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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:40 pm 
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Great points!

Cyborg IM1 wrote:
Reading your history of the solar system, I am concerned that the recovery might have happened too soon after a war that bankrupted everyone. Basically 4 years after the war, martian colonies are present. I think that you should give the Trade Blocs and Corporations a decade or so to consolidate their power before moving beyond where we are today. First orbital launch after the war (comm and spy satellites) probably didn't happen until 2060s (maybe late 2050s). I think if you just bump things out a decade or two, it will be fine. Obviously, we don't know what it would really take, but when reading it, my first thought was "WOW, that was fast".

Hmmm... Good point. I think I'll move the timeline a few decades forward - that is, current year would be 2170, 150 years from now rather than a mere century. So two or three decades of recovery post WWIII and somewhat longer colonial generations.

Cyborg IM1 wrote:
Also, your 3 Trading Blocs are pretty standard and strike me as being similar to 2300 (Europe, America, Asia). How about splitting things up a bit more... Maybe Europe is split in half again (if the fighting took place there, they are unlikely to immediately reunite under the IC). Also, add North and South America together, but put one (or 2 of the 3) dominate Arcologies in South America (1 in Brazil and 1 in Argentina maybe) that makes this Bloc very fractious and a lot of infighting but also a drive to catch up to the others... The US should not dominate this bloc (IMHO).

Brazil one leader of the Americas - this could be cool. Potentially rename Iron Star Enterprises into a more Brazilian or Portuguese name. Potentially the capitol would be in Sao Paulo. Or make Iron Star Enterprises Canadian!

An alternative - is to keep Latin America in the UN (but make Brazil an equal partner to Russia and China), but replace the American federation by a polity combining North America with the old British Commonwealth, and potentially India and South Africa (ironically, with India having a leading role eclipsing old Britain). Maybe the IC would be America plus Britain, India, Australia, and Pacific nations?

Or take the countries who were secondary (or even lesser) combatants in WWIII, such as India, Brazil, and South Africa, and make them into the UN? Russia and China will then be in the same Bloc as Europe?

Potentially with most of Europe going over to the Russo-Chinese side already in early WWIII.

Cyborg IM1 wrote:
I think you need to figure out the sides of WW3 and build the blocks from the sides. If Russia and China ally against Europe and the US, fine, but Europe will likely split up - maybe have Britain as part of the Americas block but as a secondary partner?).

Potentially, the belligerents would be:

1. US, Britain, and perhaps France and/or Germany; also Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

2. Russia, China, and most (all) of Europe.

3. Potentially an alliance of Middle-Eastern and Central Asian (and potentially African?) countries entering the war in its second stage, gambling on geopolitical victory as a way to avoid the crises caused by Peak Oil.

The US, Western Russia, the Chinese coast, Australia, and the Levant got hit the hardest.

India, Brazil, South Africa, and to a lesser degree Canada - managed to stay out of the conflict, came out in relative good shape, and grew to leading positions in the Trading Blocs later on.

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:03 pm 
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Sir Chaos wrote:
Alternatively, postpone the war a decade or two, and after war, make the corporations pick up the pieces of the pre-war space program.

Potentially. The problem is that I can hardly see any advance into space without a major shake-up of things, such as a world war. But 2-3 decades of recovery will be a good idea.

Sir Chaos wrote:
Another thought... who did NOT actively participate in WW3? They´ll still suffer damage - both from economic disruption and from direct war damage such as nuclear fallout and spreading bioweapons - but they´ll be in a massively better place than the direct participants, just like IIRC France was after the Twilight War in the 2300 history.

I think the corporations headquartered in, or with most of their assets located in, the main contestants of WW3 would be just as ravaged by the war as the nations themselves, and not in a position to rebuild them right away.

Switzerland may be the center of whatever resurgent Europe there is after the war - they´ll be largely undamaged, and although they aren´t exactly industrial powerhouses (compared to, say, current-day Germany), they´ll have more than anyone else, especially the medical professionals and pharmaceutical industries needed to help millions of victims of NBC weapons and the "conventional" epidemics that the war´s destruction will bring. I could ever see a Swiss pharma corporation become one of the Big Four eventually, through all the money and power it amassed producing medicine for the world - especially vaccines against bioweapons.

Great idea! Thanks. Switzerland is hardly represented in sci-fi (beyond Geneva as a center of the UN-equivalent as in Babylon 5), and so are Brazil, Argentina, and India.

Maybe the IC would be Swiss?

Sir Chaos wrote:
If Argentina doesn´t directly participate in the war, they´ll also be in a good position - their advantage is that they´ll probably be one of the few, perhaps the ONLY, net food exporter left in the world. You can get a lot of political leverage if you´re what´s standing between the people and death from starvation.

Brazil and Argentina might be these nations - alongside India.

Sir Chaos wrote:
Lastly, I could see a Big Four originate either with someone who hires a mercenary force, and uses that force to seize and hold sources of raw materials in Africa - especially if those raw materials are either needed for the immediate post-war rebuilding (Pharmaceutical production, maybe? Components/products of plants present only in a single region in Africa?) or in the space program. That, too, should be a source of lots of money and power. Also remember that most of Africa doesn´t have nearly as far to fall as Europe or North America (or most of East Asia), so at least relatively speaking, it should be a bit easier to get parts of Africa on its feet, especially with no other outside powers to meddle there. Heck, this could even be a genuinely African affair, with the continent (or parts of it) pulling itself out of the swamp by its own hair.

This would be the basis for the UN, ironically - potentially African mining companies (so, UAM instead of UEM - United African Minerals) ending up as "leaders of the recovering world" for various small nations.

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:51 pm 
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Golan2072 wrote:

Potentially, the belligerents would be:

1. US, Britain, and perhaps France and/or Germany; also Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

So basically the old British Empire (what about India?)

2. Russia, China, and most (all) of Europe.

HUMM, this seems weird to me. Why would the old Soviet bloc and China be allies? Most of Eastern Europe is strongly anti-Russian, even as they buy Russian oil etc. And I dont' see China and Russia being allies against the US right now, but I could be wrong...

3. Potentially an alliance of Middle-Eastern and Central Asian (and potentially African?) countries entering the war in its second stage, gambling on geopolitical victory as a way to avoid the crises caused by Peak Oil.

A new Islamic Caliphate? (Or an attempt at one?) lead by either Iran or Saudi Arabia but probably falling apart after the WW3 due to in-fighting, without oil, most of these countries will struggle to be viable powers on the world stage.

The US, Western Russia, the Chinese coast, Australia, and the Levant got hit the hardest.

India, Brazil, South Africa, and to a lesser degree Canada - managed to stay out of the conflict, came out in relative good shape, and grew to leading positions in the Trading Blocs later on.

Not sure why Canada would be spared. If the US got hit and US/Canada were allies, then several eastern Canadian cities should be targets - especially those around the Great Lakes. ?

Sorry, not trying to make this a political discussion, just trying to understand the combatants (without discussing WHY) based on current alliances. NATO vs Russia makes sense to me; as does China vs. Japan & Australia. So, I guess that would make Russia and China if not allies, at least not combatants?

Say the Russia/NATO war is the start; then China tries to grab SE Asia in the chaos and smashes Japan and pulls Australia into it; which pulls the Commonwealth into it. SO Britain and the US are fighting a two front war due to current alliances; but Russia and China are not really allies or anything, just not fighting each other.

Later in the War, as Peak Oil drives major disruptions on all sides, the Mid-East countries band together out of desperation under the umbrella of a Caliphate, and push into SE Europe and northern Africa. They try to grab the Levant, but India holds them off - the only fighting India is involved in - unusually India and Pakistan become allies against the Caliphate.

That leaves most of Central/South America isn't directly involved, but their economies suffer; but they are in relatively good shape after the war, so are able to lead the recovery (ish).

Does that hold together and give you what you want for your blocs?

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:18 pm 
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Thanks for the input!

So we have:

1. NATO (Canada included) vs. Russia

2. China vs. Japan and other South-East Asian countries

3. China invades Australia and New Zealand; Britain pulled into the war

4. Peak Oil; fuel disruptions on all sides

5. Caliphate forms and invades South-East Europe on one front and Central Asia on the other; India enters the war vs. the Caliphate

6. Cascade of nuclear exchanges - probably the first was Israel using tactical nukes when its war with the Caliphate turns for the worse. The Caliphate retaliates and also uses tactical nukes vs. India. India retaliates. Use of tactical nukes by Russian and NATO forces; China, beaten back by the British Commonwealth and its Asian allies, uses strategic nuclear weapons against Australia; eventually, Russia and the US/Canada exchange nukes targeting industrial and military sites.

7. The nuclear exchange was relatively short and essentially paralyzed the belligerents. Fears of MAD discouraged further nuclear exchanges. War continues for a few months while cease-fire negotiations are underway.

8. Cease-fire; all sides claim victory; all have taken a major beating

Aftermath:
- Europe is a radioactive battleground. Especially Eastern and Central Europe.
- Britain suffered Chinese nuclear attacks but, on the other hand, built its place as a leader among South-East Asian nations
- The urbanized parts of Australia are a radioactive wasteland; outback much less damaged
- China has taken a major beating, both in losses in the Pacific theater and in Australia, and in nuclear damage; lost most of its industrial capacity
- The US and Russia both suffered major nuclear
- The Middle East is devastated; oil-producing countries are impoverished after peak oil and Israeli nukes; Israel has suffered nuclear attacks as well, and is probably a wasteland; without oil, "Islamism" dies out as a political force

Who wasn't directly involved in the War:
- Switzerland (as always, but probably affected by nuclear fallout from Germany)
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Latin America
- To a lesser degree - India and Pakistan, who only fought the Caliphate and only suffered relatively minor nuclear damage

Potential Trading Blocs:
- American Federation, where Brazil and Argentina are major players, at least partially eclipsing the US;
- Africa? Potentially as the new UN (Africa + India?); with China and Russia as secondary players?
- International Commonwealth? Switzerland + British Commonwealth + South-East Asia + anything left standing in Europe?

Where would the gravely wounded Mother Russia fit in? The UN?

What do you think?

Keep in mind that this is still a cyberpunk setting with horror elements; even the Trading Blocs are relatively weak governments, compared to their megacorporations (unlike the 2300AD empires).

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:52 pm 
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Golan2072 wrote:
Who wasn't directly involved in the War:
- Switzerland (as always, but probably affected by nuclear fallout from Germany)
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Latin America
- To a lesser degree - India and Pakistan, who only fought the Caliphate and only suffered relatively minor nuclear damage


India and Pakistan would have their own grievances to settle. I can even imagine India launching an all-out nuclear first strike on Pakistan to prevent Pakistan´s nuclear arsenal from potentially falling into the Caliphate´s hands. Pakistan *is* a majority Muslim nation, and with a bloc of Muslim fanatics on a world-conquering campaign - who have already used nukes against hated non-Muslim enemies - it would not be too big a stretch play things safe by crippling the distrusted Muslim neighbor with the nuclear arsenal, before Indian cities can go up in mushroom clouds.

Quote:
Potential Trading Blocs:
- American Federation, where Brazil and Argentina are major players, at least partially eclipsing the US;
- Africa? Potentially as the new UN (Africa + India?); with China and Russia as secondary players?
- International Commonwealth? Switzerland + British Commonwealth + South-East Asia + anything left standing in Europe?


One "food-based" bloc, around Brazil and Argentina.
One "pharaceutics-based" bloc, around Switzerland.
One "resources-based" bloc, around some coalition of African nations.

"Based" as in, this is what fueled their original rise to prominence.

I think one of the resources for the African bloc could be a key resource for whatever succeeds oil as the fuel for a global industrial economy, so the African bloc could be sort of a new OPEC.

Quote:
Where would the gravely wounded Mother Russia fit in? The UN?

What do you think?


If the European parts of Russia get extensively nuked, and Russia loses control over the resources in Siberia, I am not sure Russia would still be significant. It might well be part of your "anything left standing in Europe".

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Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"


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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:23 am 
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Sir Chaos wrote:
India and Pakistan would have their own grievances to settle. I can even imagine India launching an all-out nuclear first strike on Pakistan to prevent Pakistan´s nuclear arsenal from potentially falling into the Caliphate´s hands. Pakistan *is* a majority Muslim nation, and with a bloc of Muslim fanatics on a world-conquering campaign - who have already used nukes against hated non-Muslim enemies - it would not be too big a stretch play things safe by crippling the distrusted Muslim neighbor with the nuclear arsenal, before Indian cities can go up in mushroom clouds.

So, India is a relatively good shape, having preempted the Pakistani offensive capabilities, while Pakistan is a wasteland?

Sir Chaos wrote:
One "food-based" bloc, around Brazil and Argentina.
One "pharaceutics-based" bloc, around Switzerland.
One "resources-based" bloc, around some coalition of African nations.

"Based" as in, this is what fueled their original rise to prominence.

I think one of the resources for the African bloc could be a key resource for whatever succeeds oil as the fuel for a global industrial economy, so the African bloc could be sort of a new OPEC.

So, how will that reflect on their interstellar activity?

Sir Chaos wrote:
If the European parts of Russia get extensively nuked, and Russia loses control over the resources in Siberia, I am not sure Russia would still be significant. It might well be part of your "anything left standing in Europe".

So, Metro 2033 (as in the book and video game of that name) in Moscow, and the Asian part of Russia as part of the UN alongside China; Western Russia is nominally in the International Commonwealth.

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:05 pm 
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Golan2072 wrote:
Who wasn't directly involved in the War:
- Switzerland (as always, but probably affected by nuclear fallout from Germany)
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Latin America
- To a lesser degree - India and Pakistan, who only fought the Caliphate and only suffered relatively minor nuclear damage

There is a recurring meme in post-WW2, pre-New Wave (say, 1950-1975) science fiction that WW3 results in Terran culture being dominated by the nations in the southern hemisphere -- South America, sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, and Australia -- because the northern nations took the brunt of the war. Piper's version I knew about, but I was surprised that Norton and Anderson also allude to it; Heinlein, too, if indirectly (of course). So, if you're looking to invoke the look-and-feel of that source literature, this would be right in line.


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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:26 pm 
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Golan2072 wrote:
Sir Chaos wrote:
India and Pakistan would have their own grievances to settle. I can even imagine India launching an all-out nuclear first strike on Pakistan to prevent Pakistan´s nuclear arsenal from potentially falling into the Caliphate´s hands. Pakistan *is* a majority Muslim nation, and with a bloc of Muslim fanatics on a world-conquering campaign - who have already used nukes against hated non-Muslim enemies - it would not be too big a stretch play things safe by crippling the distrusted Muslim neighbor with the nuclear arsenal, before Indian cities can go up in mushroom clouds.

So, India is a relatively good shape, having preempted the Pakistani offensive capabilities, while Pakistan is a wasteland?


*IF* they successfully destroyed Pakistan´s capabilities. And *IF* the Caliphate did not decide to use its own nukes against India to avenge their fellow Muslims killed in Pakistan. Even then they´d probably get a load of fallout from Pakistan.

Basically, India would be in better shape than the main combatants, but not nearly as good as those nations who "sat out" the war.

Quote:
Sir Chaos wrote:
One "food-based" bloc, around Brazil and Argentina.
One "pharaceutics-based" bloc, around Switzerland.
One "resources-based" bloc, around some coalition of African nations.

"Based" as in, this is what fueled their original rise to prominence.

I think one of the resources for the African bloc could be a key resource for whatever succeeds oil as the fuel for a global industrial economy, so the African bloc could be sort of a new OPEC.

So, how will that reflect on their interstellar activity?


I think the "food bloc" and "pharma bloc" would be more interested in habitable planets. For the food bloc, they offer new plants and animals for food production, and the prerequisites to produce Terran food without massive technological assistance (such as hydroponics). For the pharma bloc, every extraterrestrial species is a potential source of substances or processes that could be the basis of some new medicine.

The "resources bloc" might not even be interested in habitable planets at all, preferring asteroid mining, or strip mining lifeless rock balls without having to bother with environmental protection (or with the interests of people who might live where they want to mine). They know they don´t need habitable planets, but the habitable planets need them for the resources they produce. Even if they do take their own habitable planets, they´ll still be predominantly space-based and hostile-planet-based.

Your map has two "arms" anyway along which humanity expands; the "food bloc" and "pharma bloc" each get one arm, the "resources bloc" kind of shares both with their respective main owners because their primary interests are different enough that they can co-exist fairly peacefully.

Quote:
Sir Chaos wrote:
If the European parts of Russia get extensively nuked, and Russia loses control over the resources in Siberia, I am not sure Russia would still be significant. It might well be part of your "anything left standing in Europe".

So, Metro 2033 (as in the book and video game of that name) in Moscow, and the Asian part of Russia as part of the UN alongside China; Western Russia is nominally in the International Commonwealth.


Basically, yes.

_________________
Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards. Sir Frederick Hoyle
Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
Man has earned the right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone completely bat**** insane. xkcd #556
Just like people, stars can be very important without being terribly bright. Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy"


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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:28 pm 
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thrash wrote:
Golan2072 wrote:
Who wasn't directly involved in the War:
- Switzerland (as always, but probably affected by nuclear fallout from Germany)
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Latin America
- To a lesser degree - India and Pakistan, who only fought the Caliphate and only suffered relatively minor nuclear damage

There is a recurring meme in post-WW2, pre-New Wave (say, 1950-1975) science fiction that WW3 results in Terran culture being dominated by the nations in the southern hemisphere -- South America, sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, and Australia -- because the northern nations took the brunt of the war. Piper's version I knew about, but I was surprised that Norton and Anderson also allude to it; Heinlein, too, if indirectly (of course). So, if you're looking to invoke the look-and-feel of that source literature, this would be right in line.

I'm more trying to evoke a Cyberpunk look-and-feel, ala Bladerunner in cities and Mad Max outside them. But the logic of WWIII leads to the destruction and decline of the old West and East and the (partial?) rise of the South.

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 Post subject: Re: Hard Space Redux
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:31 pm 
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Golan2072 wrote:
On another subject - with no unified government and with weak Trading Blocks, I wonder how the Scouts would look like. Would each corporation run its own scout service? Will corporate Scouts still receive detached-duty ships? Or is this task outsourced to individual, independent Scouts who work as freelancers for the corps? I like the latter option, and instead of a "detached" Scout you might receive a Scout with a mortgage...


The Independent Interstellar Scout Service - Actually a corporation of its own, but since they are independent from the Trading Blocks and the Corporations, it works for them.

The discoverer or first surveyor of an area on a planet/system gets rights to that region. The IISS makes its money by exploring/claiming valuable sights/worlds and then selling the rights on to a Trading Bloc or Corporation.

Once the BIG NASTIES were found in space, everyone sort of backed off on doing independent exploration - too costly in materials (and secondarily in people). The IISS was a logical solution as it put all those idiots willing to go out into the scary dark into one place, so even with the 50% attrition rate, there are enough people to keep the frontier moving out.

How about that? :)

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