christianity is going to have to be one of them. What with the...Christianity...in Scandinavia and everything.

It's just a faction bank, Ro. We're going to want to have more factions than we want or can handle. That way we can cherry-pick 'em. But if you're saying that we shouldn't consider writing any Catholic or pagan groups because I've already come up with some Communists and you've written about some kids that think they're cowboys...nah. It's just not the same thing.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on February 15, 2011, 01:40:27 PM
Of course not, Bobson.

But these don't really seem like particularly interesting ways to go with the religious theme. You've got some fairly bog-standard christians and some misunderstood pagan guys that live in a forest. As religious groups, those two just... seem kinda lame. There's not much to them, because they're just the archetypes of their particular religion.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 15, 2011, 02:11:32 PM
We may have to agree to disagree on that one, mon ami. I take the point about the pagan folk needing a certain edge and nuance that they currently lack, but I definitely, definitely don't think that it's a good idea to force a Christian organisation to have a major 'twist' - it's going to have to have archetypal elements, because it's meant to be a realistic continuation of the existing, real-life religion. As I have (frequently now!) moaned before, you find the interesting stuff in the details, characters and internal politics of a faction, not in it having a wacky or extreme philosophy. You could describe the NCR as being 'just a bunch of soldiers', for example. Which is true, but that realistic (dull?) set-up allows for endless nuance.

...but I'm being a gwumpy baby stamping his foot.  Let's have a spirited chat about this on IRC at some point.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 23, 2011, 03:05:18 PM
More! Because the Bob never tires; only the people who are forced to read his drivel.

http://wiki.parpg.net/Lyngdal (http://wiki.parpg.net/Lyngdal)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on February 23, 2011, 07:22:24 PM
Read the ones from last week - quick thoughts.

Budbarare - the best one yet.  Really compelling.
Trollkryka - I like this one a lot, too
SCUC - Good, except why do protestants care about Rome?

We will have to find a good way to put a spin on Pagan vs. Christian.... maybe just make sure they both have good and bad in them... but we will have to cheap shot the atheists by making it even worse for the player if he doesn't back a faction or tries to play the middle...

and then...

Stagsfire.   Meh.  The feel is good... but so urban... how do you run a drug empire when everyone is struggling to eat?   And where the hell do they get cocaine and heroin?  I mean, Meth amphetamine I would almost believe if they had some undestroyed chemical warehouse (although you would think that they would find something more useful to do with it).

What if we moved Stagsfire south to Germany / Denmark?  Warmer (so more food), yet socially more bleak (more feudal, enslavmement, etc.)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on February 28, 2011, 04:35:22 PM
Fair points all. I'll try and catch you when you're not completely overwhelmed by work to chat about them.

Today's location update - a gothic cannibal location in a beautiful Swedish castle by a lake. And there are crows. Just because.

http://wiki.parpg.net/Gripsholm (http://wiki.parpg.net/Gripsholm)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on March 01, 2011, 01:19:27 AM
Do the Gripsholmians respect or revere the Crows as brothers, or do they see them as competitors for a limited food supply!
Ravens have a very strong history in North mythos as well.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on March 01, 2011, 11:14:32 AM
Bit o' both, I suppose. But mainly a primitive, fraternal religion, as led by the Priest, who loves the birds, was what I was going for. I stuck the gulls in to avoid the whole 'why don't they just eat the crows' thing?

But yup, I was playing on a dirty little Odin/raven thing - also the myth of Procrustes, which I've always loved.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on March 02, 2011, 03:16:30 PM
Now - a copper mine and the prisoners who work it. Could be a cool origin location. Only problem that troubles me is the issue of just how useful copper would be...

http://wiki.parpg.net/Roros (http://wiki.parpg.net/Roros)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on March 02, 2011, 09:35:51 PM
Well, it's not too far fetched that there could be a pre-war factory somewhere in Germany (late game, nice and industrial) that uses copper. Makes openings for an interesting bunch of quests as well.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on March 02, 2011, 11:02:15 PM
copper is obviously very useful for anything that requires wires, or brass, or bronze.  Almost any industry.

However, MINING copper in the post apocalypse might be a little silly.  There are probably millions of tons lying around to be scavenged out of old cars, tanks, machines, you name it.  Already refined - not raw ore.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on March 03, 2011, 02:36:39 AM
But what rough, uncaring world is complete without a mine worked by dozens of miserable slaves?

Most of the copper to be scavenged would be long gone, although I doubt that our modern mining techniques would leave anything particularly men-with-picks compatible.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on March 03, 2011, 09:32:31 AM
Hm, my major reason for trying to work copper in was that, hell, there really was a copper mine there in that top corner of our map...but I think it does come out feeling like a stretch. Hell, we can just as easily work in miserable slaves for something less recyclable. Fuel, really.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: Q_x on March 03, 2011, 03:04:31 PM
Mine... If there is a mine somewhere, unused, it usually gets flooded with water in no time (like days), and collapses soon after. You may have luck and hit a really dry spot, but that is unlikely to happen in Scandi region. For any deep mining you will also need to have one pump to get the air in, and other pump to get the water out. Both good. 
So if it was a hole more than few meters deep, away from mountains, most probably you will have small lake since few good years in that place. But near that lake you will have few meters high pile of ore, ready to take.
Things are different from spot to spot. You can dig and hit permafrost, rock, thick clay that will block most of the water, but if you will dig though it, you can have loose sand above the clay that will become muddy as soon as permafrost will go deeper during summer and will make whole mining really risky.

I  like the idea of using/having copper "mined" (from the pile or from other "copper ore gathering place", basically a place with malachite or some other mineral rich in copper). Think of nearby smelting facility also, and a copper smith or "wiremaker".

Smelting copper ore is easy, btw, much easier than iron. All you need is charcoal, 1100 C temperature is not that hard to obtain in small (= real) scale.

The copper, however, I see pretty much useless without electricity. Maybe some flashing for roofs, dishes, vessels, like teapots or small brewery, or jewelery, maybe pipes and other plumbing stuff. not much tools, maybe something that gets little mechanical strain.

Bronze and brass, and fancy alloys like gunmetal, are totally different story.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on March 03, 2011, 07:27:47 PM
But what rough, uncaring world is complete without a mine worked by dozens of miserable slaves?
So maybe mine something that's actually, you know, used up?   Coal is a great example.

Quote
Most of the copper to be scavenged would be long gone,

Where does it go?  On the map area there were roughly 35,000,000 people living in industrial technological society.  Now there are like 350,000.

In 1980 Sweden EXPORTED 180,000 TONNES of copper "concentrates" (I guess that's ore).  1980 Sweden has a population ~10 times that of our post apoc map. 

I think there would be enough lying around to last for a century of a society with little industry.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on March 03, 2011, 08:56:59 PM
Well, I hadn't researched the quantities of copper, so I guess that's fair enough.

Also, 350,000? I was picturing closer to 3,500 in Scandinavia and upper eastern Europe.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on March 04, 2011, 07:44:09 PM
It's a pretty big area.  3,500 is more like the number of NPCs we might model.  With something like 10-100x that "virtually accounted for". 


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on March 30, 2011, 10:25:33 PM
Last post split off into it's own thread...


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on April 11, 2011, 07:37:45 PM
Inspiration strikes! Not sure about the name. Looking for something ironically childish and Pippi Longstocking-esque.


http://wiki.parpg.net/Heli (http://wiki.parpg.net/Heli)


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on April 11, 2011, 11:56:58 PM
That's pretty harsh. Rape, murder, genocide. These are the things I can deal with. Creepy ultra-christian psycho children are just disturbing.

On that note, I'm torn over this idea. On the one hand, disturbing is good, and though the idea is cliched-feeling (I can't cite sources, but I swear I've seen this before) it's an interesting way to grant the rise and fall of hope physical form.

On the other hand, it feels like it's old material. Can't we get a disturbing message across without resorting to schoolgirls? If anything, I think this would be better portrayed by an unusual case, where this sort of psychotic child-like-ness hasn't been explored before.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on April 13, 2011, 06:57:52 PM
Tasteful?  (rpgcodex joke).   Anyway, I like the idea of the PC picking up flotsam and "rescuing it".   I am even more evil about this character though - since she believes (early) that everything is all her fault, she will subconsciously betray the party at critical moments.



Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: BobBobson on April 18, 2011, 03:54:50 PM
http://wiki.parpg.net/Gunnar (http://wiki.parpg.net/Gunnar)

Another NPC concept. Because we need more cannibalism.

Mid-sketching out a 'large faction conflict' as a first act anchor.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: zenbitz on April 18, 2011, 11:53:02 PM
http://wiki.parpg.net/Gunnar (http://wiki.parpg.net/Gunnar)

Another NPC concept. Because we need more cannibalism.
Lawful Good cannibals FTW!  There is an obvious (some might say contrived or cliche'd) plot around this guy too - some other party hires or convinces PC to go after Gunnar and bring him in / down.  Of course they only give one side of the story.

I just (re) read the "Watchmen" comic from the 80s.    I haven't read this in years (it has been in my Mom's basement since 2002), but the "feel" of this does a passable imitation of my vision for PARPG.


Title: Re: More Writing-Based Ramblings. Oh, Good, Just What You Wanted?
Post by: rowanthepreacher on April 19, 2011, 12:06:16 PM
I like it. I'm not terribly fond of having cliche cannibals, but this is an interesting twist that stops it from becoming stale.