This is a long worldbuilding essay I did, both for capsulerp and for the Analogue and Hate Plus adapts, of the way that I imagine their transhumanist society working. With regard to people's bodies and minds, and how they relate.
Please feel free to share your thoughts, whether about the worldbuilding itself or about what sort of character you'd like to have in this setting (whether or not you are in the RP).
Analogue: A Hate Story and Hate Plus. PC games by Christine Love.
The Culture novels, by Iain Banks.
Mindjammer. Pen-and-paper roleplaying game by Sarah Newton, and powered by Fate Core.
Sword of the Stars series. PC games by Kerberos Productions, with lore written by Arinn Dembo.
Who are you?
Most people are at least partly defined by their species and cultural roles. Your personal identity, or identity traits which define who you are as a person, consists of two things.
Your neurotype, or "who you are on the inside."
Your phenotype, or "who you are on the outside."
Transhumanist fiction, like the capsulerp, is based on the idea that the two can be separated. That while your body can be a way of expressing yourself, it doesn't have to be something you're stuck with, especially if it's making you feel sick or miserable.
What form would you choose for yourself, if you could? And how would you go about transferring your consciousness into it?
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Like, all of it? And most of "open source," too. Because for all that they are supposed to be, they mostly just seem to do two things:
Transfer wealth from unpaid volunteers to large corporations;
Enable the creation of toxic cults of personality, which only let one kind of person participate.
That is, without gendered harassment, questioning your "geek cred," devaluing the kind of work that you do (like translation and documentation) because it's you doing it, and taking credit for things you came up with and/or ignoring the insights you share.
This post applies equally well, IMO, to PC and tabletop gaming, and was inspired by this recent blog post. Also by the fact that I wasn't socialized as female while growing up, and haven't yet been shamed and attacked enough to have learned my place.
I have a good idea of what it will look like when it happens, though.
So, I went out to GM the first session of the in-person Fate game we planned with the other players. Who are a guy we already knew, and his two friends.
(Content Note: Fictional pepper spray, and sibling abuse.)
One of the characters was a mad scientist college student, one was his (doormat) assistant who took the same classes, and one was a Fighter-class fantasy adventurer who stumbled upon their "Time Fridge," when it teleported them to an alternate timeline.
Yes. Time Fridge.
(Name shamelessly stolen from the Faulty Logic webcomic.)
All in all, it was a really fun experience and educational as well. ^^; I feel like I'm learning a lot about game design, which is now my Dream Career, by playing out these new games on the table. And seeing just how much they empower players, GMs, and creatives.
This is what I wanted, long ago, with the "Fursona Project" and "Fursona Code" and "Become Your Fursona" website. At their core, at the most basic level, I wanted people to be able to live as their personal characters, and have a common design vocabulary and resources to help express what they're like. I'm still learning the historical reasons why, but d20 and Pathfinder did not deliver on that.
From what I am seeing, Fate Core has delivered on that promise.
Now to see if we can kick off this online campaign properly.
So, lately I've taken to reading transcripts of the "FATAL & Friends" reviews on Something Awful, named after the legendary Worst RPG Ever. It's been very interesting to get a fresh perspective on games like Pathfinder, and see their flaws pointed out by an outsider.
(The Original D&D review was also very interesting. Did you know that the reason Pathfinder has so many spells like Cloudkill and Hallucinatory Terrain is because they were originally supposed to be used in a Warhammer style miniatures game, to delete blocks of infantry or to create or obscure terrain?)
Fate Core in person
I also recently had the experience of going out to GM a starting session of Fate Core in person, for a Pathfinder veteran and his friend who was new to RPGs but was very interested when I described Fate.
In hindsight, I think I did things all wrong for the planned Capsule Contingency RPG. >_>;;
So, for redsixwing and sablin27 ...
What should we do for our planned game? Do you want to just start it right now, and then help us come up with things as we go? Because I think that we could do that, if there is an understanding that it isn't going to be perfect. ^^; We could alternately discuss some of the ideas we had for where the game's going to go, so we can find out what stories you're interested in exploring and maybe get some ideas and stuff.
For the past couple weeks we've been having some major interpersonal problems, which combined with our hormones making us feel weird have brought us down to basically zero functionality.
On top of that, we tried to go back to FFXIV again, and it only took us a few days to be reminded of how ugly and sexist the culture is (both in terms of the players and the non-player characters) and how much it hurts just to be here. Let alone try to befriend anyone.
We're extremely sorry to everyone who has been waiting on us to write anything, whether it's a response or a game or a fanfic. We're trying to take care of ourself and get through this and stop getting hurt, and it's hard.
We're sorry to keep asking for everyone's patience, but you will all have to wait a bit longer.
This is Mira Fox, the character we play in FFXIV. Apparently there are a lot of RPers in Eorzea, and some of them even use Fate. Who would have thought?
(Please note that the use of "men" to mean people is a turn of phrase that is unfortunately common in Mira's world, and which she might be only beginning to question.)
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Character sheet formatting (and the I'm a Keeper stunt, representing her species) yoinked from Knight Kat's character sheet. This is what the characters for capsulerp will look like once we get them posted, so let us know if you have any questions ~
if I can't tell free stories for people.
I'm going to talk about why I think that is, because it's not because anyone here on Dreamwidth has been a jerk. It appears to be more tied into the kinds of "abusive religion / family" things that we're used to writing about. It just took a visit to a "Mormon Meme Translator," which explains the hidden meanings behind the things we grew up with, to help us see why we are having such trouble with this.
Content note: Brief, nongraphic mention of how we were so depressed as a Mormon that we almost killed ourself, which is not how we're feeling right now, and spoilers for the plot of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
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Just read Wundergeek's comic about depression and anxiety. :P And how they make you sabotage yourself.
So, what does this mean for you?
Honestly, I don't think you (meaning anyone reading this) have to do anything. We have to not be so hard on ourself, to be more realistic about what we can do, and to be accepting when bad things happen or we can't do what was expected.
We're pretty sure our readers and players are. We just need to learn it as well, because this perfectionism is a bigger problem than our triggers and lack of spoons are. The latter we can work around or wait to subside, while the former makes us feel like we shouldn't try to begin with.
Having said that, some more hugs and encouragement would be nice. >_> We're sorry we're being so hard on ourself.
Last night I posted a (kinda depressing) thing about not being able to do the online RP we've been planning. I pulled it after I'd calmed down and been able to rest, but I'm still not sure that we're stable enough right now to be "always-on," so to speak, and to be able to do things like reply to creative writing prompts on demand. Especially when things keep happening, multiple times in a week, that set us back and make it impossible to keep to any kind of a daily schedule.
That's not to say that we don't want to GM an RP, or that we can't, period. But I don't think the play-by-post format will work for us, because it takes a lot of effort to "shift gears" to be able to write for it. And having to do that on an as-needed basis, just in the character planning phase, has been making us dread posting on Dreamwidth and leaving comments unanswered.
Or not having our comments answered.
I think what would work better for us would be to schedule times to go on a chat app, or even a forum like here on DW, and GM a game for a few hours, all at once and with no interruption. It would give us deadlines to prepare for, and also help us relax in our "time off." It would also improve our responsiveness, since we're very good at being focused and on-task when needed and the problem is not knowing when we will need to do that (and feeling like we are getting further and further behind when we need just a day or two to stop doing it).
I'm going to just assume that no one wants to do a chat-based or "live" forum RP, right now, and consider the one we were working on dead. I'm probably then going to avoid Dreamwidth out of shame for awhile. If anyone wants to try this format, though, I guess we can talk about where to go next in the comments.
I don't have the energy to look up citations right now. But I feel like the history of tabletop games is largely the history of diverse, fannish groups adopting games that catch on because they are "good enough" for the time. And then watching as the next 30-40 years see the people who made these games get a lot of unearned power and capital, until they are dictating the shape of their hobbies to everyone else.
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Yet another emotional crisis drove us underground, in the last few days. We're taking care of it (and ourself), with aliaspseudonym's help, but we're also having to do things like go out and get prescriptions refilled and try to make ourself play miniatures games (which is our only in-person social contact anymore).
So the RPG thing has been a little delayed. >_o
I'm told there's at least one other person who's interested, though, besides redsixwing and sablin27, and I'm going to try to get in touch with someone from Steam who expressed interest as well. (For some reason I thought he subscribed here on Dreamwidth, since he commented here, and I was wondering why he never followed up.)
A box of Fire Warriors would come with the following:
- Six, instead of twelve, Fire Warriors. (Gun drones are sold separately.)
- Twelve cards with artwork and rules text.
- One "SERGEANT" token for the Shas'ui.
- Six "WOUND" tokens.
- One "PINNED" token.
- One "FEAR" token.
- One "CHALLENGE" token.
- One "GO TO GROUND" token.
- One "PHOTON GRENADE" token, double-sided to show if you've thrown it this turn.
- One "EMP GRENADE" token, also double-sided.
- Four "BLIND" tokens to put on the targets you hit with the photon grenade.
- One token to show that they're inside a transport.
- And one last token, to show that they're in reserve.
You would not be able to use it unless you had bought the WARHAMMER 40,000 STARTER SET for $99, which includes one Space Marine Dreadnought and three Chaos bikers. Along with blast templates, cardboard range rulers, two decks of cards in different sizes, twelve six-sided dice with weird symbols on them, an insert that says where to download the dice-roller app, and enough different kinds of tokens that only fishers and jewelry hobbyists already have an appropriate box for them on hand.
On the plus side, at least their points cost would be balanced.
(Fantasy Flight Games produces Twilight Imperium, the XCOM board game, the X-Wing miniatures game, and a whole bunch of other board games. They are notorious for their token fetish.)
Image credit: JT Custom Tackle, used without permission.
Or at least the "mini bio" part of it. You can read it here, or by clicking the Profile link in our journal's menu.
In case you're wondering why it has been blank for years, the three of us couldn't agree on how to present ourselves. >_>;
Feedback is welcome.
We're still trying to do this Fate Core RP, but we're feeling like we're in a little over our head.
tl;dr We're doing our best but we're afraid of messing up, and this is making us avoidant of working on RPG things.
However! We've kept to our schedule so far, and as of right now, we've contacted both redsixwing and sablin27 about the last details that need to be clarified on their character sheets. If we can get that sorted out, we are going to write the first public RP post this weekend.
... sort of.
You can visit capsulerp now, and see useful links that we have for players, including our earlier summary of the game's rules (which doubles as an application thread). Right now we're getting back to players about the last few things to finalize on their sheets, and trying to get character sheets and the site itself formatted.
Speaking of which, if anyone knows CSS better than we do maybe you can tell us how to style only the entry text (including list items and headings) to use our preferred sans-serif fonts, while keeping the weird sci-fi font everywhere else. It's atmospheric and all, but it's a little hard on the eyes for reading long blocks of text. >_o
We're still feeling kind of icky and stuff, partly because our hormones have decided to change up our temperature tolerances >_o
Aaand we flip-flopped between Linux and Windows 8.1 a few times before settling on the latter, and finding ways to block a lot of the annoying commercialism, like Skype ads and "Upgrade to Windows 10!" banners.
But we're feeling better and less stressed now, and while we still have things to sort out we should be able to have a DW site up for the RP (along with the players' finalized character sheets) within a week or so.
We wanted to let everyone know, and also to know that we haven't forgotten to work on our fanfic or anything. Also, we somehow got three Malifaux models assembled, and are eagerly (and somewhat anxiously) awaiting next month's long-rumoured Tau releases.
Author's Note: This is the second chapter of a fanfiction adaptation of Christine Love's visual novel, Hate Plus. It continues from where the Analogue: A Hate Story adapt left off. It features a female player character, who left the Mugunghwa with *Mute and is currently married to her.
Content Note: Innuendo and suicidal ideation.
It was the first time I'd heard *Mute scream.
I shrieked and jumped backwards at the same time, a reflex like I'd touched the hot plate. I felt my phantom tail bristle and tense, as the hair all over my body stood on end both from the cold and from fright. What the hell had just happened?
*Mute was looking far away from me, and blocking her view of me with one elbow (and one hand over Aria's nearest whisker). Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realized that the sight of me only partly dressed must have come as a shock to her.
"Sorry, sorry ... " I hurriedly put the rest of my space suit on, and was about to put on the helmet without thinking when I heard a *knock* on the emergency hatch in the ceiling.
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Reminder: The application period for the sci-fi Fate RPG is still going. Please check out the application thread to find out how to apply to be in it.
Now, then. Here's a question and answer from an AMA, or "Ask Me Anything," thread on an internet forum:
Q. Does [your girlfriend who used to be a miko, or Shinto shrine maiden] have any opinion on all of the cosplayers wearing her sacred vestments to look cute?
A. She doesn't care at all. Also they weren't really "sacred vestments" to her so much as a uniform...like a person at a fill-up station or a convenience store. She kinda likes Touhou, or at least she thinks the characters are cute. [...] She thinks Reimu's outfit is cute, and definitely better than what she had to wear.
-- [WARNING: NSFW / sexist / Reddit link] IAmA guy whose girlfriend was a miko (Shinto "shrine maiden") AMA
Sometimes, I get the feeling that it's the people who shame others for finding meaning in Japanese stories, symbols, and mythology, who are the ones that are actually racist. And possibly ageist, since a lot of the media that portrays these things came to North America in the form of "cartoons," "comic books," and video games, which aren't okay to like because they are "for kids."
Meanwhile, real-world Shinto shrines are actually using their connections to manga and anime to attract visitors. Via Green Shinto, an English-language article in a Japanese newspaper explains:
Some may see it as a trivialisation of sacred space, but priests and anthropologists counter this with such statements as, “Since ancient times, Shinto shrines have not been exclusive. It’s good if they are talked about and become attractive destinations.”
The ema with anime characters on them may strike some readers as weird and merchandise-y. But whatever your feelings about mass media and commercialism, I don't feel like it's a good thing to shame people for liking them. And I feel like when English-speaking people police each other for liking Japanese media, folklore, and/or religion, it doesn't come from a place of respect for those things. It comes from a desire to control, and to punish, and to keep racial boundary lines from being crossed.
Cosplay and other forms of self-expression can be used to give offense and to caricature. But I'm pretty sure that Square-Enix execs aren't offended when people in North America write Final Fantasy fanfic, and the priests at the Fushimi Inari shrine aren't upset about foreign tourists buying ofuda. If they are, they'll just have to console themselves with our money.
"Capsule Contingency" is the working title of a play-by-post roleplaying game which jewelfox is now recruiting for. You may play as a character of almost any kind, from any historical or fictional setting, including ones of your own making. The one thing they all have in common is that they are waking up from cryogenic stasis, in an unfamiliar high-tech facility, and that their bodies have been invasively altered ... whether or not it appears that way at first glance.
Read on to find out how to play, and how to submit a character application.
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Please post your character concepts in the comments below. (You may have to register for a free Dreamwidth account before you can do this.) They can be as detailed or as vague as you like, but we would really like it if they include at least the three things that we asked for: Neurotype, Phenotype, and starting skills. That's who they are on the inside, what they look like on the outside, and the top three things they are good at. Describing your character's goals is optional, but recommended.
This recruiting thread will be open for roughly a week and a half, until Saturday, August 22. Let us know if you have any questions.