Any advice for portraying a sci-fi version of a medieval fantasy...:

Total posts: [15]
1 Bisected88th Jan 2013 04:11:12 PM from Her Hackette Cave , Relationship Status: In another castle
Maximum sadness
...with or without magic but without having to use Low Culture, High Tech?

Or to put it another way, how could a cyberpunk setting could have a plot similar to, say, The Lord of the Rings without having to contrive reasons the technology can't fix everything (e.g I'd rather that Cyberpunk!Frodo couldn't just ride an armoured car into cyberpunk!Mordor for logical reasons instead of "robo-Sauron set up anti-armoured car fields") or using a justified Schizo Tech explaination to essentially ban certain technologies from the story (e.g. I want to avoid "All the armour cars were destroyed in the armoured car wars and a mage's curse prevents anymore being built")?

What justifications could there be for traditional fantasy tropes and character archetypes?

edited 8th Jan '13 4:13:20 PM by Bisected8

2 nrjxll8th Jan 2013 04:17:29 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I think you're making this out to be more difficult than it has to be. Lots of space opera is essentially high fantasy Recycled In Space - I don't think the switch to cyberpunk makes it that much harder to do the same.
3 Bisected88th Jan 2013 04:34:18 PM from Her Hackette Cave , Relationship Status: In another castle
Maximum sadness
Space Opera tends to do it by replacing unexplored wilderness with unexplored space and it tends to focus on characters instead of technology (correct me if I'm wrong).

What I was really thinking of was basically D&D style fantasy, but with knights in shining ballistic armour and rogues with cloaking devices.
4 ArsThaumaturgis8th Jan 2013 05:00:36 PM , Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Well, counter-technology might help in some cases (Robo-Sauron has heavy anti-tank guns mounted around Mordor, for example). In others, similar or analogous justifications might be found: the Fellowship, as I recall, hoped that their fairly small number would make them less conspicuous than an army attempting to wander into Mordor; similarly, an armoured car is more conspicuous than a hobbit.

On the other hand, in some cases the changes might be worth keeping: putting Frodo in an armoured car doesn't seem to me to change the plot overmuch (he'll still want to get into Mordor by some back way, presuming anti-armour weapons exist and that Robo-Sauron has them, and will likely still want for a guide, for example), while providing interesting alterations (the image of Cyber-Shelob opening said armoured car like a tin can, for example, or a fight in which the armour helps, but they realise that they had better not let the enemy get away alive for fear of report of their presence reaching their masters).
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5 LastHussar8th Jan 2013 05:03:09 PM from the place is here.
The time is now,
Something like a farm boy meets a mysterious old man, who takes him on an adventure to rescue a princess from the evil sorcerer's castle. On the way they meet a rogue with a heart of gold, and the wizard teaches the boy to use a magic sword that had been the boy's father's. He tells the boy that the Dark Mage had killed the boy's father.

At the castle they are captured, but they break out. The Wizard confronts the mage in a fight with magic swords, and sacrifices himself, knowing that his spirit will be able to guide the boy. The Boy, the lovable Rogue and the princess all return to the princess's rebel hideout, where the boy takes part in an attack on evil Mages lair. The rogue, howeever says he was only in it for the money, and takes his reward and leaves.

During the attack many of the attackers are lost, and the Boy is the last hope. The spirit of the Wizard guides him. However the Dark Mage is leading the defence himself, and is close to killing the Boy, noting the Power is strong in this one. Just as he is about to strike, the Rogue rides out of nowhere and wounds the Mage, allowing the Boy to destroy the castle.

In the sequel the Boy could confront the Mage, saying "You killed my father!", to which the Mage replies "No, Duke, I am your father..."


edited 8th Jan '13 5:09:51 PM by LastHussar

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6 Wolf10668th Jan 2013 09:03:32 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Typin' strangely
There are plenty of means to prevent anything the size of an armoured car getting into Mordor Corp(Tee-Em) territory - tank-stops on key routes, border control etc. Just as anti-aircraft arrays could prevent them just flying in.

Bear in mind that Cyberpunk would be a step up from our here-and-now - and we have anti-aircraft, radar, drones, anti-armour etc etc etc.

So it could be that the only thing that could get through the defenses would be a warrior on foot - which Cyber Sauron discounts as a threat as border controls, patrols etc would surely pick up such a thing and all the bits that a person could get through are protected (border check-points and theres that Cyber Shelob thing guarding that narrow passage up in the mountains etc)

One of the things I've found about coming up with Cyberpunk scenarios is that there are so many ways you can rationalise why some areas are easier to crack than others - resources and money are not infinite, things become a trade-off. So you could have one organisation that is completely hardened against network intrusion but is vulnerable to someone wandering in off the street and gaining access to an internal datapoint (with appropriate Social Engineering skills, obviously) while another is constructed along the physical lines of Fort Knox but is so vulnerable to cyberintrusion they might as well post their key IP addresses and passwords on Facebook with a note saying "please don't break anything while you're here".

With a bit of thought, you can work your way around any problem in Cyberpunk.
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7 shiro_okami9th Jan 2013 05:02:01 PM , Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
...can still bite
Does sci-fi or cyberpunk mean that you actually have to have technology or use it for everything? If I were to merge fantasy and sci-fi, I would have either magic-powered spacecraft or magic portals like Star Gate. Doing it that way also gets around all of those pesky real life limits to space travel by just saying A Wizard Did It.
8 Wolf10669th Jan 2013 06:15:47 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Typin' strangely
Other things to consider is whether or not there's any disparity between the regions, whether laws or restrictions are in place etc.

If the Band of Heroes is not as rich or privileged as the villains, it could well be that they can't even get an armoured car (too expensive and/or restricted to Military/Corporate use only).

As the author, you're the one who sets the restrictions in place in your universe. If you want it so that the protagonist is running a risk of execution just having access to a personal weapon (.45cal H&K9000 "Sting"), then he's not likely to be trundling about in a large, obvious armoured car.
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9 Jaqen9th Jan 2013 06:53:07 PM from gimbling in the wabe
Nuclear Holocaust leads to mutations: hobbit and goblins and elves oh my. Wand - left over laser guns from the war, they are rare as is knowledge how to use them. Fellowship has hi-tech, so does Robo Sauron.
What if there were no hypothetical questions?

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10 Night10th Jan 2013 09:03:07 AM from Jaburo , Relationship Status: Drift compatible
The future of warfare in UC.
Armored cars are highly visible and the dynamics remain the same; if found, overwhelming force is deployed against them.

You're making this much harder than it needs to be.
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11 LastHussar10th Jan 2013 11:01:22 AM from the place is here.
The time is now,
I say we levitate and hex the whole site from orbit.
Do the job in front of you.
12 Wolf106610th Jan 2013 04:25:31 PM from New Zealand , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Typin' strangely
[up] It's the only way to be sure.

[up][up]Exactly. People have been making SF variants of fantasy for years with varying degrees of finesse. The better ones are internally consistent and well-thought out without having to rely too much on Techno Babble or Phlebotinum - much like the better fantasies are internally consistent.

Star Wars is a classic quest, Forbidden Planet is Shakespeare's The Tempest (approximately).

If you have your characters act intelligently and they assume the other guy's going to act intelligently, you can explain everything plausibly. "Hey, what about an armoured car?" "Nah, they'd see it coming miles away and bombard it with heavy artillery. I reckon we should send in a couple of stealth operatives - but distract them with a few mobilisations elsewhere."
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13 Bisected811th Jan 2013 04:27:51 AM from Her Hackette Cave , Relationship Status: In another castle
Maximum sadness
I didn't think of it that way. Thanks guys.
14 LastHussar11th Jan 2013 01:30:55 PM from the place is here.
The time is now,
What my rather flippant remarks were to portray is, that at the heart of it, there isn't SF, or fantasy, or historical, there is just the story. The setting changes, but the story and the characterisation stays the same. The cruft, the chrome defines the period sure, but the ideals and motivations are timeless. It doesn't matter if the hero uses a steel sword or a laser one.

Heart of Darkness was filmed as Apocalypse Now, but the brooding message of abuse by colonialism, and the corruption of a man with power stays the same. Blade Runner LOOKS like 'hunt the robot', but can be seen as society's disapproval of love breaking the them/us barrier. Sam Vimes' cases read like a fantasy spoof of Police Proceedual, but revolves around the need for a man to be true to himself.

Art holds a mirror up to the world. In it is all human experience. The frame is unimportant.
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15 66Scorpio7th Feb 2013 11:27:02 PM from Toronto, Canada
Banned, selectively
You could set the story in VR, sort of LOTR meets Neuromancer meets The Matrix.
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Total posts: 15