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Old 10-31-2017, 08:42 PM   #21
robkelk
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
I occasionally find myself wondering how the IU setting would look if Centrum was the player's sponsor, perhaps even ethically reformed. It's also not unusual for posters to be of the opinion that ISWAT or Homeline as a whole is ruthless -- by necessity, you understand.

If one were to make a Good Centrum, Evil Homeline campaign, what changes would you make? My own suggestions:

Centrum becomes less arrogant. There is a general understanding that good as their system may be, it's not perfect.
Centrum gains some level of freedom of expression. People are not replaceable, and the long emergency is over. In general, expand the civil rights of Centrumites... although this doesn't need to imply democracy.
One or two crosstime colonies have been integrated, demonstrating that the society can and will allow others to achieve their level of comfort and success.

Homeline is more exploitative. They mine worlds with dirty tech, exploit natives, and steal advanced stuff where they can.
It's more decadent and more divided, with an impossibly wealthy upper class and a poor that can only hope to become a cross-time soldier or technician if they want to get access to the "infinite wealth."
Homeline becomes expansionist. Maybe the demand for bread and circuses for the poor and extravagant aircraft-carrier-sized yachts for the megawealthy class is driving Homeline farther out.

And, depending on one's interpretation, maybe Centrum has a single, closely-regulated intelligence agency that has a universal code of sentient's rights, mandating that whatever they do, they will not harm third-party civilians in pursuit of political goals. Homeline, in contrast, has an anarchic intelligence apparatus that doesn't have any notable compunctions at all.
Hmmmmm...

Define Centrum as holding "peace, order, and good government" as important. Define the terms the way you consider positive.

Then define Homeline as holding of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - for Homeliners only" above everything else.

This ends up with Centrum being positive-stereotype Canadians and Homeline being negative-stereotype Ugly Americans - both of which one can find dozens of examples for in 20th-century literature. (Just don't look at works that accurately describe either country.)

Riff from there...
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:56 PM   #22
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

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Originally Posted by martinl View Post
I'm not sure I'd go the way you suggest - an important theme of Centrum is that they view a lot of the things we consider "Freedom" as "Dangerous Anarchy."

I'd suggest instead just moving them a little closer to their own propaganda - they are really making hard decisions to bring the most "good" (which to them is mostly about stability, material comfort and safety, not freedom) to the most people, with people under Centrum's authority being a bit higher in priority.

Similarly, I'd just let Homeline be a little closer to Centrum's propaganda - dangerously anarchic and nakedly exploitative of other timelines. Note that almost every nuclear power on Homeline probably has nuclear-paratime capabilities, and the mere knowledge of that fact must drive centrans a bit crazy.

Now there is a little of a suspension of disbelief problem with a "Honest, well meaning, competent bureaucracy." I'd salt some pre-emptive sci-fi gobbledy**** in there so when the PCs ask you have an aswer ready.
They can exist, and have existed. The problem is that they tend to decay over time into something less good. But that's true of most things. It takes constant work to prevent things from going downhill.

Which actually sort of fits the Centrum mindset. They don't look around them and see a multiverse of limitless opportunities, they see limitless chances for things to go catastrophically wrong. From that POV, the Homeline emphasis on individuality is simply self-indulgence, like a lunatic who drills holes in the hull of a ship to 'express himself'.

Centrum might actually be able to hold off decay longer than Homeline simply because their mindset already turns that way. They can't do it forever, but they might maintain benevolence and competence (by their definitions) for a good while, because they think that way in the first place.

The weakness of the Centrum mindset is missed opportunities, the strength of it is avoiding dangerous temptations. Which one is 'better' depends to a large degree on circumstances.
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Old 11-01-2017, 01:31 AM   #23
DocRailgun
 
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

How is Centrum any less arrogant than Homeline?
Infinity itself may have been founded on a lovely dream and there may well be a lot of idealistic Infinity agents, but we know that the nations of Homeline use the Secret to supply weapons and agents for Outtime nations they prefer - the Russians and the Israelis especially. We know that there are lots of groups with access to the technology that go exploit worlds for their own desires or just to steal resources from. How is (for instance) Russia trying to manipulate a worldline to make an Imperial Russia or USSR any different than Centrum trying to nudge a world to its preferred view of society?
Centrum's not really the enemy. The enemies of Homeline and Centrum both are Shokaku-Mon, Reich-5 and the Cabal. What's worse to Infinity's idealism - a centralized bureaucracy where everyone's has purpose and a modicum of freedom (if less than on Homeline) or a cyberpunk corporate dystopia? Homeliners might not want to live in a Centrum society but they sure don't want to be selling their votes for kibble and paper clothes like in Dark Consipiracy.

Centrum is "the enemy" because that's how the setting is intended to run, but it doesn't take much thought to realize that doesn't really make a lot of sense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
I occasionally find myself wondering how the IU setting would look if Centrum was the player's sponsor, perhaps even ethically reformed. It's also not unusual for posters to be of the opinion that ISWAT or Homeline as a whole is ruthless -- by necessity, you understand.

If one were to make a Good Centrum, Evil Homeline campaign, what changes would you make? My own suggestions:

Centrum becomes less arrogant. There is a general understanding that good as their system may be, it's not perfect.
Centrum gains some level of freedom of expression. People are not replaceable, and the long emergency is over. In general, expand the civil rights of Centrumites... although this doesn't need to imply democracy.
One or two crosstime colonies have been integrated, demonstrating that the society can and will allow others to achieve their level of comfort and success.

Homeline is more exploitative. They mine worlds with dirty tech, exploit natives, and steal advanced stuff where they can.
It's more decadent and more divided, with an impossibly wealthy upper class and a poor that can only hope to become a cross-time soldier or technician if they want to get access to the "infinite wealth."
Homeline becomes expansionist. Maybe the demand for bread and circuses for the poor and extravagant aircraft-carrier-sized yachts for the megawealthy class is driving Homeline farther out.

And, depending on one's interpretation, maybe Centrum has a single, closely-regulated intelligence agency that has a universal code of sentient's rights, mandating that whatever they do, they will not harm third-party civilians in pursuit of political goals. Homeline, in contrast, has an anarchic intelligence apparatus that doesn't have any notable compunctions at all.
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Old 11-01-2017, 01:55 AM   #24
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

They're enemies, because they each consider only their reality's citizens actual people. And they have the power to attack each other's home reality, something no other main organization/planet/etc. can.
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Old 11-01-2017, 03:00 AM   #25
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
It is not a bad idea, though I have always thought that Homeline is more exploitative than it is commonly portrayed.
The amusing thing about reading Infinite Worlds is finding all the ways it steers around simply saying that Homeline are a bunch of self-indulgent parasites, and the places where it just gives up and admits the fact.

One amusing idea; imagine Homeline discovered a world much like Centrum, but without parachronics, before they met Centrum. Let’s face it, every social and political scientist on Homeline would go nuts trying to work out how someone preserved a global technocratic bureaucracy without slumping into gross inefficiency or corruption, and getting quite lost in admiration for the architects of that system.
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Old 11-01-2017, 03:26 AM   #26
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocRailgun View Post
How is Centrum any less arrogant than Homeline?
Infinity itself may have been founded on a lovely dream and there may well be a lot of idealistic Infinity agents, but we know that the nations of Homeline use the Secret to supply weapons and agents for Outtime nations they prefer - the Russians and the Israelis especially. We know that there are lots of groups with access to the technology that go exploit worlds for their own desires or just to steal resources from. How is (for instance) Russia trying to manipulate a worldline to make an Imperial Russia or USSR any different than Centrum trying to nudge a world to its preferred view of society?
Centrum's not really the enemy. The enemies of Homeline and Centrum both are Shokaku-Mon, Reich-5 and the Cabal. What's worse to Infinity's idealism - a centralized bureaucracy where everyone's has purpose and a modicum of freedom (if less than on Homeline) or a cyberpunk corporate dystopia? Homeliners might not want to live in a Centrum society but they sure don't want to be selling their votes for kibble and paper clothes like in Dark Consipiracy.

Centrum is "the enemy" because that's how the setting is intended to run, but it doesn't take much thought to realize that doesn't really make a lot of sense.
It seems to make the same sort of sense as the First and Second World being enemies: sure, they'll join forces to defeat the Axis, but then proceed to hold the whole world hostage over their enmity.

Incidentally, when I look at Infinite Worlds, what I want to see, either as a metaplot thing or a campaign premise, is some third majorly parachronic faction emerging, one that would unite the other worlds around its goal of stopping the former two worlds from covertly meddling in the affairs of others, going from world to world disclosing the secret and forging mutual defence treaties.

Sort of like the plot of Babylon 5, where in the end B5's commander stares down the Vorlons and Shadows and sends them off, ending their attempts to infringe on the sovereignty and independence of development of 'lesser' civilisations.
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Old 11-01-2017, 03:51 AM   #27
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

One could use that third faction as an instigator of the lightening of Centrum and darkening of Homeline. War changes culture all the time.

What kind of enemy would do that though?
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Old 11-01-2017, 04:21 AM   #28
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocRailgun View Post
Centrum is "the enemy" because that's how the setting is intended to run, but it doesn't take much thought to realize that doesn't really make a lot of sense.
Sorry, but I have to be Doylist for a moment here.

Centrum is the enemy because in GURPS Time Travel it was the Other Power (just like Timepiece/Stopwatch in the main body of the book). When the setting was updated for GURPS 4e, there was clearly some attempt to move from the Cold War mindset to something a bit more polar, but the powers are defined primarily in terms of how they interact with Homeline; there's not much about how they feel about each other.

If I were running an ongoing IW campaign, or if it had an official metaplot, I wouldn't be surprised to see a mistrustful alliance between Infinity and Centrum to do something about Reich-5 and at least establish a standoff with the Cabal.
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Old 11-01-2017, 07:24 AM   #29
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
One could use that third faction as an instigator of the lightening of Centrum and darkening of Homeline. War changes culture all the time.

What kind of enemy would do that though?
I'm fond of having a zone mind from reign of steel discover or come close to discovering parachronics. My favorite is Beijing, as it is playing around with Faster than Light travel, and so may stumble across the physics it needs. This scenario has the following advantages:

  • Centrum can't speak the language it needs to infiltrate
  • Infinity doesn't have the biowar experience it needs to not have agents drop like flies
  • Its in Centrum Territory

This pretty much forces them to work together, for the short run at least.
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Old 11-01-2017, 07:45 AM   #30
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Default Re: Centrum Light, Homeline Dark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by martinl
"Honest, well meaning, competent bureaucracy."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny1A.2 View Post
They can exist, and have existed. The problem is that they tend to decay over time into something less good. But that's true of most things. It takes constant work to prevent things from going downhill.
Fair enough - I was glossing over the "100 year old" part. Not to make this about political science, but the "magic" about Centrum is, as you note, that they don't seem to be decaying into an ossified Oligarchy, which is what I would expect.
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