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Spindrifter



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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Location: Walking through the woods on a snowy evening

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First point: Dan Abnett-book-based RPG settings. Because Dan Abnett really is awesome. Pity about Corbec, though.

Second: Nem hit the nail on the head here (guess that schooling really helps) with the idea that we don't have heroes anymore. We do, but they are very fleeting things, and most people who try can't overcome the inertia of the present society. Too, most issues and circumstances that could produce a hero are too complex to have one: a hero has somewhat of a one-sided figure, at least in relation to their heroic stature. The hero has to be, as Nem said, "fundamentally righteous" in some aspect, and most circumstances are not so clear cut that any one side can be fundamentally righteous. If you "de-complexify" the situation (like my new word?) with a post-apocalyptic or pre-modern (ie fantasy) setting, you can reopen the hero option. Science fiction usually goes the dystopian route. They're all avenues to reduce the complexities of moral issues to the state in which a hero can arise. Concrete example? Read the transcripts of CoW that were posted. Immediately introduced was an irrefutably evil antagonist nation, fuel for a hero (or band thereof) to arise. Earthsong itself is another.

Whether or not you can have a hero in a less simplified social context is the subject of a story I'm currently working on. Traditional fantasy setting, but I'm trying to position the protagonist so you can't decide whether he's the moral hero or not. Personally he is, politically he's not, romantically he is, religiously he's not...

Damn. Here I am trying to avoid writing an English paper, and I went ahead and wrote one anyway.
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Ravenna



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To jump on the post apocalyptic bandwagon... I watched Resident Evil: Extinction and Mad Max and it looks like an AWESOME idea for an RPG. Nem had a pretty cool way of describing why it's an appealing idea, but I think it's also interesting to see how people react when modern infrastructures get torn away and they have to do EVERYTHING for themselves. Once upon a time I was considering running a dystopian zombies RPG myself, but I never got round to doing any writing for it and let it fall by the wayside.

As for why I was pushing for fantasy earlier, I know old/high fantasy or sci-fi are considered to be old standards for RPGs, but I thought it would be a good genre to ease people in to the swing of things, and I'm also feeling nostalgic for a bit of good ole fashioned fantasy swashbuckling and hi-jinks.

Although I would definitely be up for some Star Wars if it's going to happen. ^^
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Spindrifter



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm up for Star Wars too. Would Wookieepedia be our guidebook?
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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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Location: Grammar Police HQ. Watch your language, I'm armed with the NYTimes Style Book AND Strunk and White!

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll pass on Star Wars, thanks, I'm not much for real Scifi.

I was totally not expecting essays on this! I'm so amused! Really, I agree with you, but before we move on, I just want to make one final point: You really don't have to look into fiction to find the scenarios you're describing. Horrible as it is...

Y'all wrote:

...how people react when modern infrastructures get torn away...

...reduce the complexities of moral issues to the state in which a hero can arise.

It's only in the face of true horror that we can rise above, that heroes, monsters and demons are actually worthy of the definition rather than simply being slight variants of each other.


...that all happened sixty years ago, beginning in Germany and spreading across the face of Eastern Europe. Concrete example, Alt? You can't get much more concrete than the Holocaust.
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Ravenna



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm well aware that by the strictest definitions we already are a "post-apocalyptic society" really, but I think what the others were getting at they thinking about story-writing and zombies, rather than looking at it historically and how ugly humanity can be.
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Spindrifter



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say the Holocaust gave rise to plenty of heroes; the problem there was that too often they were forced to go unsung, at least among their contemporaries, or were lost amid the sheer mass of people involved in that conflict. Most heroic sagas don't deal in sizable populations, ie 20th century Europe. Of course, for RPG terms, the Holocaust isn't suitable because it's a historical untouchable: too big and fraught with emotion to do anything but reverence. And honestly, who would really want to: it would be like roleplaying Wiesel's Night. *shudder*
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Squeeself



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squee thinks Nem is blurring the line between hero and superhero too much Razz In essence, you're saying that carbon neutrality is not a positive thing because you're still contributing bad things to the world--using a environmental example as a contrast. You are essentially saying that even a net gain of "heroic deeds" over "bad deeds" is not enough, but that you have to be saving lives every second of your life to be good. In fact, by your definition, Squee wonders if such altruistic characters as Mother Teresa would fall under a heroic definition you have set forth.

In fact, any superhero, or any fantasy setting hero, would fail under such a definition. Squee submits that your view of heroism is flawed. To say that no one could be a hero because they tend to daily life is looking far beyond the mark. Heroic deeds are performed every day by millions of people. While it is true that not all of those people may be properly termed "heroes" or saints, is a fully net gain of altruism a prerequisite to being a hero? Squee would argue that it is possible to have a character who doesn't do all that many heroic deeds still be a hero; one doesn't need to be saving lives to be inspirationally good for others.

It seems as if you say that we are each one of us morally obligated to save lives of people we don't even know about rather than taking a break from the toils of the day. It seems to Squee that such moralizing is beyond a reasonable possibility. Although a hero should push the edge of human (or self) possibility to greater heights, he should not be expected to do the impossible.

Squee does agree that it takes a disaster of some sort to bring out the best and worst of people. But does a hero really require a disaster? Squee says no. There is noble heroism in the father who works 60 hours a week to provide for his family....and kids who will see their father as a hero, for certain. He too, is saving lives...but it doesn't take epic scale to produce a hero. If you speak of romanticism, what is better than an rosy picture of an unsung hero such as this?
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Ravenna



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to spam the concept thread slightly, but Spindrifter just gave me an idea that it would be really cool to run a Night Watch/Day Watch campaign and I have no idea why. O_o

Although it might be a bit too similar too VH and what not, so meh. >< A more appropriate question would have been, are people familiar with Night Watch, but that's me starting to get off-topic so I'll put it in another thread first.

I agree with Spindrifter in that it would be inappropriate to deal with such subjects in an RPG setting, as it is a very sensitive topic. It was a much more elegant way of putting what I had wanted to say in the first place. XD
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Asa



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really have nothing useful to add. I just came back from a trip to Poland, which is why I have Holocaust on the brain (I've been having Holocaust dreams for two weeks straight), and it's really sensitive for me still.

Right, let's move this discussion (because it's REALLY interesting to follow, even if I don't take part) to somewhere else, since it's getting into a more theoretical discussion, I think, and I don't want it to die. Sound good?
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thespaceinvader



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Post-apocalyptic can be interesting, and it's correct that it does a heck of a lot more to test its characters than a standard modern setting, apart from one thing - in a sense, ALL settings tend to be a bit post-apocalyptic.

There's almost invariably a large event which tears the characters away from their comfortable normal lives and sets them at odds with their opponents, otherwise, for the most part, they wouldn't HAVE opponents. Thinking back over the RPs i can remember here:

DS: I was never really sure of the reasoning here, but i think this is something of an exception to the guideline above.

Second August: the ship crashed

Children of War: not really sure about this one at all, as i wasn't involved.

Clarke: big party, big invasion (Does a forum crash count as an apocalypse? =P)

Mutants: the bombing of parliament

The one with Cal in it, the name of which i forget: the invasion of the city by the trolls.

Etc.

Post-apocalyptic scenarios just do it to the whole world, rather than a small set of characters.

This is why I tend to prefer fantasy and sci fi settings - it's easier to make a believable scenario where characters have enemies and are in conflict than for a modern setting, wherein armed conflict is either between criminal elements and the police, criminal elements and each other, or military and paramilitary elements.

I'll avoid going into contention on the modern heroes issue.
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Tomato



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I should weigh in here, a bit.

Nem, you're silly, and you like the word "Dystopian" too much. Also, I'm not gonna get into your argument about good and evil. It would be silly.

My plot for CoW was going to go an odd route. The idea was going to basically be that I would absolutely convince you that this horrible nation was just naturally evil for no apparent reason, and would kill you for anything... then throw that idea to the street. I had every intention of suddenly making the heros into the bad guys, and vice-versa. The problem with it was that I didn't plan it's plot carefully enough and people got disinterested. It didn't pan out.

My plot for Clarke was more and less convoluted. A government organization was going to be kidnapping dreamers for tests. The tests would be evil in nature, corruptive, and ultimately, prove to be the salvation of humanity from a greater unseen evil.


EDIT:

Nem, you're not gonna be happy to hear this, but my world that I'm making is not going to be post-apocalptic.

I don't have an accurate word to describe it yet, because I don't think a genre for this exists, outside calling it simply science fiction. I suggest you wait and see it before passing judgement. It'll be out probably tomorrow.
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Spindrifter



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Squee, it's certainly possibly for many people to be heroes, in just such a way as you describe: a person providing for their family, Mother Theresa, etc. I guess, though, that I would question whether they qualify as heroes or Heroes, you know? I think there is an epic scale that we associate with Heroism as a state, as opposed to being a hero. Is glory a part of it? Because frankly, the romantic unsung hero is interesting, but not so much if he's unsung because he works the same sixty hours every week for twenty years. And if he works sixty hours a week selling drugs on a street corner, is he still a Hero? A hero to his children, certainly, but not necessarily a Hero. That's why I think a moral element must be involved: a Hero must present a moral position and defend it in the common view. The problem is that there are rarely any moral positions sufficiently simplistic in our modern world, and saving life tends to be one of them, and to be able to reach a point above the morass of humanity where your efforts are truly in the public eye is all but impossible in the current population.

Space, I think the post-apocalyptic element is only so common because it's a common method for diverting the present society or creating a plot-jumping off point. If you want a modern level of technology and somewhat modern culture, you set an apocalypse to alter the present state. If you have a different setting and need something to kick off your action, you rely on some "apocalyptic" element to begin it.
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The Keeper of Gwen's temper/K'thonya's tastes,
He has been dubbed one "Alt" by AsA great.

Trickier though it is, dactylic hex of the epic-ish style:
"Alt" he is called and his reign is the fierce and the making of pretties.
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thespaceinvader



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mm, i know the reasoning behind post-apocalyptic scenarios - they just tend to feel more artificial to me than sci fi or fantasy ones.
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Tomato



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree space. I dunno what it is, they just seem rather... manufactured. I'm not a huge fan of postapocalyptica.

Anyhow, I wanted to give an update on the new RP I'm developing. Credit where it's due, Sparroh is really helping me out with this. We've been brainstorming a bit, and we've got some seriously great ideas.

I would like to say a couple of things though. It's not going to be Steampunk in your traditional "direct to 1900's era" manner. It's gonna have a rather hybrid theme, combining quite a bit. I'm really excited, easily moreso than I was for Clarke, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you all think about it.
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horsin'around



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a fascinating discussion. Unfortunately, I don't want to get involved. Very Happy Mato, if you do another RPG, I'm up for it. As for what you choose to do it on, I thought something like the Clarke one we were involved in was intriguing. Sort of a fantasy throw-off of modern day Earth with some magic thrown in...

Donno. It's whatever you all think.
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