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Old 09-11-2022, 01:13 PM   #21
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Cyberpunk, Space Travel, and Setting Design

tshiggins: I was just rereading some of Jo Walton's essays on SF classics, and in one of them she comments that in Heinlein's juveniles (published in the purportedly optimistic 1940s and 1950s), there is a running theme of an overpopulated, oppressively governed Earth from which people are emigrating to other worlds, often imperfectly terraformed or with hazardous native life. So it's a classic theme, not just a recent one. Though I always remember the conversation near the end of Farmer in the Sky where an ecologist says that if you have emigration to other planets, you reduce the stress on the Earth population and people will have more children in response . . .

On the other hand, that assumes population growth, and most of the developed world, from Sweden to China, is faced with population decline, or so it appears. But I suppose you could premise an Earth where accumulated biochemical hazards have drastically reduced fertility and other planets offer a better chance of having children . . .
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Old 09-11-2022, 01:43 PM   #22
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Default Re: Cyberpunk, Space Travel, and Setting Design

I find cyberpunk to be a bit high-concept for gaming. I ran some cyberpunk games around 25 years ago. Because I'd been gm'ing for the past decade or so, I did get players.

The game worked for a while, but ultimately it failed because of the cyberpunk background. You should ask yourself, "how will this make the game more fun for your players?"

YMMV.
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Old 09-11-2022, 04:23 PM   #23
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Default Re: Cyberpunk, Space Travel, and Setting Design

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
An entire ecosystem that can feed on human life, but which evolved in complete isolation from humanity, means human beings have no natural defenses against local life forms.
Note that the reverse can also be true, leading to anything from an "Australian rabbit problem" to a gray-goo scenario where Earth-derived microbes out-compete the local ecosystem's defenses.

It might be interesting to have three different outcomes: one world (younger or less competitive than Earth) where invasive species are ruining the ecosystem, one (older or more competitive) where Earth species struggle to survive, and one where the contest is on more or less equal terms.
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Old 09-12-2022, 12:41 PM   #24
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Note that the reverse can also be true, leading to anything from an "Australian rabbit problem" to a gray-goo scenario where Earth-derived microbes out-compete the local ecosystem's defenses.

It might be interesting to have three different outcomes: one world (younger or less competitive than Earth) where invasive species are ruining the ecosystem, one (older or more competitive) where Earth species struggle to survive, and one where the contest is on more or less equal terms.
Earth species need a sizable advantage to be able to take over. As introduced species, their numbers will naturally be much lower than those of established ones, making it harder to establish a foothold and start taking over. From what I understand, rabbits in Australia, despite the advantages they had being quick-breeding, placental mammals for whom Australia was a near-optimal habitat, couldn't really establish themselves in the wilds until a) the native predators who had decided rabbits were delicious had been hunted more-or-less to extinction and b) a particularly-well-adapted breed was accidentally introduced (the fellow involved wanted all of a particular type of rabbit, but the one sending could find enough of that type and sent another breed as well; the interbreeding of the two lines exhibited remarkable hybrid vigor, and all the rabbits in Australia today are descended from them). Other places where introduced species tend to take over I believe typically lack predators (so a predator species rapidly rises to the top of a population not equipped to deal with them, while a prey species who evolved to have extra offspring to account for predation outbreeds the natives in absence of said predation), or you have the humans overhunting said predators.

That said, I opted (largely for simplicity, as I have no desire to create unique biomes for each planet) in my Harpyias setting to have Earth life completely take over the colonized planets, on account of lifeforms there being rather simple (roughly pre-Cambrian). I got the idea from the Freefall webcomic (where one of the main characters is from a world where the lifeforms are functionally "less-evolved," and he notes just about any Earth organism would rapidly take over; also, basically everything from Earth finds his species to be delicious), but the webserial Deathworlders takes a similar approach with the planet Cimbrean. In both cases, Earth life has a massive advantage over the natives.
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Old 09-12-2022, 01:32 PM   #25
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So, why would people choose to try to move to them? There seems little in the way of "demand-pull" migration.

Well, you handle that the same way Blade Runner did -- a home-world that has begun catastrophic ecological collapse -- or is simply rife with violence -- pushes people to try to leave (escape).
Or the way Britain handled colonization of Australia and the Americas, send the "deplorables". This also eventually sets up excellent conditions for rebellion and revolution, which is another great feature.
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Old 09-12-2022, 01:41 PM   #26
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Or the way Britain handled colonization of Australia and the Americas, send the "deplorables". This also eventually sets up excellent conditions for rebellion and revolution, which is another great feature.
It's worth noting that under the Regency in France, John Law set up a colonization scheme that sent settlers to New Orleans. They were beggars, thieves, and prostitutes recruited from the Paris penal system.
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Old 09-12-2022, 02:28 PM   #27
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It's worth noting that under the Regency in France, John Law set up a colonization scheme that sent settlers to New Orleans. They were beggars, thieves, and prostitutes recruited from the Paris penal system.
Oh definitely, I was just throwing Britain under the bus, but many European countries did it. Exportation of 'problematic' workforce was "easy for today's leaders, tomorrow's leader's problem" level solution.
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Old 09-12-2022, 03:34 PM   #28
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Default Re: Cyberpunk, Space Travel, and Setting Design

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the webserial Deathworlders takes a similar approach with the planet Cimbrean
Actually pretty much every planet. Earth is an unusual case, as the galaxy at large didn't think intelligent life could evolve on world made of murder.
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Old 09-12-2022, 03:45 PM   #29
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Actually pretty much every planet. Earth is an unusual case, as the galaxy at large didn't think intelligent life could evolve on world made of murder.
Isn't every planet with life a planet with murder?
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Old 09-12-2022, 05:50 PM   #30
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Isn't every planet with life a planet with murder?
The underlying assumption behind the Murderworlder setting is that Earth has higher gravity, more violent weather and tectonic activity and more aggressive animal life and diseases than the bulk of the life bearing worlds in the galaxy. The ecology of the paradise worlds has never been adequately explained to my knowledge, but it probably involves the animal life having far fewer offspring without disasters, predators and disease to worry about. But this of course digresses from the subject of the thread.

One thing about cyberpunk is that traditionally it is urban, overcrowded in fact. Export the same predatory capitalism and iffy law enforcement into a start-up colony and the result ends up looking more like a spaghetti western than a noir detective or crime drama.
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