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Author Topic: Proposal: State of the World (renamed from setting some setting set)  (Read 13246 times)
zenbitz
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« on: July 08, 2009, 09:14:16 PM »

Starting here:

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

I would like to get some more basic stuff "set in stone" before we start really worrying about characters, plots, locations, etc.    That way we can prevent people jumping to conclusions regarding 10m ice sheets (when their really... 100m! J/k)

It seems that we went from a "holocaust initiation" directly to story lines without really deciding what the world in the game ca. 2008 would look like.

Hopefully we can discuss some of this at the meeting friday, the below is just my vision; feel free to debate.

= Population =
1-5% of current.  Note that this means ~100,000 people in Norway, for example.  We obviously are only modeling 1 in 1000 or so in the game.  I guess we could drop to 0.1% if we get jiggy with the germ bombs.

= Technology level =

Basically there are two types - "pre war" tech (i.e, they had it in 1988) and "post war" - newly developed industry.  The pre war stuff should be old, rare and often poorly maintained, but the shiznit when it's in good condition.  Post war stuff is crude, plentiful, unreliable and probably dangerous to the user.

== Power ==

Sparse electrical power, maybe 10% of communities that have the proper expertise and resources.  Small caches of refined gas/diesel/propane.  Coal mining in some locations, peat and wood burning ubitiquitous.  Rare hydroelectric or geothermal.  1 (max) place with some working solar panels or nuclear power plant or something.  Steam engines are OK, but can be overdone.

A community with an excess of foodstuffs could be making fuel (and booze) -grade ethanol and/or biodiesel, but this should be uncommon and the product very expensive.

== Weapons ==

I am trying to devise a rather deadly combat system.  Which means that practically, we need to limit firepower of characters.  To me it seems reasonable that there is NO modern ammo production, only small caches of unused ammo and powder.    Old cartridges can be easily reloaded and steel/lead ammo is pretty easy to make... but you need the powder and that's "pre war"

 I like the idea of a "black powder" manufacturing industry - it only requires sulfur, saltpeter (ammonium nitrate) and charcoal.  C'mon, Kirk made some during his fight with the Gorn!.     The weapons are simple (basically just tubes) and some method of priming them (priming caps might be another small industry).  They go "Boom" and give of great gouts of smoke.

Much of the fighting should be done with "muscle" weapons, sword/axe/club/rock/spear/crossbow.    There should be a few prewar reproduction weapons of high quality (maybe even a couple museum pieces), but also small industries/forges to make reasonable weapons.   Improvised hand weapons are the norm (fire axe, machete, baseball bat with nails, rebar club, knives)

Explosives should be VERY rare (and highly unstable... just like you Ken) because I find them either unbalancing, unrealistic or both.

== Vehicles ==

Almost all animal or human powered.  Skis and sleds.   Carts and wagons.   I think a few motorvehicles would be allowed (but see fuel restrictions).  In general I am in favor of a car being some kind of "special mission" item which works for a while then blows it's head gasket or something equally fatal.  I would definitily like to see some resurrected soviet war machines.

= Climate =

This has been stated many times before, but what I think works best is an tundra/taiga/alpine game world.  The northernmost reaches might be glaciated or ice packed, but the south will have a thaw and growing season.    The band in the middle is cold, but some hard farming/hunting can be done.  In the frozen wastes, you have to stay near the sea to survive off of sea life (or eat things that eat fish, like birds and polar bears).    I will do some more work on this when I get the chance, but take a map like this one:
http://www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?content_spotlight/climates/european_climate
or these:
http://printable-maps.blogspot.com/2008/09/map-of-climate-zones-in-europe.html

And drop them down a level (Subarctic -> Artic, Humid Continental -> Subarctic, Humid Oceanic smaller and colder)

== Seasons ==
We need them. At least "Freeze" and "Thaw".  Either the artists will hate me (2x work!) , or the programmer who tries to figureout how to "snowify" terrain will.   Maybe we can come up with some innovated ways of dealing with this.

== Weather ==
Snow.  It should snow.  There should be blizzards.  It should suck to get caught out in a blizzard.  Being able to predict the weather (read the sky) will be a useful skill.    The days temperature (lows and highs) should be important, at least during winter or in tundra areas.

Wind, Rain and mud are also good.   Fog could be interesting.  It would be great to have a realistic weather generation system that depended on the seasons... but I'll setting for some kinda random markov chain where tomorrows weather is a function of todays.

= Wilderness/Environment =
War is hard on plants and animals, but not as bad.  With the primary controllers of the environment devastated and still fighting each other, the forests (mostly coniferous) and animals make a resergence, bringing northern europe slowly towards it's primoridial  origins.   Obviously, in the more tundra areas this will not be as big a factor. The good news is:  Happy hunting!  

== Plants / Vegetation ==

Obviously this is going to depend on the climate, but lots of pines and confer forests (although trees won't be too big after 20 years).  Whatever the local plant life, it will be pretty overgrown over cities (those that are rubble or buried in snow)

== Animals ==
Dogs and cats go native; wolves, bears, deer, moose make a comeback.  Reindeer!  Polar Bears!
Stuff can escape from zoos too... (Siberian tiger?)...
=== Mutated Animals ===
Take it easy on this... I am OK with cold-adapting some stuff (wolley mammoth, furry apes) even if it stretches credibility a bit.


= Food =

You need it or you die.  Communities need to have some plausable food supply to support ALL their population.  I will send out some guidelines about how much food you need to live (starvation vs. standard rations, etc.).   This is why we have to think deeply about 10m snow packs 365 days/year.   People would just starve out.    Pre-war food (and liquor) would be highly valued luxury items, but most of the food would have to  be fished, hunted or grown.   Growing mushrooms underground is OK is small doses.

== Drugs ==

People like the drugs!  They need to escape.  Alcohol is the primary luxury of humanity.  Other, more exotic stuff is available rarely.  It should almost never have a positive game effect on a character.  No "buffouts" or "jet".

= Economy =

Primarily barter based, but I think we need some form of "change" for PC/NPC bartering interactions (like bottlecaps in FO)
We had some debate on this somewhere in the Mechanics forum and I couldn't see any pre-war item being common and useful enough to use as specie.    The best idea of the lot I thought was to use powdered "staples" like sugar, flour, salt, pepper (or as above, black powder)... I am not sure we want to go the "Waterworld" path and make "dirt" a valuable commodity... but let's not reject it just yet.

These items are nice because they are obviously useful to everyone (foodstuffs, usually) and they can be measured infinitesimally (using a scale... every character would have a little scale and funnells to measure stuff).  I think it would make a nice baroque touch.

=======

All I have time for right now...  Please input your thoughts.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2009, 01:13:41 AM by zenbitz » Logged

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Gaspard
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2009, 11:08:46 PM »

 

No "buffouts" or "jet".


But if you take speed, for example, you might push your endurance to the extremes, but while under the influence get peanlties to perception and thinking clearly etc. Afterward you'd be exhausted and might hurry up a genetic heart condition  Undecided

I'd think similar effects could be thought of for other drugs.

The PC wouldn't take them (beside just for fun) unless there's a specific situation and taking the drug would give the desperately needed edge, but might also make things so much worse. It's a gamble
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zenbitz
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2009, 11:40:16 PM »

yes, stimulants (caffiene, speed, cocaine, ephedra) are the obvious exception.
Other drugs might increase pain tolerance (sometimes useful) - including alcohol.

I just would like the effects kept minor, and with balanced dehabilitation effects.   

I think I mentioned elsewhere my idea that drugs and other recreation could be used to reduce "psychic damage points" which accumulate when you witness or perform horrifying acts...     My only real reason for putting this in the game is that if you make drugs "realistic" than no player will ever take them (except for wierdo roleplaying reasons... which is OK)

Let's taking drinking for an example.   Why would you drink in an RPG?  Why do you drink in real life?  You don't drink because it will help you solve a quest - you might drink to appear socially less inept, but that has to be a pretty minor effect for a post apocaylpse rpg.  You might drink to relieve pain, but not the kind of pain that would actually hurt your RPG skills...

It's tricky... on the one hand, you don't want to give magical powers to alcoholics; on the other, you would like to see alcohol given it's customary treasured place in society!
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Gaspard
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 01:00:26 PM »

Transport.
If the story calls for it then a short-distance museum-piece steam powered choo-choo train (old locomotive or a new post-war specimen) would be cool  Roll Eyes
Protagonist could highjack it, fill a couple of passengers' compartments with coal, derail it onto another track and ride their way South all the way to Mexico Tuscany.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 01:02:18 PM by Gaspard » Logged
Gaspard
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 01:13:46 PM »

Food.
Would it be too unrealistic to suppose that 20 years after the ice-clock started to tick most grazing grounds for er... grazing animals like deer and alike would change?

Many of those sites become frozen and too cold for the greens to grow. The migration paths for those animals would get all mixed up. Thus there could be areas in the game world where it is more likely to run into those beasts for hunting purposes (food and pelts, trading excess). Animals would flee the North just like people, thus their population would increase in the southern parts of land.

A single animal or a family might get lost in a blizzard and even wander into a village/settlement. Happens in real life every now and then. Should be very rare in the game indeed, could be one of those Deus Ex Machina situations when the player's on the verge of kicking the bucket because of starvation. If the PC's very unlucky and doesn't even have a weapon on them then the animal could already be dying either of exhaustion or of another hunter's wound. Then when the PC's finally recovered a pissed off hunter might show up and demand satisfaction.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2009, 06:29:37 PM »

Transport.
If the story calls for it then a short-distance museum-piece steam powered choo-choo train (old locomotive or a new post-war specimen) would be cool  Roll Eyes
Protagonist could highjack it, fill a couple of passengers' compartments with coal, derail it onto another track and ride their way South all the way to Mexico Tuscany.

Sure I am OK with a train... I do think however that trains (and most vehicles) work better in 3D than 2D... so I wouldn't want to use them too much.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2009, 06:31:42 PM »

Food.
Would it be too unrealistic to suppose that 20 years after the ice-clock started to tick most grazing grounds for er... grazing animals like deer and alike would change?

Many of those sites become frozen and too cold for the greens to grow. The migration paths for those animals would get all mixed up. Thus there could be areas in the game world where it is more likely to run into those beasts for hunting purposes (food and pelts, trading excess). Animals would flee the North just like people, thus their population would increase in the southern parts of land.

Oh, I should add that section... in my mind, what happens when 90+% of the people die after 20 years is that nature takes over, forests and such will be overgrown, highways start becoming impassible, animals are all over the place.  Obviously, this will be a bigger effect in the warmer areas.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2009, 06:32:27 PM »

Also, I forked out your (excellent but rambling) comments on economy/barter and moved them to Mechanics.

Except for this bit, which is relevant:

GASPARD WRITES:
Quote
Then there could be this one unlikely settlement which is larger than the rest, has a semi-stable power source (electricity!) and services you'd want to spend cash on (clean women ! off-white bed sheets ! booze ! pot ! cinema with REAL popcorn (like in A Boy And His Dog)!) But on the gates/portal/entrance to that settlement you could trade off whatever you have at a Trading Depot (set up specifically for the purpose) your excess equipment'n'loot for some chips (like in modern-day casinos) or locally accepted currency, which would be obsolete in the wintery wastes.
<EDIT: this last one would actually be cool if it were around a coal mine and is this steampunkish settlement with a tavern (Saloon, heh) filled with burly miners with bad attitudes and sad-looking women trying to earn a living with a High Sheriff with cool character and no conscience whatsoever looking over his dominion, just waiting to give the protagonist a dizzyingly dangerous quest involving some of those miners, a solitary old polar bear and some raw material from a nearby nuclear power plant>

Yay Boy and his Dog reference! The second part seems right out of FO2 (Redding) but that's OK too.



« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 06:36:50 PM by zenbitz » Logged

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Gaspard
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2009, 06:41:29 PM »

Transport.
If the story calls for it then a short-distance museum-piece steam powered choo-choo train (old locomotive or a new post-war specimen) would be cool  Roll Eyes
Protagonist could highjack it, fill a couple of passengers' compartments with coal, derail it onto another track and ride their way South all the way to Mexico Tuscany.

Sure I am OK with a train... I do think however that trains (and most vehicles) work better in 3D than 2D... so I wouldn't want to use them too much.

Haha, I wouldn't expect to see a moving train in-game. I meant a static train image that you click on and travel to another place kind of train. Like in Arcanum, if you've played it. There's a conductor who asks for your ticket (which you buy at a special booth) and you decide where to go through the dialogue screen. Khm, and I'm not saying there should be a conductor at all costs...

Quote
Yay Boy and his Dog reference! The second part seems right out of FO2 (Redding) but that's OK too.

It's a cool cliche...
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mvBarracuda
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 11:41:36 AM »

The same applies as in the other thread: please provide additional feedback within two weeks. We'll move the proposal to the wiki after that, declaring it canon.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2009, 09:23:12 PM »


These proposals have now been "set in stone" at the Draft:Setting page.
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2009, 11:50:11 AM »

Let's taking drinking for an example.   Why would you drink in an RPG?  Why do you drink in real life?  You don't drink because it will help you solve a quest - you might drink to appear socially less inept, but that has to be a pretty minor effect for a post apocaylpse rpg.  You might drink to relieve pain, but not the kind of pain that would actually hurt your RPG skills...

It's tricky... on the one hand, you don't want to give magical powers to alcoholics; on the other, you would like to see alcohol given it's customary treasured place in society!

Yeah, it's been one of my pet peeves in RPGs that the 'inns' are pretty useless places to go to most of the time - they sell food and drink, which generally increase your health, but then in most RPGs sleeping on the bedroll of some dude you've killed does the exact same thing and doesn't cost you anything.

I've read about a game system that had 'stress' as a factor built into the game, and that makes more sense in a post-apoc RPG than anywhere else. Your stress levels could increase from higher octane quests, close combat encounters, disease, etc. Really high stress would make your character sleep fitfully, lose health quicker, suffer skill penalties, etc. And drugs, alcohol especially, would be the quickest way to get the stress back down, but at a bit of a price.

An addiction system like the one they attempted in Fallout 3 would be cool - but you'd want to make it a bit more complicated and it could be a pain to implement..
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shevegen
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2009, 09:48:01 PM »

Quote
Yeah, it's been one of my pet peeves in RPGs that the 'inns' are pretty useless places to go to most of the time - they sell food and drink, which generally increase your health,

We could have a few smaller quests trigger if a player hangs out some time in a pub. Although we also have to consider that a post apo setting isn't very similar to classical RPGs settings, so perhaps pubs shouldn't play a too big role.
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2009, 07:49:29 PM »

Very nice post with a ton of informative information. I really appreciate the fact that you approach these topics from a stand point of knowledge and information
instead of the typical “I think” mentality that you see so much on the internet these days.
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