Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down
Print
Author Topic: CSG update #26 - The Monks  (Read 3264 times)
Vince
Developer

Posts: 7821



View Profile
« on: May 01, 2018, 08:22:08 am »

Exploring and dealing with different groups and societies is the main focus of The New World. The core political factions (representing totalitarianism, revolutionary democracy, and theocracy), along with the freemen and various armed groups, are familiar enough from our real world. More science fictional are the mutants and the monks, as they’re commonly known.

The former are the result of an evolutionary mutation that allowed the first “mutants” (those born deformed due to radiation) to adapt to highly toxic and radioactive environments. The latter represent not a biological change but a technological one: cybernetic augmentation.

Keep in mind that augmentations are fairly common on the Ship, and you’ll be able to outfit your own character with up to seven implants, if your body can handle that many. So sporting a datajack and a shiny new eyeball won’t make you stand out. Much like having an artificial heart valve or a titanium knee today, such implants don’t make you any less human.

The monks, however, went far beyond that. Out of necessity, they found a way to overcome the limits of the flesh, becoming something more – and something less – in the process.

* * *

/infodump

When the Mutiny broke out, the Chief Technical Officer promptly sealed the Environmental Control and Life Support System center, declaring that neither side will use the ECLSS in their war. Those who wished to leave were allowed to do so; the rest remained with CTO Miller, committed to supporting life on the Ship.

Miller knew that the warring factions would be coming for ECLSS.  They might come with guns, they might come with butter; ECLSS had always depended on outsiders for both its safety and its supplies.  There might be a promise to keep providing that help, but at a price.  Or there might be raw force.  Either way, the outsiders would want control, power over life and death on the Ship, something their enemies could never permit. The fight for ECLSS would make the fight for Mission Control look like a border skirmish, and Miller knew how it would end:  with destruction of the Ship’s essential systems, the failure of the mission, the death of every man, woman, and child aboard the Ship.  That, he could not permit.

The only hope lay in true independence.  But how?  They would need strength of body, to resist force.  They would need strength of will, to live apart from all society.  And they would need all the intelligence they could get, not only to maintain Ship systems put under terrible pressure by both the civil war and the mere passage of time, but also to navigate the Ship’s shifting politics.  Outsiders would need to believe the inhabitants of ECLSS to be above petty human concerns; and inside, they would need to be above petty human limitations.

The answer lay buried in the Ship's databanks: augmentations meant only for the most extreme circumstances, for small or even individual deep-space maintenance missions, augmentations that would make a man more than a man, and less – able to survive alone, smart enough and strong enough to deal with any challenges that might arise on years-long expeditions.  

These augmentations went beyond the artificial eyes and reinforced bones common to the Ship, and amounted to a fundamental reworking of the human body.  Functions inessential for long space missions, such as reproduction or immune response, would be removed altogether, freeing the body’s resources for more practical needs. A person who underwent this process would not really be a human being at all any more, but something as much inorganic as organic.

With this transformation, the ECLSS crew would become what they needed to be:  just as the God of Ecclesiastes was above human struggles for power, for fame, for wealth, so too would the superhumans of ECLSS be above the Ship’s passing struggles, devoted solely to its survival.  Outsiders would be able to see them as something other than a foe or friend; and they would have the strength to carry out the heavy task before them.

* * *

Due to their extensive augmentations, the monks are stronger, faster, tougher, and smarter, at least when it comes to data processing, than any human. Yeah, that’s a lot, but keep in mind that they are few in numbers so need a “natural” edge. A human’s natural stat limit is 10. A ‘monk’s stat limit is 12. If you start the game with STR10 and then get yourself a high-end Exo-Spine implant, your strength will also go to 12, so the monks don’t have access to tech that you don’t (whether or not you manage to get your grabby hands on such tech is a different story). They’re just wired differently (literally) and can handle more implants without having to worry about their bodies rejecting them.


Ava Miller

On the design end, our goal was to create a very different faction with a very different culture, unique place in the Ship’s ‘ecosystem’, and an existential threat:

Over the decades the conditions slowly worsened and by the time Ava Miller took over, most systems operated far below their capacity. The length of the voyage had exceeded the ECLSS capabilities a long time ago and it was a miracle that it was still operational.

Thus Ava faced a dilemma. The ECLSS needed help fast but requesting it, let alone accepting it, threatened everything her family built. She knew enough of the outside world to know that such help would come with strings attached, that whoever helps her will control the ECLSS whether she wants to or not. On the other hand, doing nothing like her father had done will doom both the ECLSS and the Ship sooner rather than later.

The monks will be directly affected by the main quest, which can bring either doom or salvation to ECLSS. Choosing salvation will put you at odds with everyone else but gain you a Liaison Officer who will show you how to make friends and influence people:

Liaison Officer 1st class Eli Brown’s augmentations were geared toward combat and communications. To Eli, the Ship's inhabitants are a volatile cocktail of 27 distinct emotional ingredients, a naked chemical equation to be balanced or imbalanced as the situation requires, whether with a word, or a look, or a bullet.


Eli Brown - scholar, gentleman, vermin exterminator

* * *






PS. Special thanks to Mark Yohalem for his endless suggestions and invaluable contribution. After all, who understands all things robotic better than the creator of Primordia?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 08:27:55 am by Vince » Logged
MRY
Novice

Posts: 24


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2018, 11:41:02 pm »

Thanks for the nice shout out. Smile  The art is breathtaking and the lore (as I already saw) is great!
Logged
Kirov89
Novice

Posts: 26


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 09:39:29 am »

The lore behind ECLSS is richer than I expected. By the looks of it, Miller is probably the wisest and most cool-headed person aboard the whole ship. If not for him, everyone would've been long dead...

I hope Eli Brown isn't going to be infallible. Some things in life simply refuse to render themselves open to categorization and calculations (For the record, I don't mean love). It would be nice if at some point in the game something happens that completely blows his mind or he may mention or otherwise reveal in a conversation with the player about some aspect of normal people's lives that he simply can't fathom. I once saw a show about an idiot savant who could do the most amazing calculations but as a side effect of his mental abilities... he couldn't understand metaphors. At all. Someone told him "Bush isn't exactly a rocket scientist..." and his brain just couldn't comprehend that it was a joke. Something similar could reasonably be happening to the techno-monks as they did give up a lot of their humanity.

How many ECLSS engineers will there be in total? Augmentations or not, two is just too few to maintain such a huge ship. And not all have to be as capable and buffed up as Ava and Eli. Maybe some of them have had to remain more human for a specific purpose, like being a liaison with the rest of the Ship, who might freak out if they found out how far the augmentations can go. Or maybe to be able to go unnoticed to gather intelligence. After all, they can't really trust anyone from the outside.
Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 7821



View Profile
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 12:48:49 pm »

I hope Eli Brown isn't going to be infallible. Some things in life simply refuse to render themselves open to categorization and calculations (For the record, I don't mean love). It would be nice if at some point in the game something happens that completely blows his mind...
Would this work?



Streetwise 10 vs Intelligence 12

Quote
How many ECLSS engineers will there be in total?
Over 20.

Quote
Maybe some of them have had to remain more human for a specific purpose, like being a liaison with the rest of the Ship...
That's Eli. Liaison Officer 1st Class.
Logged
Kirov89
Novice

Posts: 26


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 02:19:27 pm »

Oh, God! Miltiades in space! That might just be enough to fry Eli's circuits!  Panic

And introducing Miltiades' space cousin in a more insidious way would be phenomenal. Maybe him and the player being the only survivors of an attack and thus his version of events being the only one, actually give him the benefit of a doubt and take his word for it. Until he breaks it. As fast as you look the other way. Or maybe impersonating a VIP the player is supposed to talk with for some mission, which then leads to unfortunate consequences. Even if one never played AoD, such a character just has to be in the game.

I think a lot of AoD players might've actually omitted the scoundrel because his first swindle in the market is rather rudimentary, stinking from a mile away. One might just brush him off as a common, uninteresting con. That he's definitely not, but first impressions matter so some people may have never realized how interesting the guy actually is.
Logged
Scott
Developer

Posts: 2347



View Profile
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2018, 11:22:19 am »

Or maybe impersonating a VIP the player is supposed to talk with for some mission, which then leads to unfortunate consequences.
Miltiades or not, I like this setup.
Logged

CappenVarra
Novice

Posts: 45


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2018, 02:18:12 pm »

Cool
Logged
lightvsdarkness
Novice

Posts: 26



View Profile
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2018, 01:21:00 pm »

Overall - it's very nice. If they removed reproduction system, how they have children? They could have frozen sperm and egg cells, ofc, but then they would need to assemble a replicator (artificial womb)...

Also, did they replaced skin? It's the biggest organ in human body, and most noticeable. If they need to be shown as inhuman, they need to have artificial skin, IMHO. Especially, if those augmentations are for harsh working conditions like repairing hull.

P.S. To he honest, real full augmentations == inserting brain in robotic body, and even parts of brain could be replaced.
Logged
Vince
Developer

Posts: 7821



View Profile
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2018, 02:09:45 pm »

Overall - it's very nice. If they removed reproduction system, how they have children? They could have frozen sperm and egg cells, ofc, but then they would need to assemble a replicator (artificial womb)...
They buy infants as needed. Not a limited 'commodity' on the Ship.

Quote
Also, did they replaced skin? It's the biggest organ in human body, and most noticeable. If they need to be shown as inhuman, they need to have artificial skin, IMHO. Especially, if those augmentations are for harsh working conditions like repairing hull.
No and the augmentations aren't for hull repairs and such.
Logged
Kirov89
Novice

Posts: 26


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2018, 01:30:44 am »

Quote
They buy infants as needed. Not a limited 'commodity' on the Ship.

Careful, dude! Everyone's very sensitive to these issues nowadays. Remember the rant on Steam about you not possibly exhibiting gender equality in your game and the heat that generated? Well, this last statement is a very unambiguous acknowledgement of human trafficking in your fictional universe. I don't have a problem with it but your product might get banned in Sweden or something.

I'm all for realism in TNW but you have to keep in mind that more and more people are trying their best to block any hint of reality from their brains and few appreciate being knocked out of it with brutal honesty. This phenomenon can also be seen in the game industry where elf chicks with big boobs sell the best at present. If you guys never took a peek at the Skyrim user-made mods on TES Nexus, don't! You'll be horrified at the latest "developments".

Come to think of it, this might also partially explain the sudden drop of interest in TNW. Other than the usual factors (less leisure time,  a gazillion games on the market, less discretionary spending, etc), your game hits with a sledgehammer a chord most people desperately try to conceal. I admit, I do it sometimes, too. I'm only human, after all.

Granted, there will always be those who appreciate artistic true-to-life, myself included, but I hope there's enough of us out there to keep your studio going and keep making games that we love.

Logged
Fed
*
Posts: 131


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2018, 02:35:18 am »

Monks = Witchers 2.0? )

Btw to a poster above - Witcher is a gritty, honest and brutal, and it sold pretty well.
Logged

English isn't my native language... So if I say anything stupid, outrageous, wrong, offencive, disgusting, it's misscomunication.  8)
puppyonastik
Craftsman

Posts: 275



View Profile
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2018, 12:08:50 am »

I was leaning Mutants, but I think Miller has just gained my support.

What does the Covenant think of ECLSS crew members and vice versa? Certainly, playing god to such a degree sounds like down-right heresy! It would definitely be interesting to read the banter between "The Harbinger" and Eli Brown. I could picture the former being "triggered" by the later's suggestion of "curing/fixing" her condition. "I am NOT broken!".

Functions inessential for long space missions, such as reproduction or immune response, would be removed altogether, freeing the body’s resources for more practical needs. A person who underwent this process would not really be a human being at all any more, but something as much inorganic as organic.

The immune response inessential in space? Even if the monks were "genetically perfect" and impervious to infectious agents, I would be hard pressed to remove the immune system on the basis that it is vital for clearing inter/extra-cellular junk. In fact, I'll argue that the lymphatic system would be an excellent part of the human body to piggy-back implants on. For example; are you going spelunking in the wasteland? Less to worry about if you have an implant that will automatically release medications! +2 to constitution and poison/radiation resistance?



My thoughts anyways.
Logged

Quote from: Mayday
Can a single dick even enter a group setting?
Quote from: Fez
You've never lived until you've tried it.
Vince
Developer

Posts: 7821



View Profile
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2018, 04:56:58 pm »

They have to switch off the immune system (and replace it with a cybernetic one) to allow extreme augmentation in the first place, otherwise the immune system will start rejecting implants (once you cross a certain threshold).  
Logged
Scott
Developer

Posts: 2347



View Profile
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2018, 09:46:39 am »

I'm all for realism in TNW but you have to keep in mind that more and more people are trying their best to block any hint of reality from their brains and few appreciate being knocked out of it with brutal honesty. This phenomenon can also be seen in the game industry where elf chicks with big boobs sell the best at present.
So... are elf chicks with huge tits a brutally honest representation of the race, or brutally dishonest?
Logged

DorkMage
Journeyman

Posts: 133


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 07:52:02 pm »

I read it as an example of brutally dishonest... but it sells.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
Print
Jump to: