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Let's create a superhero setting!!!:

 51 Archereon, Tue, 6th Nov '12 7:59:12 AM from Everywhere.
Ave Imperator
[up] I was kinda kidding about that, but then again, a Badass Longcoat is part of the outfit of a HUGE number of superheroes (and perhaps even more supervillains), and while the samurai part of Corporate Samurai is Deader Than Disco "special agents" employed by corporations are still common in Post Cyber Punk and various forms of Spy Fiction.

Regarding other discredited elements of classic Cyber Punk, obviously Japan does not take over the world (nor does China). Quite the opposite considering access to the CV Impact Site would probably have a lot to do with determining the new balance of power in the world and the Far East has all of Eurasia or the Americas and the Pacific Ocean between it in the Atlantic. In fact, if we go by proximity to the Impact Site for determining who gets first dibs on the xenotech, than Northeastern Africa and Southwestern Europe, particularly the Iberian Peninsula are by far the closet to the actual site. That said, I'm not very well versed in politics, and imagine once the true value of the CV Object was discovered, every nation in the world would be clamoring for access.

Back to technological augmentation, I'm thinking that cybernetics and bionics should be portrayed in a generally neutral light. On one hand, in many places, the quality-of-life gap between societal classes has increased dramatically, but on the other hand, things like Cybernetics Eat Your Soul are complete myths, and the fact that human enhancement technologies aren't available to a large portion of the population isn't something intrinsically bad about the technology.

edited 6th Nov '12 8:16:00 AM by Archereon

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 52 Archereon, Wed, 7th Nov '12 7:08:23 AM from Everywhere.
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Anyone have anything to add?
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 53 Sijo, Wed, 7th Nov '12 9:36:11 AM from Puerto Rico
Not right now. I find the general ideas proposed OK so far.
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 54 Archereon, Wed, 7th Nov '12 9:44:22 AM from Everywhere.
Ave Imperator
Think we should start putting this all on a google docs thingy like the other tvtropes collabs did?
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 55 nrjxll, Wed, 7th Nov '12 9:11:43 PM Relationship Status: Not war
Anyone have anything to add?

I feel like a hypocrite for saying this given that I won't actually be participating in this beyond just throwing out ideas. But still: as far as the project itself goes, I don't think you (or anyone else) should take on too prominent a role in planning things out. It sort of defeats the purpose of a collaborative work.

 56 Archereon, Fri, 9th Nov '12 8:03:20 PM from Everywhere.
Ave Imperator
[up] I understand, I'm just trying to keep this thing moving. Lack of momentum is what killed the other collabs.
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Raven Wilder
If you want momentum, I'd suggest coming up with some ideas for individual superheroes now and worry about world building details later.

Here's a couple ideas I'm willing to throw in the pot:

Deep C: Cameron Carmichael Caruthers is a former Navy soldier who was technologically modified for deep-sea operations: he can breathe under water, withstand the high pressure and bitter cold of the ocean floor, and use echolocation to observe his surroundings. Coupled with some enhancements to his physical strength and reflexes, he's a formidable aquatic warrior. However, his physical enhancements require battery replacements every so often to remain effective, otherwise he's reduced to the level of an invalid.

These batteries aren't cheap, so "Deep C" Caruthers has taken to doing very dangerous and not-quite-legal salvage work to keep himself afloat. He complements his aquatic abilities with a small submarine he picked up that, when he needs it to, can become a Humongous Mecha for him to pilot. The most expensive quarry he goes after are pieces of alien technology that sunk into the ocean, but he'll also salvage stuff from more mundane shipwrecks, and even transport cargo or passengers if the pay is right (and if the pay is right, it's usually because what he's transporting is likely to be attacked by pirates or customs officials).

Since a lot of his work falls outside the law, he sells most of what he finds at the floating city of Galtopia, created by one of those obscenely rich anarchists who wanted to make their own country free of all laws and government (though said rich anarchist still wields immense power, natch). In Galtopia, Deep C has gotten a reputation for his Chronic Hero Syndrome, and can often be roped into helping someone even when there's no money in it, though he'll gripe about it all the way.

Lucid: Jane Wills was born with the psychic power of astral projection: when she's asleep, her dream-self manifests in reality and can interact with the physical world. Because this astral projection obeys the logic of dreams rather than reality, it is immensely powerful but also prone to causing destruction with its random, nonsensical behavior; Jane has been relentlessly trained to control herself and behave rationally even in her dreams

But one day, other astral projections start showing up all over the place; some are malicious, but even the well-meaning ones can cause lots of trouble due to their erratic behavior. Jane eventually deduces that a scientist who once studied her psychic power has found a way to replicate it in other people, resulting in these other astral projections who don't have the self-control she has.

Jane takes to fighting the other projections under the code-name Lucid, partly to stop the trouble they're causing, but also so she can get info from them on the scientist who gave them her power. She feels responsible for her power causing so much trouble, and is dedicated to finding the scientist and stopping his mad experiments.

What do you think?
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 58 Archereon, Sun, 11th Nov '12 1:43:20 PM from Everywhere.
Ave Imperator
[up] Both are fine ideas for characters. In fact, a lot of those ideas could tie in very well to some of mine and those of the other people involved in this so far. Particularly the corporate floating city thing. (I had an idea for a city out in the middle of the Atlantic occean that developed around the anchor site of an orbital elevator built to a captured and hollowed out asteroid using reverse engineered xenotech; perhaps we could combine those ideas)

Resetlocksley decided he wouldn't be able to write anything for this PM'd me a really interesting character concept but asked not to post about it on the thread because he'd rather not someone use it for something other than this.

As for my own characters, I've got a few, in particular a pair of characters who usually work together, though they fall a bit too far down on the Sliding Scale Of Anti Heroes (still trying to decide on border of III and IV, IV and V, or V and outright villains) to be called "heroes"
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 59 Sijo, Sun, 11th Nov '12 4:00:44 PM from Puerto Rico
I think that what we need right now are a) an official name for this setting, and then b) a summary of all the ideas agreed upon. Then it could be posted in its own page, and/or developed further.
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 60 Archereon, Sun, 11th Nov '12 4:34:41 PM from Everywhere.
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Ah names. Not much else about writing frustrates me more. I rarely do Meaningful Names for characters, but I can never think of names that sound good to me.

"Post Impact" is the first thing that came to my mind, but that's hardly indicative.
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 61 resetlocksley, Mon, 12th Nov '12 2:22:35 PM from A dissection table
I am dead.
Hey, you guys need help with names? I have lots of ideas. Any characters in particular you're struggling to name?

Wait...oh, my mistake. That's what happens when you read too're trying to name the setting. Let me see...alien artifacts...mysterious technology...superhuman powers...heroes and villains and everything in between...

I have no ideas yet, but I'll think about it.

I don't think I'll be able to write anything for this, but I'll definitely chime in with some ideas and whatnot from time to time, if that's cool with the rest of you. :)

Hmm. At this point, I'm comfortable placing my character idea in your hands, Archereon. If you want to use it for this, go right ahead...or even make it available for someone else to do something with it, either way is cool with me. This way something might actually come from my idea.
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 62 Sijo, Mon, 12th Nov '12 4:13:24 PM from Puerto Rico
I too have problems coming up with names, so any help would be appreciated.
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 63 Archereon, Mon, 12th Nov '12 8:00:34 PM from Everywhere.
Ave Imperator
Xeno-Impact? (just throwing out names)

edited 12th Nov '12 8:00:46 PM by Archereon

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Raven Wilder
How 'bout calling the setting Heaven Seed? Like the big ball of alien stuff is a seed that fell from the heavens, and various superpowered folks are what have grown from that seed, and people's increasing power will eventually take them into the heavens where the seed came from.
"It takes an idiot to do cool things, that's why it's cool" - Haruhara Haruko
 65 Archereon, Tue, 13th Nov '12 7:57:23 PM from Everywhere.
Ave Imperator
That's a good one, though think Seed of Heaven might sound a bit better.
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 66 Sijo, Wed, 14th Nov '12 5:24:37 AM from Puerto Rico
I should point out the name(s) used do not need to be official *yet* they can be placeholders until something better is decided.
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 67 Archereon, Wed, 14th Nov '12 4:48:51 PM from Everywhere.
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So Heaven Seed is good for now? What next?
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 68 Sijo, Wed, 14th Nov '12 5:15:38 PM from Puerto Rico
It works for me. But more important is a summary in one place of all the facts (as decided so far) so that people can see it and know what it's all about. (A post here will do.)
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 69 Archereon, Wed, 14th Nov '12 6:54:20 PM from Everywhere.
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All right then, as I understand it, these are the big ideas we've agreed on so far:

  • Heaven Seed is set in the year 205X (X being an undecided year in the fifth decade of the 20XXs)
    • It's been approximately 30 years since the CV Impact Event (may need a better name?); the collision of Earth with a large spacebourne object presumably of extraterrestrial origin. The object (needs a name) landed on the northern edge of the Cape Verde abysmal plain in the Atlantic ocean, hence the name.
    • While the object itself was mostly intact despite the force of impact and the crushing pressure, a number of pieces of it apparently broke off during reentry. The vast majority of these fragments remain unaccounted for.
    • What remained of the object was a massive cache of alien technology far in advance of anything produced by humans prior the the Event. Over the following decades, extensive study of the object and the devices contained within have led to a vast leap in human technology. Equipment salvaged directly from the object is generally referred to as "xenotech", to distinguish it from reverse engineered human designs or designs inspired by xenotechnologies.
    • The vast majority of human-made designs are inferior to the genuine xenotech (though far superior to earlier examples of human technology) and/or dependent on priceless xenotech materials that cannot currently be synthesized. For example, while cyborgs are reasonably common in first-world nations, a cyborg with the same degree of cybernetic-conversion that incorporates xenotech materials or components is in every way superior to conventional cyborgs.
    • Another major effect of the CV Impact Event was the emergence of individuals known as "psychics" (might want a better name for that since most of them aren't the kind of person we think of when we hear the word "psychic"), people born with abnormal powers originating in some way from the mind.
    • Psychics can be further subdivided into telepaths (teps) and telekinetics (teeks).
    • Telepaths have powers like extrasensory perception, mind reading/controlling, psychic empathy, astral projection, and so on which interact with the minds of others or augment the individual's perception.
    • Telekinetics on the other hand have powers like super-strength (originating from the psychic telekinetically enhancing their own strength, either consciously or unconsciously), the ability to control temperature, produce lightning, fly, and so on.
    • While the vast majority of psychics are either teeks or teps, a superminority of psychic individuals manifest both telekinetic and telepathic powers.
    • Besides psychics, there are a number of types of technologically augmented metahumans, the earliest and most common form being the aforementioned cyborgs.
    • Alongside cyborgs are individuals with bionic augmentations; artificial implanted tissues which enhance, alter, or replace some of the body's functions in a similar manner to cybernetics.
    • The setting will have some cyberpunk elements.
    • "Supers" (a term I'm using for superhero tier metahumans as opposed to people with implanted cell phones or who can guess what card someone's thinking of with perfect accuracy but nothing else of note) in this setting frequently are part of the police or military or in the employ of private organizations, particularly corporations, rather than working alone.
    • For the most part, xenotech runs on Clarke's Third law ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."), and psychic powers basically covers any sort of superpower a person is born with that you can think of that doesn't involve cybernetics, supertechnology, or biological powers (think things like acid-spit, Fartillery, stretchy powers, ect.), all of which are in the setting, respectively as cybernetics, xenotech, and bionic grafts.

Ideas that have been brought up in the thread but haven't really been discussed:

  • A floating city in the ocean.
  • A city in the ocean which developed around the site of an orbital elevator.
  • Asteroid Miners who work on asteroids that were captured in stable orbits using xenotech. (and the inevitable terrorist plot to bring down one of the asteroids)
  • A Mad Scientist who somehow found a way to replicate a certain telepathic power.
  • Super-organizations that are active in the setting.

How's that so far?

edited 14th Nov '12 8:54:04 PM by Archereon

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 70 Sijo, Wed, 14th Nov '12 7:24:44 PM from Puerto Rico
Everything looks good to me. And I also vote for the idea for the Ocean City that studies the "object". It makes sense AND makes the setting more unique.
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 71 Archereon, Wed, 14th Nov '12 8:49:15 PM from Everywhere.
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[up] It's also consistent with one idea for a real-life orbital elevator if we go that root. That said, the city would have to be on the Equator to be the anchor point for an elevator, which also provides a good reason for it to be out there rather than in Africa or Europe, and gives a few interesting ways for it to be powered;

A. By bringing power down the orbital elevator's cable from solar collectors connected to the station at the time of the cable That's suboptimal even with room-temperature superconductors because of the huge distance involved, so option B is more likely.

B. By "beaming" the power (with lasers) from orbiting solar collectors directly to solar collectors on the ground. While the atmosphere would limit the effectiveness and it'd cause a fair amount of heat pollution, it has the advantage of not requiring miles of superconductive wires

C. Mix the above two: Power is beamed to the orbital elevator and carried down via the cable so that the solar collectors can spend more time on the sunlit side of Earth .

edited 14th Nov '12 8:53:02 PM by Archereon

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Raven Wilder
Sounding good so far. Now here's something to consider: since we're on an English language forum, I'm gonna assume most people who might write stuff for this setting are from Europe or North America, meaning characters and stories are likely to be based in those areas. Given that, we should probably decide whether we want current geo-political boundaries to remain largely the same in 205X, or if we want to add stuff like a North American Union or an independent Scotland to the mix.
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 73 Archereon, Wed, 14th Nov '12 11:04:49 PM from Everywhere.
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In my opinion, we should shake things up a bit.

For example, if we extrapolate on current political trends with some degree of pessimism, it's quite possible that "Pax Americana" has come to an end by the 2050s, and the US is starting to go the way of the Roman Empire, which is to say part of the country is in severe decline, and some other parts are in less severe decline. The latter region would be a great place to put some of the cyberpunk elements in. I'm not saying we should go as far as Divided States of America or One Nation Under Copyright, but America as a partially Vestigial Empire makes room for a lot of interesting politics.

Of course, if we wanted to go even further, we could have the CV Impact Event trigger the Yellowstone Supervolcano, which would basically wipe the US and the entire Western hemisphere off the face of the Earth, which creates a great many interesting political situations but has the problem of making the setting sort of After the End in all but the best case scenarios for such an eruption.

As for the rest of the world, there's a great many ways this could go. Contrary to popular belief, in its current state, China will not take over the world; indeed, their economy is so intertwined with that of the US that it's likely that the decline of the US would drag China's economy down into a severe crisis.

Of course, that also leaves Japan in an extremely uncomfortable position, since they don't get along very well with of Russia or China, and without the backing of the US, things could very easily get ugly.

Not sure what would become of Europe, though given that they'd have very easy access to the CVI site, I imagine European nations would be comparatively well off. With the decline of the US and presumably the end of NATO, a United Europe, at least in terms of a unified military to better assure mutual defense.

edited 14th Nov '12 11:27:56 PM by Archereon

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 74 nrjxll, Thu, 15th Nov '12 1:12:56 AM Relationship Status: Not war
[up]I... don't buy about 80% of this, frankly. Or rather, while most of it follows in broad terms from a "collapse of the US" premise, that premise does not follow - even with "some degree of pessimism" - from the real-world decline of the US as an international hegemon. (And yeah, the supervolcano is not a good idea).

Also, while it works as a placeholder, I'd rather not have Heaven Seed be the final name.

One question that I don't believe has been raised: the exact status of actual aliens in regard to the CV Impact Event.

 75 Sijo, Thu, 15th Nov '12 4:14:01 AM from Puerto Rico
I also would rather not go fully After the End here. But I'm OK with a (partial) Cyberpunk future. But not too dark either; there has to be enough optimism that heroic characters would fit in.

edited 15th Nov '12 4:14:18 AM by Sijo

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