Post-Apocalyptic RPG forums

Development => Writing and Quests => Topic started by: Dominic on June 27, 2011, 12:16:21 PM



Title: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Dominic on June 27, 2011, 12:16:21 PM
Hello,

Here's an idea. In Morrowind there were dozens of books one could read, detailing the history, races, magic, etc. of the world. These added extra depth to the game, but were optional. Would we like to see something like this in PARPG?

For instance, a history of the nuclear wars. This could be a virtual book the player could read if they like.

There seems to be plenty of people willing to write for you and plenty of good ideas, so I don't think you need anymore help in this regard. The advantage of my idea is that people can add extra content to the game without it interfering with the storylines or treading on anyone's toes. Indeed, they could be written independently, and included in the final game if the community gives the OK.

Moreover, I feel I am well qualified to write some of this stuff (sociology degree, academic writing, etc.).

What do you think?

Dom


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: MrWillis on June 27, 2011, 12:42:47 PM
Hey Dominic! Welcome to the group!


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Q_x on June 27, 2011, 02:53:18 PM
I like the idea of having set of background side stories, like the ones that NPCs would tell. But in the same moment, having books made this way is strange - after the end there was no printing industry working. Maybe some newspapers will be out, like for one or two days, but that's about all.

This still may be good idea to have some written diaries, but those should be binded to storyline more than just as background.

But apart from describing history of the crash and after it in printed form - everything is more or less valuable, and as for the general idea - I hope it will make game really spicy without much further effort, that is after actually writing the books :)


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Dominic on June 27, 2011, 05:59:11 PM
Hey MrWillis, is that you from GOG?

Q_x: I see your point, but there could be books left-over from before civilisation collapsed (from my understanding the war was meant to last for 10 years between 1985-95, in which time there could still be publishing).

But, of course, whether/how we do this is an open question.


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Q_x on June 27, 2011, 08:58:30 PM
Q_x: I see your point, but there could be books left-over from before civilisation collapsed

Sure, that was my point as well. Lots of old books.

As for how much civilization there would be after, lets say, first and maybe the only week of nuclear bombing - well, I would not suppose electricity would be widely available, all major installations would be bombed for sure. On the contrary - I think some small water electric plant somewhere high in the mountains can be in operable state for quite a long time (that is until the guy who knew how to service it will die out of eg. wound infection, or other "critical part" will fail), but in the 80s you would have to have slightly more than that to actually publish a book - most probably a linotype machine and a printing press,or a typewriter and an offset machine. Offset machine eats minimum of about 700W of power to operate, just btw.
Publish, print... But, for who, really? On what paper, taken from where? What about needed chemistry to make it running - like solvents, paints, grease, spare parts?

Alternatively, we can have printing museum somewhere around, that has been scavenged by wise men. So they can have movable type collection and a press that is man-powered. I would probably use the alloy differently, but still, this is somewhat plausible to find such stuff.

Paper is the problem in case of "motorized" printing, that is in industrial quantity and quality, not quite the kind of made by hand from processed maple bark. And man hours are the issue in any manual form of printing. Apart from the fact that there would simply be not so many people on the frozen north to share the work with.






Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Dominic on June 27, 2011, 10:53:23 PM
Wow, you seem to know a lot about publising!

But I think it depends on how the war is meant to have happened. In the Setting wiki it says it lasts for 10 years, suggesting that industry, economy, infrastructure, etc. doesn't collapse immediately.

However, this is probably something that needs more discussion. As you say, in most Cold War writing about nuclear war it is assumed that both sides would be destroyed very quickly.


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Q_x on June 28, 2011, 07:50:04 AM
I was under impression that the game takes place in nuclear winter setting...

Possible scenario is not like war we know, but rather short, huge, mostly pre-programmed, automated attack with many thousands of nuclear heads that will hit every major thing everywhere within very short time, and following military conflict was not that huge, basically until soldiers would realize that there is nothing to defense, no one to attack, no means of supply, no banks and no shops to do something with their money - this way survivors will become local raiders, as long as they have firearms and ammunition, which will be not so long.

Also, just after the attack there will be most probably a huge epidemy - all that you can imagine, from cholera, through smallpox, tuberculosis, to typhus and maybe even good old plague will be killing weak, badly nourished people until they will become to separated for any disease to spread.

Later - cold, some small migration to south, and you have the game setting: few really tough people that actually like cold :D


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: MrWillis on June 28, 2011, 11:13:24 AM
But should we have a backstory leading up the WIII event, like in the Fallout series with it's separate timeline, or just have that one event that lead to the bombs being dropped be the change from histroy.

Also how long should these plagues and epidemics last? two years? I'm just wondering because I'm working on a faction's history.


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Dominic on June 28, 2011, 11:41:39 AM
Yes, I don't know how important the backstory is in the grand scheme of things, other than being an interesting academic matter.

From piecing together what is written in the wiki about setting and history it seems that the war started out as a conventional war (in around 1985) and then escalated into nuclear (around 1990) between the US and USSR (and also France, England, India and China to a lesser extent).

I think it might be interesting to establish what/who gets destroyed first, and what survives longest. It seems that the US and USSR move their governments and populations to other areas, spreading the war further across the world. I imagine the last thing left (or the last thing to be destroyed) would be the military-industrial complex that supports the war. Once that is gone then its over. What/who will have survived is anyone's guess, perhaps small pockets of population in more remote parts of the world.

Then again, what is written in the wiki is not set in stone ;)


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Q_x on June 28, 2011, 04:17:11 PM
There has been at least a couple of events when nuclear war could happen in the 80-s. From what I understand, a single event could simply trigger it for real. Some examples:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer_83#False_alarm_from_the_Soviet_early_missile_warning_system

So, I think that not much we need to change in actual history, the conflict alone seems to be pretty quick with some scenarios already written. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. Just assume that war has happened. Doom first and some smaller conflicts as long/as soon as there is any reliable monetary system.
As for the areas and population - we need to consider Baltic sea region only. Also assuming there will be not much of a civilization anywhere. Also not much radio communication, nor telephony.

Plagues... Basically bad food or the lack of it will cause bad health. Just forget about scurvy and start worrying about calories intake (without ability to hunt people will starve faster than recuperate.
However, people would not stop starving after the time passes. It's just not the case. Problem is the winters are getting harder each year, in 20 years climate will change to tundra-like (that is presumptive here, at least from what I understand, problem is how much colder it can get in 20 years).

Stabilizing population - may take a couple of years (in case of deaths caused by starvation), may take longer (diseases like smallpox), and as much as 10 years (cold causes less wildlife, not much of a sustainable, dependable food sources).

It is all not a matter of what is realistic, but what will make attractive game in the first place.



Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: MrWillis on June 28, 2011, 04:34:27 PM
Well the faction that i am working on is sort of like the NCR of fallout but only in latvia and racist so wanted to make sure it was alright with you.


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Dominic on June 29, 2011, 11:19:31 AM
There has been at least a couple of events when nuclear war could happen in the 80-s. From what I understand, a single event could simply trigger it for real. Some examples:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov
and
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer_83#False_alarm_from_the_Soviet_early_missile_warning_system

So, I think that not much we need to change in actual history, the conflict alone seems to be pretty quick with some scenarios already written. We don't have to reinvent the wheel. Just assume that war has happened. Doom first and some smaller conflicts as long/as soon as there is any reliable monetary system.
As for the areas and population - we need to consider Baltic sea region only. Also assuming there will be not much of a civilization anywhere. Also not much radio communication, nor telephony.

Plagues... Basically bad food or the lack of it will cause bad health. Just forget about scurvy and start worrying about calories intake (without ability to hunt people will starve faster than recuperate.
However, people would not stop starving after the time passes. It's just not the case. Problem is the winters are getting harder each year, in 20 years climate will change to tundra-like (that is presumptive here, at least from what I understand, problem is how much colder it can get in 20 years).

Stabilizing population - may take a couple of years (in case of deaths caused by starvation), may take longer (diseases like smallpox), and as much as 10 years (cold causes less wildlife, not much of a sustainable, dependable food sources).

It is all not a matter of what is realistic, but what will make attractive game in the first place.



Sorry, I'm not sure I fully get what you are saying. Are you saying that nuclear war happens first and then there are smaller conflicts? I think it would happen the other way round, with smaller conflicts escalating into nuclear war, which would be the last thing. This is what is outlined in the wiki, which I broadly think is plausible. Moreover, it is probably important to establish a few facts. For instance, how/why does the nuclear conflict spread over the globe?


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: zenbitz on June 30, 2011, 07:06:46 PM

I think the *general* idea of having mechanisms that convey the backstory to the player is a good idea.  I am not sure that "books" is the correct in game format.  The backstory is not really decided, other than "it was way devastating, dude".  Well, some more ideas have been thrown around like what Q_x says.  It's not so important really.   I do think that, in order to have a war that really knocks the world back into the "stone age" (well, iron age, anyway) it would have to go on for sometime.



Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: rowanthepreacher on July 03, 2011, 10:24:42 PM
Well, it's a mix of 1980s tech and stone-age. Huts and adobes are made with sheet metal, handmade bows rub shoulders with shotguns. All of the infrastructure is gone, but none of the resources. Books would probably not survive, though new books, made crudely or using sealed paper, would be found all over the place. Literacy rates might drop a bit, but it's one of the small pre-war comforts.


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: Q_x on July 04, 2011, 10:09:59 AM
I think discovering history (at a global scale, not what people say) may be a quest on its own, or braided into other major quests as a backstory. Old newspaper found in a dry place near a dead body, notes found in an old bunker or in a shopwreck that was moved to a swampy terrain a mile inland with a big wave, all describing what was going on before, during and after the war.

Btw, when going to ruined, abandoned building in game, do you expect to find dead bodies there, or not?


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: rowanthepreacher on July 04, 2011, 09:53:25 PM
On natural ground, a body will leave no skeletal remains after about 20 years. Given that most people would die in buildings or at the very least, on city streets, I think that we would still see bone fragments littering the place. Full skeletons would probably be rare, and only found in relatively sealed areas.


Title: Re: Idea for extra content/backstory
Post by: zenbitz on July 05, 2011, 08:51:27 PM
Well, I would assume that the world post-fall would be "serially looted".   That is - the easy stuff gets grabbed first.
So if PC(s) manage to unearth something inaccessible then there could be unlooted bodies.   Rowan is right these - anything >5 years old will be bones, barring some preservation/mummification process (this can happen naturally ... it it's very dry and/or cold).   

As for locations having "bones" around - it's probably location specific.  If the area is some bomb / chemo shelter where the entrance collapsed or the air failed, it will be nothing but bodies in random locations.  Ditto battlefields (although these will be picked clean of most anything useful unless there are extenuation circumstances).   Places where people live however - I think we can assume that some current or previous occupant took  the time to at least sweep the bones clear if they didn't get a decent burial or whatever.

Some places might be left (relatively) undisturbed for reasons other than accessibility - i..e, real or perceived hazards (animal, human, environmental, etc.) or social taboos etc.