Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

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mistervimes
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Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby mistervimes » Tue Dec 04, 2018 11:30 am

A while back, Fuzzy wrote a great overview of the United States At War where they showed the impact of the conflict on national infrastructure.

What about the psychological impact?

Examples that have come up in my mind:
  • A person shows up dressed as a superhero, claiming that they are from a superhero cosm, and tries to stop a crime or tries to fly.
  • A group of SCAers or LARPers decide to go to Aysle with the desire to transform.
  • A caravan of nature lovers decide to willingly convert to the Living Land.

Thoughts?
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Kuildeous
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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby Kuildeous » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:42 pm

I suspect there may be some existential angst as ords feel they are not special. They hear about these Storm Knights who are capable of safely traversing the realms and causing contradictions left and right while they are extremely limited. This could cause many of the ords to resent stormers in general. Transformed ords especially have a bleak future where it seems they can only live life with their new reality. The Nashville incident hangs over their head like the Sword of Damocles as they could be snuffed out by the actions of people hundreds of kilometers away. That's gotta cause some ulcers.

If the ords don't feel confident that glories will save them, then they may view the success of their current reality as the only way for them to continue existing. The hacker in Cyberpapacy may feel the need to oppose the Resistance because he sees them as threatening his existence. He might actually oppose the Cyberpope, so he has this cognitive dissonance as he tries to figure out how to keep the reality but not the High Lord.

Then there's the fact that most people would have no idea if they're an ord or not. Stormers can tell because of the Moment of Crisis, but until someone experiences that, they won't know if they'll always be an ord or become a stormer. That's another layer of anxiety to contend with. If the ord crosses the border, will he never be allowed back?

And transformation anxiety has got to be a thing for everybody. You have the hopefuls who seek a better life and strive to find it by turning into a wizard or priest or warrior. They may long for a "simpler" life in Living Land or the chrome of Cyberpapacy. But on the other end of the spectrum are people who see the new realities as hell. I feel like I would hate to be forced into the technological level of Orrorsh, despite the fact that I'd be comfortable with it after I transform. If only transphobia wasn't already taken (it'd be a better use of that word at least). Maybe Proteusphobia? Such people might obsess over using tools of their axioms in an attempt to stave off transformation. The German who drives his car everywhere in order to stave off Aysle transformation. Perhaps he is zealous in his religion to stave off Cyberpapal transformation.

As stela knowledge grows, so too does paranoia. Already-xenophobic Americans become distrustful or any edeinos since they could be spies. Vigilantes stop trucks on the highway in case they are transporting stelae. Tempers can flare up as patriots don't like having their loyalties questioned.

Honestly, I imagine some High Lords send over only a few agitators to play on the populace's paranoia.

And that's not even counting the usual mental trauma that come about as a result of war conditions.
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Gargoyle
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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:08 pm

Kuildeous wrote:I suspect there may be some existential angst as ords feel they are not special. They hear about these Storm Knights who are capable of safely traversing the realms and causing contradictions left and right while they are extremely limited. This could cause many of the ords to resent stormers in general. Transformed ords especially have a bleak future where it seems they can only live life with their new reality. The Nashville incident hangs over their head like the Sword of Damocles as they could be snuffed out by the actions of people hundreds of kilometers away. That's gotta cause some ulcers.

If the ords don't feel confident that glories will save them, then they may view the success of their current reality as the only way for them to continue existing. The hacker in Cyberpapacy may feel the need to oppose the Resistance because he sees them as threatening his existence. He might actually oppose the Cyberpope, so he has this cognitive dissonance as he tries to figure out how to keep the reality but not the High Lord.

Then there's the fact that most people would have no idea if they're an ord or not. Stormers can tell because of the Moment of Crisis, but until someone experiences that, they won't know if they'll always be an ord or become a stormer. That's another layer of anxiety to contend with. If the ord crosses the border, will he never be allowed back?



But think about it this way: Core Earth has always had larger than life heroes. It's not the Earth we live in. It's the world where Die Hard is a documentary. I don't think this would be a big deal for them. I think before the war, they probably had heroes as celebrities and now they have some even more celebrities to look up to, to hate, and to gossip about. But I don't think ords are self-aware enough to get a complex over it. It's just how it is, and that really hasn't changed, even if Storm Knights are a new phenomenon, and I see them as not particularly ambitious.

And transformation anxiety has got to be a thing for everybody. You have the hopefuls who seek a better life and strive to find it by turning into a wizard or priest or warrior. They may long for a "simpler" life in Living Land or the chrome of Cyberpapacy. But on the other end of the spectrum are people who see the new realities as hell. I feel like I would hate to be forced into the technological level of Orrorsh, despite the fact that I'd be comfortable with it after I transform. If only transphobia wasn't already taken (it'd be a better use of that word at least). Maybe Proteusphobia? Such people might obsess over using tools of their axioms in an attempt to stave off transformation. The German who drives his car everywhere in order to stave off Aysle transformation. Perhaps he is zealous in his religion to stave off Cyberpapal transformation.

As stela knowledge grows, so too does paranoia. Already-xenophobic Americans become distrustful or any edeinos since they could be spies. Vigilantes stop trucks on the highway in case they are transporting stelae. Tempers can flare up as patriots don't like having their loyalties questioned.

Honestly, I imagine some High Lords send over only a few agitators to play on the populace's paranoia.


Yeah, once the population understands that they can be transformed, that THEIR CHILDREN could be transformed "God forbid my child becomes one of them", I could see a LOT of anxiety about it, more than one might first consider. After all, people don't like change; even when it's a good change some will oppose it. This could translate into a lot of emotional reactions. This I do feel could be very upsetting to ords.


And that's not even counting the usual mental trauma that come about as a result of war conditions.


Yeah, can't forget that this is a war and comes with all that baggage...but the worst of that I leave outside my game. Enough of that IRL. Still, some room for it though, just as a reminder that this is a desperate situation.

Glad I'm not an ord.
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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby ZorValachan » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:25 pm

The original question doesn't quite fit the examples given. Idk why.

For the examples i would think it's up to the GM. As role-players, we like to think we'd go to Aysle and be super mages or that our rpg knowlege would help in Orrorsh. Or that our arguing/thinking about the walking dead would make us bada$$es in the zombie apocalypse.

The GM gets to decide if those hippies become noble primatives of Lanala or get eaten by the first dino they try to hug.

As for the other things brought up. I think it would take a lot of time before the masses understand possibility energy, transformation, etc. If they ever do. Many will be too busy trying to survive to be thinking to go to aysle. If the LL drops by your house, will you ever even learn there is Aysle where your LARP group's dream might come true. Then if they do, get impaled by spear within hours of crossing into Aysle ala Guardians of the Flame
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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby QuarrelBlue » Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:21 pm

My small idea;

*Distrust on technology or science
High-tech defense utterly failed against the Living Land, and science can't explain why.
So, peolpe turn away from science and seek for supernatural help more than before.
Genuine magic, miracle, and psionics will be treated much more seriously, but thre can also be many frauds taking Possibility Wars as an opportunity.
(Reverend Arnold Butcher, a televangelist in oTorg Living Land sourcebook, is an example of such fraud)
And, doubt against science can go too far and anti-intellectualism can get in the way when scientific solutions are needed.

*Rise of a Whole Bunch of Doomsday Cults
Invasion of the Possibility Raiders looks very likely to destroy the whole world(and if not for the Storm Knights, it surely will do), so it seems natural to see lots of eschatologists popping up.
Some can help people keeping calm, but others can be ruthless against outside people and do lots of harm.
And some may even think the unrealization of people by impossible transformation as some kind of rapture, and actively want it happen.
In the worst cases, those cultists can be High Lords' fifth column, hoping that they will be spared by working for the invaders.
(Cyberpope Malraux is the obvious canditate for such tactic, but many other High Lords can do that.)

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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby johntfs » Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:31 pm

One of the things we hear about is the 1% and the 99% in terms of wealth. In terms of the Possibility Wars, the 1% are the P-rated and the 99% is everyone else. For all that we RPers love to imaging ourselves the heroes casting spells or wielding guns, the truth of the matter is that is something close to the P-wars happened, we'd be screwed to the wall. Figure in most modern societies only a relatively few people have the ability to last more than a brief (hours/days) without modern civilized infrastructure and the food/water/shelter/income/protection that it provides. We as humans created civilization to protect ourselves from Nature.

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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby Here Comes The Flood » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:25 am

I think TorgHacker mentioned previously that they weren't really going to address the psychological impact - because in reality, it would be so devastating, basically an End of the World thing, and they didn't want a grimdark setting.

I remember that in the original game, normal folks pretty much just saw the invading realities as this year's fad or craze, 1994's version of fidget spinners or the Emoji Movie. There were in-world action figures and movies and RPGs made about the Possibility Wars, there was even a Hugh Hefner magazine called Playthings :)

I remember talking about Torg on messageboards about a decade after it ended, and how many players found this jarring in retrospect.

It's actually an interesting topic, one we try and make central to the game, but I don't blame Ulisses for not wanting to go there in a straightforward action-movie style version of the game.
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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby Gargoyle » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:42 am

Here Comes The Flood wrote:
I remember that in the original game, normal folks pretty much just saw the invading realities as this year's fad or craze, 1994's version of fidget spinners or the Emoji Movie. There were in-world action figures and movies and RPGs made about the Possibility Wars, there was even a Hugh Hefner magazine called Playthings :)

I remember talking about Torg on messageboards about a decade after it ended, and how many players found this jarring in retrospect.

It's actually an interesting topic, one we try and make central to the game, but I don't blame Ulisses for not wanting to go there in a straightforward action-movie style version of the game.


I agree, it's intriguing.

It's a very good call that they are avoiding self-parodization or taking the setting too lightly with TorgE because there is enough of that at a typical RPG table already. Meta-humor is going to happen and going into all that in published supplements just makes it so hard to keep a session serious enough to be enjoyable for many people. Best to leave all that to RPG's like Paranoia and Ghostbusters. I applaud the intent to keep the setting "desperate" but not "dark", but also not going too silly. Going too silly is harder to come back from though IMO, and that's why I criticize a bit when I see things like too much resurrection or campiness. I feel that undermines a major goal of the overall setting.

Still, there is some room for campiness in a pulp hero setting without infringing on the desperation too much. I think they hit the tone perfectly with the Law of Masks for instance.
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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby Here Comes The Flood » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:24 am

Gargoyle wrote:I agree, it's intriguing.
It's a very good call that they are avoiding self-parodization or taking the setting too lightly with TorgE because there is enough of that at a typical RPG table already. Meta-humor is going to happen and going into all that in published supplements just makes it so hard to keep a session serious enough to be enjoyable for many people.


I was very happy that they cut back on all the silliness in Living Land. It was a setting I enjoyed initially, but it soon became a self-parody with Elvis, Skippy, etc. and by War's End, destroying Amalgam!Kaah was a mercy-kill. So in Eternity, when they introduce the Core Earth Edinenos like the Rustjaws, they seem fairly grounded and not goofy or silly.

That said, they seem to have ramped up the campiness in Nile Empire, which isn't personally my thing. Pulp/Noir can be Nightraven or Sin City if you want it to be. The original 'Weird Tales' had plenty of dark and disturbing creepshow elements.

Gargoyle wrote:that's why I criticize a bit when I see things like too much resurrection or campiness. I feel that undermines a major goal of the overall setting.


Yeah,I agree, even in fantasy worlds, easy ressurection makes it impossible to have those 'epic sacrifice' moments. A hero martyring himself for a greater cause, the final showdown with a villain that ends the feud one way or another... that's thrown aside when all the variables are reset every time. The villain who was once exciting is now just boring because everyone knows there's never an epic conclusion.

In RPGs I tend to just take the setting and agree on a genre with the players. A Star Wars game where the PCs are ruthless bounty-hunters or running a crime syndicate has a different feel to where they are all plucky rebels fighting the Evil EMpire. But they're both Star Wars regardless.

I absolutely understand why Ulisses went for the 'Saturday Morning Matinee' approach, as it will work well with many groups. But not every group.
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Re: Psychological impact of the Possibility Wars

Postby TorgHacker » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:30 am

Here Comes The Flood wrote:I think TorgHacker mentioned previously that they weren't really going to address the psychological impact - because in reality, it would be so devastating, basically an End of the World thing, and they didn't want a grimdark setting.


Pretty much.
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