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Old 03-03-2019, 06:12 AM   #341
Join Date: Oct 2004
Default Re: Lucy's Choice: Let's make Lucifer Parallels!

Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Huh, survival is dubious for humanity, not for civilization. Without farming, what are they eating?
They will be hunters and gatherers, as we were for much longer than we had agriculture.
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:41 AM   #342
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Default Re: Lucy's Choice: Let's make Lucifer Parallels!

There are only a few places where that's really feasible. But I'd imagine food dense zones like coasts or river deltas could support quite a few "primitives".

Of course this assumes a world not wrecked/altered by ecological devastation likely caused by normal high-ish tech human use let alone global conflagration.
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Old 03-03-2019, 10:48 AM   #343
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Default Re: Lucy's Choice: Let's make Lucifer Parallels!

Originally Posted by Pomphis View Post
They will be hunters and gatherers, as we were for much longer than we had agriculture.
I thought about that. And ruled it out. Unfortunately, hunting exposes you to the danger more than tilling a well-guarded field.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:18 AM   #344
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Default Re: Lucy's Choice: Let's make Lucifer Parallels!

Sol-6 diverged in 2016. While the first five Sol parallels are radically different (they feature Earths with radically different suns), Sol-6 was quite like homeline up until sunlight began to have a terrible effect on human beings. No one is quite sure if it was a change to the sun or to human beings, but anyone exposed to sunlight, even reflected off the moon, suffers rapid mental decline. They don't become necessarily violent, but they do rapidly become unable to care for themselves and somewhat animalistic (IQ drops down to 5 or 6, then the victim gains Beastial and loses all forbidden abilities; HT to resist).

This varies with intensity. An exposure of five minutes to the bare light of a crescent moon is probably safe -- maybe even 15 minutes. Thirty minutes of exposure to mostly full moonlight, or to skyglow near dusk, is dizzying, but one could recover in time. To step into a room lit by reflected daylight for but a few seconds is foolhardy, but sometimes needed.

Simply walking about in shirtsleeves in full daylight is akin to skinny dipping in the reactor core of a nuclear plant mid-meltdown -- even if you somehow survived, everyone would rightly believe you insane. In between these extremes, it is possible to take a partial exposure, but recovery from that is rare, with some intellectual loss inevitable unless the exposure is very slight.

That said, it is possible to survive with sufficient protective gear -- thick dark glasses and total skin coverage, for a start. A dust mask would be ideal as well -- which is odd, as breathing the air at night is apparently safe.

The first day saw widespread chaos as people struggled to understand what was happening. Even in built-up, urban areas, a good 50% of the population experienced effectively terminal exposure, reduced to drooling animals. In more rural areas, it was even higher. At the instant the effect began, it was summer in the northern hemisphere, at approximately 11 AM GMT, which effectively placed nearly all of the inhabited world in some level of sunlight. Australia and Japan, for instance, avoided the brunt of the initial chaos.

Those who could hide in full-dark rooms did so, and that night the remainders of humanity struggled to care for the erratic and chaotic afflictees. In many communities, there were far more victims than there were caregivers. The enclaves that survived were those that quickly accepted that the sun-dazzled victims were beyond saving.

Humans are now struggling to adapt to a world where the glare of sunlight scatters the trembling shadows of sapience.

Visiting outtimers would discover a world with a vibrant night-life, or else a very quiet yet built-up world inhabited by a few roving, animalistic humans. It's up to the GM if outtimers are subject to the effect.

Last edited by PTTG; 11-19-2019 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:00 PM   #345
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Default Re: Lucy's Choice: Let's make Lucifer Parallels!

In Radium, the negative effects of radiation were first ignored, then suppressed for decades. The atomic era began in the 1920s, as atomic heaters were manufactured and distributed to homes around the world. Where our history used neon, this one used radioluminescent paints.

This opened the door to more sophisticated uses of radiation, from food preservation (including the occasional household Radium Cabinet) to nuclear power. This second kind took the form of small "atomic stirlings" used in cars and homes.

Obviously this was big business -- the Atomic Revolution made billionares by the mid '30s. Though there was already serious evidence that everything from the bottle-warmer beside a crib to the very dust in the city streets was producing some level of dangerous radiation, it was 1: economically unsound to upset the applecart over the matter and 2: practically seditious to even speak of things that would disrupt the economy of the free world so seriously as reversing the gains made in the AR.

It didn't help that Nazis saw atomic advances as unwanted foreign influence on their world. In fact, the Nazi party's obsession with genetic purity lead them to instruct members of the party avoid to atomic devices entirely, which much of the rest of the party took as an invitation to trash them.

As the Soviets and the Allies liberated Europe, the idea that only Nazis oppose Atomics was firmly rooted the zeitgeist. This was only reinforced by the use of the nuclear bomb (corporate partners insisted that the bomb be referred to as "nuclear" rather than "atomic" in order to avoid a public relations issue) to win the war. There were six bombs used; two on Japan, one on Germany a while before, and three used against the USSR. One of these was a "warning shot" in the Baltic, the second on soviet forces outside Warsaw, and the third against a retaliatory strike by the soviets shortly thereafter. The USSR fell into disarray, and the Communist Bloc collapsed practically before it had begun.

And so, the public generally accepted the power of the atom for decades. It was only in the 1980s that it finally became impossible to cover up the quite literal fallout growing in magnitude around the world. It took decades more to actually turn public opinion against Atomic tools and materials; even in 2015, a solid 30% of the population believed there was no harm in a little alpha, beta, or gamma in one's daily life. This has resulted in communities being forced to depend on themselves for protection from radiation, and to attempt to replace it.

In the present (2015) day, some communities are attempting to clean up their act, while others ignore the omnipresent radiation as much as they can, and blame the negative effects on bad luck or cigarettes. The lack of regulation means that more and more of the planet is being hit by radioactive leaks and other nuclear pollution, making vast areas unsuitable to human life (think like Lake Karachay, the Kyshtym Radioactive Trace, or the Cherenobyl exclusion zone, except most states in the USA have at least one such site and probably more). Even the cleanest town survives, deep down, because of radiation produced somewhere else, though some are trying to put a stop to it.

On the bright side, this world has nearly no excess CO2.

Last edited by PTTG; 02-15-2020 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:47 AM   #346
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Default Re: Lucy's Choice: Let's make Lucifer Parallels!

Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
The atomic era began in the 1920s, as atomic heaters were manufactured and distributed to homes around the world.
Um, how is this done? Was fission discovered early, and reactors built in that era? If so, why were so few atomic bombs used in WWII?

If reactors weren't built until the late thirties or early forties, where did the radioactive elements for domestic heaters come from? Elements with short enough half-lives to provide useful heating are very uncommon, because they've normally decayed already.

Radium, polonium and other short half-life elements are formed in nature by the decay of uranium or thorium, but those sources have long half-lives. That means that the short half-life elements only exist in Earth in small quantities, and have to be expensively extracted from huge quantities of uranium or thorium ore.
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:59 AM   #347
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Default Re: Lucy's Choice: Let's make Lucifer Parallels!

As you've pointed out, the history of nuclear physics was different in that worldline. I don't know quite enough to provide a plausible alternative timeline, but, basically, Atomics was largely commercial until Tube Alloys and the Manhattan project.

As for why they didn't discover the potential of atom bombs sooner, well, sure some people suspected it could be possible, but it would require higher purity, more enrichment, and better manufacturing than they had at the time. Combine that with this being a commercial initiative that didn't want their products associated with weapons, and it could have been reasonably delayed.

After all, we had the technology for nuclear rocket motors since the '60s and didn't pursue it for political reasons. Same is true in Radium: there were other priorities.
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Old 04-25-2020, 06:45 PM   #348
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Default Re: Lucy's Choice: Let's make Lucifer Parallels!

Tentatively designated Gotha-b1, this worldline is currently 1996, but few recognize it as such.

The Gotha variant here does not cause any loss of mental capacity or memory, instead increasing emotional intensity and irritability to apoplectic levels. Most strangely and subtly, it limits the ability of individuals to cooperate with strangers, but not familiar people. It emerged in the mid 1960s, starting in the USA.

Though the communist bloc was relieved to see the USA collapse into anarchy, it was short-lived. There never was an organized nuclear war, but there were about 120 nuclear detonations. 12 of those were the product of two US missile subs firing on the eastern seaboard. Aside from that spectacular result, most of the rest were one-off attacks, broken arrows, or general homicidal madness, usually targeted at organized strongholds over the decades.

By the '90s, all large-scale organization has collapsed. Infected, cannibalistic bandits wander the ruined, pockmarked wastes searching for survivor enclaves. These survivors manage to hang on to the edge of extinction by avoiding all contact with outsiders -- and by necessity, practicing strict emotional control. Anyone who has strong emotions is quarantined... but even so, some infectees manage to slip by through stealth long enough to sabotage or simply rampage.

As of yet undiscovered, Gotha-b2 is presently 1999. The disease has just appeared in remote farming community in the UK. Of the 600 inhabitants, 200 infectees slaughtered the others and are now plotting on destroying the rest of humanity however possible.

Long story short, this variant of the Gotha plague turns humans into fully sentient psychopaths that are nonetheless able to cooperate enough to be a threat to normal humans
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