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Old 07-03-2018, 09:21 AM   #461
ericthered
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The players play Mind Emulations and AI's from a space-based post-human civilization exploring a post-apocalyptic earth. They're gathering scientific data, looking for survivors, and for possible riches to scavenge.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:10 PM   #462
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Unusual Suspect

This is a short story I wrote once. Whether anyone can get ideas from it I don't know.

In 1942, the Haganah has a mole in a Vichy occupied city in Morocco named curiously after an obscure Humphrey Bogart movie no one will be interested in. After Operation Torch, that mission is of course obsolete. It is desired to debrief him and reinsert him in Axis high level. Naturally the OSS whose cooperation is needed, demand a sit-in on the debrief as a quid pro quo.

So far so good. However instead of just picking him up they conceal his unusual nature by grabbing random locals and taking them to an MP outpost for questioning. Most of them are released after a perfunctory grilling. However the Haganah mole is "arrested" and questioned. Then he is brought out for transfer. He grabs a gun, shoots the guard wounding him and escapes. The manhunt never finds him.

As it turns out the explanation is simple. A young OSS agent was promised a spot promotion, a bonus package, and any station he wanted if he would volunteer to get shot. This is meant to convince the unusual suspect's so-called compatriots that he is who he says.
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Old 07-11-2018, 01:34 PM   #463
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heh. My version would involve shape-shifting full dragons and focus a little more on the context of it all.

Still. Great idea.
Shapeshifting full dragons might be a little bit too high-power. A hack-and-slash campaign is usually about accumulating wealth, power and influence (this is why in classic D&D, experience was tied to the acquisition of treasure.) If you start out as strong as a full dragon, you wouldn't really get that sense of escalation.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:10 PM   #464
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Shapeshifting full dragons might be a little bit too high-power. A hack-and-slash campaign is usually about accumulating wealth, power and influence (this is why in classic D&D, experience was tied to the acquisition of treasure.) If you start out as strong as a full dragon, you wouldn't really get that sense of escalation.

I actually don't really like that sense of escalation. I like character advancement to be more in terms of achieving goals, acquiring indirect power, and defeating obstacles than acquiring personal combat prowess in an exponential fashion. I like for there to be a "Top" you can't really pass, and the players to start out close to it.



This is probably why we'd run this campaign the way each of us is suggesting.
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Old 07-11-2018, 03:31 PM   #465
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Shapeshifting full dragons might be a little bit too high-power.
Shapeshifting jjuvenile dragons. In their dragon form they might not be much more than lizard men with wings.
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Old 07-11-2018, 05:30 PM   #466
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I actually don't really like that sense of escalation. I like character advancement to be more in terms of achieving goals, acquiring indirect power, and defeating obstacles than acquiring personal combat prowess in an exponential fashion. I like for there to be a "Top" you can't really pass, and the players to start out close to it.
This escalation can be more than just combat prowess! Remember that in early editions of D&D, "You get a fort" is literally a class feature for fighters.

Also remember that personal goals for a simple hack and slash game are often as simple as "acquire treasure (and with it, the power and influence that wealth brings)"
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Old 07-28-2018, 01:09 PM   #467
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Second Babel

Due to... something... everyone loses the ability to understand any existing language. Effectively, there are now 7.4 billion mutually incomprehensible languages, and every bit of text is reduced to gibberish. On the other hand, nothing prevents anyone from learning any of these other languages, or developing a pidgin. Any non-linguistic symbols would remain understandable (red octagon still means stop, even when the text has changed to XYK).

Obviously, this would be a tremendous disaster immediately. Air traffic control basically stops. Computers become nearly useless, as even graphical user interfaces are still mostly used to access data presented as text. Checklists (such as power grid monitoring) have to be rebuilt from memory. Every organization would be thrown into utter chaos.

What would the near and long term consequences be?
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Old 07-28-2018, 01:39 PM   #468
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Second Babel
The US Foreign Services Institute has a ranking of world languages in terms of how difficult they are to learn for native English speakers, ranging from about 600 hours (Romance languages, Dutch, Scandanavian) to 2200 hours (Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin) for proficiency. (That is, rank 3 on their scale of 1-5, "professional working capability" in between "basic travel and courtesy" (1) and "native" (5).) Maybe 1/3rd of that time for rank 1.

Does anything prevent people from re-learning pre-existing languages? Same question for the concept of an alphabet and how writing can be used to stand in for verbal language sounds. That conceptual hurdle may be the biggest one.

The value to reusing previous languages would be the quantity of existing learning materials (all the way down to pre-K levels) for those languages, as well as avoiding inventing a new one. (It's possible someone will invent a completely regular language and alphabet that actually makes sense from the ground up, which could become popular if it weren't merely a good idea, but didn't have to work to supplant existing languages with their historical debris.)

If you still have the concept of a written language, or better yet, remember that you used to speak one, then just head off to your local kindergarten and elementary school. Crank up a copy of Rosetta Stone or some old Sesame Street clips on YouTube. Use the language that matches all the signs and books around you, which is probably the same one all those kids' materials are for. You could get basic conversational fluency in a few months, at most.

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Old 07-28-2018, 03:02 PM   #469
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On the other hand, nothing prevents anyone from learning any of these other languages, or developing a pidgin.
I agree with Anaraxes - it seems to me the smart thing is to learn the language that most of your local text is written in, and your local audio recordings are spoken in - i.e. whatever the majority language was before. There'll be a profound dislocation, but everyone's in the same boat.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:44 PM   #470
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I agree with Anaraxes - it seems to me the smart thing is to learn the language that most of your local text is written in, and your local audio recordings are spoken in - i.e. whatever the majority language was before. There'll be a profound dislocation, but everyone's in the same boat.
Could people learn the language fast enough to keep critical infrastructure running? Imagine the Northeast blackout of 2003, except the consoles are all in what might as well be ancient Sumerian and the operators only know how to ask one another where the library is.
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