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World Geography


Trifletraxor

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For SharedWorld it'd be better, initially, to get a number of ideas (like Rurik's Asherayne/Portal), whack them on some sort of map, and then together we can work out how they'd interact (and their histories).

Yeah, to some extent I think that should hold true for most things. People can work up a concept and it it makes something important, then that is a reason to include that feature.

For instance if someone wants to have a culture of desert dwelling nomads then that is a good reason to have some deserts.

Ditto for history. If some people do up some ancient cultures and other do a young vibrant culture then the ones doing up the ancient culture get to work out the history that the newbies don't know about. The other players can chime is as we brainstorm, but history can be treated as "you break it you own it".

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I am all in favor of a flat world... Perhaps the sun does not rise or set, but fades in and out for the day night cycle, remaining stationary. The lands directly under the sun are hottest (possibly uninhabitable - by normal beings) and the world gets colder and darker in all directions outward.

Now that is good. I can see it now, with gigantic icicles hanging off the edges...

I'm no great mapper but I have campaign cartographer...

Then go for it!

People can work up a concept and it it makes something important, then that is a reason to include that feature. ... The other players can chime is as we brainstorm, but history can be treated as "you break it you own it".

Quite. Let's make room for everyone's creations. I've found 'post-justification' can be very creative!

I like the odd bit of wacky geography, but I'm worried it might put some potential authors off. Do people think it would be too silly, or can they live with these sort of ideas?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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I like the odd bit of wacky geography, but I'm worried it might put some potential authors off. Do people think it would be too silly, or can they live with these sort of ideas?

I suppose it depends on how silly and what the game world justification is. I wouldn't like it to be silly in game.

For example, in one campaign the GM gave us a map and it had a river on it and we were told which direction the river flowed. All fine except the river flowed from the ocean to the mountains. The GM didn't see the problem, but a couple of us players were looking for magic to see what could make water flow uphill.

So anything that is different from the way things appear to work to us in the real world could cause some difficulties.

I wouldn't mind floating cities in the cloud populated by winged folk, assuming there is a good in game justification as to why those cities can fly--be it powerful incantations or liftwood. If it were supported by a million sparrows flapping away it would put me off.

Hmm, winged folk....

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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What, you've never been to Million Sparrow City?

Realism is relative. However realistic you want to be, there will always be a certain number of people who will say "That mountain would cause a rain shadow so you couldn't have a forest there" or whatever.

I wouldn't be too hung up on realism.

Draw a map, put interesting things there, have very simple climates for different areas and that's about all you really need.

Also, I wouldn't make the land masses too big. Genertela is smaller than the continental USA and has too many cultures to roleplay meaningfully in any one game. Look at the ancient cultures of Eurasia - there are too many to write up and use in a campaign. I'd keep things simple and focussed.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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What, you've never been to Million Sparrow City?

Realism is relative. However realistic you want to be, there will always be a certain number of people who will say "That mountain would cause a rain shadow so you couldn't have a forest there" or whatever.

I wouldn't be too hung up on realism.

It is a matter of degree. We don't need to do a full scale geogical study an map out the tectonic plates, but on the other hand itf it get too silly it can make it difficult for anyone to take it seriously and that hurts play.

Xanth many have it's fans, but not a lot of RPG groups and playing there.

Draw a map, put interesting things there, have very simple climates for different areas and that's about all you really need.

Yup. It is just that with mutiple designers finding a map that we will all be happy with will be a bit tougher than if any one of us were doing it.

Also, I wouldn't make the land masses too big. Genertela is smaller than the continental USA and has too many cultures to roleplay meaningfully in any one game. Look at the ancient cultures of Eurasia - there are too many to write up and use in a campaign. I'd keep things simple and focussed.

I agree. I'd also suggest we take another hint from both Euproe and early RQ and only deatail part of the world. Not only does it give us that air on mystery and the unknown that we will want for adventuring, but it leaves new areas open for new authors or new ideas.

A land mass the size or Europe or an archipelago could serve us well.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I like the odd bit of wacky geography, but I'm worried it might put some potential authors off. Do people think it would be too silly, or can they live with these sort of ideas?

Well there are some pretty far out ideas, and we may not ever end up using them, but let's not stop them from coming! If we need to scrap them or tone them back that is fine - If they don't make this world they may well make another one. I am not afraid of the the fantastic in my fantasy.

I suppose it depends on how silly and what the game world justification is. I wouldn't like it to be silly in game.

I think it is in the presentation. I originally envisioned a gritty world, and it can still be presented that way even with some pretty fantastic elements. The reasonings would be mythological, as clearly some of the ideas presented preclude any possible scientific presentation (though a stationary sun on a flat world surrounded by an 'endless' oceans could easily be part of a ringworld).

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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Also, I wouldn't make the land masses too big. Genertela is smaller than the continental USA and has too many cultures to roleplay meaningfully in any one game. Look at the ancient cultures of Eurasia - there are too many to write up and use in a campaign. I'd keep things simple and focussed.

True, but Glorantha has long suffered from scale problems tied to it's board game hex map roots. Grazelanders as nomads in the area of a (not so big) county, the Great Lunar Empire spanning, well, maybe the Mississipi valley.

I'm of the school to say "It is just a game, who cares if there are some scale problems as long as it is fun to play".

I like the approach of coming up with the core cultures, figuring out roughly how they fit, and coming up with a map that accomodates those needs, leaving some open spaces for future development.

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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What about the world being an enormous habitat on a huge grown living ship, slowly propelling through space? The Ancients from the city used the habitat to collect various species of lower development which possessed magic, something the ancients didn't, so they could study those species closer and understand the scientific explanation behind it. Going out through the gates to collect their speciments - until they met the demons, and finally got wiped out by the "primitive" inhabitants of their zoo.

The heat source for the habitat is placed in the middle, leading to a dessert in the middle and frozen areas in the periphery. The change between night and day could be instant or gradual. During the night, stars move across the sky, all in the same direction. The world is flat, and the end of the world is a definite end - it can be felt, if you ever reach that far. The living ship could easily be the size of a small planet, eating mass from the planets it visits and collect speciments.

The setting would be fantasy, as all the playable inhabitants would be of cultures with low technological knowledge, but all cultures would have their own type of magic. The ancients sleep (mostly) in cryogenic caskets in their protected towers.

Going overboard? :cool:

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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Maybe also the ancients where only servants of the ship itself? Maybe the ship is the ultimate A.I.? Having conquered all the natural sciences, it's now researching magic and the concept of soul. Searching for it's own? :P

SGL.

EDIT: The players wouldn't know anything about being on a ship of course, they would only know that their world was flat, hot in the middle, cold near the edges, a sun in the middle, passing stars at night. And that the ancients possessed great magical artifact.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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Well no idea is too far out for this thread so far.

Actually, I had another stationary sun/moon idea where the sun fades at night and actually becomes the moon, and at dawn brightens back into the sun. It could be quite possible to get the moon and walk on it and have adventures at night time, but it would be highly advisable to get off of it by dawn.

I am not adverse to a sci-fi tint to the world (I indeed hinted at the possibility that the founders of Portal were not of the world in my Portal pitch - and in all honesty I had never decided if they came from the same world or not) - but I think presenting the world as straight fantasy will give it more appeal up front. I think Jorune suffered from the Sci-Fi/Fantasy background, it was a bit too odd for many to get a grasp on (on the other hand it is still a beloved setting long after being out of print).

I will go with whatever the group decides, and can easily work with any of the ideas thrown out so far - they are all great and I hope for many more. I feel it may be better to put a Fantasy face forward, rather than a mixed one. None of which to say none of these backgrounds can't be true, and even explored in adventures as the game develops.

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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What about the world being an enormous habitat on a huge grown living ship, slowly propelling through space? ... The players wouldn't know anything about being on a ship of course...

Mmmm - a bit close to Metamorphosis Alpha... and if the inhabitants don't know, do we need to define it? Anyway, I'd thought of it more as a giant snowglobe on the mantelpiece in the gods' living room... one advantage of which is no SciFi battle-cruisers can turn up and start taking pot-shots! But these could be just two of various theories the inhabitants have. :)

Actually, I had another stationary sun/moon idea where the sun fades at night and actually becomes the moon, and at dawn brightens back into the sun. It could be quite possible to get the moon and walk on it and have adventures at night time, but it would be highly advisable to get off of it by dawn.

That's great. But - walking on the moon? That's absurd: you'd fall off! ;)

However, since the Moon-Sun is stationary, what causes the tides - something lurking down there...? (dun-dun-duuhnnn!) Something vast, breathing under the Central Sea (what with the world being an oval bowl shape), near the centre where it boils daily in the afternoon Sun...

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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That's great. But - walking on the moon? That's absurd: you'd fall off! ;)

Well, yeah, if you try to walk on the bottom of it - duh! :P You've got stay on the top - it's not like we're suspending reality here. :rolleyes:

However, since the Moon-Sun is stationary, what causes the tides - something lurking down there...? (dun-dun-duuhnnn!) Something vast, breathing under the Central Sea (what with the world being an oval bowl shape), near the centre where it boils daily in the afternoon Sun...

Well, perhaps the sun is directly over the water, and the ocean below it boils during the day, casusing it to expand and the tidal surge to radiate outwards, and at night it cools, and the tides recede back towards the spot below the sun.

Or maybe it just has to do with some gods battling at the bottom of the sea or something. All good ideas.

Or it could be that the world is a sphere, and the moon is in orbit around it, and the gravitational pull of the moon affects the tides or something over the top like that - or perhaps that is too far out.

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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Do we need tides at all?

Yes, quite. Ditto seasons? This is just the sort of big-scale thing we should be deciding now.

OTOH, maybe there should be details like that from the RW, but they have different, weird causes.

Which is it easier for GMs to have - normal tides/seasons/etc (to have to keep track of) or weird/none? (remembering a lack of normal ones might be even harder!). Now I'm thinking maybe they should be intermittent (at the whim of the gods?). No worries about tracking them, no limits on using them as plot devices!

PS: If there are no tides, what would clear the sandcastles away? :)

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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What about the world being an enormous habitat on a huge grown living ship, slowly propelling through space?

Well, its a bit more Sci-Fi than expected for this but going with the basic idea how about:

1)It isn't a ship, it's a Dyson Sphere. That would give us enough space to literally encompass any culture.

2) There is no magic, just Clark's 3rd law in effect. That is it is really all high tech, but the inhabitants can't tell the difference, because it is much more advanced than they can comprehend.

3) Everybody could have latent PSI abilities that are really the power behind magical effects. Sort of a will of the subconscious masses at work. They just don't know it.

4) Many of the religions could have sprung up around things the Ancients did before they vanished. Miracles are also the "will of the subconscious masses" at work.

5) Perhaps the Ancients aren't gone, just that they don't show up to much because they are busy, or don't want to ruin the experiment, or both. They could be very long lived, perhaps even immortal.

6) With the size of a Dyson Sphere, any low tech culture would think that the world was flat. So we could take a section of it, surround it by water and ice, and people will think that is the entire world, and that the world is flat. And for all practical purposes be able to prove it.

7) Gates could be a way for the Ancients to move about quickly between different spots in the sphere. They could be high tech, and/or powered by mental abilities (well magic as far as we are concerned).

8) The "HellGate" concept is entirely compatible with the Dyson Sphere. The Ancients would be the Ancient Culture (or maybe an offshoot), and the gate just went somewhere on the sphere where nasty things dwell.

9) This concept would also allow for pockets of technology of variating levels.

10) Non-humans and monsters could be alien life forms collected and/or the results of generic manipulation, or even mutation caused by radiation.

11) Moons could still exist and there could be gates to go to them, Some could be terraformed and serve as pocket dimensions like "the otherworld" of Earth's legends.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Dyson sphere? It sounds familiar but remind me what it is. would it be able to support the flat, warm in the middle, frozen at the edges idea? (or actually, a planet could support that to, as long as it always showed the same face toward the sun.) :P

I think the setting should be "firmly" fantasy, having a sci-fi explanation for that it's built on would be fine. It could be hinted at for the GM, but never fully revealed.

Anyway, I think this bit is the most important to get down before starting the work. The basis of the universe kindoff serves as the foundation for the setting, and makes it much easier to add to it.

I can add a subwiki to this thread, but I'm not sure if where ready for that yet.

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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Dyson sphere? It sounds familiar but remind me what it is. would it be able to support the flat, warm in the middle, frozen at the edges idea? (or actually, a planet could support that to, as long as it always showed the same face toward the sun.) :P

I think the setting should be "firmly" fantasy, having a sci-fi explanation for that it's built on would be fine. It could be hinted at for the GM, but never fully revealed.

Anyway, I think this bit is the most important to get down before starting the work. The basis of the universe kindoff serves as the foundation for the setting, and makes it much easier to add to it.

I can add a subwiki to this thread, but I'm not sure if where ready for that yet.

SGL.

A Dyson Sphere is essentially a "hollow" shell build around a star. Generally you take the material in a solar system and use it to build a ball that completely encloses the sun, at just the right distance to support life.

So no matter where you are in the sphere, the sun would be "up". We could have other stellar bodies inside the sphere that could orbit the star and give us day and night cycles, or even some Ancient-created screen that shields half the plaet at a time. Over the years the screen has been damaged and there are little holes in it that the people on the ground call stars.

You can have all the weather fluctuations we have on Earth and probably some that we don't.

Basically any culture that can build one can pretty much do whatever they wanted to scientifically, and ironically, probably wouldn't need to build one.

As for size, well it one were built for our sun at 1AU (93 million miles/150 million km) from the sun, the sphere would have an area of 7.07x10^16 square kilometers, and a volume of 1.41x10^34 cubic meters. The Sphere would have a diameter of 300 million km, and would only curve 1º every 833,333.3 kilometers--thats close to 21 times the diameter of the Earth!

So for all practical purposes it could be considered flat by the inhabitants and each section could be treated as a separate "world".

The high level of engineering required to make a Dyson Sphere world means that anything goes as far as world building. Things like floating cities would be childs play.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Do we need tides at all? It's not like they are of much use' date=' except perhaps for restricting when larger ships can enter or leave harbour.[/quote']

Not at all. However...

Weird tides would be more interesting. For example if two beings/gods/races are battling under the sea, you could get exceptionally low or high tides, or a low tide that lasts a month, etc.

Weird could be cool. I like the mythological backgrounds. Going back to the sun/moon bit (which I'm not married to but makes a good example for this case) There could be an extreme Sun Cult dedicated to changing the sun/moon object to always be the sun (which would pretty much cook the world and destroy all life) and a Moon Cult dedicated to making it a moon forever (pretty much freezing the world and destroying all life).

So the party could actually go on quests to do things like restore the tides, or end a long winter, etc.

I vote for big trolls with clubs that scour the worlds beaches looking to smash any sand castles that they find.

I agree 100%.

Hinting at a possible sci-fi origen is cool, actually detailing it upfront really kills the fantasy image of the game.

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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A Dyson Sphere is essentially a "hollow" shell build around a star. ... So no matter where you are in the sphere, the sun would be "up". We could have other stellar bodies inside the sphere that could orbit the star and give us day and night cycles, or even some Ancient-created screen that shields half the plaet at a time. Over the years the screen has been damaged and there are little holes in it that the people on the ground call stars.

You can have all the weather fluctuations we have on Earth and probably some that we don't.

Basically any culture that can build one can pretty much do whatever they wanted to scientifically, and ironically, probably wouldn't need to build one.

Wow. A literally tremendous idea. Kind of fits with the flat-earth, stationary sun, sun/moon, and bowl-shaped ones too all at once. A shame to lose the icicles dangling off the edge, though - but maybe Fist-of-God type incidents could create some? Or would the shell be too thick for that, in order to give the right gravity? What would the sky look like? Could you see the other side, or the Night-Screen during the day?

So the party could actually go on quests to do things like restore the tides, or end a long winter, etc.

Or sort out any other troubles caused by squabbles of the gods. If the SphereWorld Engineers didn't have to build it, maybe they just did it for fun - so they could play at being gods?

I vote for big trolls with clubs that scour the worlds beaches looking to smash any sand castles that they find.

Quite right - thinking about it, trolls (albeit small ones) probably account for more sandcastle-destruction than tides in the RW anyway. :)

Hinting at a possible sci-fi origen is cool, actually detailing it upfront really kills the fantasy image of the game.

Yes, this is a problem. It'd be a shame to let it stop such a great idea, though. Can it be stated, yet not become interferingly relevant?

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Hinting at a possible sci-fi origen is cool, actually detailing it upfront really kills the fantasy image of the game.

I think if the difference is great enough, the high tech aspects really wouldn't be distinguishable from magic.

From the view of someone living on the surface, is the world flat or just a big dyson sphere? Are the starts objects in the sky, sprints, a sign from the gods, or holes in the sunscreen? Are wacky tides the result of battle gods, or did a dead whale get caught in the disposal mechanism and cause it to back up? Are magical powers gifts from the gods, or have the entire populace been genetically breed for psionic potential? Functionally it makes no difference, so we could describe things from an entirely fantasy viewpoint, be dead wrong about everything, and it would be fine.

This could allow us to use both high and low tech cultures to some extent on the same setting, just far apart. Most of the world could have fallen to a medieval state of development, with a few enclaves of more advanced culture that have a different worldview. Perhaps even restrictions against revealing the truth to the natives for several reasons.

But that is just one way to go with it, based on giant spaceship idea.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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My fear with the hard sci-fi background described is it can become limiting. I like the idea of cults being able to affect the world's tides/seasons etc. - a whale getting stuck can explain wacky tides, but how about when the sun cult really socks it to the night cult or whatever? I think having party quests affecting the 'natural events' of the world is more plausible with a fantasy background than a sci-fi one.

I'd also like a spirit world with ghosts and the like, and an underworld (possibly the same as the spirit world). I don't want as many otherworlds as say current Glorantha, but would like something like the old RQ2 spirit plane.

Help kill a Trollkin here.

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My fear with the hard sci-fi background described is it can become limiting. I like the idea of cults being able to affect the world's tides/seasons etc. - a whale getting stuck can explain wacky tides, but how about when the sun cult really socks it to the night cult or whatever? I think having party quests affecting the 'natural events' of the world is more plausible with a fantasy background than a sci-fi one.

Well I did say earlier about the idea hat everyone could be a latent ESP, so basically the sun cult knocking it to the night cult would be a manifestation of psi powered mass belief.

Basically we could described it completely in fantasy terms. If the tech is high enough (as with a Dyson Sphere) whatever we can imagine could be rationalized away scientifically, assuming we ever desire to do so.

For instance, what if everything was run by computers since the Anceints went into stasis, hopped on an a outbout starliner for a trip to Disneyworld or whatever. The computer wants people to be happy and tries to do so by altering the enviroment to the wishes of the populace. If the people to want to worship the Sun and have thier crops blessed, rather than just requesting a 3% increase in sunlight to the farmlands, that's fine with the machines.

I'd also like a spirit world with ghosts and the like, and an underworld (possibly the same as the spirit world). I don't want as many otherworlds as say current Glorantha, but would like something like the old RQ2 spirit plane.

Could all be some form of virtual reality. You "spirit" leaves you body and travels on the "spririt plae": couldeasily be cyberspace from the view of a pre-computer society.

So anything could go. The locals won't know the difference, and we don't have to tell.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Or worse, what if instead of computer the Ancients hired someone to run the place while they were gone. The who sphere has been outsourced, and the people running it are inept, don't speak the language, and tend to get things wrong.

So a request to the from the High Priest of the Earth god, leading his army of 10,000 followers, to send his gnomes and have themdown the fortress of the unbelievers, could come across as:

Request for terraforming on grid coordinate 23-45-86 With a POP Rating of 10K

Some paper pusher goes "Ten thosuand huh, they must really want to terraform that section. Probably want to put in a swimming pool or something. Better activate some of the earthmover robots. "

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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So anything could go. The locals won't know the difference, and we don't have to tell.

Ah, but we have told. We have to define things, and people will know them because they are stated here. So we should define them in a way that allows the maximum number of fantastical possibilities. Saying the world is run by a computer which pretends to be gods, or the spirit plane is a matrix-like cyberspace, seems a bit too limiting to me. I'm not saying we should reject those ideas, but we should define the setting to allow them and a multitude of others.

I suggest that the Ancients were so advanced both scientifically and spiritually that they individually had the power of gods. Those few who are interested enough in the SphereWorld to watch, visit occasionally or even get involved are it's gods. They all have different personalities, agendas, archetypes they impersonate for fun, and so on - and the world is just their plaything. But they know it is the plaything of others of their kind, too - so they cannot overstep the mark, endanger the world, reveal too much truth, force their ideas/technology on areas whose gods object, or otherwise spoil the other gods' fun - or all the others would turn on them and throw them out. They must all get along and play nicely with their SharedWorld.

So we are like those gods. We can have areas run by automated computer-gods, or cyber-spirit planes, or low-tech barbarians, or even high-tech space-goers, or whatever we like - so long as it doesn't dominate the whole setting, and leaves room for others to have fun their way.

How's that for a Great Compromise? ;)

Are magical powers gifts from the gods, or have the entire populace been genetically breed for psionic potential?

I like this/these ideas too. Assuming the 'gods'(ancients) are metaphysically advanced enough to syphon off some psychic power from lesser beings that attune themselves (via 'worship'), they had a reason to create enhanced psionic potential in the populations - and side-effects of that are various systems of Magic...

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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