Silver Insanity

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Game?
Fusion! 21%  21%  [ 3 ]
Genius! 21%  21%  [ 3 ]
Yes! 29%  29%  [ 4 ]
No! 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Fruitbats! 29%  29%  [ 4 ]
Total votes: 14
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:29 pm 
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Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
So, as the title says.

The options in the poll refer to the two setting notions that I'm currently playing with:

Fusion!

This is a modern world look-alike setting. With, of course, a difference: In 1981, Doctor Hammond constructed the world's first working fusion reactor. At game start (fall of 2008), it remains the world's only working fusion reactor. Pheonix Power, Inc., who owns the reactor, sponsored the creation of Hammond Memorial Technical Institute, which is where most of the game is expected to take place - PCs can be students, or teachers, or in fact anyone else who'd have a good excuse to be hanging around campus. (Or even a bad excuse. Doesn't matter to me; as long as you can convince campus security to let you be there...)

There is a second college in town, Shaelblun University, an ancient liberal arts school. There is a good deal of student rivalry between the two institutions, though most of it is good natured - and the two colleges have a course exchange program, where a tech student seeking a minor in "applied mythology" can take courses at SU, or an art history major can find courses in digital design at HMTI.

The presence of essentially unlimited electrical power has opened the door to scientific advances beyond what's extant in the real world: maglev systems are in wide use, electric cars are slowly gaining popularity despite their still all-too-limited range, and other, more fantastic, forms of technology remain still in the testing and prototype stages.

And, somehow still in the background despite the best efforts of a few nosy reporters, there is magic. Sorcery is uncommon, but real, and a minor in "applied mythology" may actually mean something more than just a padded GPA...

It is assumed that all PCs in this game will have some degree of magical power - whether they know it or not. It is further assumed that they'll have some means of at least pretending to be a normal human. Either or both of these assumptions may be waived if necessary, but they're probably good starting points.


Genius!

Step one: Read Girl Genius.
Step two: Read the Chronicles of Amber.
Step three: Apply blender.

Or, roughly speaking: take Girl Genius, and add multiple universes and chaotic temporal fluctuations. The power that makes this world go 'round is the Spark of imagination, tempered by forge of Science. Magic exists - maybe? As Agatha mentions in one of the GG side comics, any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from technology. Which, of course, leads to the corollary: any magic that's distinguishable from technology, is insufficiently analyzed.

No, I don't have any particular setting details for this yet - as an amber-ish game, you'd be perfectly within your rights to invent your own home universe*. Some kind of Great War that left only wreckage of the most advanced worlds, seems like a very probable history point. Some kind of evil Power, thematically similar to the Other from Girl Genius, seems like a very probable history point. And, of course, the wise world-traveler should remember: What is ancient history, here, might be raw and bloody recent past over there - and just past that hill, it might even be a very real and dangerous present...

_____
* Universe, in this instance, being limited to a single planet. While there might be rumors of space travel, attributed to unknown ancients or even just worlds that fell in the Great War, it is not a reality in any current realm.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:56 pm 
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Missing Some Marbles

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:08 pm
Posts: 215
Very cool, though if it is fusion I recommend something that doesn't make me wanna one of the settings HTMI


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:35 am 
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Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
So, as it looks like fusion is currently winning, I think I'll provide a bit more information for it.

Point one: Mad science is allowed. It won't be as crazy, off-the-wall powerful as the genius setting where you can build death rays out of toasters... unless, of course, that's your personal magical power, in which case all bets are off. However, even a nonmagical tech genius type character can achieve results well beyond what's real-world practical.

Point two: Part of the reason magic remains hidden is that, while there are a vast variety of magical talents, there's also one really common talent, possessed (to some degree or another) by something like one fifth of the population: the talent to shut down magic. Trying to work magic in a crowd... usually doesn't work; there are enough nulls around that your spell just fizzles. In its most common variation, a null simply weakens nearby magic - but how much weaker, and what constitutes nearby, varies from person to person. There are legends of nulls who could focus their powers more tightly than this, blocking enemy spells while allowing their allies to cast unhindered - but they are, for the most part, just that: legends. Most powerful nulls in modern times simply don't believe in magic, which makes practicing to focus the talent... difficult.

SU (usually pronounced "soo") does not hire nulls (except for a few critical locations where people need to be used to working without magic - like sports instructors), nor does it admit them as students. A few can usually be found on campus anyway - course exchange students from HMTI, or prospective students looking to tour the campus, or visiting parents, or so on. Still, it's a much more magic-friendly place than one would expect from its population density.

HMTI (usually pronounced "him-tea") has no such restrictions in hiring or admissions. This goes a long way to explain some of the student rivalries between the two institutions.

Point three: This is, to some extent, a "and the kitchen sink" type setting. If you can find a mythical creature in some book somewhere, it probably exists in the setting. Somewhere. If you can't find what you're looking for in a book - it probably exists anyway. Please note that this is not always a good thing: Cthulu mythos type stuff comes to mind. Fortunately, the gibbering horrors from the dimension next door can be shut down by your average basketball team; having nulls around does, occasionally, come in handy.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:38 pm 
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Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
Oh, yes. Another important detail: the blast zone.

The blast zone is a twenty mile radius around the fusion reactor, which was evacuated the year the reactor was built. Legally, you're not allowed to be there - the region is surrounded by an old barbed wire fence. But there are plenty of holes, and nobody really cares - the worst that can happen is you die from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and if you ignore the "Danger! Keep out!" signs - well, that's your fault.

Well, ok. Nobody cares about the outer sixteen miles of the blast zone. The center of it, though, is a military fortress that would put the maginot line to shame; concrete bunkers bristle with guns, backed by arrays of missile launchers and almost-constant aerial patrols. There have been... problems... in the past. Starting with soviet sabotage attempts, and continuing with more recent radical eco-terrorist* or religious nut problems, and an entire passenger jet shot down on nine-eleven.

The outer region of the blast zone is a dense forest, massive trees growing through the remains of thirty-year-old buildings, and has become home to a wide variety of supernatural creatures (a possible explanation for the area's rapid growth).

_____
* Yes, there are idiots trying to shut down the reactor on the basis of "ecological" reasons. They cite the rapid growth of forest in the blast zone as "proof" that the reactor is emitting "dangerous radiation", cite the potential for ecological catastrophe (nuclear winter) in the case of an explosion, and generally make a nuisance of themselves.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:18 pm 
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Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
And, since my mind continues to ponder it regardless, here's some stuff I've decided for the genius setting.

One thousand, three hundred, and seventeen years ago, the legendary spark Leonard De Quirm, constructed the Nexus, also known as the Great Clock. It linked, and more importantly synchronized hundreds of realms. No longer did trading expeditions randomly vanish years into the future; sparks from the connected realms could work together without discovering that their partner had died of old age overnight. The golden age of knowledge had begun.

However, all was not entirely well with this golden age (surprise, surprise). The Nexus is a horrifyingly complex device, and only Leonard himself understood the full reach of its workings. After his death, the sparks of the golden realms maintained it as best they could - but it was not enough. In time, dark cracks appeared in the paths between the realms, and beasts of pure shadow stalked the nights and brought death to the unwary. Dire cults sprang up, worshiping the darkness. Entire realms splintered away from the core, were engulfed in shadows, and lost forever. Many put their faith in the Clock, claiming that Leonard's greatest creation would, in time, re-align itself and return the golden age. It took one visionary hero, Othar Tryggvassen, to realize what had to be done: The Nexus had to be shut down; the Great Clock had to be stopped. And thus began the Great War; loyalists against time-shatterers against the cults of night.

No-one is quite sure what happened in the end; the realms that form the Core today were cut off from the Nexus prior to whatever Othar did within its workings, and the known worlds lapsed into barbarism for half a thousand years. This, however, is known: While the Nexus may have been disconnected, the Clock at its heart never stopped; it merely lay dormant until its rediscovery and partial repair by Oberon, three hundred years ago. Six realms now form the Core; each linked to the Nexus and loosely synchronized. Oberon claims that the original designs' perfect lock-step is what caused the problems, and that no new shadows will leak in from the gaps between the worlds. So far, he seems to be right - though the cults of darkness still lurk with whatever shadow-beasts yet exist.

The realms of the core are these:
1) Astaria, The Golden Fields - an idyllic land of rolling plains and towering castles. Originally plagued by clockwork giants left over from the Great War, but most of these have been shut down by Oberon. Astaria, and by extension its inhabitants, are generally considered to be fairly boring. Useful (most of the food supplies of the core realms are grown here), dependable, but boring.
2) Irallith, The Realm of Wind - Airships perpetually roam the skies of this realm; the Great War left a poisonous black cloud upon the land. No-one visits the darkness beneath - save only the mad junk divers, and they are becoming increasingly rare now that Oberon has opened trade with other realms and the floating cities no longer need spare parts and raw materials scavenged from beneath the clouds.
3) Tulthin, The Great Machine - This realm contains a continent-wide device, most of it clearly broken and inactive. Few people live here by choice, but the realm is important as a source of pre-made parts and rare metals. Many people believe that this realm is somehow related to the Nexus.
4) Chalkon, Land of the Talon - Chalkon is a land of dense jungles, giant lizards, and ornate pyramid cities. Many of the natives have been altered to be faster and stronger than a normal human, taking on some aspect of one totem animal or another. Most notable of these are the jaguar princes - local nobility who chafe under the outside rule of Oberon. Unsurprisingly, Chalkon's specialty is biotechnology - strange drugs and medicines, and even expensive processes to offer totemic power to those not born with it (though the esteemed jaguar bloodline is never made available for mere monetary payment).
5) Stygia, The Underdark - Much like Irallith, the surface of this realm was rendered uninhabitable during the Great War. Its inhabitants now live in a massive network of caves (some natural, some artificial), or in submarines and underwater cities beneath the seas of the realm. Strength is the most valued attribute here; strength of construction; personal strength and endurance. Buildings within the larger caverns look more like bunkers than anything else; they are, after all, built to survive even the most violent of cave-ins.
6) Eleghost, The Blasted Waste - Nobody is quite sure why Oberon connected this realm to the Nexus. Massive craters dominate its landscape, and only shattered scraps remain of what must once have been great cities. Perhaps its purpose is to serve as a training ground for Oberon's armies; the place certainly has enough dangerous mutant creatures and still active war machines...

And then, of course, there's the Nexus itself; a gleaming metal palace with permanent gates to each of the six core realms, and a vast array of secondary gates that are only opened as requested by traders and travelers... or never opened at all. The nexus is entirely indoors; though it contains parks and open spaces, there are no windows to the outside, nor any signs of what might lie beyond its borders. This is Oberon's personal domain; the guards are competent, and do not allow curious sparks to explore where they ought not to be.

Beyond these six (seven? six and a half?) core realms lie a multitude of other places, reachable by temporary portals within the Nexus, or gate drives, or teleportation systems, or any of a variety of other strange devices.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:07 pm 
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Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2220
The general consensus seems to be that fusion is the preferred game (this does not appear in the current poll results due to some misplaced and non-moveable votes).

However, fusion is also the harder game to run. And I do kinda like both, and nobody seems to have any real objections to either...

So, my current notion is this: I'll run both of them, alternating episodes between them. I can run genius by the seat of my pants, with little to no planning needed, and use the time running it to assemble the next episode for fusion. It's a nice plan. It might even work.


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