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Author Topic: Future history  (Read 3956 times)

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Offline Dave Chase

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Future history
« on: February 21, 2011, 09:29:57 PM »
Clark raised a question in his State of LOS 2011 speech, about the near future history along with the world changes that have taken place since the initial release of LOS and Planetstorm.

What I would like to suggest is something that one of my favorite computer games (Fallout series) did. There they picked a point in past history and said that from that point forward things were different. In the beginning the changes were small and not always noticeable but the farther away from that point down the line of history the were bigger and more dramatic changes.

Why not do the same with LOS?

Pick a point and state something like, astronomers noticed small sources of light that seemed out of place around several stars. They did not correlate to any know celestial data nor even speculative data of planetoid bodies colliding.

Later some odd radio transmissions were picked up. Though they were not truly decoded, it was fairly easy to determine that they were actual signals being transmitted by some non-natural source.

Shortly after this, many astronomers around the world begin seeing objects that entered the solar system and then moved with implied purpose. Ie. not natural.

Contact was made with the LOA 2 days later.


Just a brief summary of a possibly future history

Dave Chase
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Offline Clark

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Re: Future history
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2011, 01:10:45 AM »
We grappled with this for the first edition and it comes down to two factors, as far as I can tell.

1) Artistic license.
2) Relevance.

Artisitic license can be broken down further into in game simulations and then how you want to tell a story.  The more disconnected the real world is from the game world, the more freedom you have to explore all sorts of possibilities.

Relevance is the connection with the theme of the game and the stories told to what is actually happening in the real world.  My problem is that I'd like the fiction to stand alone as  pieces of literature that have something to say about our current geopolitics and such.  It is harder to do that when your future history is different from real world events.

But funny you should mention it.  About a year ago I toyed with the idea of an alternate history.  I tentatively called it LOS: EMPIRE.  America lost it's war of independence, Islam swept Africa and south Asia and the Chinese took the rest of Asia.  Russia, Europe and South America are sidelined  as bit players.  WWI happened but I wasn't sure if WWII could be avoided.  At the point of open contact (the Fantasians had been in touch with the Germans and Russians for some time) there are only three power blocks: The British Empire, The Chinese Hegemony and the Caliphate.  It makes the game simpler than having 200 nations channeled through the UNE only to be a lone voice in the League of Aliens.

But getting back to Relevance, comic books and movies do the retcon all the time to keep the stories relevant.

Sgt. Patterson was UDR and later SAS posted back to Ulster in a counter-terrorist team.  He tried to muster out after a 15 year old girl in the IRA tried to kill him and he hesitated (his 2IC killed her first).  Command had him transfered to the "Supp List" or supplementary reserve where he existed as a name on a list with a bunch of qualifications that could be reinstated if he so chose.  On his departure, he said to his commanding officer, "I can't imagine anything that would bring me back."  He said that just as the Legions of Steel were capturing planets on the outer fringe of the galaxy.  He returned to England and a loving but dysfunctional marriage and took a "normal" job that he hated.  After word of the LOA landing and that soldiers would be needed to fight a mechanical foe off-world, he reactivated himself.  The UNE was formed grudgingly, with the major powers recognizing the practical need to be part of the LOA but resenting the institution of a "world government".   The dozen or so major powers wanted to field national armies but the smaller, more numerous countries insisted on a dedicated UNE force with the proviso that no UNE force could be operational on Earth itself.  A young lieutenant's idealism lead to the Sahara Incident.  Meanwhile, national governments offered up their most dysfunctional soldiers to volunteer for UNE service.  Patterson was flagged as a problem child because he froze up.  Of course, in fighting  a mechanical foe, none of these moral quandries arise and he ended up becoming a legend, but went MIA following Junction Point.

So, how do we update this?  He served in Iraq?  Afghanistan?  Got freaked out by a teenage suicide bomber?

Of course, none of this has actually been published, but I would like to in a coherent manner.









« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 01:14:13 AM by Clark »

Offline Dave Chase

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Re: Future history
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 08:59:46 AM »
Why not just start with future history at the end of Desert Shield/Storm?

I can understand wanting to update to current events, but ...
in 5 years are you going to have to update it again, just so it accurate?
Or publish it Nov this year and then have to change it when the Middle East self destructs right afterward?

I think it early comes down to picking a point and going with it.

(This is one of the reasons that most futuristic games and stories try to set themselves into the far future and say that accurate records were lost of the far past (now) so that they don't have to worry about being accurate.

Dave Chase
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Offline Kindred

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Re: Future history
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 09:05:08 AM »
Interesting alternate.

I actually wrote a series of RPG/LARPs set in an alternate history where the "split" was much more recent.

Bush (GW) decided that Iraq (and then the other Middle East countries) could not be trusted to govern themselves, and gave up all pretense of "freedom" taking them as American Protectorates and then proceeded to take over Canada and Mexico using economic sanctions and start moving the military into Central and South America. After an assassination attempt by the cabinet, Bush declared himself President for Life and, with the support of the joint chiefs, disbanded congress.

The EU consolidated quickly as an actual power to avoid the American "takeover" and, at the request of the North African countries, included them (albeit as second class members)

China acted similarly but more aggressively, taking all of Asia in a storm of military and economic attacks.

The United American Protectorates, the European Union and the Chinese Socialist Republic are the three big powerhouses in that world, and in 2012, the UAP military discovered a ancient space ship under the arctic ice cap....


Offline Clark

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Re: Future history
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2011, 10:15:03 PM »
We all like to play with history to contemplate "what if?"

LOS: Empire was right off the wall but could explore most of today's political issues except all tye turd throwing at the USA about what bad people they are. That they would remain part of the Commonwealth would be enough of a "take that" among eurotrash and self-loathing New Englanders to get on to other discussions. Of course, Americans would still be "Americans" although, perversely, Canadians would commonly be refered to as Americans too.

But the exploration would be with respect to the three great traditions that predominate the world today: Judeo-Christian, Communist-Confucian, and Islamic.

As for simply updating LOS, I sometimes forget just how old I am. The game was conceived in 1991, developed in 1992, and released in 1993 so this update is just short of 20 years in the making. I don't see doing another retcon in 5 years. I wonder what Professor Shadwick is up to (he's in the credits of the Advanced Rules; we consulted him on the plausibility of our future history).

I will tell you one thing, if I can fill the holes in my LOS screenplay, it would be set tomorrow.

Kindred, have you read Peter Worthington?

Offline Kindred

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Re: Future history
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2011, 11:03:23 PM »
No, I've never read him (assuming you mean the Canadian journalist)

Offline smokingwreckage

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Re: Future history
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 05:05:46 AM »
The thing about IRA derived violence is that it's never really likely to end, whereas the West can just leave the Middle East, civilisation as we know it can't leave Ireland.

While big-concept future alternate history can be fun, I like the dirt-and-blood feel of the national armies. A lot of rightish libertarianish types would die screaming at the UN becoming a superpower though. Probably the one thing that is dated is the "and the internet more or less dies out" bit....

Offline SgtHulka

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Re: Future history
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2011, 09:34:12 AM »
I will tell you one thing, if I can fill the holes in my LOS screenplay, it would be set tomorrow.

I may be misunderstanding your statement here. If so, I apologize in advance.

I always found LoS one hundred years (or more) in the future to be unsatisfying from a modeling perspective. There was nothing in the background, that I can remember, that made it *have* to be so far in the future. It could happen tomorrow, iirc, because all the technology is alien.

The problem with it being 100 years in the future is that, without colonies on other planets, it's kind of hard to figure out what earth looks like. You can't really use 40K style terrain, because that's too futuristic/weird. You can't really use human space colony terrain because there aren't any. And you can't use modern terrain for machine raids on earth because it's too far in the future.

So there was this weird no-man's land in terms of modeling planetstorm battles. Everything had to be on planetoid style landscapes or the surface of machine complexes.

I'm exaggerating of course, but wanted to throw out this slightly different perspective.

Offline Vile

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Re: Future history
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2011, 09:48:37 AM »
I'm probably going off-topic and I'm not really advocating this for LoS, but - I like SF which doesn't involve Earth at all. Leaves all the second-guessing, hindsight and "That'll never happen!" at the door. People usually say the audience likes to relate their SF to the earth they know in some way, but what was the most popular ever SF franchise?
Too young to be an Urvile ...

Offline SgtHulka

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Re: Future history
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2011, 11:32:08 AM »
I get your point, but then I'd have to re-paint all my "earth dogs die hard".

Offline Clark

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Re: Future history
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2011, 11:47:15 AM »
There were a couple of conscious decisions that we made.  First was that there were no actual battles fought on Earth.  The LOA warned us ahead of time and we participated in Planetstorm which succeeded in forcing the Mavhines back. There are other human colonies (Azaramians are human, for instance) with their own quicks of culture, terrain and such that could be explored or fought over.

The choice of the early 22nd century was done to keep things familiar while putting the setting far enough in the furture that history could iron out various details.  We pegged it right about China and Germany arising as world (super) powers but totally missed the boat on 9/11 and Islam.  Is that issue a "game changer" in the literal sense that we have to alter the future history to take it into account?  Certainly, if we originally set the date of contact in the late '90s and Planetstorm  around now, there would be a pressure to retcon the Islamic issue in there somewhere.  If we set it thousands of years in the future then what happend in the last decade or so would be of little consequence.

Offline Kindred

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Re: Future history
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2011, 12:46:36 PM »
make me wonder if we should have a section just for posting LoS history and fiction...

We can use the Wiki and write up a (current LoS) timeline.

Offline bobloblah

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Re: Future history
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2011, 01:23:31 PM »
I'll second that motion.
Best Regards,
Bobloblah

Offline Dave Chase

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Re: Future history
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2011, 04:48:26 PM »
With the question about the LOS future history of the Internet (as found on pages 40 & 41 of Planetstorm) along with the side bar comment on page 42 of Planetstorm called Mechanphobia, maybe instead of worrying on the current history of conflicts and governments, we  should concentrate on the public reaction to robots and automation (smart types).

Take this current news of today (or this month at least)

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/31jan_r2/

Here we are in 2011 and we are sending up robots to aid man in space. ;)

Dave Chase
Freedom is the right to speak your mind.

It is also the right to walk away from those you don't want to listen to.

Offline Clark

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Re: Future history
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 05:46:23 PM »
Mechanophobia and "death of the internet" make complete sense within the game but should be retconned for the simple fact that many new players would have no living memory of a world without the internet: it would be so. . . alien. However, there is a lot of buzz over cyberattacks as between countries or terrorism a la Live Free or Die Hard (as Earth Dogs do).

I can see the militia movement in the USA going crazy over the UNE being a type of world government, but the UNE Charter only permits the use of UNE troops off-planet as illustrated in the Sahara Incident. There would probably be UNECOMs in the Antarctic, Europe (Switzerland?), and maybe Brazil, India and Canada, as well as the moonbase known colloquially as "Lunacom". But certainly there would not be one in the USA, Russia or China due to domestic, political concerns.