Reliquaries

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pkitty
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Re: Reliquaries

Postby pkitty » Fri Dec 27, 2019 11:21 am

Yoric wrote:Note My real problem may simply be that I had envisioned the Cyberpapacy very differently.

Might be that? Because my group and I don't see it as any more or less "evil" compared to other cosms. (Well, everyone is a bit less evil than Orrorsh, of course.)

Consider this whitewashed-but-not-inaccurate take:

For the average person, especially those who already fit well into mainstream society, the quality of life is a wash at worst, an improvement at best. Sure there are longer hours, but the all-encompassing socialism also means no financial stress. No one needs to be homeless or severely disabled; literally anyone can raise themselves out of their current station via improving their Piety score.

Obviously, once you start looking at how marginalized and "unapproved" groups are treated, the evil comes right back to the forefront. There's nothing inherently good about theocratic fascism. But compared to most of the other cosms, the Cyberpapacy is a gilded cage with lovely throw pillows. No zombies infecting you, no dinosaurs eating you, no pseudo-Vikings slaughtering you, etc. All you have to do is at least pay lip service to the Church, follow the rules, and actively oppress minorities . . . and sadly, all of that isn't even asking much of the average person.

IMO, the one way that the Cyberpapacy is the "most evil" cosm is in how it's the most believable one, the one closest to the kind of evil we already have way too much of in our world. Maybe that's what's tripping your sensors.
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Re: Reliquaries

Postby TorgHacker » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:07 pm

Yoric wrote:Note My real problem may simply be that I had envisioned the Cyberpapacy very differently. I'll come to terms with this Cyberpapacy, eventually :)


As usual, if you don't like something that we publish, feel free to change it! It's YOUR game.

But yes, it was fully expected that some people would not like some of the creative decisions we made, and I mentioned awhile back (though this was probably before you joined the forums) that out of all the cosms, the Cyberpapacy was probably the one that was going to have the most surprising changes.
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Re: Reliquaries

Postby Kuildeous » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:29 pm

Yoric wrote: even the High Lord is described as an idiot and the only reason why not everything is smothered out yet is that the Bureaucracy is ridiculously inefficient.


I think idiot might be too strong a word. Certainly a dupe, but even the most intelligent people can be duped by concentrations of pure destruction.

It is a wholly different feeling, which is what Torg is all about. There’s room for high action in all the realms, but Nile feels different from Pan-Pacifica, which feels different from Aysle, and so on. The Cyberpapacy gloms onto the cyberpunk feeling with the addition of theocratic fanaticism. That cyberpunk feeling has to have that sensation of conformity and despair. You could change the flavor, just like you could change the flavor of Nile Empire to disallow monologues and inevitable returns, but that would be changing the nature of the cosm.

The inefficient bureaucracy is good for the story though. I posed the question a while back of how do you handle cosms with the technology to have ubiquitous surveillance. Oh, here we go: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=950.

Rereading that thread from 30 months ago—before we even got the core book—is interesting. The social axiom working against the Cyberpapacy makes the story more interesting because who wants to tell the story of the Storm Knights who get picked up within 2 minutes and then executed? No, we need a story where the Storm Knights have some leeway, but there is enough surveillance that they can get caught when the story dictates it (especially when the cosm card is played).

Interestingly, a Cyberpapacy mixed zone might be scarier since you have Core Earth social axiom combined with Cyberpapacy’s tech axiom. But since Malreaux doesn’t gain Possibility energy from mixed zones, he wants to flip them to dominant and lose that edge. It’s a vicious catch-22 he’s in.
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Re: Reliquaries

Postby Yoric » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:17 pm

First, to clarify: I'm not criticizing the work on the Cyberpapacy. The sourcebook is full of great ideas and I have objection to nothing written in it (well, besides stuff that I have posted through the feedback form :) ). If anything, I really want to read more of it!

For context, the Cyberpapacy I had designed and GM-ed in before the Sourcebook came out was much less 1984 and much more Black Mirror (basically, imagine the Cyberpapacy designed by Steve Jobs, with social pressure instead of concentration camps, the Church Police using only non-lethal weapons because they really, really wanted you to reconnect to the GodNet, etc.) and had the other half of Matrix (i.e. no Babel Monitors, but the Cosm fed from people being connected). Also, one of the reasons for which there was no communication between the Cyberpapacy and Magna Verita was that Faith in the Cyberpapacy had been designed specifically for Core Earth, for maximum compatibility with Europe and North-Africa, while Faith in Magna Verita was certainly completely different. This Cyberpapacy was also still very much part of the European Union and was slowly but surely taking over the EU politically. Oh, and Malraux was probably long dead and replaced by an artificial intelligence but even the Gaunt Man wasn't aware of this. As you can imagine, all of this had very different consequences on the rest of the War :)

As a side-note, some of my players (who didn't know Torg) started as Church Police, fighting Evil Demon Summoners (tm) and only slowly realized that something was really, really wrong. Also, not all of them were convinced that the Cyberpapacy was bad. That was fun :)

The net result being that I'm emotionally attached to my Black Mirror Cyberpapacy and all the ways it interacted with the rest of the world. It doesn't help that I wrote what is essentially a 170 pages long Core Earth Sourcebook which bases some of its stuff on aspects of this Black Mirror Cyberpapacy. I'm currently rewriting entire chapters in the hope of salvaging something.

I'll get over all of this, eventually :)

TorgHacker wrote:As usual, if you don't like something that we publish, feel free to change it! It's YOUR game.


Of course :)

But for the moment, what I'm lacking is a reason to visit the Cyberpapacy. I need something to hook me in :) I thought I had found that with what I dubbed above the Law of Revelation – that sounded like something fun to explore and a good reason for everyone from the entire world to visit the Cyberpapacy despite the danger, just as everyone is sending explorers to the Living Land to look for Lost Wonders or to Aysle to look for Talismans and other artifacts.

But it turns out that I had simply misunderstood the sourcebook, so I'm suddenly hookless :(

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Re: Reliquaries

Postby TorgHacker » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:35 pm

Yoric wrote:creates anything, cities are all pretty much identical, individual villains are nameless and interexchangeable, the GodNet seems pretty uniform, the Delphi Council doesn't seem to have a plan, even the High Lord is described as an idiot and the only reason why not everything is smothered out yet is that the Bureaucracy is ridiculously inefficient.



I'll be honest, I'm not sure how any of this comes across this way. I mean, if that's your opinion that's fine...but the villains are not nameless and interchangeable. The GodNet has multiple areas. The Delphi Council has plans (although some of them were cut and are in the PDFs)...it's just a very tough nut to crack, and brute force isn't going to work.

But by no means is Malraux an idiot. He's smart. He's conniving, but he is also very, very arrogant. And arrogant smart people are some of the EASIEST to fool, because they can't fathom the idea that they could possibly be fooled. _Especially_ if they're autocrats.

And yes, the bureaucracy is ridiculously inefficient, and that is one of the weaknesses that the heroes can utilize. There are others (points at the Julians).

The seeds of every High Lord's destruction is inherent in either themselves, or the reality they're from.

All of the Year One stuff is essentially the first act of the story. It's the setup. It's World War One through about 1941. Yes, things look very bad...but that's why heroes are needed.
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Re: Reliquaries

Postby Yoric » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:39 pm

pkitty wrote:IMO, the one way that the Cyberpapacy is the "most evil" cosm is in how it's the most believable one, the one closest to the kind of evil we already have way too much of in our world. Maybe that's what's tripping your sensors.


That is very probably a factor. But what I feel is that the Cyberpapacy might end up (for me) like the original Orrorsh: a cosm that you definitely want to eradicate, but not one in which you want to actually play.

Again, YMMV. I'm sure that most GMs and players will be entirely happy fighting theocratic fascism on the ground, in the Flesh and in the GodNet. The cosm definitely seems to be optimized to let GMs organize manhunts crossing between Flesh and GodNet, streets and catacombs (and subway? is there still a subway in the Cyberpapacy?), and I'm sure that this will be fun!

But if anybody has an idea of something that can hook me back into the Cyberpapacy, I'll be happy :)

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Re: Reliquaries

Postby TorgHacker » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:43 pm

Yoric wrote:
The net result being that I'm emotionally attached to my Black Mirror Cyberpapacy and all the ways it interacted with the rest of the world. It doesn't help that I wrote what is essentially a 170 pages long Core Earth Sourcebook which bases some of its stuff on aspects of this Black Mirror Cyberpapacy. I'm currently rewriting entire chapters in the hope of salvaging something.

I'll get over all of this, eventually :)



Honestly, if you've put that much work into your version of the setting, you should stick with it, and not rewrite it to 'fit' the official one.

Grab the stuff you like, and ditch the stuff you don't. I'm not going to send the Game Police after you for doing so. ;)

You obviously have put a lot of thought and effort into your version...I'd just stick with it.
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Re: Reliquaries

Postby Istrian » Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:46 pm

Yoric wrote:But for the moment, what I'm lacking is a reason to visit the Cyberpapacy. I need something to hook me in :) I thought I had found that with what I dubbed above the Law of Revelation – that sounded like something fun to explore and a good reason for everyone from the entire world to visit the Cyberpapacy despite the danger, just as everyone is sending explorers to the Living Land to look for Lost Wonders or to Aysle to look for Talismans and other artifacts.


I assume what you are looking for is reasons for people other than Storm Knights to visit.

First, safety. I can see millions of Ord refugees fleeing towards the Cyberpapacy. Sure, Core Earth government could warn that they are dangerous and lying, but then before the invasion the same governments said that Country X was led by dangerous liars. But now Country X is home to technodemons or angry lizardfolk and you fear your government might not fare any better.

Then there's diplomacy. I believe it was mentioned somewhere (either Core Book or Beta Primer) that CE governments engage in diplomacy with Malraux (who's always looking for excuses to keep them off Magna Verita).

There's R&D. The Laws certainly make it a contradiction but it wouldn't be impossible for a corporation to hire enough Stormers to do the job. The high Tech axiom would make advances fast and easy (especially if PP sets up a Mixed "inter-corporate exchange zone" somewhere).

There's religious fanaticism. Plenty of extremists who would not agree with the Holy Cyber Enclave's views and would try to go there for sabotage/terrorism. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch for the UN/DC to want these extremists stopped to avoid giving more propaganda ammunition to Malraux.

The countryside is also fairly free of religious presence, and if you don't mind the strange beasts you could have a luddite community or two settling up there.

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Re: Reliquaries

Postby Yoric » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:13 pm

TorgHacker wrote:I'll be honest, I'm not sure how any of this comes across this way. I mean, if that's your opinion that's fine...but the villains are not nameless and interchangeable.


Maybe in Secrets of the Cyberpapacy? For the moment, in the Sourcebook, I believe that only two villains are named (Malraux and Cardinal Ratti) and only one described (Malraux). Plus one if you count Ebenescrux :)

And everybody else is described as "The Church Police", "The Inquisition", "The Techquisition." So, the way I understand it, which may be entirely wrong, is... everybody else is kinda faceless?

The GodNet has multiple areas.


You're right, my bad.

The Delphi Council has plans (although some of them were cut and are in the PDFs)...it's just a very tough nut to crack, and brute force isn't going to work.


Looking forward to reading them :)

But by no means is Malraux an idiot. He's smart. He's conniving, but he is also very, very arrogant. And arrogant smart people are some of the EASIEST to fool, because they can't fathom the idea that they could possibly be fooled. _Especially_ if they're autocrats.


Fair enough.

Just... do I understand correctly that Malraux (and/or Ebenescrux) kinda broke his own God 150 years ago and hasn't realized yet, and also still doesn't understand that the sole purpose of the Techquisition is to let Ebenescrux pretend that God isn't broken?

And yes, the bureaucracy is ridiculously inefficient, and that is one of the weaknesses that the heroes can utilize. There are others (points at the Julians).


Oh, I realize that the Cosm would be unplayable if the bureaucracy was a little better.

It just adds up into a society designed for self-destruction. Which, to be fair, is also the concept behind Cyberpunk, so I probably shouldn't have been surprised :)

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Re: Reliquaries

Postby Yoric » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:17 pm

Istrian wrote:I assume what you are looking for is reasons for people other than Storm Knights to visit.


I actually meant for the GM, rather than actual people, but I'll be happy to take your reasons, too :)

First, safety. [...]


Well, if I read correctly, the borders are closed, so, probably not.


Then there's diplomacy. I believe it was mentioned somewhere (either Core Book or Beta Primer) that CE governments engage in diplomacy with Malraux (who's always looking for excuses to keep them off Magna Verita).


It's my understanding that this isn't the case anymore.

There's R&D. The Laws certainly make it a contradiction but it wouldn't be impossible for a corporation to hire enough Stormers to do the job. The high Tech axiom would make advances fast and easy (especially if PP sets up a Mixed "inter-corporate exchange zone" somewhere).


Well, I was thinking of this, but in a cosm in which science is forbidden and revelations only come to Malraux himself, this would have to be secret. Which remains possible, just very, very hard.

There's religious fanaticism. Plenty of extremists who would not agree with the Holy Cyber Enclave's views and would try to go there for sabotage/terrorism. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch for the UN/DC to want these extremists stopped to avoid giving more propaganda ammunition to Malraux.


Sure, we can have Storm Breakers-style activity here. In fact, in my stuff, it's probably what the Opus Mariae is doing.

The countryside is also fairly free of religious presence, and if you don't mind the strange beasts you could have a luddite community or two settling up there.


Well, the place is a bit hard to reach :)


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