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Lloyd Dupont

Scifi Bakground question

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Inspired by the way American cops like to stop and shoot Black american on a whim, in my (upcoming, master of Orion inspired) scifi setting I specify for which races the police forces are trigger happy (hopefully could harass some innocent PC that way).

Now I got what might be, and I am asking here for feedback, an internal consistency issue.

The players will be part of the Bulrathi Empire (an ursine life form from a high gravity planet). They tend to relocate conquered aliens all other the places to maintain a semblance of homogeneity (and low alien population percentage) and fill planets with low caste Bulrathi clones (unlike ruling class "natural" Bulrathi) to maintain racial dominance.

Now in the list of "suspicious" races I was thinking to add the Bulrathi clones (hey, they are naturally strong and low caste) but.. they are not really any different from "high caste" Bulrathi, hence there is a problem.

As I talked about it here.... Me think perhaps the clone might have some obvious genetic modification added, such as a distinct unnatural fur pattern or something to differentiate them...

Any idea on feedback on that? Or other idea to make sense of that idea?

Other than that stop an frisk would also apply to (psionic) Elerian (they looked at me strange) and (feline) Mrrshan (they look threatening).

And also, of course, to the Illithid and Darlok but those will be rather rare and NPC (Darlock's Nazin has been utterly destroyed, because it's what everybody does every MoO game, and Illithid are a minor primitive race used as psionic consultant by security forces)

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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Only peripherally related, but I remember a book where people were kidnapped and modified so their skin turned blue (and possibly brainwashed, my memory is a bit vague on the details). They were then sold as "androids" and basically treated like robots. Robots, in fact, went out of fashion because they were so much more expensive to buy and maintain.

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wow found this unbelievable sound track! :P

Note there are some boarding calls and similar broadcast every now and then...

 

 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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12 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Inspired by the way American cops like to stop and shoot Black american on a whim...

Good lord, dude, even I'll have to ask you to rephrase that.

Your thesis in the OP is too simple:  The social class/caste/race at the top of the hierarchy are callous and brutal, so who are the candidates for them to brutalise?

The more relevant question is:  What motivates the ones at the top of the hierarchy to be brutal and oppressive to those lower on the ladder?  Real or perceived, what is it about them and their relationship to the oppressed classes that causes them to resort to harassment and violence as a means of imposing social order over more cooperative means?

Because the counter-thesis is perhaps even more uncomfortable:  Why should we be okay with creating fictitious, motiveless victims of social injustice on a whim for the purpose of entertainment?  And why would we want to subject our players to that?

!i!

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46 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Good lord, dude, even I'll have to ask you to rephrase that.

I'll second that. I think it was tongue in cheek commentary on certain overreactions by some police, not a condemnation of American Police in general. Most police officers haven't shot anybody.

46 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Why should we be okay with creating fictitious, motiveless victims of social injustice on a whim for the purpose of entertainment? 

Because you need really bad villains in heroic fiction and adventure RPGs. It's also why in most RPGs the heroes and villains don't just sit down and talk things out. I think it's perfectly okay to come up with any sort of bad behavior in game, for a villain, provided it is shown to be bad behavior.  It would be a pretty boring game if someone objected to something in the film and the bad buys went "Oh, we hand't thought of that. In that case we won't do it. Thanks for the constructive criticism."

Much like it's perfectly okay for the Emperor in Star Wars to be a ruthless, manipulative tyrant. He exists to be taken down.

46 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

And why would we want to subject our players to that?

Because otherwise the adventures become mundane or morally vague.  It's why the evil king, wicked stepmother, etc. are tropes of heroic fiction.  Not that such games can't be fun or interesting, just that for those who want heroic games they need villains for the heroes to oppose.

For instance if Orcs aren't thoroughly evil, vicious cannibals, then the PCs who go into an orc cave are the bad guys (i.e." murder hobos").

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22 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

I'll second that. I think it was tongue in cheek commentary...

Agreed, and it isn't necessarily my place to tut-tut Lloyd, but...c'mon.

24 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

Much like it's perfectly okay for the Emperor in Star Wars to be a ruthless, manipulative tyrant. He exists to be taken down.

Because otherwise the adventures become mundane or morally vague.  It's why the evil king, wicked stepmother, etc. are tropes of heroic fiction.  Not that such games can't be fun or interesting, just that for those who want heroic games they need villains for the heroes to oppose.

As a fan of moral ambiguity -- heroes who understand the ramifications of their actions, villains who perceive themselves as agents of a greater good -- I'll largely concede this point.  Many audiences want clarity in who to root for and against.  But the evil king is a tyrant for a reason -- he's trying to create stability among a fractious populace in a violent and uncertain world.  The wicked stepmother is trying to secure her own security and possibly that of children of her own by pushing out the woodsman's offspring from a previous marriage.  But, yes, they're both definitely still assholes.  That sympathy I have for them makes the position I take against them that much more poignant.

More to the point, I caution against games descending into misery tourism, the flip-side of violence porn.  The "murder hobo" trope you cited is a very real phenomenon, and so are "dystopian futures" with no sensible rationale.  I know that some want to just "leave the real world problems behind for a couple of hours" and make-believe with friends while eating snacks, but it's not asking too much for context that makes sense.

Just tell me:  Why are the space-cops brutes?  And be prepared -- as a player, I may ask a lot more questions.

!i!

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15 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

...

Now in the list of "suspicious" races I was thinking to add the Bulrathi clones (hey, they are naturally strong and low caste) but.. they are not really any different from "high caste" Bulrathi, hence there is a problem.

As I talked about it here.... Me think perhaps the clone might have some obvious genetic modification added, such as a distinct unnatural fur pattern or something to differentiate them...

Any idea on feedback on that? Or other idea to make sense of that idea?

...

I'd make this something sci-fi-ish...  There's probably some sort of easy-check ID in the clones, like an RFID chip (pet microchip) or some further-future variant; after all, the clone facilities will want to have ways to track their units before deploying them into service... why ever turn that off???   Think of how StarWars' storm troopers have ID-numbers instead of names (based on prior Clone-era storm troopers, even after they weren't clones any more).

I envision law-enforcement patrols having HUD visors, which ID every Bulrathi; those with valid ID-chips (the overwhelming majority, except in elite neighborhoods) show one way, the elite "naturals" show another.

Any Bulrathi who shows a glitch is most likely a criminal* who tried to hack their ID...  Call for backup, lock&load, and take that perpetrator down hard !

 

* edit:  probably it's actually just a technical glitch in the scan or the ID process, or a faulty chip, or other legit failure.  But better safe than sorry when you're dealing with street scum!

Edited by g33k
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1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:

...

Just tell me:  Why are the space-cops brutes?  And be prepared -- as a player, I may ask a lot more questions.

I presume, in this case, an authoritarian impulse from the top is setting policies to drive the street-level brutality; keep them oppressed, too afraid to rebel.

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1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:

As a fan of moral ambiguity -- heroes who understand the ramifications of their actions, villains who perceive themselves as agents of a greater good -- I'll largely concede this point.  Many audiences want clarity in who to root for and against.  But the evil king is a tyrant for a reason -- he's trying to create stability among a fractious populace in a violent and uncertain world.  The wicked stepmother is trying to secure her own security and possibly that of children of her own by pushing out the woodsman's offspring from a previous marriage.  But, yes, they're both definitely still assholes.  That sympathy I have for them makes the position I take against them that much more poignant.

Possibly. It depends on the style and tone of the campaign. I'm currently running Pendragon where the soruces have gone out of their way to paint Vortigern and Hengest as the villains, and don't really get into the reasons why. So for that game, we probably don't need to have a deep understanding or detailed psychological profile of most of the villains. Not that Arthurian Literature doesn't have it's complex characters and moral gray areas. THe MAy Babies incident for instance, knocks Arthur down a few pegs.

1 hour ago, Ian Absentia said:

More to the point, I caution against games descending into misery tourism, the flip-side of violence porn.  The "murder hobo" trope you cited is a very real phenomenon, and so are "dystopian futures" with no sensible rationale.  I know that some want to just "leave the real world problems behind for a couple of hours" and make-believe with friends while eating snacks, but it's not asking too much for context that makes sense.

Yeah I agree. Gamers shouldn't be role-playing out bad stuff just to role-play out bad stuff, although I suppose it could be a therapeutic way to work through negative impulses. It's somewhat better if a person beats up on a NPC goblin that to take it out on their spouse.. I fell the same way about films. I'm not a fan of so called "splatter" films or gore in general, but I can see it being used to give a battle or fight scene more weight. 

 

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4 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Just tell me:  Why are the space-cops brutes?  And be prepared -- as a player, I may ask a lot more questions.

Well, the setting is NOT one of an happy harmonious space civilisation. In fact quite the opposite. The Bulrathi empire is a ruthless imperialist dictatorship (so are the competing empire too).

Further, the real question, what would an adventurer to do in a happy democratic space hegemony?  😮

I do not favour endlessly fighting great old ones, mysterious plagues or never ending attack from powerful secret societies.  Or fighting (for some reason secretly) never ending waves of monster that, for some other strange reason, nobody knows about! 😮 
Nor would the player be space marines, a bit too obvious and deadly.

Also, unfortunately, I don't quite like the theme of most adventure I read. It's always outlandish! I mean how unlucky and unique adventurers have to be to go from outlandish plot to outlandish plot! 😮 

 

So, instead, an unhappy, disharmonious, unlikable society seems to me the perfect realist answer to what is an adventurer to do!

As to annoying cops, it's mean to be a minor inconvenience at best, just something to keep players on their toes and set the tone...

  

6 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:
18 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Inspired by the way American cops like to stop and shoot Black american on a whim...

Good lord, dude, even I'll have to ask you to rephrase that.

So Hollywood got a pass, but I don't?! 😕 
Now maybe everyday life is not like in the movies.. but it doesn't really matter for my question...

 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were.

I've never liked cartoon villains or boss-fights. In my personal experience the most successful games I've run are the ones that delved into humanity's dark side. The difference from the real world is that, sometimes, the player characters can make things better.

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5 hours ago, g33k said:

I'd make this something sci-fi-ish...  There's probably some sort of easy-check ID in the clones, like an RFID chip (pet microchip) or some further-future variant; after all, the clone facilities will want to have ways to track their units before deploying them into service... why ever turn that off???   Think of how StarWars' storm troopers have ID-numbers instead of names (based on prior Clone-era storm troopers, even after they weren't clones any more).

I envision law-enforcement patrols having HUD visors, which ID every Bulrathi; those with valid ID-chips (the overwhelming majority, except in elite neighborhoods) show one way, the elite "naturals" show another.

Any Bulrathi who shows a glitch is most likely a criminal* who tried to hack their ID...  Call for backup, lock&load, and take that perpetrator down hard !

This ID chip idea is great!
Perfectly set the one of your friendly oppressive dictatorship! :P 

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