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View Poll Results: What about a new sci-fi setting?

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64. You may not vote on this poll
  • IF it's something completely new. Don't need more of the same Thank You.

    10 15.63%
  • I like having SOME of the standard stuff in there, but you need to bring SOMETHING new to the table.

    31 48.44%
  • I don't want or need ANY new sci-fi setting Thank You.

    1 1.56%
  • If I find it interesting, maybe. Otherwise, I don't care.

    22 34.38%
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Thread: What about a new sci-fi setting?

  1. #61
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    One idea that I have had pitched at me is the infinite plane. Each world is a bowl in the plane. The world is not flat, it is concave. If you can get over the impossibility high mountains at the edge of the world you find yourself in another world. Mind you the bowls, dish is more like it, are world sized. 20,000 miles across world sized.

    The physics of such a place are going to be substantially different. You don't need magic, you don't need fantasy elements. It can fall into the realm of Science Fiction. You can have as many worlds as you want. You can start the PCs without the knowledge of the other worlds. Just state the world is flat and bounded by mountains none can pass.

    Getting to the other worlds should require an extrene technology. Ether ship, long dark tunnel, a month of climbing and breathing gear. Figure 10 mile high Mountains. Say 5000 miles of ridge after ridge.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    That actually sounds really cool! It would need some "science-fu" technology to pull off. There is a purpose to the circular rotating constantly moving universe we find ourselves in. :-D Frankly, ESPECIALLY for roleplaying games, I don't see the need to be "scientifically accurate". Why not just make something fun to play?
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    I think a sci-fi game similar to the space age of Spore would be fun. Populate planets, evolve species into indigenous tribes, make inhabitable planets into virtual paradises, bring the word of Zod to other planets (and destroy them if they don't like the sound of it), etc...

    I am not well-versed in the sci-fi genre of gaming, but I think that game is fun.

    But something I always judge sci-fi stories on is their scientific accuracy. With the genre, I feel there is a bit of author's privilege to bend/tweak the laws of physics, but some things are just down right ridiculous. To me, Star Trek is good science fiction, but not Star wars. Star wars has a great story, but judged solely as a science fiction movie, it is seriously lacking. Just my opinion.

    That's just me though. As long as it is well understood, it is not about the scientific accuracy/possibilities, then I am cool with that. But it bugs me when an author/movie maker/etc... TRIES to incorporate a degree of scientific accuracy and completely misinterprets the concepts. I.e. the cloning process from Brave New World is actually WAY closer to how cloning actually works than the way Jurassic Park did it.

    Anyhoo, some other new things I'd like to see in a sci-fi game: maybe cross-genre (fantasy or super-heroic or espionage), non-universal access to space travel (too many planet systems with similar levels of technology).

    Something that has been done, but not a lot is the source of mythology. Greek/Norse/Egyptian, etc... gods aren't gods, but aliens with serious powers. That came to our planet to help us out, and found their influence was lacking so they move onto some other stupid planet that will "bow before them".

    I think there is a game that sort of does that (Scion Hero from white wolf publishing), but keeps it here on earth. But I think a war between the Norse system and the Egyptian system (or whatever) would be a fun campaign idea.
    Last edited by yukonhorror; 09-29-2010 at 12:57 PM.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukonhorror View Post
    But something I always judge sci-fi stories on is their scientific accuracy. With the genre, I feel there is a bit of author's privilege to bend/tweak the laws of physics, but some things are just down right ridiculous. To me, Star Trek is good science fiction, but not Star wars. Star wars has a great story, but judged solely as a science fiction movie, it is seriously lacking. Just my opinion.
    Speaking as a Trekkie here: If science fiction as a class has rubber science; Star Trek "science" is soft unvulcanized rubber (Pun intended). Hideously inconsistent, prone to technology of the week, and repeated self contradiction. Love it though I do I admit the flaws, and there are flaws.

    Star Wars is a typical Space Opera setting. Broad sweeps, unexplained technology; it's there, it's used, it's old, everyone gets it. One can see direct paralells with say EE Doc Smith's Lensman universe, right down to the mystic Lens/Force using technowizards, huge battles in space and so forth.

    From a literary standard both are what I call Science Fantasy. A fantasy setting with the trappings of Science Fiction, I.E. spaceships, FTL drives, blasters and so on. Judging them as literature on the convention of consistency, which is the only realistic test of a fantasy, Star Wars comes out on top. Mainly becasue Lucas is an anal retentive nerd that demands total control of his baby.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    One idea that I have had pitched at me is the infinite plane. Each world is a bowl in the plane. The world is not flat, it is concave. If you can get over the impossibility high mountains at the edge of the world you find yourself in another world. Mind you the bowls, dish is more like it, are world sized. 20,000 miles across world sized.
    At one point I had a similar idea, only on the inner surface of a Dyson sphere. Each bowl has breathable atmosphere and its own climate; above the bowl might be vacuum, or merely rarefied atmosphere. One or more civilizations develop steam-punk space travel, which involves leaving one bowl and rocketing (sailing?) to the next.

    Because, let's face it: as far as we can tell we can't travel faster than light, the next star is decades away at any reasonably attainable velocity, and if we get there we certainly won't find green-skinned space babes. Even if a Dyson sphere requires materials far stronger than we have today, it's far more probable than warp drive or hyperspace. (Or rattling through the Time Vortex in a blue box that's far bigger on the inside, sadly.)
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon View Post
    I voted #1, but would have voted for #2 as well if given the choice.

    I'm going to ponder your questions and get back to you with some answers. Thought provoking stuff.

    Here's a great science fiction pic to help get the creative juices flowing.

    http://alxa.ru/file/wallpaper/the_rise_of_a_planet.jpg

    That is the best picture of my mom you can find on the internet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoitash View Post

    It depends on how you difen sci-fi also, I think. Dungeons in Dragons in space? Wait, that sounds cool, too. I better write that down...
    Spelljammer.


    My most hated trope?

    Universal Translators.

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    I'm not real fond of them, but I understand why they are such a well used trope. It is rather difficult to teach the audience Inner High Thogmortian so they can understand the dialog. Worse, if you chose to use Inner High Thogmortian and put in subtitles, you have to invent it. Ergo in TV SF you have universal translators.

    Books have an easier time of it. You can declare that Inner High Thogmortian is being spoken, and leave it at that. I usually set this dialog off in some manner. /Klingon./ {Vulcan} and so forth.

    RPGs are another animal. You need the players to understand you.

    So, while the universal translator is a problematic device, it is highly useful.
    Last edited by tesral; 01-08-2011 at 01:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    So, while the universal translator is a problematic device, it is highly useful.
    If a SF universe has only a few sapient species, a plausible future device can store all known languages, and match unfamiliar ones by applying morphological transformations. In a human-only universe, conceivably all languages descend from Earth languages, constructed languages with natural parallels, or languages from cultures settled offworld by the now-vanished Ancients.

    Granted, first contact becomes far more complex, but perhaps an NPC team conducts basic linguistic and sociological analysis before the PC negotiators come in. The NPC team must first determine how an alien species communicates: ultrasonic or subsonic frequencies, infrared fluctuations, other parts of the EM spectrum, ground vibrations, telepathy if it exists, ...
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    If a SF universe has only a few sapient species, a plausible future device can store all known languages, and match unfamiliar ones by applying morphological transformations. In a human-only universe, conceivably all languages descend from Earth languages, constructed languages with natural parallels, or languages from cultures settled offworld by the now-vanished Ancients.

    Granted, first contact becomes far more complex, but perhaps an NPC team conducts basic linguistic and sociological analysis before the PC negotiators come in. The NPC team must first determine how an alien species communicates: ultrasonic or subsonic frequencies, infrared fluctuations, other parts of the EM spectrum, ground vibrations, telepathy if it exists, ...
    I speak english here in Indiana.
    Have lived in Louisiana where they also speak English.
    Yet I only understood maybe %40 of the people there %100 of the time.
    Not because they can't talk, or they're using other languages.
    It's local slang and accents. (See Joe Dirt.)

    A translator for anything, no matter how advanced, could never be perfect thanks to slang and local accents. Hell if we unfroze a man from 250 years ago who spoke our language we wouldn't understand half the things he said thanks to the drastic culture change. America is the perfect example. We came speaking The Kings English, and now the accent is so exotic, now imagine that shift over different planets. Any universal translator would be either incomplete or utterly useless.

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    Actually, Americans speak closer to the Kings English of 1780 than do the British. The BBS standard accent which most everyone would call "English" didn't develop until the 19 century.

    However the point of idiom is taken. Going on the Star Trek explanation of the Universal translator from Metamorphosis it is a teleapthic device that gets the meaning from the sub-vocal thought level and then translates the concepts into something holder understands. In that case it would handle slang and idiom as the meaning would be made clear.

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    This may be my Anthropology class talking, but a trade language between cultures might be a likely alternative to a universal translater.
    I am the very model of a nineteenth centíry historian, I have information Lincoln, Polk, Jacksonian. When it comes to US battles I am very full of trivia, From Montezuma to the shores Algeria. Roosevelt I envy for his awesomeness, Coolidge I disdain for his shamefulness. My forte urban and Michiganian, I am the very model of a nineteenth centíry historian.

  12. #72
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    My point as far as relation to gaming is that, difficulty with language is a real thing. See the part in Titanic when the ship is going down and the foreign couple are using a translation dictionary to find the exits. (It's like a 1.5 second clip but it stuck with me.)

    If you want a realistic game, take the good and bad. No universal translator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoitash View Post
    This may be my Anthropology class talking, but a trade language between cultures might be a likely alternative to a universal translater.
    Very likely. That scenario has resulted in several Earth languages.



    Quote Originally Posted by Soft Serve View Post
    My point as far as relation to gaming is that, difficulty with language is a real thing. See the part in Titanic when the ship is going down and the foreign couple are using a translation dictionary to find the exits. (It's like a 1.5 second clip but it stuck with me.)

    If you want a realistic game, take the good and bad. No universal translator.
    Five lashes with the wet noodle for misusing "realistic". Frankly I like my UT, be it magical comprehend langunage or technobabble. When it comes to an RPG some people don't want to deal the the mundane issues. I happen to agree with that. PCs do not starve to death if they don't mention eating for example or explode of backed up bowels if they fall to squat in the wood every six hours.

    Besides fun can be hand with the UT itself. A friend of mine had a situation where the PC were inflicted with a faulty UT that rendered all proper nouns in one langunage only as "Brian". But didn't translate back property. So you get things like "Greetings. I am Brian, the Brian of the Brian Brian. We welcome you to Brian."

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukonhorror View Post
    ... non-universal access to space travel (too many planet systems with similar levels of technology).
    Dune. :-D
    Trentin C Bergeron (TreChriron)
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    Star Wars for that matter.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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