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Author Topic: CSG update #19 - the mutants  (Read 7804 times)
Vince
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« on: September 24, 2017, 10:38:22 am »

Let’s start with our design goals:

Mutants are a time-honored staple of the generation ship genre, plus it’s an opportunity to do something interesting and add a radically different faction to the three ‘grounded in reality’ factions (totalitarianism, revolutionary democracy, theocracy) controlling the Ship.

The mutants should be viewed as abominations by some (meaning they should look ‘different’), yet still considered humans by more open-minded folks, meaning the mutants aren’t the hulking brutes of Fallout or the over the top two-headed, three-armed mutants of The Orphans of the Sky.

Thus when it comes to design, we’ll use the human model (making the grateful animator’s life much easier), which means that all we have to work with are the portrait and ‘accessories’, which limits our options.

Overall, the mutants aren’t monsters to kill but a forced evolutionary branch, a not-so-glorious beginning of a new race, perhaps what our distant ancestors were to the Neanderthals. Naturally, the Sapiens are a notoriously violent race so any challenger will have a very hard time trying to knock them off the throne.

To survive and establish the foothold, the mutants must have a specific purpose (to explain why they weren’t exterminated before) and their own source of strength (to explain why they haven’t been enslaved yet). The best way is to tie all three (mutation, purpose, strength) together:

The mutation makes them uniquely suitable for the engine/reactor work, which no ‘normal’ human would be able to do, which is enough to ensure their survival. This same talent makes the mutants the best scavengers, able to explore areas that remain off-limit to most humans due to radiation, which means they have plenty of pre-Mutiny (i.e. Earth-made) tech.

Such tech isn’t exclusive to the mutants (they aren’t a twisted form of Fallout’s Brotherhood of Steel hoarding all the good stuff) but it makes them a well-equipped ‘faction’, capable of protecting themselves against random attacks.  

History

The Ship had suffered extensive damage during the civil war that followed the mutiny. The hull was breached in several places and the reactor was crippled during frantic efforts to avoid a meltdown. The radiation level had increased greatly in some areas of the Ship.

When a small percentage of children in the Habitat were first born deformed, they were immediately shunned and rejected for men always fear that which is different. The young were abandoned, and those whose defects didn't manifest until later were branded Mutants and driven out of the Habitat. Yet the leaking reactor had to be looked after and who better to do it than those already touched by radiation?

Thus, out of necessity, the engine work and electronics were taught to the outcasts by Engineering Officers, and out of "charity" Christianity was introduced by the missionaries. As the number of outcast Mutants grew, they began to settle in what had come to be known as the Engine Room, the vast open space providing access to the Ship’s engines and reactor. With the condition of the fusion reactor degrading to dangerous levels, and the number of volunteers for jobs in areas exposed to radiation remaining few, the Mutants approached the Habitat to negotiate the Covenant, a pact granting the Mutants protection from harassment and violence in exchange for their maintenance of the engines and other vital ship systems.

Living and working in the radioactive umbra of the damaged reactor greatly increased mortality rates for the outcasts, but many generations of shortened lives, afflicted with mutations both minor and severe, have resulted in a people fully adapted to the toxic environment. The resemblance of this new lineage to their pure human ancestors grows more superficial with each passing generation.


A or B?

Over the following decades, the isolated Mutant collective became increasingly tribal, and the confused worship of both science and religion led to a theocratic, caste-based society. Believing themselves chosen by a higher power, the Mutants declared their genetic digressions not a curse but the Mark of God, the physical manifestation of their destiny to save the ship, and thus mankind.

Ancient hazmat helmets, once standard gear for the crewmen who maintained the reactor, are now part of the priesthood's official regalia, an unmistakable reminder of the Mutants' many sacrifices. Their Consecrators regularly tour the Habitat seeking out children bearing the Mark and spreading the word of God. Frowning upon (or more aptly, fearing) such blasphemy, the Church of the Elect claims that the Mark of the Beast is the proper name for the Mutants' affliction, but as long as they tend the Ship's engines they remain inviolable.

Culture/Castes:

In the mutants’ earliest days labor was by necessity divided, the men tending to the engines while the women tended to the men as they inevitably sickened and died. Much was asked of these mothers and sisters, and from the beginning they adopted the Christian faith to augment their strength.

Many mutants credit their people's survival on this belief, that another world awaits them after death, a counter to the hellish reality of the reactor. Due to the inescapable radiation poisoning of engine work, only the females lived long enough to take on the role of elder, and to run those aspects of life beyond the perimeter of the engines.

Thus did necessity evolve into tradition, and tradition into law. The females sustain the priesthood and all the sacred duties of religion, while the engine work and protection of the enclave have fallen to the males. Those who aren’t happy with such an arrangement leave the enclave, becoming true outcasts, welcome in neither the Habitat nor the Covenant.


^ A priestess, a Covenant guard, and an engineer walk into a bar...

Party members:

You’ll be able to recruit either a priestess aka the Harbinger or an outcast aka the Wastelander (but not both at the same time as they won’t get along).

The Wastelander – a rather antisocial mutant who makes a living exploring the damaged areas of the ship and stripping them of anything valuable. Sort of the ‘mountain man’ of the ship. He had a falling out with the Covenant, so now he bears a special hatred for all religious folks, including the Church. Religion is the only topic that can get him all worked up, so don’t take him places where someone might ask if you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior. He will leave you if you join a faction, but if you’re a “burn it to the ground” kinda guy, the Wastelander is your man.

The Harbinger – a Covenant priestess tasked with spreading the true word of God in the Habitat and warning those who were unworthy to bear the Mark about the Judgement Day. A true believer, the Harbinger is convinced of the superiority of her kind for they alone will survive the Hellfire - the ultimate test that will separate the wheat from the chaff. She wouldn’t mind speeding things up a bit and will join you let you join her if you prove your worthiness (just because you're a member of a lesser race doesn't mean you're useless). She comes with unrestricted access to the Engine Room, so she's a good friend to have.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 12:16:37 pm by Vince » Logged
NewAgeOfPower
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2017, 10:51:36 am »

Hmm. So purestrain humans face the choice of either being replaced by mutants, or dying to lack of maintenance on the engines. Interesting.

Also, neogaf is finally taking a look at Generation Ship RPG.
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puppyonastik
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2017, 02:18:48 pm »

Profile picture A, please. The "glowing-eyed mutant" is overused. And the pigmentation shows that they are not "zombies", but technically healthy human beings.
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2017, 02:31:40 pm »

I would say the skin should be the palest, due to the lack of sunlight in a generation ship, that could match with the adaptation laws of nature ? Unless there are some tanning booth  lol
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puppyonastik
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2017, 03:01:10 pm »

Quote
The Wastelander – a rather antisocial mutant who makes a living exploring the damaged areas of the ship and stripping them of anything valuable. Sort of the ‘mountain man’ of the ship. He had a falling out with the Covenant, so now he bears a special hatred for all religious folks, including the Church. Religion is the only topic that can get him all worked up, so don’t take him places where someone might ask if you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior.

Food for thought... I don't know if this has been asked before, but say I'm planning on taking a trip through some religiously active areas. Can I drop the Wastelander off at a bar and give him money to cover his tab, and then, upon returning to the bar to pick him up, go back to business as usual? Maybe upon returning, we find that someone's picked a fight with the "mutie" and have to solve that situation. Choices and consequences?
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Vince
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2017, 03:01:38 pm »

Profile picture A, please. The "glowing-eyed mutant" is overused. And the pigmentation shows that they are not "zombies", but technically healthy human beings.
Not glowing red eyes but albino red eyes, which is a fairly realistic trait under the circumstances. Anyway, I do agree that portrait A is better.

Quote
The Wastelander – a rather antisocial mutant who makes a living exploring the damaged areas of the ship and stripping them of anything valuable. Sort of the ‘mountain man’ of the ship. He had a falling out with the Covenant, so now he bears a special hatred for all religious folks, including the Church. Religion is the only topic that can get him all worked up, so don’t take him places where someone might ask if you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior.

Food for thought... I don't know if this has been asked before, but say I'm planning on taking a trip through some religiously active areas. Can I drop the Wastelander off at a bar and give him money to cover his tab, and then, upon returning to the bar to pick him up, go back to business as usual? Maybe upon returning, we find that someone's picked a fight with the "mutie" and have to solve that situation. Choices and consequences?
Dismissed party members will return to your base of operations (the Armory). In general, your relationship with the party members will be governed by your reputation and deeds, so you won't be able to rotate the party members to avoid tensions.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 03:06:53 pm by Vince » Logged
puppyonastik
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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2017, 03:10:36 pm »

Not glowing red eyes but albino red eyes, which is a fairly realistic trait under the circumstances. Anyway, I do agree that portrait A is better.
Understood. The coloration in the picture just stands out too much, as if it was glowing.

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Dismissed party members will return to your base of operations (the Armory).
Got it.

Edit: I've been trying to avoid spoilers, but I assume this means we get access to the Armory before we take on party members then?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 03:31:49 pm by puppyonastik » Logged

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DorkMage
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2017, 09:11:12 pm »

FWIW, I also prefer portrait A.
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Kirov89
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2017, 04:47:15 am »

Skin color and glowing eyes notwithstanding, portrait A also presents more rugged facial features, as to suggest the hard life of whoever happens to wear that face. Much more suited to the muties' environment and lifestyle, IMO.

Being ruled by females under harsh circumstances is unusual. What you said about their society's evolution makes sense but if something like this were to happen in RL, I imagine there would be more than a few disgruntled malcontents. This would be a cause for serious friction. Ah, hell, it would even warrant it's own ending, where if you supported a certain subgroup of muties, the whole community would turn more patriarchal. I doubt any women would take offense, it's just a game.
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Vince
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« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2017, 06:58:16 am »

Being ruled by females under harsh circumstances is unusual.
Not in the context of a greatly shortened lifespan for the males.

Quote
What you said about their society's evolution makes sense but if something like this were to happen in RL, I imagine there would be more than a few disgruntled malcontents.
There are some malcontents (the Wastelander is one of them) in every society, yet revolutions and overthrows are fairly rare because in most cases the ruling class is able to handle the malcontents and deal with them before they can cause any serious problems. In general, any successful revolt represents a serious of glaring mistakes (i.e. incompetence and lack of will to act) on the part of the ruling class/party.

Anyways, frictions in different societies is one of the themes we'd like to explore, so you won't be forced to endure a fixed point of view.
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Esquilax
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« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2017, 07:05:19 am »

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The mutation makes them uniquely suitable for the engine/reactor work, which no ‘normal’ human would be able to do, which is enough to ensure their survival. This same talent makes the mutants the best scavengers, able to explore areas that remain off-limit to most humans due to radiation, which means they have plenty of pre-Mutiny (i.e. Earth-made) tech.

Such tech isn’t exclusive to the mutants (they aren’t a twisted form of Fallout’s Brotherhood of Steel hoarding all the good stuff) but it makes them a well-equipped ‘faction’, capable of protecting themselves against random attacks.  

To what extent are the mutants resistant to radiation poisoning? Can they explore through dangerous areas without needing a radiation suit like a normal human would? It seems that the male mutants still seem to die from prolonged exposure to the reactor environment.

Also, do they have varying degrees of mutation in their society? There's a big difference between someone who was born with an extra toe compared to someone with all kinds of physical deformities that are far more obvious.
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Vince
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« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2017, 07:37:19 am »

To what extent are the mutants resistant to radiation poisoning? Can they explore through dangerous areas without needing a radiation suit like a normal human would?
No but they can handle much higher doses of radiation than normal humans, meaning they can get into areas the normal humans can't, with or without the suit.

Quote
It seems that the male mutants still seem to die from prolonged exposure to the reactor environment.
Correct.

Quote
Also, do they have varying degrees of mutation in their society? There's a big difference between someone who was born with an extra toe compared to someone with all kinds of physical deformities that are far more obvious.
If you're asking if all mutants look the same, the answer is no, but those who survive in that environment do share common traits that helped them survive in the first place. If all you've got is an extra toe, you won't last a week there.
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Esquilax
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« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2017, 08:57:36 am »

No but they can handle much higher doses of radiation than normal humans, meaning they can get into areas the normal humans can't, with or without the suit.

Makes sense.

On a side note, what about disadvantages to being a mutant? I can't imagine that prolonged exposure and selection pressure to adapt them to the dark, dangerous confines of The Ship would make them as well-adapted to the sunlight and natural surroundings of The Promised Land of Alpha Centauri, should they make it there.

Quote
If you're asking if all mutants look the same, the answer is no, but those who survive in that environment do share common traits that helped them survive in the first place. If all you've got is an extra toe, you won't last a week there.

I was more wondering about the extent of the mutations present in the population. Mutants clearly look different than humans, but I'm wondering if some mutants look "less human" than others, and how it affects their society. For example, if you have deformities that are more obvious than others, are you treated better, is there higher status in society associated with it, that sort of thing.
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Kirov89
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« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2017, 09:15:04 am »

I'm very curious to see what kind of ending you'll come up with for the Church of Elect. If muties are indispensable to maintaining the ship and you start exterminating them, that would mean certain death for everyone. Or maybe the player character can activate some sort of auto-repair mechanism that makes the mutants' services unnecessary.

What if a mutant kid is born in Church territory? Would it be fed to the Converter à la Orphans of the Sky? Speaking of which, will there be a Converter in TNW? Reclaiming nutrients from organic material is vital when living in space.

Jackson's Riflemen are definitely a wild card - everyone wants to be their friend but they themselves don't like or need anybody in particular. Becoming their ally would lend itself to being one of the hardest endeavors in the game. I hope you make a hard job out of it in the style of "Some men just want to watch the world burn".
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Wrath of Dagon
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« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2017, 10:52:08 am »

(A) for me as well. (B) looks too much like a vampire. Bioware question: Romance with the Harbinger?
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but it’s just that right now it’s all about games as a service. We can make money out of it, but you can make more money elsewhere.
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