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Development => Writing and Quests => Topic started by: zenbitz on February 09, 2009, 11:20:41 PM



Title: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 09, 2009, 11:20:41 PM
I know Lamoot has some cool ideas on his User wiki page, but I will let him post them here.

I had some thoughts as well:
1) Game takes place in Germany/Central Europe
2) Sometime in 20th century, WWIII breaks out between US/USSR.  Europe is wasted.  US/USSR... unknown (to player... but the tanks and planes - from both sides are gone).  Game starts ca. 20 years later.
  - Some dates to think about:
   1968 Cuban Missile Crisis
   1989/90 Berlin Wall / German Reunification
   1991 Soviet Coup d'etat attempt

In game world, one of these things went "wrong"  => increased soviet aggression or us senstitivity => Nuclear (or NBC) holocaust.  Note that leaves a low-tech world - no lasers/vaults/plasma guns; barely even computers in some cases.

One I thought was an interesting idea would be that Berlin was somehow spared total destruction - neither side wanted to Nuke it (although population was devastated by bio/chem or neutron bombs or something).  That would force the "war" timing to be pre-fall of the Wall (although I guess they could tear it down - then put it back up within a year or two)

What I think is cool about this idea is that we can use historical stuff from the 70s-80s to flavor the game, and taking place in europe allows a good mix of NATO/USSR hardware etc.  Plus, if we postulate a conventional war there is some _reason_ for guns/weapons to be lying around..

EDIT:  I remembered a 90s PnP RPG I played a couple times that had a very similar theme:
GDW's Twilight 2000.  The game (out of print, but I would spring for a copy if this idea had legs) was not really post apocalypse but rather "Secondary Kill" - the war is grinding down.    I think this would make cool background material, but I think 10-30 years post war makes a better cRPG (during war = better tactical/strategic wargame? - not surprisingly there is a 1991 MS-DOS game of Twilight 2000. 

Of possible interest: http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/ - Parallel history project re: NATO/Warsaw pact ( I think mostly useful for de-secreted Warsaw pact documents)



Also - I floated this on NMA, but may as well add it here:

Bioweapons have caused extreme outgrowth of plant life - forest/jungle!  Everything overgrown.  Animals (released from zoos, free of human predation run wild...).    This is actually quite plausible (well, sorta) - Agent Orange is actually a plant GROWTH hormone, that "grows plants to death"  however, at lower levels it causes plants to grow.   I can find a source for this if you want...   it's not too great a stretch to imagine some bio/chem war agent + a little good old fashioned mutation = The Black Forest.

Wherever in the "real world" the game takes place - I think it's important for SOMEONE to know the (current) world geography quite well.   One thing that bugs me about Fallout2 is that there's a San Francisco that is nothing like the real one (I know cause I live there)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 10, 2009, 08:03:48 AM
Well, sure - [cue barney voice] The only limit is your imaaaaaggination [/barney].

Right now, I am partial to the Soviet hook.  I have sort of a "thing" for the USSR and alt-history in general.  The advantage of an alt-history approach is that it's a simple hook to hang your rhetorical hat on.   Another thing is that I think it helps the artists and modellers out to have a theme to draw from. 

 One reason to have a post NATO/Pact war for a game set in Central Europe is that it is a ready-made excuse for there to actually, be, you know, GUNS lying around (Ever some time after).  Europe is not the US - they don't have 2.4 .45 Colt ACPs per household.* (this is when the Germans come and correct me)

Another idea (still post Cold-war based) would be to set it in the US, BUT after a Soviet takeover!  "Somehow" the US loses the cold war - badly.  The Russkies take over (a la Red Dawn).  Secret loyal americans go underground, plot revenge.... start up a new War of Independence... it goes awry "Civil World War III".

I think the hard part about setting a game RIGHT after the "cataclysm" is that there are still too many people around.   The RPG Aftermath! (A great resource for you PA game afficionados) - which is setting-independent describes the "Post Ruin" world as "Primary Kill" (some event that kills 50% of the world's population) followed by "Secondary Kill" - which kills 90% of the remaining 50%....   What makes this hard to game is that the environment would be changing SO fast, it would become difficult to code.  Although if you like to watch movies of people starving to death...   I would think of this kind of game to be basically like "Dawn of the Dead" or "28 days later".  Instead of "real" zombies you just have starving desperate people.  Probably make a good FPS game though.

After everything settles down - stabilizes a bit - is when you get your more typical RPG FedEx quest action.  I think you could maybe do 5 years after, if you wanted a game with basically "No shops".   20 years after is a cool mix because you get the "clash of cultures" where you have 40 or 50 year-old survivors who remember the old days AND 17 year old kids who were born in the wasteland and raised by hyenas or whatever.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 10, 2009, 05:43:03 PM
Well, in San Francisco city - 90% of the guns belong to cops or hoodlums (illegal to own a handgun). 10 miles out in the suburbs, there are some more (I pass a shooting range on the way to work).  30 miles out = loads of guns.

But I was talking about Germany and central europe.  Not so many guns, right?


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 10, 2009, 10:21:32 PM
We should go back a step anyway - what tech level should this game be?  How prevelant should guns and ammo be in the game in the first place, then we can worry about whether or not the back story is plausable.

I would like to see  a reasonably low tech game.   Highly restricted ammunition.  Like - you don't find a case of 50 5.56mm rounds, you find 4 shells.  Should also have low tech missile weapons - bows and crossbows.  Exotic firearms don't interest me - the utility of the  weapon should mostly be how much ammo you can find for it (so, in the US this would be mostly stuff like .22s, .38 special, .45 ACP, 12 (and smaller) gauge shells... much of it bird shot.   Maybe some miltary 5.56mm and 7.62mm.

But the equivalent of a "BFG" would be a hand grenade of questionable provenance.  There might be a few machines guns - they would be big problems for the PC to solve - but they would be hard to move  and go through their ammo in about 4 minutes.



Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 11, 2009, 01:26:09 PM
Hmmm hmmm, many things to read and think over. Will reply later this week :)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 11, 2009, 11:44:08 PM
I am just going to link Lamoot's User page, since it is teh awesome!
http://wiki.parpg.net/User:Lamoot

Atomic Wikings FTW!   

One thing we should consider - can't make the game too far north in latitude "just to be cold" because duh, move south.
Oh wait. Hold that thought.

We are in Central Europe - beginnings of new ice age.  Main plot line:  Lets figure out how to move to AFRICA where it's warm. Although I am hesitant to make a "save your village chosen one" plot....     Game ends when PC hits the Mediterranian sea, and maybe can't cross it?  It's too toxic?  Too many pirates?


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 12, 2009, 05:11:47 AM
Martin has decent reasons for not setting this in Central Europe (basically conflict with Projekt Zero).

I am OK with moving it to the US.... I even came up with a back story to keep Soviet crap around (assuming we go that route).

US is a big place... keeping with the "move south or freeze to death" maybe the PC starts in Canada (less touched by big war) and moves south.   I think West Coast of North America works... with Los Angeles as "the holy land" sought.... BUT this is pretty much the exact geography of FO1/2.  I like it because I am a Californian and the mountain ranges / pacific ocean form natural barriers to force player on a North/South axis.  I always hate it as a player when "I want to go west, but game map stops there", but this is a small thing.

Another choice is a slice of the North America corresponding roughly to Hudson bay, Ontario and points South. The Great Lakes are Frozen!   The PC could walk (drive? ski?) south from Ontario, towards Toronto/Detroit/Chicago...   
Hmm... I originally thought this was a disadvantage - but I think the Mississippi river makes a great natural barrier to the West.  As an eastern barrier... Hmm.... maybe it's plague infested.  Or don't worry about it - it's not like any other game does!

Note that this is a ridiculously huge area!  I am not suggesting we map it all... but we could.  It might make sense to write the game in terms of modules that gradually move south as the global temperature drops.

If this sounds ridiculous:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_winter  Note _recent_ research from 2006-7!   

Oh we could still have atomic Wikings... Minnesota Wikings!


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 12, 2009, 12:51:18 PM
Ok, my opinion on these things.

  • Reason for the atomic war: can be really elaborated (like cuban crisis gone bad), or simply a small glitch in the system that caused it, like in "Fail safe" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fail_Safe_(2000_TV) No need to complicate with this one imo, there are other parts where we'll have that chance :)
  • Central Europe (germany) is already done by "Projekt Zero" and is more prominent than other remote places and I like fresh ideas, new environments etc. so I'm not fond of this setting.
  • Tech level - I like the proposal about conventional weapons and no lazers. The standard tech should not be that fantastic, but we still need some weird stuff. I already included some links at my wiki page about such weird stuff. Adding fresh new elements will also make the setting more interesting.
  • Visual aestethetics - whatever cool stuff we find from the cold war. Mainly from the 60s-70s, but we can take stuff from earlier or later periods if it has a cool design and fits in.


US, hmmm. One con is that it has already been done in Fallout 1, 2 and 3. But if we give this idea a new twist? Let's say that instead of the ice age, you get massive global warming. Pre-war temperate climate gets most of nukes, so it's uninhabitable with the addition of really extreme weather. Also the ozon layer is (more) destroyed at ecuator area  (for some reason - nukes?) than at the poles. + you have a rising sea level that floods many parts of the world.

This would then result in: world map around the north (preferably) or south pole. There is still ice and snow and ice there, but it's easier to live, not as harsh as today. You get a new cool world map http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/gotmaps/maps/Map_North_Pole_Base.gif + the map would be modified so represent the sea-level rise. This would make the map harder to recognize as today's earth and would thus be something new. I personally really like world maps that show things from a different angle. It's the same thing really, but looks so much more interesting from a different view.

We could pick alaska + the soviet union from across the Berring strait. You would have the soviets and the allies and inuits and some syberian wild-tribal folk. No vikings though :) http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/chapter54/Ch54-intro/BeringStrait.jpg

Or you could take the same part of the world and still have an ice age with the sea frozen, creating a natural bridge between syberia and alaska.

But we should also limit ourselves with the game world. I'd say 1000x1000 km as the biggest possible area, perhaps smaller. The reason is simple, we will have to create more stuff. In any case, there is alway the chance of expanding the game world later.

One drawback to this setting is, that the area is rather uninhabited today and wouldn't have that many cool pre-war locations, than some area that used to be more populated (like scandinavia for example ;) ).


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 12, 2009, 01:14:06 PM
Gentlemen, my two cents, if I may.

1. As for me, I would find it interesting and challenging to use Soviet Union as the background setting. The basic idea is that subway transportation networks (metro) across major cities of USSR were designed to be the anti-nuclear threat shelters in case of atomic war. Even today, while travelling by metro (I do this often), it is really curious to note certain specific design solutions across the stations. For example, special rails on the floor to drive the enormous metal doors. In fact the only difference from the trademark Fallout Vault door is that it is square, and not round. Really sparks the imagination.

2. Concerning the historical event which would have led to the WWIII in PARPG I would vote for the 1968 Cuban crisis, and here is why.

a) At the time, both US and USSR were more or less equally strong, and an atomic war could have happened then, quite realistically, and much devastation would have been wrought.

As opposed, 1991 Soviet coup'd'etat and 89/90 German Reunification - that all took place *well* after the much feared USSR has lost its power, and there was simply no realistic reason for US to launch nuclear warheads at an almost harmless (but very natural resources-rich!) country.

b) That epoch strongly corresponds with that Falloutish 50-s Americana touch that made Fallout Fallout to a large extent.

As opposed to 90s - that aroma would be most likely lost. I wouldn't say that it would be worse, no, but different from FO - and here we will have to explore the unexplored areas. A classic example of a PA game which started in the end of XX century, as you most likely remember, is Wasteland. However, that game didn't have any specific and memorable references to XX 90s culture (at least none I remember of now), and that was a potentially good point lost, I think. Anyway, Wasteland was a really, really great game, I would only dream to re-make it someday :)

3. One thing I definitely agree with Zenbitz and others -- is that there should be a generally low-tech world. Laser/plasma gun just don't make sense there, in my view. I would even expand this by adding that we should ensure that there is a catastrophic commodity shortage. Examples:

1. getting hold of a poor quality hand gun and hide armour would most likely make one a very dangerous adversary in the area, among local club-wielding tribals/scavengers/nomads etc.;
2. Finding any quality goods should be extremely difficult. The PC (player character) should start with melee weapons (clubs, jagged and rusty knives, spears, broken bottles, bicycle chains, exhaust pipes, axes, etc.) and primitive missile weapons (mainly, throwing), slowly and painfully gaining access to something more dangerous (homebrewed molotov cocktails, 9mm clip pistols, prone to malfulctioning frag grenades, battered assault rifles, etc.). The same thing should concern:

- food;
- water (a really precious thing it should be - maybe even currency?);
- travel equipment (unequipped traveller will end up dead very soon);
- fuel (if there are any vehicles);
- ammunition.

Most likely, first more or less (rather less, actually) decent weapon should be manufactured by the PC (or its production arranged by the latter).

On the other hand, there should be a distinct feeling of getting in touch with the remnants of a once great pre-war technology. For example, discovering and exploring some factories/powerplants ruins, warehouses with some useless stuff, underground facilities, aircraft remains (no, I don't mean Megaton :)), rudimentary military equipment,  maybe even a crashed space station or a submarine lying in the desert...

I would appreciate your comments to my view above.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: mvBarracuda on February 12, 2009, 01:45:54 PM
Just my two cents as well.

Snow vs. desert vs. jungle vs. etc.:
I personally really like the snow setting. As we might need to make some first basic decisions sooner or later I wouldn't mind setting the snowy environment (for whatever reason there may be, we can agree on an explanation later) in stone. Desert wasteland has been overdone and I simply can't imagine a PA jungle.

Place:
I'm objecting to setting PARPG in Germany as such a game is already in the making with Zero-Projekt. My main concern is that we'll need developers on the team who know either life there or have done quite some research in the field because of personal interest. E.g. I know little about Russia and would therefore prefer a snowy place in North America.

Historic timeline:
So far I got no preference in this field. But maybe we can agree to setting the timeline after WW2 so that at least such pre-war technology would be still found in PARPG?

Low-tech vs. Hi-tech:
Low-tech is fine with me. I haven't been a huge fan of the whole energy weapons thingy in Fallout. Scarce ressources make sense in a PA world so technology, weapons and ammo should be limited indeed. I had the same idea about scarce water and food supply and using this as a game mechanics (hunger / thirst meter) but I'll elaborate on that topic at another thread. I'm compile some game mechanics proposals at the wiki and post a link to them at the forums later.

Crafting:
Egalor pointed into the direction of crafting and I think that's a great idea. I really liked how crafting worked in Arcanum and if certain very powerful weapons would be rather limited to the people with excellent crafting knowledge, that would fit into the whole scarce ressources idea quite well.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 12, 2009, 02:40:53 PM
Environment:
If it is decided to switch to the snow setting - that is OK, at least with me. Nuclear winter makes sense in PA games, so we might be getting somewhere in this direction. And, I agree, desert wasteland is far too cliche, already.

Place:
If we regard Zero-Projekt as a problem for us, then I still suggest to move eastwards -- to USSR for two reasons at least:

- I live in Moscow, and remember well Soviet period (not to mention I may get access to many untranslated historical documents in Russian, if needed) - meaning I could provide some info;
- at the time, the world was bipolar, as there were only two major rivalling powers -- US and USSR;
- vault concept (metro stations) is readily available and is credible.

In any case I am prepared to work on other setting, if the community decides otherwise.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: mvBarracuda on February 12, 2009, 03:18:08 PM
Concerning snow PA setting, I knew that I spotted something along these lines at NMA before. Here we go:
http://www.forlornworld.com/index.php?lang=uk&site=news&cat=latest

Might be a nice source of inspiration for PARPG as well :-)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 12, 2009, 06:25:33 PM
Wow, some great stuff here. 
Check this out: http://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/gmap/hydesim.html
Also, I have a list of probable soviet nuke targets in the US (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary)

I don't have the data for USSR targets... I am also going to create a thread for "meta" setting; what should we consider when we consider the setting.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 12, 2009, 06:28:45 PM
Concerning snow PA setting, I knew that I spotted something along these lines at NMA before. Here we go:
http://www.forlornworld.com/index.php?lang=uk&site=news&cat=latest

Hey, they saved us a lot of work!  Takes place in Poland "post socialism".... However, this game was abandoned, right.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 12, 2009, 08:09:23 PM
Quote
http://www.forlornworld.com/index.php?lang=uk&site=news&cat=latest
Might be a nice source of inspiration for PARPG as well :-)

Yp this is useful, nice find. They even have some artwork and music there. I wonder how they would feel releasing their stuff as GPL/CC so we could use it in PARPG.

So snow is set in stone then :) decisions like this should be written down at the wiki, so we gradually start fleshing out the setting.

Quote
Place:
If we regard Zero-Projekt as a problem for us, then I still suggest to move eastwards -- to USSR for two reasons at least:

I like the idea of having the successors to the soviet union in the game, but I wouldn't make the setting pure USSR. What if we found a place in the world, where the two cold-war super powers were bordering each-other? This way some of us can work on the western part of the world and you can contribute stuff for the communist blok part of the world, since you have more experiene being exposed to the whole culture and political system of this part of the world. In my opinion, having a diverse setting will be more interesting.

At my wiki page I wrote down my initial idea about using Scandinavia around the Baltic sea. Soviet Union is close and I'm sure we can somehow find a city with an underground subway system. Or we can create one, saying the soviet leaders wanted glorious subway for one of their beloved city, for the capitalistic west to marvel and be jalous of.

(http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/5408/parpgworldko4.png)

Anyway, this is my idea of the world map. The scale is 1000 km2 and the square representing the world map can move, but in general, this is the part of the world I'd like to have in parpg. I believe it's a good compromise, so you have all sorts of possibilities for factions. You have the USSR, soviet puppet states, the west and all sorts of other factions. There is even Poland and a bit of Germany in there. This way there is something interesting for everyone.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 12, 2009, 08:28:40 PM
ooh maps... I likes.
I would go ahead and extend the map to the North Sea - natural borders = good.  Northern border = too cold, even for you tough guy!" 

I like this much better than "polar survivor" - for the simple reason that there are no Ruins to explore!  Can't have PA without ruined cites filled with Rats, radiation, and loot!   Also - if the southern regions are too hot - why would you go where it was super freezing cold... just stop when the weather is nice (Canada / Siberia?)

One thing I like about "post WWIII in europe" is old battlefields...  I doubt we can imagine hordes of Red Army tanks in Sweden... but Kiel region of Germany, sure.  Finland also very probable invasion target (recover old Imperial Russian territories).

No berlin - though. :-\

Another (slight) disavantage of this map is that it might be too diverse for a small game (starting out).  If we have 4 locations - 1 germany 1 USSR 1 Sweden  1 Norway....  PC must be very good at travelling!   

So... in this world - if we start with Nato/Pact war, what happens to Sweden?  Norway?  Especially big cities...  Would we want to say that Scandanavia survived better  And the rest of Europe/USSR/US are +totally+ obliterated?



Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 12, 2009, 08:52:10 PM
Quote
I would go ahead and extend the map to the North Sea - natural borders = good.  Northern border = too cold, even for you tough guy!"

Good ideas = good. ;)
+ southern border is too radiated and has too many mutants and evil things and traps and and.. and stuff that prevents you to travel outside the world the game designers have set :)

Quote
Can't have PA without ruined cites filled with Rats, radiation, and loot!   Also - if the southern regions are too hot - why would you go where it was super freezing cold... just stop when the weather is nice (Canada / Siberia?)

Yp. The polar region idea was a try to see how the US setting could be made different from fallout with a new twist. I guess it doesn't work as well :)

Quote
No berlin - though.

One city less to make :) Then again, it would just be a large crater, I figure it would get love from more than a single atomic bomb .

Quote
Another (slight) disavantage of this map is that it might be too diverse for a small game (starting out).
We can always limit our initial scope of what gets done. The first stage is to make a demo game anyway and then see how to proceed. Even the demo will be a large undertaking, but we should always have the game world defined, so it's easily extended, if later generations decide so :)

Quote
So... in this world - if we start with Nato/Pact war, what happens to Sweden?  Norway?  Especially big cities...  Would we want to say that Scandanavia survived better  And the rest of Europe/USSR/US are +totally+ obliterated?

Quote from: my wiki
pre-war major settlements destroyed by nukes. Medium settlements couldn't handle the shift in climate and were abandoned, reduced in size?

Quote from: my wiki
prewar population density: http://www.catsg.org/cheetah/07_map-centre/7_1_entire-range/thematic-maps/global_population_density.jpg areas with dense population received heavy nuke bombaredement and are thus extremely hostile environments for regular humans. (if it's red on the map, it received at least one nuke)

So yeah, Central Europe is really destroyed, sweden and norway got only their major cities bombarded. Since they weren't as populated pre-war, they weren't such important targets, despite the whole world becoming one big target anyway. When you have 30.000 nukes at your disposal and an atomic war starts, you really don't hold yourself back. Collapse of society means medium cities cannot function the way they did. What is left are the rural areas, the rest is in ruins. Some stuff was also destroyed by conventional warfare.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 12, 2009, 09:24:27 PM
I am going to quibble with the "certaintly" of your nuclear war scenarios.  Please don't take it the wrong way - I am just pointing out that we have lots of room for flexibility.

1) Using population density is misguided.  Otherwise, India gets saturation bombed!
2) 20 years after - I don't think even cities like Berlin are 1 big crater.   First of all - who is targeting Berin/Oslo/Stockholm?  Oslo - maybe a Pact target.  But like 9,000th on the list.   Soviet ICBMs were (are) targeted at military targets and population centers in US, maybe UK.    This is distinct from "battlefield" / tactical nuke scenarios we can invision for a Pact invasion of western europe.
3) I guess Berlin could be nuked by the US in this scenario... if they were losing.  But again - why kill Germans?   If US is losing a limited nuclear/conventional war - they are going to try to wipe out the soviets.
4) Just because we can guess at 30,000 warheads, doesn't mean they all get used.  I mean, it's maybe likely but as "storywriters" we can pick any number between 0 and 30,000
5) Some US nuke target lists I found (I mean, maybe they are totally fabricated) put basically 1 550kt or 1MT warhead on major cites.  This is enough kill ~1/2 the people in it, but not make the whole city (certainly not including suburbs, etc).  Also - only military bases (including missile bases and C&C) are really primary, population centers are secondary targets - even NY, LA, Chicago.  A huge sprawl like LA might be hit by 10 550kT warheads.  Maybe.

I guess random nukes being lobbed at Sweden seems bizzare to me... but we want to make a good story about it.

From a meta perspective (see other thread) it's quite useful to have big cities be nuked... otherwise, we have to write them in, and they are big and complicated.   If we are postulating some kind of Bio weapons - or general plague out of control then there is the issue of keeping the PC out of places we don't have time to develop in game.  More on this should probably go in the META thread.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 12, 2009, 11:20:52 PM
I don't mind against the North European setting, but the one suggested by Lamoot bears too much water.

Lamoot,
On the other hand, could that be a frozen desert? What the region would look like in your eyes?


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 13, 2009, 01:17:20 AM
Baltic could be frozen, or ice-pack some of the the time.   But why are you worried about so much water?  Don't think "Southern Sweden" is enough land mass to design your epic maps?


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 13, 2009, 07:18:13 AM
Story Hook / Alt-history for Canada/North Midwest (say, southern Ontario to as far south as we make locations)

Timeline (just a rough cut - note the politics and "economics" here are VERY tongue-in-cheek)

1984 Walter Mondale elected President over Reagan.  He is a Communist plant (kind of a double-reverso Manchurian candidate)
1985-1991 - Mondale lowers tensions with USSR... moves troops out of W. Germany.  Peace and Prosperity at last - due to massive shift of defense budget back to tax payers and social services. USSR secretly builds military strength, aided by massive information flow from now "Red" white house.   Old guard US anti commies grumble, but hey, taxes are so low...
1992 - 22nd amendment repealed, Mondale elected to 3rd term.  Taxes begin to incrase
1993 - CIA/FBI are subverted by the USSR.  Recreational drug supply is slowly increased to inner cities, with large measure of crazy.
1994-1996 - USSR plans to destabilize US are working beyond wildest dreams.  Mondale declares martial law to "protect citizens", habeas corpus suspended.  Economy crumbles due to medium term effects of 10 years of socialism.  Taxes increased to crushing levels to pay for police and "drug rehab centers".
1997 - Manhattan is turned into a maximum security prison (OK that was just to see if you were paying attention!)
1998 - Constitution and Bill of Rights suspended.  Southern US revolts, backed by National Guard.  This didn't happen until 2nd Amendment ("Right to Bear Arms") was suspended.   
1999 - Soviet troops, from bases in Cuba, land in Florida, Texas, Louisana, Alabama.   Mondale claims they are "allies" to help quell Rebellion.  Food shipments from the midwest are stopped to states in rebellion.  Midwestern "Bread basket" states begin to chafe under martial law, as food supply is used to control population of US.
2000 Resistance in southern states is driven underground by Soviet armed forces. 
2001 Mondale assassinated.  Rest of US plunged into civil war.   "Commie" forces - both Russian and American control the middle and south of the country, while "Loyal Americans" control west of the rockies and eastern seaboard.  A secret cabal of US Strategic Air Command officers reveals that they did not dismantle the US's nuclear arsenal and super secret biological WMDs, and threaten the USSR with destruction.  Soviets call the bluff, missiles launch...  Soviet missiles strike pre-programmed targets throughout the US and Western Europe.  No one bothered to reprogram the targets.
2001-2005 The world plunges into chaos.  Billions of tons of soot, earth, and ash from hemisphere wide nuclear war cause spectacular sunsets... but reflect too much sunlight back into space.  At least 1 of the biological disease agent mutates in an unforseen way.   Over 95% of the world's population eventually succumbs to disease, starvation, or murder.
2006 Is the coldest winter anyone can remember....
...
2021... The glaciers are creeping south - most of Canada, Northern Europe and UK, Chile/Argentina are barely habitable.




Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 13, 2009, 09:05:18 AM
Baltic could be frozen, or ice-pack some of the the time.   But why are you worried about so much water?  Don't think "Southern Sweden" is enough land mass to design your epic maps?

I don't speak about making epic maps, yet. If I'm not mistaken, the idea was to incorporate different portions of European states into the setting.

Story Hook / Alt-history for Canada/North Midwest (say, southern Ontario to as far south as we make locations)

Timeline (just a rough cut - note the politics and "economics" here are VERY tongue-in-cheek)

Sounds interesting :) That reminds me of Red Alert series somehow :)

A few thoughts:
1) Why don't we leave it as an unknown fact - the side which actually launched first warheads?
2) Post-nuclear history might need some more research - I suggest we search the web for post-nuclear projections made by various scientists.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 13, 2009, 02:15:00 PM
Quote
On the other hand, could that be a frozen desert? What the region would look like in your eyes?

Yes, the Baltic sea would be frozen. To make things a bit more interesting you could find on the icy surface:

  • nomad villages
  • submarines trapped in ice
  • ships trapped in ice

In addition, this would be a great place to use stuff like this for transportation http://www.isabella-iceboat.com/paubox10.jpg

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I am going to quibble with the "certaintly" of your nuclear war scenarios.  Please don't take it the wrong way - I am just pointing out that we have lots of room for flexibility.
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it's quite useful to have big cities be nuked... otherwise, we have to write them in, and they are big and complicated.

The reason why I said nukes would be all over the place is so we wouldn't have to make any of the large cities and that we could have more of a decayed society post-apoc setting. A single metropolis would already be big enough to fit a single rpg in it and we would have to deal with many big cities this way.

It's not as much that I'm certain everything would be destroyed, but about me wanting everything to be destroyed in this PARPG world, to get a more extreme setting. I agree that many scenarios are possible, but I always try to see things from a perspective of a game maker and be constructively lazy :)

Do you perhaps have a source where you got all that information about nuclear targets and such? I'd like to read it and get a different view on this whole atomic war thing.


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If I'm not mistaken, the idea was to incorporate different portions of European states into the setting.

Yes, the idea was to have ice and snow and to include both the western NATO allies as well as the USSR in this setting. This way there are different factions and cultures involved and everyone can find something interesting to work on. Us westerners can feel more comfortable with the NATO states, while you (egalor) still have the option and freedom to work on a more USSR part of the game world (underground subways included).  Do you think this is a fair compromise?

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Story Hook / Alt-history for Canada/North Midwest (say, southern Ontario to as far south as we make locations)

Timeline (just a rough cut - note the politics and "economics" here are VERY tongue-in-cheek)

I dunno about this one, it doesn't sound as plausible. It complicates too much to get a war started. This was cold war,  Nikita Khrushchev's bad-hair day could start a war (lucky us he was bald).

All in all I'm more in favour of the war starting in the 70s-80s. If the war started around 2000, the overall design and technology would have progressed a lot further from the 60s-70s tech level we'd like to have in this game. egalor had some thoughts on this earlier and it sums up my point of view on this matter:

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a) At the time, both US and USSR were more or less equally strong, and an atomic war could have happened then, quite realistically, and much devastation would have been wrought.

As opposed, 1991 Soviet coup'd'etat and 89/90 German Reunification - that all took place *well* after the much feared USSR has lost its power, and there was simply no realistic reason for US to launch nuclear warheads at an almost harmless (but very natural resources-rich!) country.
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b) That epoch strongly corresponds with that Falloutish 50-s Americana touch that made Fallout Fallout to a large extent.

As opposed to 90s - that aroma would be most likely lost.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 13, 2009, 02:23:18 PM
Ah yes.

Quote
1) Why don't we leave it as an unknown fact - the side which actually launched first warheads?
2) Post-nuclear history might need some more research - I suggest we search the web for post-nuclear projections made by various scientists.

1.) I agree with this one. it follows the KISS principle - Keep It Simple, Stupid. no need to complicate if we don't have to. :)

2.) Can you do some research on this and present us with possible scenarios and predictions?


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 13, 2009, 04:28:38 PM

2.) Can you do some research on this and present us with possible scenarios and predictions?

Yes, I can. I have participated earlier in a group of enthousiasts, who have done exactly the very same research already. I will dig out what I can tonight.

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On the other hand, could that be a frozen desert? What the region would look like in your eyes?

Yes, the Baltic sea would be frozen.


A perfect idea then. In this case we are dealing with an icy wasteland. I support this kind of background.

Us westerners can feel more comfortable with the NATO states, while you (egalor) still have the option and freedom to work on a more USSR part of the game world (underground subways included).  Do you think this is a fair compromise?

Deal. However, we will need at least 1) a more or less precise timeline and 2) know of any major events which have led to the apocalypse before we actually start working on something.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 13, 2009, 06:22:28 PM
thanks for the comments guys.

1) The history is "contrived" so that we can have soviet artifacts in the midwestern US.   I am presenting this as as alternate to "euro" war.
2) Details like "who fired first" not important - I also think "detailed timeline" is not at all necessary for pre-game dev.  Just a vague guideline so we can keep things internally consistent (unless we get Japanese developers?).  Eg. if (big if at this stage) we put the game in the US, and we want to have soviet BMPs, migs, Ak-47s (well that one we could work in), we need to postulate some kind of soviet invasion.
3) Regarding cities - my point is that we should just leave it open.  if someone wants to design a bunch of ruined city maps, that's cool, we will work it into the story (dud nuke, bioware only).   If we have a 1000 x 1000 km map... we are going to be abstracting lots of the world "away" where player won't see it.

2000 tech - yeah, I didn't like how that worked out either.  We could, of course, postulate technology stagnation after 1984.  To be honest, I just was poking fun at US politics by making WALTER MONDALE a soviet plant, who's election caused the destruction of the world.   There is a big "Cult of Reagan" in the US.  Again - the key is to get soviet hardware in the US in a "plausible" way.

It's clear that this timeline has NOTHING to do with "Baltic" game world, necessarily, right?  It's presented as an alternative ("always have 2 alternatives")

50s vs 70s vs. whatever - this is technically not decided yet, that's why it's "Brainstorming"


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 13, 2009, 06:39:45 PM
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I don't speak about making epic maps, yet. If I'm not mistaken, the idea was to incorporate different portions of European states into the setting.

Sorry, just making a joke.  I just didn't understand why you think the map has "too much water".  More water = less stuff to design.

Lamoot - I PMd you about source material.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 13, 2009, 08:31:22 PM
Zenbitz - I would appreciate if you could drop a link here for everybody to see :) that's noted in our Wiki guidelines by Mr. Barra.

Besides, I'm curious too :)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 13, 2009, 09:37:11 PM
uh oh, caught.   Here is text of my PM to lamoot:

Here is an old PnP rpg that takes place 200 years after:
http://www.millionmonkeytheater.com/MorrowProject/MorrowProject.html
This page has a map:
http://www.thesupplybunker.net/morrow.htm
and links to
http://www.thesupplybunker.net/Morrow/hitlist.txt
and
http://www.thesupplybunker.net/pdf/soviet-nuclear-missiles-2.4.pdf

I have other source material from a PnP game called "Aftermath!", it also has a slightly different nuke hit list for the US. and a cool fallout chart (free hint: Don't be down wind from missile silos)



Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 13, 2009, 11:50:36 PM
Too bad I haven't been able to find some old stuff of our previous researches done, but here are some scientific projections we can definitely use to keep to the game science-oriented at least to some degree.

Although a worldwide biowar is really tempting, I'm only considering nuclear holocaust here (for now). However, I suggest we turn to other types of holocaust later.

In order to make any post-war climatic projections, it is needed to know how much soot will be released after the bombings. There are different projections on that, being Min = 50 Tg, Max = 150 Tg. In any case, because of that soot, as you may know, the nuclear winter will ensue.

Considering the setting which we currently consider (North Europe) the surface air temperature will fall about 25 degrees (by Celsius) below zero.

The sky will be covered with smoke, the Sun light will be severely obscured (and invisible for a few first days or even weeks after the smoke injection). See: Assuming the particles reach 6-9 miles above the Earth's surface as modeled, the absorption of sunlight would further heat the smoke, lifting it into the stratosphere where it would become a global solar barrier; with no rain to wash it out, it would theoretically continue blocking out the sun for years. Furthermore, the resulting smoke would be primarily opaque to solar radiation but transparent to infra-red, cooling the earth by blocking sunlight but not causing any Greenhouse Effect warming. Taken from http://www.helium.com/items/1310270-nuclear-winter-theory?page=2

The ozone layer will decrease significantly, exposing Earth surface (after the smoke settles) to hazardous UV radiation. This means, one must be protected from the direct sunlight at all times.

This also means that a "black rain" phenomenon will take place some time after the war. This is the soot washed down with the precipitation. Please refer to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ageNFDB49os&feature=related for more detailed explanation (on the sad example of Hiroshima).

The nuclear winter will last for about 10 years, its coldest time being in the middle.

However, judging by what I have managed to gather, there is no guarantee that Baltic Sea will freeze in this case (although a large portion of it might be evaporated after the blasts). Therefore, I guess, for the sake of the gameplay, I suggest we make an assumption that the sea freezes up. This assumption will save us the effort of building ships, which is, most likely, we do not want. :)



For more info, please refer to a PowerPoint presentation on the Climatic Consequences of Nuclear Conflict (very easy to read):
http://climate.envsci.rutgers.edu/nuclear/

and a good article in Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_winter

That's it for a start.



Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 14, 2009, 01:20:08 AM

Although a worldwide biowar is really tempting, I'm only considering nuclear holocaust here (for now). However, I suggest we turn to other types of holocaust later.

In order to make any post-war climatic projections, it is needed to know how much soot will be released after the bombings. There are different projections on that, being Min = 50 Tg, Max = 150 Tg. In any case, because of that soot, as you may know, the nuclear winter will ensue.

Great part about fiction is that we can pick and choose exact meggatonage dropped (mix in germ/chem bombs for the rest) to get the temp change we want

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The ozone layer will decrease significantly, exposing Earth surface (after the smoke settles) to hazardous UV radiation. This means, one must be protected from the direct sunlight at all times.

For some reason, I find this very boring to put in a game. Although it would be funny if we had artists who sucked at drawing eyes, so everyone wears sunglasses.
Not to kill the idea if someone has some ideas around it.

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The nuclear winter will last for about 10 years, its coldest time being in the middle.

Hmm... can we postulate it triggering an ice age or mini-ice-age.   I just think 10 years after might be on the short side.

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However, judging by what I have managed to gather, there is no guarantee that Baltic Sea will freeze in this case (although a large portion of it might be evaporated after the blasts). Therefore, I guess, for the sake of the gameplay, I suggest we make an assumption that the sea freezes up. This assumption will save us the effort of building ships, which is, most likely, we do not want. :)

Disagree on most counts!  Why would the baltic evaporate?  Who is lobbing nukes at it?!?!?   Not critical, as I do agree that we can make it freeze if it suits the story line.  However - what's wrong with ships?  I think this is a good way to "break up the game world" - and restrict PC travel - focus him to cool things.  We have agreed on vehicles already.  You never explained why you didn't like all the water either...


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and a good article in Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_winter

I second this one.   


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 14, 2009, 11:56:28 AM
Quote
The ozone layer will decrease significantly, exposing Earth surface (after the smoke settles) to hazardous UV radiation. This means, one must be protected from the direct sunlight at all times.

This sounds cool, but I wonder how it would affect the overall gameplay, if you had to play hide and seek with the sun. On a second thought, we could say this did happen, but things kind of normalized, since it's been 20+ years since the war.

Quote
Disagree on most counts!  Why would the baltic evaporate?  Who is lobbing nukes at it?!?!?   Not critical, as I do agree that we can make it freeze if it suits the story line.  However - what's wrong with ships?  I think this is a good way to "break up the game world" - and restrict PC travel - focus him to cool things.  We have agreed on vehicles already.  You never explained why you didn't like all the water either...

It seems hard for a whole sea to evaporate, even if it does, it would get water from elsewhere.

My initial idea was to have as much Baltic frozen as possible. It would be easier for the player to travel anywhere on foot. But reading what you said, I'm interested what kind of ideas do you have with ships and sea. I guess a part of the map that can't be crossed on foot would add cool variety + there are other options, like viking raid fleets, or nuclear icebreakers running around the place.

A compromise would then be better, so we have a balance between frozen and liquid sea.

Ah a random idea: have a buoy stuck in ice, could be used as a small random location on the wolrd map, or perhaps a waypoint for nomads who roam the frozen Baltic.

Quote
This also means that a "black rain" phenomenon will take place some time after the war. This is the soot washed down with the precipitation. Please refer to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ageNFDB49os&feature=related for more detailed explanation (on the sad example of Hiroshima).

"The fallout after the explosion on Hiroshima came in the form of thick high radioactive rain. The victims who swallowed it died an instant death; "

Black rain sounds cool, imo it would be a good element to have in the game. It's not some bogus STALKER-like anomaly and it sounds sinister + could be a part of the world culture, be in the post-war folklore and stuff. And it would also be a type of extreme weather in the game.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 14, 2009, 04:53:59 PM
Ok, let's turn to the Baltic sea.

Initially, my first objection against large bodies of water was the necessity of buildng ships which it entailed (provided we want to get the player to different parts of the region). Building/acquiring ships ain't an easy matter (I don't consider the tanker in FO2 :)), and if the whole gameplay is affected by this that might shift a bit the game style (I am not sure, but it might).

On the other hand, I liked much more the frozen Baltic -- thus it will be turned to the Wasteland, albeit with the snow/ice instead of the sands. I also liked very much Lamoot's ideas about encountering frozen in submarines, warships, civil ships, nav buoys and other things.

Therefore, Lamoot, before I answer your question on which ideas I have on ships and sea, I would prefer if we first decide whether:

- the water will be frozen or liquid everywhere; or
- there will be frozen and liquid water combined.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 14, 2009, 05:53:38 PM
I would go for frozen and liquid combined. This way we get a frozen wasteland and we also get all those ships stuck in ice and all. But a too big frozen wasteland area can be a bit monotone and thus boring. By having parts of liquid water, the player couldn't just walk anywhere, but would need to find some other means to travel vast expanses of water. This gives us variety and more possibilities in the future.

The exact amount of the sea frozen or liquid is yet to be discussed, but this is my general proposal how we could do it:

http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/5408/parpgworldko4.png

  • Coast of Norway wouldn't have much ice if any
  • Skagerrak is liquid sea
  • Kattegat is liquid sea
  • South, the ice would start somewhere around Kaliningrad
  • The Island of Gotland would be half in liquid sea and the rest in liquid sea.
  • The word "Baltic" would be in liquid sea, but the ice would start north from the letter "c"
  • Everything beyond North from the island of Gotland would be frozen.

Do you think this is too much frozen water? If yes, we could then do something more similar to how the Baltic actually looks like in winter + a tiny bit of more ice.
(http://veimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/16372/scandinavia.TMO2003050.jpg)
Hmm come to think of it, this is a really nice image, shows nicely the forests and lakes and the mounatins.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 14, 2009, 08:04:03 PM
[but things kind of normalized, since it's been 20+ years since the war.

Are we happy with 20 years after?  I think it's about right... but I could be convinced otherwise.

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A compromise would then be better, so we have a balance between frozen and liquid sea.

Sounds good to me

Quote
Quote
This also means that a "black rain" phenomenon will take place some time after the war. This is the soot washed down with the precipitation. Please refer to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ageNFDB49os&feature=related for more detailed explanation (on the sad example of Hiroshima).

"The fallout after the explosion on Hiroshima came in the form of thick high radioactive rain. The victims who swallowed it died an instant death; "

Black rain sounds cool, imo it would be a good element to have in the game. It's not some bogus STALKER-like anomaly and it sounds sinister + could be a part of the world culture, be in the post-war folklore and stuff. And it would also be a type of extreme weather in the game.
Also - I doubt the death was INSTANT...

OK,  I have a small problem with this in a 20 years after game.   "Black Rain" is contaminated dirt mixed with rain.  It only occurs ~days after atomic strike.  For us to have black rain, we need some way to get contaminated material into the air again.  I am trying to imagine another kind of radioactive snow fall or rain - but the only thing I can come up with is "Heavy water" (tritiated).  Tritium is radioactive... but pretty mild.    I could maybe imagine a radioactive dust storm, if you could get a HUGE pile of Cesium-138 or Strontium-90 on the ground in a windy place... but it stretches credibility a little (but so does nuking Stockholm and Oslo)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 14, 2009, 08:13:38 PM
I would go for frozen and liquid combined. This way we get a frozen wasteland and we also get all those ships stuck in ice and all. But a too big frozen wasteland area can be a bit monotone and thus boring. By having parts of liquid water, the player couldn't just walk anywhere, but would need to find some other means to travel vast expanses of water. This gives us variety and more possibilities in the future.
agreed on all counts.

Nice satt.map, too.

Quote
  • Coast of Norway wouldn't have much ice if any
  • Skagerrak is liquid sea
  • Kattegat is liquid sea
  • South, the ice would start somewhere around Kaliningrad
  • The Island of Gotland would be half in liquid sea and the rest in liquid sea.
  • The word "Baltic" would be in liquid sea, but the ice would start north from the letter "c"
  • Everything beyond North from the island of Gotland would be frozen.
I think this is about right.  There might also be another "sea" terrain type between open water and frozen "pack ice"  - ice flows: http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-ice-floe.htm

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The ice forms outward from the land during winter, and each spring, Arctic hunters like to venture out onto the ice. The ice or floe edge - where the ice meets open water - is the best location for hunting and fishing.

It is also the most dynamic and dangerous place to be in the spring, and each year, unsuspecting people are set adrift as the ice fractures and large ice floes float out to sea. This often happens in weather conditions that make air searches and rescue efforts difficult or impossible.

(http://img.timeinc.net/time/photoessays/2007/antarctic_ice/antarctic_ice_02.jpg)

We can also "adjust" the borders of Pack Ice/Ice Flow/Open water based on seasons.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 14, 2009, 10:33:45 PM
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I think this is about right.  There might also be another "sea" terrain type between open water and frozen "pack ice"  - ice flows: http://www.athropolis.com/arctic-facts/fact-ice-floe.htm
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It is also the most dynamic and dangerous place to be in the spring, and each year, ...

Included in my mental image of the setting.

Quote
We can also "adjust" the borders of Pack Ice/Ice Flow/Open water based on seasons.

Ah seasons, I haven't given this any thought to this. How hard would it be to take into account all the world changes then? We wouldn't have any problems with farming, but I'm trying to come up with possible consequences other than change of the world map.

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Are we happy with 20 years after?  I think it's about right... but I could be convinced otherwise.

I was thinking somewhere 20-50 years after the war. It depends what kind of demographics we want to have. Ratio of pre-war to post-war born folk. This will affect the setting somewhat.

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Everything beyond North from the island of Gotland would be frozen.

To comment myself, we could also add a narrowing passage that goes a bit more towards the north. The satellite image has something similar, but our passage wouldn't go as far north.

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Also - I doubt the death was INSTANT...

OK,  I have a small problem with this in a 20 years after game.   "Black Rain" is contaminated dirt mixed with rain.  It only occurs ~days after atomic strike.  For us to have black rain, we need some way to get contaminated material into the air again.  I am trying to imagine another kind of radioactive snow fall or rain - but the only thing I can come up with is "Heavy water" (tritiated).  Tritium is radioactive... but pretty mild.    I could maybe imagine a radioactive dust storm, if you could get a HUGE pile of Cesium-138 or Strontium-90 on the ground in a windy place... but it stretches credibility a little (but so does nuking Stockholm and Oslo)

Yes, that's where black rain fails. It could still make it into the folklore, something like how the war made the sky cry black tears to clean the earth of all that is human, since humanity itself was lost. Stuff like that :)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 15, 2009, 12:51:50 AM
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Ah seasons, I haven't given this any thought to this. How hard would it be to take into account all the world changes then? We wouldn't have any problems with farming, but I'm trying to come up with possible consequences other than change of the world map.

Could be a big art problem, more difficult than night/day by a long shot. 
Most obvious effect:  Weather pattern changes - there has been some chatter about weather, but nothing concrete.
World map effect:  Not only graphical - but functionally Ice Pack/Ice Flow/Open water are going to have different behaviors, travel effects.   For land world map tiles - will effect ease of finding food, exposure, encounter types, even frequency.

I think the mechanical game stuff is triival - but could be a big increase in art assets needed.  Might be a programming solution though with some kinda of fancy pixel color masks.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 15, 2009, 05:48:09 AM
Basically a link dump from todays googling:  The upshot is that I was "way off" on Soviet war plans to deal with Scandanvia.
Much of the following (particuarly the links labed "JACKPOT") are pretty good background.

http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/nuclearwar1.html - effect of nuclear war
http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/colltopic.cfm?lng=en&id=16239&navinfo=15365 - 1963 Warsaw Pact attack plan (in English, Russian, Czech)
http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/colltopic.cfm?lng=en&id=16606 - 1965 Hungarian war game plan, Vienna, Munich, Verona destroyed...

Also on this site, but summary is interesting:
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A Landing Operation in Denmark
The Polish Military's Losses in the First Phase of a Warsaw Pact Offensive Were to Reach 50 Percent
Oct 2002
Description: This is a report on Polish war plans from 1956 to 1970. The Polish general staff planned to create a northern European maritime front within the Warsaw Pact. In case of war, the main thrust of Poland's forces was to be directed towards Jutland, the Elbe, and the German-Danish border. In the second phase of attack, the Polish forces were to advance towards the northern German plains and the Netherlands. However, the Polish Fourth Army had a different task - it was to act in combination with the pact's United Fleet to conduct a landing operation on the Danish islands and and secure access to the North Sea. Tactical nuclear strikes against enemy forces and Danish urban areas were part of the war plans.

Unable to find even a "projected" or "guessitimate" european target list - although the Russians were convinced NATO was going to knock the stuffing out of Poland...

JACKPOT!
http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/gallery.cfm?id=46465  - correct google-fu was "soviet plan sweden"
http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/collections/coll_sovthreat/Introduction.cfm?navinfo=46465 has bigger versions of the pix with text.

one more edit, because it specifically mentions chemical weapons:  This is from the same source as above - the Polish armies were to attack through Germany through Denmark (and parts of Southern Sweden)

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The attack on Jutland would be facilitated through Russian airborne troops taking the Kiel Canal at an early stage. East German units would take part in landing on the islands. The Soviet Baltic Fleet would open up the Danish sounds and the East German Navy the Kiel Canal. The landing areas on the Danish islands were to be attacked first using highly volatile chemical weapons.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 15, 2009, 10:44:17 AM
Hmm, hmm, interesting stuff. Reading through it. It seems our wasteland will have many ties to the past (unlike fallout, where the past was very distant).

Since we have now agreed on the general location, we should now start working on the events that happened in the area and let to the current situation of the game world. I expect any large army in the region would collapse due to lack of supplies (the invading armies especially), and you'd only have small bands left.

I wonder if things would be still mainly about NATO vs. the Warsaw pact, or would the general lack of organisation/orders from above mean that other (more individual interests) came into play, with different factions. Would there still be a war, or simply a region where some new and some old interest groups had their own agenda, but neither strong enough to really make decisive blows. Would they perhaps abandon their pre-war agressiveness and care more about their own survival in this harsh land? Especially after this shift of climate was imposed on everyone and you couldn't simply ignore this omni force. The Nordic nations seem to be a bit more prepared to survive in winter conditions than the Red Army, so this is also a factor in positioning post-war groups/bands/factions on the world map.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on February 15, 2009, 02:14:41 PM
Do we also want to have some weird cold war stuff in it, stuff that borders to fiction. Similar to what Red Alert did, when it mixed conventional warfare with some weird stuff. We shouldn't go as far as time travel, but cold war secret experiements always sparkle my imagination :)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 16, 2009, 03:31:07 AM
Hmm... not familiar with what Red Alert did.
I would say that "James Bond" level gagets would be the absolute maximum.  I would be OK with something silly like the Russian "cutter armored car" from Indiana Jones IV.

Remeber, all this stuff suffered through a global war - then 20 years of decay.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: mvBarracuda on February 16, 2009, 10:32:34 AM
I like the idea of the cuba crisis gone bad. Can we agree on having a kind of post WW2 setting?


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 16, 2009, 08:43:08 PM
Yeah, post WWII seems fine.  My head seems geared toward 80s... but 60s might be cool too.  Might be too close to fallout.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: egalor on February 17, 2009, 11:51:17 AM
Do I see it correctly:

1) The game will be placed in Northern Europe (as indicated on Lamoot's snapshot)?

2) The timeline starts somewhere in between 1945 (end of WW2) and 1962 (Cuban missile crisis)?

Also, I would appreciate if somebody would keep track of our brainstorming on the wiki pages. Otherwise it is pretty easy to lose some important detail, or simply get lost in a discussion (especially for any new recruits).


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 17, 2009, 04:54:30 PM
I don't think it's been set that timeline starts in 1962.  I would like to see more of a real timeline written before I sign off on this.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on February 18, 2009, 02:04:53 AM
Not a proposal - but food for thought.  Twilight 2000 is an old school table top RPG that takes place _immediatly_ after WWIII.
There are european and north american campaigns.

http://twilight2000.wikia.com/wiki/Twilight_2000_Wiki

Note that because the "story" goal was to have semi-autonomous and viable armies from the war still active - the nuclear war they propose tends to be somewhat limited compared to other scenarios.   Timeline is probably somewhat later than we are thinking, and seems to start with a China/USSR war.   1st edition is probably the closest to what we are thinking.

There are _4_ editions of this game, each with different timelines.  I would just ignore the Twlight 2013 - the timeline is not complete (looks like something like a Russia post USSR - China - US war)



Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 02, 2009, 07:58:24 AM
http://rk19-bielefeld-mitte.de/survival/FM/15.htm

This is just plain useful.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: mvBarracuda on March 02, 2009, 08:49:48 AM
Nice find zenbitz :-) I've added it to the wiki.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Kukkakaali on March 02, 2009, 04:33:38 PM
Abandonned military storage site

 A barbed-wire fence rounded, old military vehicle storing site, theres propably ten to twenty pre-war rusty throughly corroded
tanks and cars lying around covered in thick snow and a pathway to the ammo storing site under the ground, but
unfortunedly the door leading to the storage is locked from inside.
 Behind the thick metal door you can find other wooden doors that lead to weapon and ammo storages,
the personell quarders were positioned on the ground but were unfortunedly destroyed in the war.

There would propably be something good being found under the snow and from old vehicles but unfortunedly most of them are
under so much ice and snow that they are unreachable and the equipment inside the underground storage are pretty much sealed from
the player untill he / she can find some kind of explosives or keys for the door.

 There could be also an small military storage site like this but with an cracked open door and a raider party living in it,
an group of humans who have found a way to get the door open and use the equipment for their own advantage, ofcourse the
player could go and try kill them to get the rest of whats left or some how make deals with the local peaple about destroying the
hideout entrance so that the raiders inside wouldnt be a threath to the peaple no more, who knows..

http://www.mpmaailma.fi/userimages/1467_korA2457mp.jpg
http://www.rt-kilta.net/galleria2/galleria/tykit/tykit9.jpg



Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Kukkakaali on March 02, 2009, 08:13:39 PM
I think that most of the locations on the game could be found only by talking to peaple and interacting with them, like in fallout where you can get the locations of the acid cave north of klamath and the mafia drugfarm, but in this situation i think that there could be only a few find able locations for the player without further knowlege of the areas or some one telling you where it is, this would prevent skipping major parts of the game and would make the players consentrate more to the actual gameplay rather than skipping some locations for better equipment and stuff.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: crowleyhammer on March 03, 2009, 02:36:00 AM
I like the ideas being put forward etc but the soviets - america thing has been done a lot, couldnt we add a twist?

I was thinking of something similar to sum of all fears, where instead of soviets firing on the U.S or vice versa having a rogue element tricking them off into fighting each other, we can still keep our current setting as such and time/ dates.

Im not advocating some shadow government crap but it may give the player an interesting avenue to explore instead of the same old russia hating america etc.

Obviously this needs to be fleshed out a tad more but its just another idea to throw in the mix.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 03, 2009, 04:42:03 AM
I think WHY the war started is not relevant at all.     I think "third party" intervention to cause WWIII has been done nearly as much anyway.  What I would like to see is just something coherent and believable.  The "original" idea of this was that we should have post-apoc game with "soviet" stuff ('cause it's cool).  Nothing deeper than that.

Setting moved to "Scandinavia" because Central Europe conflicted with a similar FIFE game.... and it fits easily with "Snow" idea.
Around this time we decided "Nuclear Nukes were fired in an Atomic War".

So now all we have to do is construct a backstory that fufills this.   There are lots.  I personally prefer the game to be light on fantasy elements.

Hope that helps with the background ideas.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Lamoot on March 03, 2009, 10:51:13 AM
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I think "third party" intervention to cause WWIII has been done nearly as much anyway.

Always prevented by the Shaken, not stirred :)

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I think WHY the war started is not relevant at all.

Indeed. It wasn't relevant in Mad Max and it's a cool story/movie nonetheless.

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The "original" idea of this was that we should have post-apoc game with "soviet" stuff ('cause it's cool).  Nothing deeper than that.

Exactly the reason.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: shanxi on March 03, 2009, 04:18:34 PM
If you never reveal the cause of the war and focus solely on the post-apocalyptic setting it would have the potential to create a very intriguing storyline without too many real-life diversions (I find alternate-history pretty boring).

I don't know if any of you are familiar with The Road (http://"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road") by Cormac McCarthy, but it has a post-apocalyptic setting although the cause is unknown and it really works well.  Rather than dwelling on why the world is in such a bad way he just lets the reader form his own assumptions and focusses solely on portraying the vestiges of humanity as they cope with it.

I'd be in favour of setting it at least 20+ years after the apocalypse, allowing for a new generation growing up in the environment would open the door to all kinds of interesting cultural 'mutations'.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 03, 2009, 06:53:19 PM
If you never reveal the cause of the war and focus solely on the post-apocalyptic setting it would have the potential to create a very intriguing storyline without too many real-life diversions (I find alternate-history pretty boring).

But I find it to be awesome wrapped awesome with awesome sauce.  I don't see how "diversions" have anything to do with it.  All future history sci-fi is pretty much the same idea... just alt-history starts NOW.

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I'd be in favour of setting it at least 20+ years after the apocalypse, allowing for a new generation growing up in the environment would open the door to all kinds of interesting cultural 'mutations'.

Well, see - we both win.  I have alt-history realism, and you have 20 years after the war to make shit up!


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Dubaian on March 05, 2009, 03:50:56 PM
I liked the look of the 1000km2 map with Scandinavia and the whole winter idea. For one this opens up an area that may not necessarily have become a huge landscape dotted with craters left, right and center, relatively untouched by the nuclear war. It also gives openings for multiple factions of that nuclear holocaust to take up positions to enlist the player should he/she decide to be part of the group. With such factions as 'Old militias of *suchandsuch*' to the more prominent factions such as the USSR (or its remnants), UN, or even NATO (Although you could argue UN and NATO are one in the same...but a twist could come from this) all vieing for control of unnuclearafied locations. It also leaves open the possibility of seeing these factions on the frozen waters of the Baltic Sea continuing the 'Old' or 'New' Hatreds wars.

Quote from Renbitz: "But I find it to be awesome wrapped awesome with awesome sauce."
All I have left to say for now is...would you like a side-dish of awesome with that?
Cheers :P


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 05, 2009, 06:24:53 PM
all vieing for control of unnuclearafied locations.

This is tangential - but people seem to have this idea of an atomic bomb permanently making a region uninhabitable.  This is obviously not the case - see Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   Those were small nukes to be sure - but large nukes just make a bigger crater and firestorm - and there are diminishing returns (which is why most bombs in service topped out at 2MT, even though 50-100MT bombs were theorized and maybe even tested).

 It's possible to "chernobylize" an area - but this requires large amount of high level nuclear waste or reactor.  The other possibility is a "Cobalt bomb" (which to my knowledge were theorized but never built).

The damage from a nuclear bomb to a city comes primarily from creating a firestorm - just like a conventional bombing raid.  It just requires way fewer planes and materials.   The radiation effect is high - but it's acute.  Either you got zapped with a large dose in the blast and died of radiation poisoning (500-1000 rads), or you got a smaller dose and long term health effects (including cancer/birth defects) or you got a low dose (in a basement or whatetever).

The radiation danger lasts maybe a ~week or so after the explosion from particles in the air, aka fallout.

Just so you know.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 05, 2009, 06:47:54 PM
I don't know if any of you are familiar with The Road (http://"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road") by Cormac McCarthy, but it has a post-apocalyptic setting although the cause is unknown and it really works well.  Rather than dwelling on why the world is in such a bad way he just lets the reader form his own assumptions and focusses solely on portraying the vestiges of humanity as they cope with it.
It seems to me, most likely that after even a modest apocalypse that almost no one would really know who started it.  Of course, everyone would have a theory.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: DK on March 05, 2009, 06:48:07 PM
all vieing for control of unnuclearafied locations.

This is tangential - but people seem to have this idea of an atomic bomb permanently making a region uninhabitable.  This is obviously not the case - see Hiroshima and Nagasaki.   Those were small nukes to be sure - but large nukes just make a bigger crater and firestorm - and there are diminishing returns (which is why most bombs in service topped out at 2MT, even though 50-100MT bombs were theorized and maybe even tested).

 It's possible to "chernobylize" an area - but this requires large amount of high level nuclear waste or reactor.  The other possibility is a "Cobalt bomb" (which to my knowledge were theorized but never built).

The damage from a nuclear bomb to a city comes primarily from creating a firestorm - just like a conventional bombing raid.  It just requires way fewer planes and materials.   The radiation effect is high - but it's acute.  Either you got zapped with a large dose in the blast and died of radiation poisoning (500-1000 rads), or you got a smaller dose and long term health effects (including cancer/birth defects) or you got a low dose (in a basement or whatetever).

The radiation danger lasts maybe a ~week or so after the explosion from particles in the air, aka fallout.

Just so you know.

Enlightening :D


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 05, 2009, 07:28:07 PM
It seems to me, most likely that after even a modest apocalypse that almost no one would really know who started it.  Of course, everyone would have a theory.

If WWIII had started due to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, do you think the survivors might have some idea what happened?   Some kind of apocalypses - even nuclear wars - might "blindside" the populace?   For example, if an all-out nuclear strike was triggered by a flock of geese or something (alegedly almost happened a couple of times) - but if were Soviet tanks driving through Germany following tactical & strategic nuke strikes, I think anyone watching the news for a couple of days might now what happened.

I think even if a comet or asteroid hit the earth sometime after, oh, 1960, there would be an early warning and broadcast up for weeks to days before the event.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: DK on March 05, 2009, 07:56:53 PM
I am more in favour of a hidden past.. but also agree that if set only 20 years after the war then there is going to be plenty of evidence as to why the war started.

So three options would be

1) set the game longer than 20 years after the event... 40 years? 2nd generation survivors who are able to learn better survival skills than their more domesticated parents? We would be seeing the last of the pre-war tech breaking down and would be seeing the transition from the modern society backwards into a new dark ages. Think the collapse of rome.

2) set only 20 years after but elaborate back story as to why no one really knows who what or why happened, all we know is that it happened and it sucked. To me this has the benefit of creating subtle factions that could build towards a religious schism of people.

3) 20 years after and reasons are clear. Would be interesting to still, am interested in seeing the prejudice of people come out. Say the Russians fired first? They would be treated like 2nd class citizens though the individuals had nothing to do with it. story parallel: Anti-semitic Christians because "Juice killed Jesus"


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 05, 2009, 08:59:54 PM
3) 20 years after and reasons are clear. Would be interesting to still, am interested in seeing the prejudice of people come out. Say the Russians fired first? They would be treated like 2nd class citizens though the individuals had nothing to do with it. story parallel: Anti-semitic Christians because "Juice killed Jesus"

Just because "we"  - the writers know the true story, doesn't meant the NPCs in the game might not have their own ideas an prejudices.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 05, 2009, 09:19:57 PM
but if were Soviet tanks driving through Germany following tactical & strategic nuke strikes, I think anyone watching the news for a couple of days might now what happened.
It's generally believed in a cold-war or post cold-war type scenario that once nukes start flying, there's a very short time frame before most of the nukes have been launched or neutralized.

So while the people would have good reason to believe that a struggle over germany was the issue that escalated into nuclear war, they wouldn't know who fired first, since all parties who had a chance to fire would generally have fired within minutes of each other.

Besides in a topic like a recent apocalypse, passions will run hot, and people will generally be most interested in blaming and demonizing someone than figuring out exactly how it occured.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Gaspard on March 05, 2009, 10:51:44 PM
I think I saw a discussion that was about that but can you choose the age for your character ?

The game starts 20 years after the war. Thats fixed now, yes ?
 Will you be born into the post-apoc world or will your knowledge and skills come over from your 'previous life' like in Mad Max ? Then you'd have to be around or close to 40+ to actually have any detailed knowledge of something (depending on your background) or a meager views and not fully developed attitude toward life and world and politics in general if you're <30. If you're <20 then wouldn't we need semi-fixed background stories for the new characters ?
Like you can choose if you're a boy/girl from the bomb shelter in the Big City or a girl/boy from the cellar of a garage 20 km/some miles out of town ?

If you're the latter then you'd listen to the rumors and ask around maybe if you're interested. But if you're playing the old character then that would have to be clear from the start - you have your own diary somewhere somesuch.

But if the reason of the war is not critical to the advancement of the plot then the discussion's importance is pretty moot at this point. There's a big possibility that the topic of the beginning of the war will not be touched at all during the demo-town/areas which were one of the first priorities


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 05, 2009, 11:11:54 PM
I think I saw a discussion that was about that but can you choose the age for your character ?

That's the idea.  One complication of this is that for it to be actually"cool" it implied multiple starting locations/setups.  Unlike Fallout, for example.

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The game starts 20 years after the war. Thats fixed now, yes ?

It's linked.  20 years after  (+/- 5) is pretty much the only way you can get "Adults" from either "before" or "after".

 
Quote
Will you be born into the post-apoc world or will your knowledge and skills come over from your 'previous life' like in Mad Max ? Then you'd have to be around or close to 40+ to actually have any detailed knowledge of something (depending on your background) or a meager views and not fully developed attitude toward life and world and politics in general if you're <30. If you're <20 then wouldn't we need semi-fixed background stories for the new characters ?
Like you can choose if you're a boy/girl from the bomb shelter in the Big City or a girl/boy from the cellar of a garage 20 km/some miles out of town ?

Yes, my idea is that you would choose your background when you choose your age, and it would (strongly) influence your starting skills (and possibly equipment as well).  Probably change your "start" location too.  I am not sure the back stories have to be "fixed" per se, but they probably have to be suggested.

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But if the reason of the war is not critical to the advancement of the plot then the discussion's importance is pretty moot at this point. There's a big possibility that the topic of the beginning of the war will not be touched at all during the demo-town/areas which were one of the first priorities

Yeah, my assumption is that it's more or less irrelevant to actual game play.   


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 05, 2009, 11:12:44 PM
The game starts 20 years after the war. Thats fixed now, yes ?
 Will you be born into the post-apoc world or will your knowledge and skills come over from your 'previous life' like in Mad Max ? Then you'd have to be around or close to 40+ to actually have any detailed knowledge of something (depending on your background) or a meager views and not fully developed attitude toward life and world and politics in general if you're <30. If you're <20 then wouldn't we need semi-fixed background stories for the new characters ?
I think the PC's age could provide some very interesting choices for the player  There's lots of stuff that simply wouldn't make sense to someone born after the BOOM.  But then they would be young and not totally freaked out since the world is the way they always have known it to be.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: DK on March 05, 2009, 11:42:46 PM
Quote
Yes, my idea is that you would choose your background when you choose your age, and it would (strongly) influence your starting skills (and possibly equipment as well).  Probably change your "start" location too.  I am not sure the back stories have to be "fixed" per se, but they probably have to be suggested.



Likes. :)


Something like older character less physical skill more mental skil moar "stuff"?


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 06, 2009, 04:12:34 AM
I would put "Age" and different backgrounds on the second tier of needfulness.

It's not a core feature that the game can't be without.

But it's something pretty cool that shouldn't be unreasonably hard to implement.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: tie on March 06, 2009, 01:49:40 PM
(moved to http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=35.msg594#msg594 (http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=35.msg594#msg594))


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Gaspard on March 06, 2009, 05:27:17 PM
cold war era + sci fi

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1281171.html


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 07, 2009, 01:01:10 AM
I would put "Age" and different backgrounds on the second tier of needfulness.

It's not a core feature that the game can't be without.

But it's something pretty cool that shouldn't be unreasonably hard to implement.

Concur.  It's certainly outside the scope of the demo.  But the option existing might help inspire writers!


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 10, 2009, 07:08:50 AM
I'd really like to avoid the pulp sci-fi concept that radiation produces super-powerful and/or dangerous beings.  Radiations makes you dead, sick or infertile.  And mutations when they happen to people in the real world are generally called "birth defects".

But more to the point, super-mutants are suitable for campy pulp, which from what i gathered is not the effect we are going for.

The humor in FO was great, but probably not something we can or should try to duplicate.


Also if we are going to set this in an alternate earth, i think it would be interesting to build up a backstory of events that are subtly and then increasingly different from actual history for several decades prior to the boom.

I dunno, like a vietnam that didn't end.  Presidents who actually served out their term getting assasinated, that kind of stuff.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 10, 2009, 09:19:33 PM
I'd really like to avoid the pulp sci-fi concept that radiation produces super-powerful and/or dangerous beings.  Radiations makes you dead, sick or infertile.  And mutations when they happen to people in the real world are generally called "birth defects".
Agreed, .although I am willing to bend the rules in a minor way.  example: Mutant furry kangaroos (escape from zoo) = Tauntauns.


Quote
Also if we are going to set this in an alternate earth, i think it would be interesting to build up a backstory of events that are subtly and then increasingly different from actual history for several decades prior to the boom.

I dunno, like a vietnam that didn't end.  Presidents who actually served out their term getting assasinated, that kind of stuff.

Have at.  I just worked my way backwards from sort of where I wanted the world.  I stopped at "Soviets invade western europe, nukes fly" in 1988/89.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 11, 2009, 03:00:43 AM
Agreed, .although I am willing to bend the rules in a minor way.  example: Mutant furry kangaroos (escape from zoo) = Tauntauns.

*Sigh*  You know that starts a slippery slope to lightsabers and midichlorians, right?  ;)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 11, 2009, 05:55:39 PM
Agreed, .although I am willing to bend the rules in a minor way.  example: Mutant furry kangaroos (escape from zoo) = Tauntauns.

*Sigh*  You know that starts a slippery slope to lightsabers and midichlorians, right?  ;)

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Some of the Hoth sequence was filmed in Norway, in the area from the railway station Finse to the Hardangerjøkelen glacier.

I don't see how we can ignore that part ...


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Gaspard on March 13, 2009, 03:22:48 PM
Probably not very original, but I've still been thinking that this 20 year period is a bit too short of a time for a post-apoc civilization to get back on its feet (or into a crawling stance even).

Couldn't the Player Character be the one who starts sort of 'accidentally' popularizing some of the 'cool' new elements in the game like flintlock pistols and some more advanced low-tech equipment and even philosophies.

20 might be a time when old or new stable trade routes are established and information and knowledge starts piling up systematically again. By that time there might be fanatics systematically scavenging old Universities and Science labs for old valuable tech and know-how.
PC could stumble upon characters like that through the game and aid them:
Perhaps there's a flooded sub-basement in a University and the scientist have deduced from some old maps that there should be an Archive of sorts under there and the PC happens to be the first guy with a truly devil-may-care attitude to actually strip and jump into the soggy pool of water with maybe only a crow-bar or a harpoon against mutated animal threats (makes me think of Beowulf and Grendel) and some well-packed plastic explosives to blow open a ceiling/floor to let the apocalyptic scientists into the archives.

Afterward as the game-time passes the Player Character might see that where the enemies used to carry clubs and crossbows at first then later they drag around primitive fire-arms and maybe makeshift flamethrowers or something. I mean Rock-It-Launcher is too much (unless its bigger and used to siege post-apocalyptic dungeons >:D mwahaha)

In general 'shops' that sell guns and bows would be weird. A cooler thing would be if a crazy creative mind starts whopping together crossbows out of scrap materials and he makes one for you if you give him something in return (quest-for-item can be done too, but one has to be cautious with these, otherwise the game will become only about that :(( )


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 13, 2009, 04:59:33 PM
Probably not very original, but I've still been thinking that this 20 year period is a bit too short of a time for a post-apoc civilization to get back on its feet (or into a crawling stance even).

I don't know exactly what you mean by "back on it's feet", but IMHO anyone who survived 20 years already had most of the skills needed to survive in a post-tech world.  You have a pretty limited amount of time to learn how to feed/cloth/etc. yourself before you die.  And while there might be a lot of stockpiles of stuff around, it only takes the lack of one critical item to kill you.


Afterward as the game-time passes the Player Character might see that where the enemies used to carry clubs and crossbows at first then later they drag around primitive fire-arms and maybe makeshift flamethrowers or something.

Well, you generally expect your opponents in later game to be better armed, and generally more formidable.


In general 'shops' that sell guns and bows would be weird. A cooler thing would be if a crazy creative mind starts whopping together crossbows out of scrap materials and he makes one for you if you give him something in return...

What are you saying, there shouldn't be any guns?

I think the juxtaposition of guns and bows is interesting.  But they wouldn't just be 2 interchangeable commodities.  Guns would be (generally) cheap, and ammo very expensive.  Arrows wouldn't cost too much, and neither would a ordinary bow.  But a well-made bow would be quite expensive and uncommon, since there would be very few expert craftsmen around.  Most survivors would probably be generalists.

Sure, quests for special items are cool.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Gaspard on March 13, 2009, 05:56:45 PM
Probably not very original, but I've still been thinking that this 20 year period is a bit too short of a time for a post-apoc civilization to get back on its feet (or into a crawling stance even).

I don't know exactly what you mean by "back on it's feet", but IMHO anyone who survived 20 years already had most of the skills needed to survive in a post-tech world.  You have a pretty limited amount of time to learn how to feed/cloth/etc. yourself before you die.  And while there might be a lot of stockpiles of stuff around, it only takes the lack of one critical item to kill you.

by 'the back on their feet' I mean some old long(er)-range communication system has been restored or a new one set up (trade routes).
you do not share with anybody unless you have a roof over your head, food on the table, the basic needs have to be taken care of, right ? so for that to become stable it might take 20 years, no ?.
This is a prequisite for the following: 'new' knowledge starts piling up - how to survive in the wastes and how to adjust what is left from the world before to our advantage in the world we live in now. if something piles up then that could be traded for something that is more useful. You were/are history minor, right ? I'm basically talking about a Natural Economy getting set up - that takes time if it was not popular in the area before.
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Afterward as the game-time passes the Player Character might see that where the enemies used to carry clubs and crossbows at first then later they drag around primitive fire-arms and maybe makeshift flamethrowers or something.

Well, you generally expect your opponents in later game to be better armed, and generally more formidable.
yeah, but this would be part of the backstory that explains the better equipment the more general folk like bandits and raiders carry around.
of course the militarist enemies and/or robots you might face in the end stages of the game have better weapons and equipment, but for that you'd have to go up to them and pick a fight.
In Fallout I found it annoying that when I'd donned my power armor and carried a combat shotgun the leather-clad raiders or bandits still ran at me with knives and peacemakers. If later in the game they had a reason to have better weapons and actually had them then the fights would have been more interesting than me just standing there and shooting them in the head one-by-one
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In general 'shops' that sell guns and bows would be weird. A cooler thing would be if a crazy creative mind starts whopping together crossbows out of scrap materials and he makes one for you if you give him something in return...

What are you saying, there shouldn't be any guns?

I think the juxtaposition of guns and bows is interesting.  But they wouldn't just be 2 interchangeable commodities.  Guns would be (generally) cheap, and ammo very expensive.  Arrows wouldn't cost too much, and neither would a ordinary bow.  But a well-made bow would be quite expensive and uncommon, since there would be very few expert craftsmen around.  Most survivors would probably be generalists.

Sure, quests for special items are cool.

sorry i presented my idea in a faulty fashion. I mean that having GUN STORES in general is weird in my opinion. One should find firearms either in (vary rare) untouched military equipment caches or a guy selling one-two firearms the most, but yes in general - less guns.
in the whole game there might be just ONE kingpin/ganglord who lets you browse his weapons cache of 'antique' pre-war weapons and maybe sell some to you.
the rest of the 'sellers' would be the aforementioned specialists who either maintain old weapons and items and then 'inventors' who come up with new ones from older schematics even (most primitive is bow, then someone comes up with crossbow, then someone uses better material in constucting a crossbow, then someone learns how to make cheap ammo for a makeshift flintlock or even a more primitive firearm) these inventors might sell their contraptions for you or trade them for new supplies (trash, old machinery). I'd think blacksmiths are back in action in a post-apoc setting, too.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 15, 2009, 02:53:39 AM
Quote
by 'the back on their feet' I mean some old long(er)-range communication system has been restored or a new one set up (trade routes).
you do not share with anybody unless you have a roof over your head, food on the table, the basic needs have to be taken care of, right ? so for that to become stable it might take 20 years, no ?.
This is a prequisite for the following: 'new' knowledge starts piling up - how to survive in the wastes and how to adjust what is left from the world before to our advantage in the world we live in now. if something piles up then that could be traded for something that is more useful. You were/are history minor, right ? I'm basically talking about a Natural Economy getting set up - that takes time if it was not popular in the area before.

"Necessity is the mother of invention".  I don't think it's that much of stretch to say that "some" stability would reoccur in 20 years.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Gaspard on March 15, 2009, 10:23:20 AM
nono of course. but for the different peoples to be ready to perhaps share what they have scavenged and gathered, that's a different story. I think someone mentioned that there should be settlements that might not want to let you in because they do not want to share any of their rations and even risk you deceiving them.
although yeah there could just be a settlement or two just as xenophobic as that


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 15, 2009, 04:37:35 PM
"Necessity is the mother of invention".  I don't think it's that much of stretch to say that "some" stability would reoccur in 20 years.

Sure but "Necessity" doesn't always have children.  Complex civilizations have crumbled into savagery (or something approaching savagery) numerous times through history.  And certain hostile environments and/or cultures have keep certain people groups without "civilization" from the dawn of time till now.


What we call "civilization" fundamentally requires an excess of food.  I.E. food must be plentiful enough so that some people can get enough food for for themselves, their children, and to feed "specialists".  Specialists are the leaders, specialized craftsmen, inventors, artists, professional soldiers etc.  More complex societies generally require a larger excess of food, and thus a higher proportion of specialists.

In the USA as late as 1800 ~90% of the population was farmers.  This proportion is probably so high because of all the newly settled areas.  In the Middle ages the farmers are estimated to be from 80-90% of the population.

If we factor in 1) some amount of nuclear winter, 2) scandinavia is not the most food-rich part of europe, 3) 20 years is not enough time to make people expert at low-tech methods, you'll get a world were only a tiny percentage of work hours can be devoted to something other than food production and the basic requirements for survival.

So maybe 1-3% of people are available to devote themselves to leadership, specialist crafts, soldiers, tradesmen etc.

There's simply a limit on how complex a small society can get when 97+% of the people devote themselves to food production.


So for instance if your settlement is lucky enough to have a tailor, there's not room for someone else to sell his stuff.  If you want a new coat, you'll go to his house, interrupt his sewing long enough to agree on terms and go back to your work.  There won't be stores with otherwise idle shopkeepers waiting around to make a sale... except perhaps when someone has  monopolized a cache of some valuable pre-BOOM supplies and has the muscle to keep control of it.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 16, 2009, 05:59:20 AM
I understand all you are saying elezzaar, but I don't get your main point.

My basic idea is this:
* For any settlement designed by writers/designers, we must state up front the "true" population (as opposed to the number of actual NPC models)
* There must be some "adequate" explanation for how this many people is fed, clothed, kept warm.]

So if you want a Post-apocaylpse-teeming-metropolis of 5,000 people - you need to fit in the farmers necessary to do this.

But speaking of  farming - I think we should try to work in some kind of "thaw" cycle in the seasons to give people SOME chance of eating.    Although, I think green houses would go along way.  They are not very high tech (given that you can scavange the clear plastic or glass) , but were not developed until the 19th Century (confirmed with some quick wikipedia - although some form of them existed in Italy in the 13th C!)


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Gaspard on March 16, 2009, 12:36:18 PM
Huge greenhouses are used even today. Mass-producing vegetables for the.. well.. masses.. If one or two stayed intact or were not damaged too much during the BOOM then a settlement could have formed around it keeping the thing going (like the oil refinery people in Mad Max 2 :D)If there's a power generator that could be kept going (Mad Max 3 - the pig shit >> methane gas :D) then the production could be underground with special lighting.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 16, 2009, 01:48:55 PM
I understand all you are saying elezzaar, but I don't get your main point.

Hmm, i guess the whole thing could look like it was supposed to be a reply to your post, but it's not.  I used the quote more as a "jumping off point".


* For any settlement designed by writers/designers, we must state up front the "true" population (as opposed to the number of actual NPC models)

why?


So if you want a Post-apocaylpse-teeming-metropolis of 5,000 people - you need to fit in the farmers necessary to do this.

Yeah, going by the 97% food-production number that town would require nearly 500,000 farmers, fishermen, and hunters to feed it. (ignoring the possibility of pre-BOOM caches).  To put that in perspective, scandinavia currently has a population of about 25 million.  If we kill 95% we're left with 1.25 million.  So, such a town would require ~ 2/5ths of scandinavia's total post-boom population, and magical (or at least modern) transportation.   In other words, it ain't happening.  You can massage the numbers, but the metropolis is dead in paRPG.


But speaking of  farming - I think we should try to work in some kind of "thaw" cycle in the seasons to give people SOME chance of eating.    Although, I think green houses would go along way.  They are not very high tech (given that you can scavange the clear plastic or glass) , but were not developed until the 19th Century (confirmed with some quick wikipedia - although some form of them existed in Italy in the 13th C!)

Yeah, unless people are supposed to be fed only on fish, we need a spring and summer, even if they are shorter than now.

Greenhouses would no-doubt be highly valuable... and also highly vulnerable.  I don't know how effective greenhouses could be, but i would be rather suspicious of the idea all needed veggies could be provided to our survivors via greenhouses in an environment so cold that there never is a thaw.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 16, 2009, 06:04:23 PM
* For any settlement designed by writers/designers, we must state up front the "true" population (as opposed to the number of actual NPC models)

why?
It's necessary information for the following.

Quote
So if you want a Post-apocaylpse-teeming-metropolis of 5,000 people - you need to fit in the farmers necessary to do this.

Yeah, going by the 97% food-production number that town would require nearly 500,000 farmers, fishermen, and hunters to feed it. (ignoring the possibility of pre-BOOM caches).  To put that in perspective, scandinavia currently has a population of about 25 million.  If we kill 95% we're left with 1.25 million.  So, such a town would require ~ 2/5ths of scandinavia's total post-boom population, and magical (or at least modern) transportation.   In other words, it ain't happening.  You can massage the numbers, but the metropolis is dead in paRPG.

Sorry, El, I don't buy your analysis.   I can't say it's "wrong" just yet... but it doesn't pass the sniff test for me.  There were very large cities in medieval times.  Before the Black Death, London had a population of nearly 100,000.  It had a population of nearly 1,000,000 - pre-industrial times (1801), when the total population of England was ~7.5M.

I think the error is that the 90-97% is not all necessary to support the other 10-3%.  Some of those guys are super poor dirt farmers/sharecroppers who are just feeding themselves.

Quote
Greenhouses would no-doubt be highly valuable... and also highly vulnerable.  I don't know how effective greenhouses could be, but i would be rather suspicious of the idea all needed veggies could be provided to our survivors via greenhouses in an environment so cold that there never is a thaw.

Well, look it up!  There are also hydroponics with florescent lights - but these obvious require some form of electricity.   I might consider putting in a single location like that - way up north where it was really cold, with a repaired hydroelectric or geothemal plant.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 20, 2009, 04:10:49 PM

So if you want a Post-apocaylpse-teeming-metropolis of 5,000 people - you need to fit in the farmers necessary to do this.

Yeah, going by the 97% food-production number that town would require nearly 500,000 farmers, fishermen, and hunters to feed it. (ignoring the possibility of pre-BOOM caches).  To put that in perspective, scandinavia currently has a population of about 25 million.  If we kill 95% we're left with 1.25 million.  So, such a town would require ~ 2/5ths of scandinavia's total post-boom population, and magical (or at least modern) transportation.   In other words, it ain't happening.  You can massage the numbers, but the metropolis is dead in paRPG.

Sorry, El, I don't buy your analysis.   I can't say it's "wrong" just yet... but it doesn't pass the sniff test for me.  There were very large cities in medieval times.  Before the Black Death, London had a population of nearly 100,000.  It had a population of nearly 1,000,000 - pre-industrial times (1801), when the total population of England was ~7.5M.

Well, i've explicitly said that i expect nuke-winter scandinavia to be less productive than the middle ages.  There's a big difference in the civ you can build with 97% of labor in food production, and ~80%.  Obviously we can fine tune that number to give us the results we want.  Though i think a rather low percentage of non-food producers works well  with our concept of emphasizing the struggle against nature.

But primate cities like London of the middle ages have some distinct advantages over post BOOM scandinavia.

* South England is always more fertile than scandinavia
* Primate cities don't just happen overnight, but are the result of (usually) hundreds of years of organization in transportation, commerce and political power.  Our post-BOOM scandinavia doesn't have a large area of political stability and a stable economic system.  There may bit a lot of pretty good roads still (even with bomb-craters compared to the middle ages), but not enough horses + Oxen to go around yet.



I think the error is that the 90-97% is not all necessary to support the other 10-3%.  Some of those guys are super poor dirt farmers/sharecroppers who are just feeding themselves.

Good point.  But IMHO the ratios are still generally useful.  Some of the people in any economy are going to be independent and not contributing toward the maintenance of others.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 20, 2009, 06:24:35 PM
Quote
Well, i've explicitly said that i expect nuke-winter scandinavia to be less productive than the middle ages.

I guess my argument is that it does not strain reality to think otherwise.  The writing team has some range of choice in how "civilized" we are 20 years after.    You can always make the boom/winter less bad so that more recovery can be done in 20 years.

In fact, the "winter/ice age" doesn't have to be montonically decreasing in avg. T in the pre-game period.  It could get "nuke winter cold" - then warm up (especially in the more populated latitudes), then start to cool of again as ice age initiates.

The key word there is could - I don't think we are locked in to a total lack of major towns, at all.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: eleazzaar on March 21, 2009, 03:21:03 AM
Quote
Well, i've explicitly said that i expect nuke-winter scandinavia to be less productive than the middle ages.

I guess my argument is that it does not strain reality to think otherwise.  The writing team has some range of choice in how "civilized" we are 20 years after.    You can always make the boom/winter less bad so that more recovery can be done in 20 years.

I'm just discussing  that as an average.  There would be a lot of variation in the "tech level"  of different parts of scandinavia, because:
* caches of useful stuff would be very unevenly distributed.
* knowledge would be unevenly distributed
* raw materials would be unevenly distributed, etc.

20 years is too short a time for things to even out.  Small chance details of who and what was where when the BOOM happened would have a huge impact on how (and which) people live 20 years later.


But i think there are lots of reasons to go with a generally rather low level of social organization in parpg.

* A single wanderer (or a small band) going around and being significant is a lot more plausible when society is small groups of mostly isolated people.
* * When you get large organizations: armies, lawyers, tax-collectors, rulers, police, there's not much need or room for a "hero" (or anti-hero).

* We can't fully build a big city.  It's less awkward in a lot of areas, to say that a place that is only one map and has 50 NPCs is a "village" than a "mighty metropolis".

* the whole "struggle against nature" is a lot more effective if most people spend most of their time surviving


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: maximinus on March 22, 2009, 04:30:49 PM
* We can't fully build a big city.  It's less awkward in a lot of areas, to say that a place that is only one map and has 50 NPCs is a "village" than a "mighty metropolis".

+1 True.

Please, let us not build somewhere with 30 NPC's and call it a city! In fact I think we have a good game template to avoid this kind of thing. I'm thinking mainly isolated settlements with interesting ruins / abandoned places nearby...


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on March 23, 2009, 09:27:26 PM
20 years is too short a time for things to even out.  Small chance details of who and what was where when the BOOM happened would have a huge impact on how (and which) people live 20 years later.

But actually I think that would make it MORE likely  for there to be a few big(er) towns, because they got "lucky" resource and brains wise.


Quote
* * When you get large organizations: armies, lawyers, tax-collectors, rulers, police, there's not much need or room for a "hero" (or anti-hero).

So in 1 single sentence you condemn every single "heroic" RPG ever made.

Quote
* We can't fully build a big city.  It's less awkward in a lot of areas, to say that a place that is only one map and has 50 NPCs is a "village" than a "mighty metropolis".

But we've already established a guesstimate of the NPC:Population ratio.    My HIGH SCHOOL had 3,000 people in.  You are not seriously suggest that we make a game in which NORWAY has less than this...  You'd never run into anyone.
I mean if you really want to have a low population, we better make the map much smaller.

Quote
* the whole "struggle against nature" is a lot more effective if most people spend most of their time surviving

Here we are just arguing about the definition of most.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on October 22, 2009, 12:27:06 AM
I am stickying this because new writers might be interested in it.  Maybe it should be locked as well, but I am not one to lock threads.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: shevegen on December 02, 2009, 01:55:20 PM
It should not really be locked. If you look at new guests looking at the project, this thread here is popular, as is PERMADEATH or LICENSE and such. Stickying is about 100x better than locking :D

For post techdemo I, I think we should go back to the roots of the thread here, especially about the soviets. Since they will be nearby on the gamemap, they should have a big impact, whether as "evil" or not so evil isnt so important - as long as they can influence stuff!

I'd even like it if we could use russian language (cyrillic) but this would require at least one guy who can read speak and write russian (better at least two guys), and we would need a skill system before anyway (language skill russian would be fun)

Then if an actor learns russian he could do a few side quests. And NPCs could get a default slot for which language to use:

language: common (defaults to "english" and can be omitted)

language: russian (this guy prefers to speak russian... possibly only because he can not speak "common"/"english")

Just an idea here really.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on December 02, 2009, 08:51:49 PM
have you even looked at the world map?

http://wiki.parpg.net/Draft:Setting


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Luftzig on December 12, 2009, 02:22:52 PM
A disclosure: I haven't read the whole thread, only skimmed through it.

Some questions I had, or discussion seeds if those topics were never brought up:
1. Atmosphere:
The most important question when making a game (from my experience with P&P RPG games) is what kind of experience we want the player to have. Exampli Gratia, Fallout (used as the main compression, as far as I can tell), gives humouristic, but somewhat grim, experience. Black humour, fifties inspired sci-fi theme, etc, are dominant.
I think it was discussed somewhere that you want a darker, grim atmosphere. How much should it be grim? Should it be depressing atmosphere, or just realistic? Should be a "this world is fucked up" kind of game, with only slightest amount of optimism, or on the other hand, be very optimistic.
2. The Player Character
Another important topic is the place of the PC (player character). Is s/he a classic "save the day" hero? Is the hero is actually an anti hero? Does out hero goes solo, in pack, or something in between? Does our hero have a "quest" or some aim or wanders rather aimlessly throughout the game world?
3. gameplay
What should the game play be? It's very clear it's a role playing game, but what kind? What should emphasized? Should it be an adventure one, wondering round the world fighting stronger and stronger enemies, a strategic kind of game, where you need to make strategic decisions, manage resources and/or people, a quest kind of game (find thingy the NPC needs to get the next quest item), highly political quest game (where you need to talk to NPC's, make the right dialogue choices, etc) and many other gameplay ideas. I think the greatest games where the ones which managed to combined that best of two genres.
4. Themes
What themes are predominant in the game? Fallout uses the cold war in it's early days as the main theme: Wastelands and deserts, fifties style cartoons and animations. Following the example of Fallout, I see PARPG as mixture of late 80's sci-fi and cyberpunk, with late communist era style. Should survival be major theme of the game? Should players worry about shelter, food and water constantly? Should the interactions and relation be a major theme? Should the East/West-Communist/Capitalist schism should be a major theme?

Anyway and how, it sounds to me like an exciting projects, I'll be happy to contribute to it.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: shevegen on December 12, 2009, 03:47:00 PM
The biggest problem, imho, is really the amount of time required. If more people would help shape up the project it would be a lot better. My opinion was that subquests, or areas, could use different themese (see the "neo" viking village idea), but ultimately it really boils down on who can help and contribute, because things move so slowly...


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Artifice on December 12, 2009, 06:51:31 PM
The answers to most of your questions are out there on the boards, but it takes a bit of digging and a lot of it is just discussion of said ideas rather than an actual decisions. From what I can tell, the game is still very much is pre-production from a writing/storyline standpoint, with major decisions still being made. At this time, we're focusing on Techdemo1 release in early January, so most of the focus is there. In the mean time, the writers are busy fleshing out larger ideas. http://wiki.parpg.net/Department:Writing is a great place to start reading about everything.

NOTE: I'm fairly new here and not really involved in the writing, so my answers are my own and not canon. This is just what I've gleaned from the wiki and boards with my own opinions interspersed. If I get something wrong, I'm sure someone (zenbitz) will let me know.

Some questions I had, or discussion seeds if those topics were never brought up:
1. Atmosphere:
The most important question when making a game (from my experience with P&P RPG games) is what kind of experience we want the player to have. Exampli Gratia, Fallout (used as the main compression, as far as I can tell), gives humouristic, but somewhat grim, experience. Black humour, fifties inspired sci-fi theme, etc, are dominant.
I think it was discussed somewhere that you want a darker, grim atmosphere. How much should it be grim? Should it be depressing atmosphere, or just realistic? Should be a "this world is fucked up" kind of game, with only slightest amount of optimism, or on the other hand, be very optimistic.
I think the general consensus so far is that it will be a dark game in a harsh environment. The lighter points will probably be used to contrast how dark the world and it's inhabitants have become. So yeah, less optimism.

Quote
2. The Player Character
Another important topic is the place of the PC (player character). Is s/he a classic "save the day" hero? Is the hero is actually an anti hero? Does out hero goes solo, in pack, or something in between? Does our hero have a "quest" or some aim or wanders rather aimlessly throughout the game world?
There will be overarching stories and quests for the player to follow. I believe the idea is to have several going at once that the player can choose to play out or ignore. It's not a freeform game where you just wander around looking for stuff to do. The story will be episodic in nature. As there will be multiple solutions to quests/problems, the type of character this PC is will be greatly determined by the player.

Quote
3. gameplay
What should the game play be? It's very clear it's a role playing game, but what kind? What should emphasized? Should it be an adventure one, wondering round the world fighting stronger and stronger enemies, a strategic kind of game, where you need to make strategic decisions, manage resources and/or people, a quest kind of game (find thingy the NPC needs to get the next quest item), highly political quest game (where you need to talk to NPC's, make the right dialogue choices, etc) and many other gameplay ideas. I think the greatest games where the ones which managed to combined that best of two genres.

I think all these things will be represented in some aspect. We're shooting for realistic combat (read: deadly) so a hack-n-slash shoot 'em up game is pretty out of the question. The player should be able to explore, interact and influence NPCs, get into combat, set up trade agreements (given the right circumstances), etc. We're looking for a well-rounded RPG representative of the setting.

Quote
4. Themes
What themes are predominant in the game? Fallout uses the cold war in it's early days as the main theme: Wastelands and deserts, fifties style cartoons and animations. Following the example of Fallout, I see PARPG as mixture of late 80's sci-fi and cyberpunk, with late communist era style. Should survival be major theme of the game? Should players worry about shelter, food and water constantly? Should the interactions and relation be a major theme? Should the East/West-Communist/Capitalist schism should be a major theme?

Survival is definitely the major theme here. The world is now a cold, nasty place. Nothing is easy, everyone watches out for themselves.  Resources are scarce and coveted. Think Mad Max, a Boy and his Dog, The Road, Waterworld (if you can stand to watch it...yeck!) and similar stories. I'm really inspired by man vs. nature stories a la Ernest Shackleton, and Everest climbers, as well as Jack London and the like. As far as sci-fi/cyberpunk, no. WW3 happened in the 80s and technology moved backwards from there. The best technology is 80s, and no one is developing much of anything better, at least where PARPG is set.

As for resources, I think this should be a major crux of the gameplay. I'm not suggesting we micromanage it to the point of 'You need to use the bathroom', but in a world so starved for resources, things like warm clothes and calories should be on the top of anyone's list. To me, the game should be a balance of keeping yourself going in this harsh environment whilst trying to get done whatever it is you need to get done (ie quests). Temperature, food, clothing and how much you can carry and for how long should all influence how you tackle problems in PARPG.

/walloftext


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on December 14, 2009, 07:45:37 AM
Part of the issue that we are facing here is that we don't really have any writing department, and we don't have any Art Director/Lead Artist.  That might be a concern (in the long run), but for now, I think it's fine to just muddle along.
Artifice pretty much gets it.

The reason why most of that is not collected in some easily found page is that it's not truly "settled" yet, until we find someone who is the 'go to' story person.   I suppose the worst case scenario is that I will finish 90% of the game mechanics, and focus more on writing, but hopefully someone will pick up the ball (pen?  keyboard?) and run with it.

if you (or anyone) has any interesting ideas, don't hesistate to post them here.  Worse thing is that people might say "eh".  But lots of stuff can get modified/edited/reused.

One thing I have been kicking around a bit, but haven't gotten around to really bringing it us is use the "Wilderness survival" (i.e, moving along the world map) as some kind of mini-game, where you have to provision and plan your trips properly to make it to the next area.   So, unlike FO where you just "walk" 200 miles fearing only a random encounter or two (or rather, welcome them for the phat loot), you would have to decide where you are going, what mode of transport, what are you going to carry.  Are you going to bring most of your food and move fast?  Or take your time and hunt?   Are you going to stick to the main roads? 

I'll try to post more on this topic tomorrow or later in the week.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: daddypawid on December 17, 2009, 10:06:32 PM
So I went and checked a bit on the situation for Scandinavia which places where targets for nukes and so....

So a paper was written on this by Danish intelligence not more than a couple of years ago... I saved somewhere but can't find it(ill post it when I do).

When you look on the map you will see that Denmark is more or less blocking exit from the Baltic sea. This meant that Denmark was an important strategic location for NATO troops.
The USSR nuclear carrying ships had to pass through here and NATO troops in west Germany where ready to move to Denmark and prevent them from doing so.

The contra from USSR was an invasion of Denmark(sweden was supposedly neutral). This was supposed to be done by Polish troops. There are invasion plans for this and I can try finding them if needed.
The point of this is that in Scandinavia Denmark would be the most war torn if a war had broken out. The invasion by Polish troop was supposed to happen in like 3 days but obviously there would be a contra from NATO. Nukes or men who knows...


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on December 18, 2009, 09:38:42 PM
yes, getting Denmark destroyed is easy (sorry).     It's getting SWEDEN destroyed that's the hard part... although there there is a book about it (Operation Garbo) but it's only in Swedish...

There is a thread buried somewhere here with links to Pact War plans...


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Gaspard on January 12, 2010, 02:31:25 AM
We should have a bank with a closed vault door. When you get petrol for a back-up generator in the basement (unlikely that it's intact ???) the vault door would open dramatically - slide forth and then roll aside.

But inside we must not find any blue jumpsuits, that would be overkill, surely


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Koobie on March 01, 2010, 03:57:17 PM
Quote from: shevegen
I'd even like it if we could use russian language (cyrillic) but this would require at least one guy who can read speak and write russian (better at least two guys), and we would need a skill system before anyway (language skill russian would be fun)

Russian's my first language, I'd be more than happy to help.

BTW, in case anyone was wondering ( as if :) ) I didn't quite say "hi" and forgot about PARPG. I still think this is a great thing you guys have going here. I'm currently fleshing out a proposal for a main story arc (kidn of what zenbitz proposed), will hopefully be able to post it by the end of the week.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: mvBarracuda on March 01, 2010, 07:35:33 PM
Sounds good to me Koobie :-) Looking forward to it


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: xavifumi on January 21, 2011, 08:02:36 PM
Ok, there has been a lot of discussion about the main arc and some theories about what role should take the PC.
After reading some posts (not all, of course) I wanted to share some ideas:

-There are few RPG where the story is not "heroic", so it's a less explored way for our plots.
This decission, would also bring us, the possibility of making a more "closer" game, where the characters are more reallistyc, the decissions are harder to take, and we could face the post-nuclear situation as a really dramatic scenario. With some traumated survivors, and savage bands of young boys who never had education, or small towns figuring that the society is still alive with politicians (making what?)... possibilities are endless and every one is more depressing that the earlier.

-About the possible years of the conflict, my vote is for 1991, for the soviet coup d'etat attempt. Just because if we put the story 20 years after the incident, we have an alternative 2011, some kind of parallel universe today, and I find it really interesting.
But the technology has changed a lot since 1991. The things then were really close, but a step backward, and in a nuclear incident we would have a huge technology- recession:
No electricity, no comunications, and every production would have stopped just after the incident. So people had to face  life without expendables (wich were spent on first years of survivance) or any progress sign, because they can only trust their own hands and work (like in the past).
20 years after the incident, the ammo, fuel or everything created/recollected before the incident would be hard to find. People shoud start creating their own tools/weapons manuallly, and money become obsolete...

About the Ice Age plot, I like the idea, but I would bet for a smaller one.
My thought is that after an incident like this, no one would know what happened. Some would think that USA missed a strike directed to Russia, others would think that Russia attacked USA partners... and some could think that this was a massive attack of some muslim terrorists. The important thing is that after a diplomatic incident, nuclear missiles stricked Europe, leaving it in ruins, and in the game, survivors will have more important things to face.
For if this was not enough, the sky turned cloudy because the smoke of the nukes, creating colder days, a long winter. 20 years after, the sun is returning to shine, but everything is covered by snow and every year becomes colder.
What could a small amount of population think? An ice Age? a permanent winter?
Europe has become a quarantine zone, and the rest of the world puts too much effort of leaving the irradiated out of their frontiers, because the radiation could carry some risk for them, and they must use their resources to survive to the winter. Maybe they brought some help at the beggining but after some revolution intends their military fore blocked all frontiers.

I  think a scenario like this is dark and a bit depressing... So I found it perfect for a reallistyc-cold RPG!


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: zenbitz on January 21, 2011, 09:34:01 PM

-About the possible years of the conflict, my vote is for 1991, for the soviet coup d'etat attempt. Just because if we put the story 20 years after the incident, we have an alternative 2011, some kind of parallel universe today, and I find it really interesting.
But the technology has changed a lot since 1991. The things then were really close, but a step backward, and in a nuclear incident we would have a huge technology- recession:
No electricity, no comunications, and every production would have stopped just after the incident. So people had to face  life without expendables (wich were spent on first years of survivance) or any progress sign, because they can only trust their own hands and work (like in the past).

I think the problem with 1991 was that the cold war was so "over" by then... you would have to have another 5 years of re-coldwaring just to get back to 1985-1987 threat levels and by then you are in 1996 and 20 years after that...

My current working model is a long war (5 years) starting in about 1985, followed by 10 years of utter collapse/"Real" Nuclear Winter and then 10 years of gradual clawing out of the ashes.


Quote
My thought is that after an incident like this, no one would know what happened. Some would think that USA missed a strike directed to Russia, others would think that Russia attacked USA partners... and some could think that this was a massive attack of some muslim terrorists. The important thing is that after a diplomatic incident, nuclear missiles stricked Europe, leaving it in ruins, and in the game, survivors will have more important things to face.

I agree who threw the first nuke is not important.  It might be interesting to have a debate play off by various survivor factions.


Quote
Europe has become a quarantine zone, and the rest of the world puts too much effort of leaving the irradiated out of their frontiers, because the radiation could carry some risk for them, and they must use their resources to survive to the winter. Maybe they brought some help at the beggining but after some revolution intends their military fore blocked all frontiers.

Read http://wiki.parpg.net/Setting and http://wiki.parpg.net/Creative_vision please.


Title: Re: Setting Ideas: Brainstorming
Post by: Q_x on January 21, 2011, 10:49:45 PM
One of the not so many moments when apocalypse could have happened was 1983.
Have a real superhero who saves the world from total war:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov