May 17th, 2015
It struck me recently, while listening to a board gaming podcast, that there is a significant difference between the modern board game hobby and a hobby that I’ve had for most of my life, playing tabletop role-playing games. I suppose I had known it for a long time but I had never really recognized it, although I think it is an important and significant divergence between the two otherwise similar hobbies.
That difference is, board games tend to focus on buying new games constantly, while RPGs focus on playing the same system almost exclusively for a long time.
April 1st, 2014
It’s funny, when you plan these things far in advance, they tend to get lost in the inevitable flood of posts that come along thereafter. I had meant to write this post months ago but you know how that goes. So here goes Building a Better World Part 13.
War is an inevitability in any space epic and for a lot of people, the bigger the war, the better. Getting virtually every major species involved in a single, long-running, all-out war gets a lot of people drooling and that’s exactly what I did here. This isn’t the only big war I’ve had by any means but it isn’t known by any pithy names like The Great War or The Universal War, in fact, it is remembered primarily because of it’s last battle and that’s why it was called The War of the Aquarian Void.
January 14th, 2014
On a recent episode of The Secret Cabal podcast, they talked about tailoring RPG clues to the players and they said that players shouldn’t be expected to be Sherlock Holmes, just because they might be roleplaying him, they’re just normal people.
December 31st, 2013
Damn it! This is another post WordPress didn’t publish as scheduled! It was supposed to go up on December 3, it says scheduled for December 3, but by the time I realized it didn’t post, it was almost the end of the month. Sorry if these are going to be out of order!
In most far-future science fiction universes, the human homeworld is sacred, it’s often depicted as a paradise, where problems of crime and pollution have been solved and it sits at the pinnacle of human achievement, which all other planets strive to emulate.
Not me. I blew it up. Read on in Building a Better World Part 10 to find out how and why.
December 23rd, 2013
Welcome to Building a Better World Part 12. I have never been a fan of the cyberpunk genre, I hate dystopian futures, I hate the idea of megacorps and I detest the idea of whacking off your limbs to attach machine parts. It is just something that I fundamentally dislike and I’ve yet to have anyone explain to me rationally what is so exciting about the cyberpunk genre. However, my gaming group was most active at the height of the cyberpunk movement, back when William Gibson wrote Neuromancer, Bruce Sterling put out Mirrorshades and Neal Stephenson did Snow Crash. Whereas cyberpunk was, in large part, a vehement reaction against utopian science fiction, that’s really where my interest lies.
Of course, lots of people loved cyberpunk back in the day and desperately wanted to include some elements in my science fiction universe. My players, while certainly not fanatics, fell into this general category. This is how I essentially worked around this desire until it subsided.
December 11th, 2013
It occurred to me very early on that as people got stronger and stronger weapons, that planetary conflict was a losing prospect. Unleashing your arsenal against people on another continent, or even another planet, is going to end with a lot of planets damaged to the point that they cannot support life, thus making the conflict relatively pointless to begin with. Oh sure, if you want to wipe out another planet or don’t care if you destroy it’s ecology, then maybe the ability to turn a planet’s surface into a nuclear wasteland is a militarily valid option, but what if you want the planet? What if you need the planet’s resources? What if you want to make it into a colony? What if you already live there and can’t afford to throw nukes around? What then?
November 26th, 2013
Here on Building a Better World Part 9, I wanted to talk about the ultimate fate of religion in the far-flung future. As I already discussed in my post on time travel, religion didn’t fare well in the distant future and everywhere that it tried to prove it’s claims, it failed miserably. This wasn’t limited to the Catholics, nor to Christianity, virtually all monotheistic religions failed across the board when it became painfully clear that they were all false. Christianity, as a whole, dropped to representing a tiny percentage of the population. Islam similarly fell, but they had some serious problems that I’ll explore in part 10 of my series. Judiasm went virtually extinct, as did Shintoism, Taoism and many of the other eastern religions. Hinduism fared better than most but it too was practiced by only a sliver of the population.
So what happened to religion? Read on and find out.
November 6th, 2013
As societies advance, we like to think that social problems that plagued people in the past will have been cleared up by the natural march of time. Sometimes this is true, sometimes it is not and sometimes, things go through a weird reversal that makes you stop and say “hmmmm”. Such is the case of racism in my science fiction universe. This time on Building a Better World, I take a look at the changing face of humanity in the distant future.
October 30th, 2013
I hate time travel in science fiction stories, I really do, but apparently, lots of people like it. I initially started off having no time travel available at all, but people started suggesting the Star Trek method, slingshotting around the sun and all that nonsense. I resisted, saying it doesn’t work that way, but over time, especially after I introduced fold drive, I could no longer deny people going back in time.
Therefore, that’s what I’ll look at in this edition of Building a Better World Part 7.
October 23rd, 2013
It seems to me that there are only a couple of logical political systems to which anyone can ascribe, at least talking in very general terms. It all comes down to who is in power and how they achieve and maintain it. You can have a democratic system, where the people are put in charge through some mechanism or another. You can have an autocratic system, whereby some individual or group is in charge by fiat and this can include monarchies, theocracies and the like. You can have some form of communal system, whereby people have no central government. You can also have an anarchistic system, whereby nobody runs the show, everyone makes decisions on their own.
This time on Building a Better World, I look at the state of human politics in the far distant future.