"The Village" in Space....

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Waldi Waldi's picture
"The Village" in Space....

I wondered, if a setting like the village from Shyamalans "The Village" could be possible in Eclipse Phase...
We would need:

- a bunch of neoprimitivist people who imitate the rural lifestile of 19th century Northamerica and Europe
- a strange cult (amish-like christians? something entirely else?)
- an isolated place somewhere in the solar-system
- lots of temperate woodlands
- a sinister secret behind everything

Option 1
The village is located in a rather big, but very isolated cole-bubble with about 12 km diameter. This forgotten habitate is filled with lots of wood (with trees growing larger at the poles because of the decreasing gravity there). The village is located at the equator of the bubble. Since the villagers tend to stay close to their settlement, there are a lot of unexplored places in the habitate. Most lifesupportsystems are automated, so the villagers just live a modest life just like their ancestors did a few hundred years ago. The village elders keep their small colony isolated, so the neoprimitivists had no contact to the outside world for years. Perhaps they even locked themselves away before the fall and know nothing about the TITANs and the destruction of earth.

Option 2
The village is completely virtual. It´s all just a very realistiv VR-Space. The inhabitants are, of course, infomorphs. In this variation, even a pseudo-neoprimitivist "nation" would be possible. The village works quite similar to common VR-games - with the little difference, that the village isn´t a game to the inhabitants. It is their home....Of course, the village elders keep their VR-space isolated.

The sinister secret:
...I am not quite sure about this one. Somehow, I like the idea of having the villagers memories heavily edited. The leaders of the cult removed nearly all knowledge about the outside world. Most villagers think, they spend their whole lives in a 19 century community. If the village is virtual, the infomorph-inhabitants don´t know, they are infomorphs (they would not even know what an infomorph is....or a VR-Space...)
The cultleaders motive could be that they dont want any influences from the outside world to spoil their "paradise" - not even memories about the outside world! Another motive could be, that the village is some kind of weird sociological experiment.

mds mds's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

From the title, I thought this was going to be about The Village in The Prisoner, although the ubiquity of VR and psychosurgery, I can't tell if Village-style arrangements would be obsolete, or extremely common.

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

check out The Eye issue 2, in the Dante's Road article, there is a settlement that is called Beatrix's Redemption (or BeRe as it's generally called) that fits the Village idea of neoprimitivism
(written by yours truly)

http://www.firewall-darkcast.com/theeye/m-66-dantes-road

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

KevinWI KevinWI's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

Why not have The Village on Earth on the bottom of an ocean on a bathysphere? Maybe they were isolated before The Fall and while the Elders know SOMETHING happened up there, they aren't sure.

puke puke's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

I saw this anime back in the 80s... forget the name of it. it was set in this big city where no one was alowed to leave, i forget the excuse. either a totalitarian corporation or government or they were being kept in for their own protection due to war or radioactive hazards or something. whatever.

main character ends up going to the top floor of a sky scraper and -- OH NOES! -- they're in space. On an asteroid or something, being kept alive to re-seed the human population somewhere, or something like that. and there is a war on, so there is a military corps of space pilots and such that are constantly fighting to keep the civilians alive. I really dont remember the details at all.

anyway, it would be a harder trick to pull off with rotational gravity, unless you pychosurgeried people not to notice. but if you were going to psychosurgery them, you might as well go all out and The Matrix them.

What was the motive?

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

wasn't it Macross 7 ? it starts like a cyberpunk story, but after the truth is revealed, there's a paradigm shift and it becomes like the classic Macross franchise.

Personnally, for the enclosed city/village in space, there is another Macross series, Frontier.
The graphism is excellent, the music, signed by Yoko Kanno, is breath taking and the characters are compelling and multi layered.

Although I'm more a Gundam fan, I really loved Frontier, it stands apart from all the others.

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

There was an old movie, that was released in video around the time of the Matrix fever, called Level 13. It was about an experiment in programming and virtual reality, in which the protagonists investigates a murder that happened inside the simulated world because the program that commited it wanted to go to the real world or something like that (if you were killed inside the simulation, your avatar's original conciousness was the one being restored to your body).

Of course, the real mind shattering revelation comes at the end ofthe movie when we discover that the world that made the simulation... was a simulation, the only one where the AI's had created a simulation...

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

Level 13 was released a good two-three years before Matrix
I really like that movie, it was like a pre-inception

And if I'm not mistaken HIM used footage of that movie for their video of Join Me In Death, a few years ago

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Rada Ion Rada Ion's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

Has anyone seen the film the Island, with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson? It is somewhat Village like, with a couple who are survivors of a global catastrophe who live in this sealed city with all the rest of the survivors. There is a lottery where you can win a trip out of the arcology onto the 'Island', a rehabilitated eco system with no plagues or diseases to kill. The only problem is the arcology they are in is not in the future but in a near future and they are clones of extremely wealthy people who need body parts for transplants. Clones find out, wackiness ensues. I thought it was a pretty good movie. The end had a little too much tinsel town action and a wrapped up in a bow happy ending but it was still pretty good

puke puke's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

except that the clones remembered things about past lives through some sort of magical genetic memory. it was pretty good except for that.

Too many Scientologists in hollywood, I guess.

Rada Ion Rada Ion's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

puke wrote:
except that the clones remembered things about past lives through some sort of magical genetic memory. it was pretty good except for that.

Too many Scientologists in hollywood, I guess.

That's right i forgot about that silliness.

farmerjohn farmerjohn's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

I think that this would be a great way to introduce new players to Eclipse Phase slowly and cause the larger world to be a surprise. Basically, create some special rules for making new characters in this village. Explain the basic mechanics of the game, but don't give them any corebooks (yet). Let them think that the gameworld is just the village until the story starts pulling them into the bigger world of Eclipse Phase. Then let them discover in bits and pieces how the world is so drastically different than what they originally thought.

Later, when they jack into the net, they can read the core books and catch up. However, it might take quite a bit of time to get there.

Tyrnis Tyrnis's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

Unless you have players you know well enough to have a very good idea of the kind of game they like (and who trust you in turn as the GM), I think surprising the _players_ as opposed to the characters would have a good chance of going over like a lead balloon. If your players wanted to play (and were invested in) the pre-modern world that you'd presented them, finding out they're actually in a high-tech transhumanist game could be very jarring and disrupting to their fun.

farmerjohn farmerjohn's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

Isn't the whole point of a "Village" narrative to be jarring? I would not misrepresent the game as Forgotten Realms, but I might otherwise go for the jarring narrative. Something like, "Guys, I just got this new indie system that I want to try. The game world is largely unknown to your characters, but will be revealed as we play. Are you in?"

Then they start out in the village and have some quest, maybe a murder mystery. However, while investigating it they find a few things that are just not quite right. Maybe the deceased was a village elder and has some sort of implant or the murderer was strung out on illegally smuggled synthetic drugs. Maybe it turns out that the village is something like the Truman Show and serves as entertainment for the galaxy. In any case, they figure it out and learn about the greater world. If they decide that they don't want to play transhumanism, you could probably come up with a graceful end to the story arc there.

I imagine that players who like to min-max would hate something like this. However, it might appeal to those that are interested in developing a story.

Tyrnis Tyrnis's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

This has nothing whatsoever to do with players min-maxing vs. developing a story (which is a false dichotomy in the first place -- plenty of people at the gaming table do both, and I would imagine some don't care much about either.)

The whole point of a Village narrative is to be jarring to the _characters_. That does not mean you have to surprise the players. Yes, there's a certain appeal to surprising your players with a big plot twist. As I said before, if you know your group would like that, great. Otherwise, I think you're much more likely to have a successful game if your players are aware of what you're doing.

Essentially, if your players know what's going on, you lose out on the OOC surprise factor of the reveal in exchange for knowing your players will have fun with both the village and the aftermath, and getting the added value of having them actively helping to make sure the story is successful (and they wouldn't know _everything_, of course -- things like who in the village knew the secret and why it was set up in the first place would be the mysteries for the players to be wondering about.)

If your players don't know what's going on, you might surprise them with a plot twist they love (Win!) or one they hate (end of game?) or one they figured out in advance, anyway (so no OOC surprise factor after all.)

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

OOC, it depends on the players. I would love to be bumped from say a CoC game into an EP game. That would blow my mind. But I also already love EP. If I went from an EP game to a D&D game, I would be pissed.

IC, an easy setting for this would be an exoplanet. I mean really. I feel like this goes without saying.

However, if you are married to the idea of it being in the solar system, you're still going to want somewhere in the goldilocks zone. You're going to want a place no one is going to bother (so perhaps an orthogonal orbit). The habitat will need to be self-contained, and operated by an AGI or evil overlord. I like the idea of starting the PCs in a 19th century setting where the world curves around them like a cylinder, and this is normal.

You could also just dump them in simulspace, but that always feels like cheating to me.

farmerjohn farmerjohn's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

What about something like the movie A Boy and His Dog, where the players are in some sort of bunker or fortress. Your idea it being 19th century but curving at the edges(due to the limits of the building) is a good one. Maybe some strange survivalist group hollowed out an asteroid and they all live in there pretending everything is 1950 again. They may even be in a recreation of a historical town, but the town walls rise into and meld with the sky, as the characters have been told has always been the case.

Why does it necessarily have to be an evil overlord running the place? Like the village, I would think that a morally ambiguous group could be running the place. Certainly there is something to be said about shielding people from the horrors of what happened, especially if the bunker was built prior to the fall. As the party found out what was going on they might even decide to help maintain the illusion for their fellow citizens. Perhaps they can join an elite group of citizens who are tasked with going into the rest of society to obtain supplies for the others. If they choose to join something like this, then they would be much like the Amish which ride their buggy to the market to sell their wares. If they were even more morally ambiguous they might assist the rulers in disappearing people that find out too much.

Finally, why would you be pissed if EP went to D&D? Is it because you like the EP setting or the EP system? Would you be that pissed if it there was a good reason for it, perhaps your characters are locked in a fantastical simulspace as a means of confinement? Maybe they have to go in and participate in that fantastical world in order to build the trust of some powerful entity that refuses to leave. There are plenty of ways that EP could be turned into a D&D setting, if only for a period of time, in a way that enhances the story.

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

farmerjohn wrote:
Why does it necessarily have to be an evil overlord running the place? Like the village, I would think that a morally ambiguous group could be running the place.

That is true. I haven't seen the movie for years, so I'd forgotten who is running things there. However, the point is, it must be operated wholly behind the scenes by someone whose technical competence far outstrips the (apparent) skill of the inhabitants.

Quote:

Finally, why would you be pissed if EP went to D&D?

Because I strongly dislike D&D as a system and as a setting. And I guess that's what the conflict comes down to. If I signed up to play A, and got all psyched up to play A, but you swap it out for B, I'm only going to be really happy if B is something I like better than A. Since EP is one of my favorite games, you could probably swap out most games for it and I'd be happy. But for that same reason, swapping out EP for most other games would make me sad.

farmerjohn farmerjohn's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

With respect to swapping A for B, my intention is that they would not even know what is going on at the outset. Since most players probably have never played EP before, they likely have no predetermined opinion about it either way. I would not tell them, "We are going to play a 1950's setting. You all ready to make some gangsters?" Rather it would look something like this:

Pre Decision to play - Ask players if they want to try out a new system and world, but the catch is that both will be a mystery that is only revealed as they play. Don't make any representations about whether it is fantasy, high tech, horror or other.

Pre Session 1 - Distill the basic mechanics down to a 10-15 page document that will be used for issue resolution inside the village. Provide this to the players along with a small document giving some back story and information about the village.

Session 1 - Create some basic character templates for them to use, but allow them to customize them within reason and add back story. They can also create their own basic characters. At this point the rules and skills are very watered down so making characters should be straightforward. In this session the hook starts, however by the end of that session they have enough information to know that something is off about the village.

Over the next few sessions develop that plot with them increasingly getting more information. Once they interface with the world and get any extended period of time to access the net, you provide them with the Eclipse Phase core materials as well as a some information that the net has on the village. This information may be partially wrong and out of date, but it will at least give them an idea of what is going on.

If the party does not show interest in moving to this world, then you can gracefully spin down this plot arch. If they decide that they hate the village and want OUT, the campaign can end when they finally escape the village and get to the greater universe. Alternatively, the campaign could end when they destroy the village and/or reveal the truth to all of the inhabitants. Finally, if they agree with what the village has done they can end the campaign by rooting out the dissident faction and fully eliminating any hope of the occupants finding out about the truth.

At this point the only time invested by the GM is in the Village. If the idea turns into a mini-campaign that ends with the Village, so be it. If it spawns into EP(Or many other different games for that matter) great.

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

That could work, since you're managing expectations. Honestly, it sounds like a lot of fun!

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: "The Village" in Space....

I ran a game that started out as a totally classic superhero game - the PC defenders of Capital City were fighting an alliance between Atarax the Sorcerer and a cyborg mad scientist. Classic four-colour comic book, with a five man team led by a superman expy and so on. But during the epic showdown a weird little girl shows up from nowhere, shouts that she has found the right server, reality breaks down... and they wake up in a simspace in a trailer on Mars where a friendly mercurial explains that they were saved from a simspace serverfarm used by criminal XP producers to make cheap entertainment. They are most likely edited versions of real people, made to believe they really were superheros. Now they are free and in the real world. Which, unfortunately is Eclipse Phase. Now they have to find their place.

It is tricky to surprise the players this way, but the jarringness between the four colour world of superhero comics and the grey and black morality of EP is wonderful. Not all players liked the switch and bait either, but I still think it was worth the try. Some good chances of character development (the superman expy turned really dark due to some traumas, the antihero on the other hand felt completely vindicated - "The world really *was* out to get me!")

Will post the adventure when I manage to finish the writeup - I have some trouble adjusting the final step in the story.

Extropian