Aliens and how to deal with them

50 posts / 0 new
Last post
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Aliens and how to deal with them

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Just some image inspiration for later...

So I was thinking earlier about something: If we meet an alien civilization, our technology levels will not be the same. Either they will be intensely more developed than us, or they will be far less developed than us. The odds that either of us would be roughly similar would be astronomical.

Now, most people tend to assume that it's the aliens that are more advanced than us, and, in fairness, it's incredibly likely that, out there, we would meet some very old and powerful species, likely because they're the kind who would be able to expand from their home system. However, they're not my concern at the moment.

My thought here is this: How do you deal with sapient but primitive aliens?

For the longest time, I've wanted to have a group of players go gatecrashing and get cut off from the Sol system by the gate not working, leaving them to survive as best they can on an utterly alien world. This world would not, however, be uninhabited; instead, it would host at least one sapient species, somewhere in its development where humanity was between 2-400,000 years ago. These simple hunter-gatherers would have only the barest rudiments of civilization, like language, tool use, clothing, etc. but all the necessities and intelligence would be there.

The problem is, it's very hard to think up conflicts or interesting stories that would involve such cultures that could go on for long.

As such, I ask you: Does anyone have any suggestions?




[@-rep +1, f-rep +2]

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

'Deal with' them? Traditionally, you have two options: kill them, or enslave them. In some cases (such as the one you describe), the third option of 'integrate them into your society' is available, but it's often the same as 'enslave'.

These assume you have sufficient power, of course. If you're a lone Connecticut Yankee, then you have to go all Man Who Would Be King on them, or risk being eaten. Going native probably isn't possible. If you have enough power to maintain a hideout, but not enough to do more, then you can become a lone hermit.

TBRMInsanity TBRMInsanity's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Speaking from a purely EP POV. I would say that the cultures of EP would treat any sentient species the same way they treat uplifts. They would treat advanced species the same way they treat the Factors. In either case there will always be at least one group of people that have good intentions towards the alien species (and try to make them more "civilized") and there will always be at least one group of people that have evil intentions (and try to either kill or enslave the species).

History shows us that we are most likely going to put extreme pressures on the alien species and if they can't adapt quickly enough, they will go extinct. It happened to the Neanderthals, it happened to the Native Americans, it happened to the Aborigines, and it happened in Africa. We are a species that consumes resources in any way that is available to us. We then drive out any competition to those resources, and we repeat the cycle till we control everything we can touch (and with technology we are able to touch more and more).

Jovian Motto:
Your mind is original. Preserve it.
Your body is a temple. Maintain it.
Immortality is an illusion. Forget it.

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Yeah, I have to lean towards Yerameyahu's side on this one. Most historical interactions between humans of different levels of technological prowess has typically varied between extermination or exploitation, and if it's a matter of Gatecrashers cut off from home trying to find a way to survive on an exoplanet, I don't see much reason for them to adopt a different stance just because the natives aren't human (barring the factor of being grossly-outnumbered).

I mean, there's the whole ethical debate of whether a concept like (trans)human rights even applies to non-human life, which could lead to some interesting divisions among players, especially if any of them happen to be non-human uplifts.

If there manages to be cooperation, I would guess that would lead the players to getting involved in all sorts of inter-tribal conflicts and more problems with to what level they'd be willing to involve themselves in this alien society's development, especially if a return home is completely out of the question.

It's a very interesting concept, at the very least.

Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

The ideal solution would be to watch and observe them, without interrupting their development.

This of course probably wouldn't be possible, as their would be groups wanting to intervene, spread their ideology or religion. What would happen if one alien group tries genocide on the other for instance?

Vernor Vinge in A Deepness in the Sky described somewhat how a 20th century alien civilization deals with humans far more advanced then they are.
I am certain they are more books like that.
In general you can have many plot hooks. Unscrupulous smugglers trying to steal a holy relic from a tribe, which gained attention of an oligarch, xeno-researchers trying to stop them. For more excitement-all travelers into the world have to sleeve into the proper morphs resembling the aliens to avoid contact, so the researchers have to discover the smugglers using the native morphs(or the smuggler is within the researcher's group).

Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

I'm not as pessimistic as most regarding contact between two species at different levels of advancement. I don't think there's a case for extending the crazed logic of earthbound human history to transhuman dealings out amongst the stars. Already in the present era we have abandoned the notion of colonialism as in any way acceptable, and even if we do still sometimes engage in brutal imperialism at least politicians have to make the extra effort to clothe it in rhetoric of humanitarian interventionism.

Similar to the impossibility of old style slavery existing in an age of ubiquitous mesh communication, I see exploitation of alien societies all the more unlikely. The sheer novelty value of their existence would ensure their protection, and popular attention would drive off any exploitative elements. See the recent reaction to photos of uncontacted tribespeople in the Brazilian rainforest, or the long-running attempts to develop dialogue with the Sentinelese.

Now, I'm sure we might fuck them up in ways not anticipated simply due to observing and studying them, but I don't accept anything as prosaic as plantations will show up around our dealings with aliens of any evolutionary level, secret ill-situated unobtainium veins notwithstanding.


Time will perfect matter.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

That's *possible*, but it all depends. If this exoplanet is easily human-habitable, and/or there's anything valuable there, I don't see the humanity that doesn't even *have* a planet anymore just respecting their animal rights. Besides, the exoplanets aren't accessible to the totality of public opinion, right? They're pretty tightly-controlled exploration/exploitation missions, I thought.

I wasn't suggesting plantations, though; I was unclear. 'Slavery' just means 'stopping short of actually murdering them all'. :) Reservations, I guess… increasing small ones, of course.

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

I agree that human sensibilities have come a long way, and out-and-out slavery isn't something most people would condone, but looking through the lens of the EP setting, I still don't see it ending well. If a hypercorp is involved, well, I don't think that needs anymore explaining. An organization that has little qualms about indentured servitude certainly isn't going to quibble about the rights of xenosapients, especially if their existence isn't general knowledge. For the same token, I much doubt imperialistic bioconservatives would see them as anything other than a cheap labour force or obstacle to transhumanity's de facto expansion.

Even in the case of real-life uncontacted peoples, it's not all sunshine and roses. Native tribes in the Amazon are still threatened by the expansion of poor farmers that could care less about preserving a primitive culture, and I don't doubt in a future like EP there would be just as many explotative types that would put profit (or mere survival) ahead of something that they don't want to spend years learning to negotiate with, especially when it's just easier to shoot them.

This isn't to say I don't believe that there wouldn't be many initially-peaceful efforts by most groups--far from it. I doubt even the most amoral of factions is just going to charge in guns blazing without making some sort of effort at dialog.

Keeping in mind the scenario is supposed to be about a group of Gatecrashers trapped on a xenoplanet, though, I'm sure the unpredictability of the average player group assures that they'd come up with a variety of interesting ways to complicate matters on their own. :)

Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Quote:
I've wanted to have a group of players go gatecrashing and get cut off from the Sol system by the gate not working, leaving them to survive as best they can on an utterly alien world. This world would not, however, be uninhabited; instead, it would host at least one sapient species, somewhere in its development where humanity was between 2-400,000 years ago. These simple hunter-gatherers would have only the barest rudiments of civilization, like language, tool use, clothing, etc. but all the necessities and intelligence would be there.

The problem is, it's very hard to think up conflicts or interesting stories that would involve such cultures that could go on for long.

They are taken by a friendly tribe who establishes limited contact and relations with them, after several months of dialogue they find out that there is another Holy Thorn located in territory of another tribal group(think primitive Bronze Age stone fort sort of like Maori Pa or Inca cities) which the tribes will gladly help to take for the gatecrashers.Of course they could try to do this alone, but even gatecrashers might have some trouble getting into a stony labyrinth inhabited by fanatical 3-4.000 priest-warriors.

The problem is that that during the warfare the gatecrashers discover that their friendly tribe doesn't see difference between war and genocide.

Or perhaps the tribes simply tricked them and there is no gate there, or just its metal replica worshipped as idol.

Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Build a giant wall and keep those low-wage aliens from taking our jobs!!!

Axel the Chimeric wrote:

For the longest time, I've wanted to have a group of players go gatecrashing and get cut off from the Sol system by the gate not working, leaving them to survive as best they can on an utterly alien world. This world would not, however, be uninhabited; instead, it would host at least one sapient species, somewhere in its development where humanity was between 2-400,000 years ago. These simple hunter-gatherers would have only the barest rudiments of civilization, like language, tool use, clothing, etc. but all the necessities and intelligence would be there.

As a GM, the first thing you need to do is figure out the aliens. What is their ecological niche? What are their dominant senses? How do they gather food? Maintain social cohesion? These define its mindset. The mindset defines its conflicts and culture. Humans create social cohesion through sex, competition, and complex social hierarchy. We are an omnivorous, territorial species which shows carnivorous behaviors. Therefore, we regularly fight and kill other groups of humans. We compete over mates, and sexual liaisons create strange social webs.

Imagine if you had a species where individuals adopt hyper-specialized role within a family, and each family can scale up indefinitely. Now you have conflicts regarding individuals transitioning between tribes, conflicts between families for valuable individuals, individuals competing for particular roles or adapting to new ones, 'cultural' misunderstandings between siblings in the same family, but deeper understanding across tribes (specialist to specialist).

The next step is to see how the players interact with this setting. What do THEY want to do? How do they react when the neighboring tribe 'gives' them additional members, or tries to take members of their group? How do they deal with inter-tribe rivalries or adapt to expected norms?

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Far be it for me to go complete and total sociopath here... aww, fuckit, who am I kidding. Normally I try to keep the evil voice quiet, but I've been irritated all day today, so, evil is what your gonna get.

First, gather intelligence. First in recon protocols:
1. Gather visual intelligence and linguistic data via remote observation equipment.
2. Obtain alien "samples".

Second, process initial intelligence and samples, gather advanced intelligence.
1. Process linguistic data and learn language.
2. Dissect "samples" and analyze alien biology.
3. Locate major population centers and resources.
4. Identify societal/cultural norms, trends, and memes.
5. Find the toughest alien group/tribe/nation on the planet and identify the most corrupt/crazy/influential members (think alien Rasputins).
6. Obtain new alien "samples" and torture for information. Dissect alive and study functioning biology.

Third, make friends and influence aliens. Initial contact protocols:
1. Arm contact team with battle suit exoskeletons and heavy weapons.
2. Contact previously identified "alien Rasputins" and ask, "Who's in charge?" Kill whoever says, "I am," in the most vicious and messy manner at your disposal. Repeat until someone with more than two brain cells to rub together answers, "You are." Make the survivors your alien liasons, put the smart one in charge of the nation (via coup if necessary).
3. Train "friendly aliens" and arm them with light body armor and pistols.

Fourth, spread the love. Open economic relations:
1. Make friendly overtures to other alien groups, trade cheap plastic trinkets, "alien-pox" infected blankets, and poisoned foodstuffs for whatever thay have.
2. Conquer the survivors.
3. Use conquered alien slaves to strip mine the planet.
4. Develope alien-specific plague.
5. When planet is fully mined out, release plague.
6. Mop up all survivors, especially formerly "friendly" aliens.

Lastly, go into real estate:
1. Create corporation with contact team members (if you let any live).
2. Declare corporation as sole owner of pristine, uninhabited, earth-like planet.
3. Sell land development and scientific research rights to raise capital.
4. Build highrises, lay parking lots.
5. Sell condos and beach-front property.
6. Retire VERY wealthy.

Did I miss anything?

You know, there's got to be a reason why I'm not allowed to rule the Earth, but, for the life of me, I can't fathom what that reason might be... :)

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Ha ha, you've got a bright future as a PMC--or mid-level corporate executive--ahead of you, good sir. ^_^

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Mid-level executive? I did mention possibly not letting the rest of the contact team live right? That should atleast qualify me for director of human resources, in fact, such a cost saving measure might be more befitting a position as Chief Financial Officer... hmm... :crown:

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Ambitious! Now you're thinking like a member of the Board of Directors!

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Tachi wrote:

Did I miss anything?

What if one of the aliens TAMES THE TORUK???! What then you bastard?

It seems the best hope for any technologically-inferior alien society is to not conform to any of our narrow, anthropocentric expectations. If they have no hierarchies, no discernible language, no individualism or ambition, and they can resist our attempts to impose all that stuff upon them, then their chances are good. You can wage war on an enemy you don't understand, but until you do understand him, you won't win.


Time will perfect matter.

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

The Green Slime wrote:

What if one of the aliens TAMES THE TORUK???! What then you bastard?

It seems the best hope for any technologically-inferior alien society is to not conform to any of our narrow, anthropocentric expectations. If they have no hierarchies, no discernible language, no individualism or ambition, and they can resist our attempts to impose all that stuff upon them, then their chances are good. You can wage war on an enemy you don't understand, but until you do understand him, you won't win.

Taming the Toruk... is that anything like gnarfling the Garthak? I have no idea what a Toruk is, but I'll take your word that it is bad, well, for me anyway. But is it "Call in the MOAB!" bad? Or, is it, "Anti-matter... Anti-matter... where the hell did I leave that anti-matter..." bad?

You don't need to understand someone if all you're going to do is shoot him in the face.

If you want to win a war (for whatever value of win), yeah, understanding the enemy helps... But, if genocide is your goal, all you need to understand is his biology. If that is beyond your capability, move on and find a different victim.

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Well, provided you at least understand what your own forces are capable of, Sun-Tzu says you've got a 50/50 chance at victory at the minimum. Those ain't too bad of odds. ;)

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

He also said that there is no way to make the enemy vulnerable, the enemy has to do that himself. (Book4, How to Think of War.)

50/50 isn't bad, but they aren't odds I'd willingly bet my life on. Doing so feels a lot like making myself vulnerable.

Which brings us to the crux of my argument, if you only want to kill the enemy (genocide), you have to find the physical vulnerabilities. With advanced tech on your side, and only stone/bronze age tech on their side, all the warfare and maneuver goes out the window if you only want to commit genocide. Analyze biology, find or create appropriate bioweapon, dust their entire population.

Checkmate. The last white token flips to black. Game over.

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Technological advantages are not always decisive. One can play conquistador against an organized empire where the system of control can be taken over, but it doesn't work if there is no central authority. In many more primitive situations such as when dealing with hunter-gatherers instead one ends up in an endless guerilla warfare situation - which often nullifies the technology advantage. Especially since the locals understand the territory much better.

If there is just a small number of gatecrashers even an overwhelming technological advantage is going to be offset by the risk of losing even a single member. A spear wound can kill even a hightech creature, especially if it doesn't have access to advanced healing (those natives *drank* the contents of the healing vat, thinking it would make them immortal!) In fact, husbanding irreplaceable hightech resources is one of the key problems. Many transhumans in EP are used to being able to download replacement blueprints to their fabber whenever needed... but isolated in the middle of nowhere (or when the fabber breaks down for some unknown reason) they are suddenly in trouble.

Here is a suggestion for adventure ideas: look at myths from different cultures, like the polynesian myths. Many are likely viable adventure seeds. "So, you want us to stop cannibalizing our young. We will do that if you can avenge my father the sun god by bringing us back the Head of Gold that Urca the Jewelled One bears on his back!"

Hmm, one idea: what if the local aliens actually do have mythic heroes around, characters that have 'superpowers' or are at least an order of magnitude better than their peers? What causes this phenomenon? What do the gatecrashers do when they meet the local equivalent of Māui or Hercules?

Extropian

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Not to quibble, but there's tech advantages, and then there's *tech advantages*. They'd have to have pretty impressive guerilla warfare to beat the long-range sensors and weapons, let alone medichines and armor against a 'primitive' spear. :) OP described 'only the barest rudiments', is all.

Possible yes, but it's a pretty narrow range of circumstances. A very small, inadequate force certainly could fail to conquer a whole planet, if for some reason they tried that.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Yerameyahu wrote:
Not to quibble, but there's tech advantages, and then there's *tech advantages*. They'd have to have pretty impressive guerilla warfare to beat the long-range sensors and weapons, let alone medichines and armor against a 'primitive' spear. :)

Hmm, how well do these long-range sensors work in a jungle? Or underwater? Or in an environment with the same nasty electromagnetic complexity as a city? (imagine a world where there are land coral reefs, for example)

Suppose the US military for some bizarre reason decided that all indigenous tribes in the Amazon were terrorists and must be hunted down to a man. Presumably the only way of doing that using current tech is probably to agent orange the whole place and then burn it. Smart missiles and satellite tracking would not be up to the job other than blowing up a few obvious villages. And sending in the marines would be a disaster, given the terrain, illnesses and local advantage (growing up in a jungle, especially as a hunter gatherer, gives you some impressive pattern recognition abilities in that environment - humans on an alien planet would be very bad at 'reading' it). And if the mission was instead to take control over the tribes for some purpose, well, then I doubt it cannot be done at all with current tech.

I'm not certain how advanced tech you need to have to actually pull something like this off. Maybe nanofacturing gnatbots tracking every single large mammal in the region could do it. But you would need the AI backends to handle it.

Quote:

Possible yes, but it's a pretty narrow range of circumstances. A very small, inadequate force certainly could fail to conquer a whole planet, if for some reason they tried that.

There seems to be a whole subgenre of alternate history fiction where present-day tech or people are dumped into the past. And sure, it would probably make a pretty big splash. But conquering a planet takes more than guns.

How well can you convince the aliens to do what you say, when their social systems are non-mammalian?

"We threatened the queen like you said, sir. She gave an EM-pheromone puff and all her guards rushed in and killed *her*. Had to fight our way out, but most of the creatures didn't seem to care. When we got out they were all busy erecting those red and purple feathers on top of the hill. Our translator said that they were making more queens as a response."

"Of course we will obey you, great conqueror from beyond the stars! We have already killed all our fertile females and now await your eggs. Would you like their meat?"

Not to mention basic issues of culture:

"Is there more of this kind of stone in the mountains?"
"I don't know."
"But you brought this sample to us from there."
"Yes."
"But were there more stones like this one where you found this?"
"All stones are different."
"What I mean, were the other stones made of the same stuff as this one?"
"How can I know? I am not a stone."

"Sir, we have a situation. It seems that that example we made of the village yesterday really impressed the natives. Now there is a large crowd of them at perimeter alpha throwing rocks at it... because other natives are forcing them to do it. One of them told me that the rock-throwers were {Untranslatable 1} and hence we must kill them. When I asked it who the guys forcing them were, it said they were {Untranslatable 2} who want to help us {Untranslatable 3}. He warned us that {Untranslatable 4} will try to sabotage this because of {Untranslatable 5}. I am not sure what side we are on, sir."

Extropian

The Green Slime The Green Slime's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

The Toruk Makto is the answer to all these questions.

(Interesting to note that Avatar seems to have had less long-term cultural impact than Coneheads)


Time will perfect matter.

thewoozle thewoozle's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

TBRMInsanity wrote:
Speaking from a purely EP POV. I would say that the cultures of EP would treat any sentient species the same way they treat uplifts.

I concur with this sentiment. The way we (humanity) thinks about 'others' is a cultural thing, not an objective scientific thing. 19th century Explorers tended to tell the 'savages' how to do things the right way and exploit them as a natural resource. In the later 20th century we tried to put them on a pedestal, expecting them to live up to our expectations and ideals. In the 21st century, we try to leave them alone so we don't mess them up more. In EP, the only real exposure there is to 'primitive' cultures are the Uplifts, who are trying to learn how to get alone in a human world and be more than their primitive ancestors.

Players, will settle into whatever sentiment they grew up with, redneck or scientific... not how an EP explorer might react.

--
Interdum in mane est onus nimis mordere per funis tergorum.
some days it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps in the morning
-Michael McGuire

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

The Green Slime wrote:
(Interesting to note that Avatar seems to have had less long-term cultural impact than Coneheads)

Clearly Coneheads was the superior movie. Besides, everyone's seen enough variations of the Pocahontas/Ferngully plotlines to not be sufficiently impressed anymore, unless you happen to be easily mesmerized by some CGI. :P

thewoozle wrote:
Players, will settle into whatever sentiment they grew up with, redneck or scientific... not how an EP explorer might react.

I don't think you can just make blanket statements about how the whole of transhumanity would approach this type of situation, because there's always going to be some level of dissenting views. I'm inclined to think that a born scummer-turned-Gatecrasher would approach the situation from a significantly different angle than, say, an Argonaut researcher, or someone from the Jovian military.

Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Being of lower technological base doesn't mean stupider. A leader of Bronze Age society can be cunning and outwit the gatecrashers, even if he doesn't have the technological advantage they do.

One thing that makes adventures good in such a setting (Stone Age or Bronze Age) is that compared to later periods, its easy to interact with the societies within. They probably believe in supernatural forces, gods, creatures from beyond their own reality and would accept the gatecrashers as such entities that can be dealt or reasoned with. And they even wouldn't be able to copy technology without extensive explanations and teaching.
If you have gatecrashers in a world where technology level is near Renaissance level or Victorian era then it gets much harder to just travel the world in pursuit of your goals-you would change their outlook on life, they would be eager to learn about your equipment, origins, knowledge about physics, space and so on.

Arenamontanus wrote:

Here is a suggestion for adventure ideas: look at myths from different cultures, like the polynesian myths. Many are likely viable adventure seeds. "So, you want us to stop cannibalizing our young. We will do that if you can avenge my father the sun god by bringing us back the Head of Gold that Urca the Jewelled One bears on his back!"

Hmm, one idea: what if the local aliens actually do have mythic heroes around, characters that have 'superpowers' or are at least an order of magnitude better than their peers? What causes this phenomenon? What do the gatecrashers do when they meet the local equivalent of Māui or Hercules?


That's a good idea, and one that I thought of as well. First of all a culture based on seafaring would be much more open to idea of other cultures, entities and unknown. Also a setting of many islands provides opportunities for much varied experiences with different tribes and leaders. Travelling by the sea might make the gatecrasher also reliant on technology of the natives, thus offsetting their own superior tech.
If the world has a gate, than obviously it was touched by something alien. Having a myth of second Gate would give the gatecrashers the motive to travel and explore, you could have alien artefacts that are coveted by the tribes. And your powerful heroes/deamons could be exsurgent puppets.

Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

The sensors work awesome in the jungle, since you asked. :) You've pointed out my exact argument: there's '1500 vs. primitive' or '2011 vs. primitive', and then there's 'EP vs. primitive'. I'm just saying that you have to specifically (and possibly handwavingly) negate the massive advantages *if* your goal is to establish a dangerous or tense situation. You'd have to explain why their sensors don't work, that they're massively outnumbered, why their nuclear batteries are suddenly dead, that they can't just leave/get reinforcements, etc. The resulting circumstances would be very specific (and unlikely). That's not a problem, in an RPG, but you don't want the players to go, 'oh, come *on*, why did we teleport to the World's Largest Dungeon!'. Survival adventure/survival horror are awesome, but you want to avoid 'too contrived'.

Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Quote:
The sensors work awesome in the jungle, since you asked.

Magnetic rocks, steam lakes, invasive algea, radiation from the planet the exomoon orbits.

Quote:
I'm just saying that you have to specifically (and possibly handwavingly) negate the massive advantages *if* your goal is to establish a dangerous or tense situation.
Tense situations can be created by social interaction that technology won't solve. For example the old sailor will give the location of a island where he claims a Gate was located in caves he explored, provided the adventures will arrange a marriage with his tribes rival tribe. As in good custom, 300 hundred slaves must be skinned alive to make the wedding dress. How does your technology resolve that?

Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Extrasolar Angel wrote:
As in good custom, 300 hundred slaves must be skinned alive to make the wedding dress. How does your technology resolve that?

I'm picturing something like a cotton gin, only it separates the skin from the flesh...

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Yeah, I don't see the problem. :) Technology only makes skinning easier.

As for the social stuff… do we have the Universal Translator in EP? I guess anyone with Hyper Linguist can learn a language very rapidly, unless it's assumed to apply only to 'human languages'.

'Steam lakes' aside, I do agree that you can contrive reasons for tech to fail, in the grand tradition of Star Trek and every other scifi. It's just 'risky'.

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Yerameyahu wrote:
'Steam lakes' aside, I do agree that you can contrive reasons for tech to fail, in the grand tradition of Star Trek and every other scifi. It's just 'risky'.

Well, speaking from a gameplay perspective, it's only "risky" insofar as how well you know the group you're playing with. My group doesn't tend to worry too much about specific details when I GM for them--so long as it sounds reasonable or plausible, they won't look too deeply when I tell them something doesn't work like it normally should. Other groups, naturally, will vary.

The big point, of course, is consistency. Once you get to know your players fairly well, you learn the limits of their suspension of disbelief. You know how far you can push them before they'll start calling you on your bullshit, so as long as you keep to the same level of plausibility, any group should be willing to overlook such details for the sake of the game.

Ideally-speaking, of course. Mileage always varies...

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Agreed. :) I know my own preference, for example. It frustrates me when I make character choices to address certain problems, and then the GM overrides them implausibly for the sake of the story. I like story as much as anyone, but it feels bad when you specifically planned ahead and still get screwed. There's definitely that balance to strike.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

As for technology solving things, consider EP-level aliens dropping into the current Middle East. Sure, they can defeat anybody in the vicinity. Why does some of the alien seem so *eager* for them to defeat that particular government? And why does some of them behave in such a completely irrational way - surely they cannot mean to blow themselves up? Why do they keep coming? And the translations of the concepts they are motivating themselves with either don't make sense or refer to non-existent things. But when you explain it to them, they just say you are wrong and they have evidence you cannot perceive.

Yerameyahu wrote:
As for the social stuff… do we have the Universal Translator in EP? I guess anyone with Hyper Linguist can learn a language very rapidly, unless it's assumed to apply only to 'human languages'..

No, no universal translator (most linguists tend to laugh loudly about its infeasibility). Hyperlinguist is one of those soft sf fudges that I prefer to downplay as merely being very good at doing charades and picking up useful terms.

Alien languages might be very tricky, both because they might use the wrong modalities (a bit of colour, ultrasound and light polarization) but also have the wrong deep grammar. While linguists love to roast Chomskyan grammar theorists, it looks like all human languages make certain choices about their structure and that humans likely would find an alien language extremely hard to use. Of course, human languages can be pretty odd too - nounless or verbless ones, endings changing depending on the gender of the intended recipient, polysyntethic languages, languages without numbers or time tenses, languages where consonants and vowels doesn't matter, only prosody...

I had great fun with one campaign where the PCs were researchers trying to figure out a fairly alien species nature and why they were so keen on killing off mankind. It turned out that communication was the reason... kind of.
http://www.nada.kth.se/~asa/Game/Countdown/index.html
Although this was an equivalent tech species, I can imagine gatecrashers meeting the earlier stages of the United.

Extropian

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

My question is more 'why would the aliens care about the Middle East's social issues?'. They're just there for the real estate, or whatever.

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Lilith wrote:
Extrasolar Angel wrote:
As in good custom, 300 hundred slaves must be skinned alive to make the wedding dress. How does your technology resolve that?

I'm picturing something like a cotton gin, only it separates the skin from the flesh...

A skin gin?

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

I think the question of the reliability of technology will generally come down to one of support infrastructure. Unless you're visiting the magma worms of the lava moon Aegis IV, your technology should be reasonably expected to function, if not at full capacity, at a capacity greatly superior to anything anyone else could even dream of having available.

The issue though is the supply chain. You can drop a marine off at 17th century Japan and he'll kick a lot of ass, but eventually he'll run out of ammo and MREs. Similarly, eventually your people are going to run out of basic supplies. If they're on an alien planet, they're unlikely to be able to find things as basic as digestible food. Sure, fabbers can produce anything, but they require feedstock. Unless you're willing to set up mines across the globe, eventually you're going to start running out of basic elements like lithium, nickel, uranium, cobalt and so on. Even the best recycler isn't 100% efficient, and it does nothing for equipment that's lost, launched or decayed. And of course, if you're jumping back and forth between gates, it won't be long before someone starts asking questions and realizes how much profit there is in overturning YOU.

But it'll be a hell of a party for those first six months...

Extrasolar Angel Extrasolar Angel's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Quote:
My question is more 'why would the aliens care about the Middle East's social issues?'.

Maybe their religion makes them care ? :D

Raise your hands to the sky and break the chains. With transhumanism we can smash the matriarchy together.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

I certainly agree. Still, with beam weapons and that personal powerplant from Gatecrashing… :) I do think 'no ability to resupply' is one of those GM-imposed plot-enabling limitations, though. In many cases, one of the most believable, of course.

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

The Green Slime wrote:
The Toruk Makto is the answer to all these questions.

(Interesting to note that Avatar seems to have had less long-term cultural impact than Coneheads)

In all fairness to Avatar, Coneheads was an ongoing skit on SNL for years, you know, back in the dark ages when it was popular, and that's hard to compete with. Plus, I've never seen Avatar.

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Also, Coneheads is awesome. :)

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Yes, yes it was.

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

thewoozle thewoozle's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Another type of alien to consider is the fallen civilization. My favorite example of this is the 'Little Guys' from the Traveler: 2300 setting. They're short, gray-furred, four-armed beings that fought a system-wide war over a century ago and at the time of discovery by an Earth ship, the last survivors of the war where holed-up on a moon base. They where two generations removed from the war and where starting to lose their technology. If they hadn't been 'rescued', it's doubtful that they could have kept their lunar base functional for much longer.
Oh yeah, and they where fighting a losing war against left-over combat robots.

--
Interdum in mane est onus nimis mordere per funis tergorum.
some days it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps in the morning
-Michael McGuire

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

nezumi.hebereke wrote:
A skin gin?

I think I prefer the FlayMaker. ;)

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Heh...

{Cheesy infomercial announcer voice}
It slices, it dices, it makes julien alien fries... It's the Flaymaker 3000!!!!!!!!!!!!

Best of all... You can set it, and, forget it. That's right folks, just set it on an inhabited planet, activate it, preferrably using a delay timer, and run away! It'll decimate an entire planetary population in mere days!!!!!!!!!!

Always wanted a sequined, alien-skin lampshade? NO PROBLEM! If you order now we'll include the pocket sewing machine and Bedazzler attachments free. Yes, that's right FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
{/Cheesy infomercial announcer voice}

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL :cash: This idea could totally make you rich.

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

But, really, who can afford the luxury of genuine imported alien skin? Most people will happily settle for the much more reasonable imitation alien skin, from their home fabber.

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Tachi, I think you and I need to talk long-term business plans.

We may have to start Gatecrashing ourselves at this rate... :)

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

They'll buy it. Alien skin lampshades are the new "must-have" prestige item. Anyone who is anyone has at least two.

They're like Earth souvenirs/artifacts, real coffee, and alpha forks of yourself sleeved into neotenic sex slaves... Okay, maybe not the last one. But, definately the first two.

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Yerameyahu wrote:
But, really, who can afford the luxury of genuine imported alien skin? Most people will happily settle for the much more reasonable imitation alien skin, from their home fabber.

Never underestimate the human desire for authentic kitschy crap.

Never.

Yerameyahu Yerameyahu's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

I didn't say desire, I said afford. That's why they buy the imitation, duh.

Tachi Tachi's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Lilith wrote:
Tachi, I think you and I need to talk long-term business plans.

We may have to start Gatecrashing ourselves at this rate... :)


Remember, we'll have to assault the gate, if we sign up those pesky gatekeepers will demand sole ownership. Bastards.

Step right up, folks, step right up!

Announcing the formation of the Lilith Corporation, named for my esteemed partner.

Lilicorp is our name, and genocide is our game!

We are now accepting applications for hardcases willing to slaughter their share, for half a share. Tree-huggers and bleeding-hearts need not apply.

*Leans in, puts arm around Lilith's shoulders and whispers.* We'll probably get more applicants if you don't tell them we're not likely to let them live to claim their shares, but don't worry, we'll split the profits 50/50.:wink: *Surreptitiously plants Nutcracker nanobots and a custom made micro-detonator over Lilith's cortical stack.* :innocent:

You're in bed with the devil himself now darlin'. Enjoy the ride, it may not last long... Errr... Okay, that particular innuendo didn't come out quite the way I intended...:puzzled:

[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/ult_userbar.jpg[/...
[IMG]http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg205/tachistarfire/remade_userbar.pn...
I don't shoot a man for being incompetent in the Devil's work. I shoot him for being c

Lilith Lilith's picture
Re: Aliens and how to deal with them

Tachi wrote:
You're in bed with the devil himself now darlin'. Enjoy the ride, it may not last long... Errr... Okay, that particular innuendo didn't come out quite the way I intended...:puzzled:

;) Don't worry, that seems to be a common problem with most men I know.

Just watch where you put those hands, dear. Many of my anarchist friends tend to be less-understanding than I am.