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Prodigal Son

The Scorch

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The Scorch

"We are in the late antiquity or early dark ages of an alternative universe. The Roman Empire (or rather, it's equivalent) was still expanding, while experiencing a relatively peaceful transition to monotheism. Philoshophical and scientific schools have progressed largely untouched by religious dogma, leading to great advances in knowledge and technology. That was until the past couple of decades, when a series of cataclysmic events, including natural disasters, climate change and a so-called barbarian invasion, reshaped the landscape to a largely barren scenery, while killing huge portions of the population and threatening all people of the known world with extinction. Superstition and hopelessness are on the rise, while tensions between the monotheistic majority and the pagan and secular minorities, as well as between the upper and the lower classes have never been higher in recorded history. The old world is divided in new factions, with current clashes and revolts bound to become large scale wars for survival and control of the remaining natural resources."

This is a synopsis of the back story of a strategy game concept I'm developing, on and off, for some years now. It's ment to be social commentary and satyre as much as an RTS game. I've been thinking of using 0 A.D. or Warcraft 3 as the basis for it. The former would give increased gameplay flexibility and a more authentic setting, while the later ease of work and models for the inclusion of a variety of units (steampunkish airships/drones/vehicles and possibly even fantasy/magic). I'll propably not work on this for a while, but feedback and brainstorming is welcome, as well as suggestions for possile 0 A.D. building sets for the factions if the game is chosen. Short descriptions of the four factions/civs follow.

 

Order: "The remnants of the old imperial state are rapidly turning into a much harsher totalitarian regime, of the religious variant, largely controlled through the influence of the Church Of Light. The majority of the population follows, willingly or not, providing the numbers of it's levy armies, along a small core of knightly imperial guards and elite church funded-zealots. Cheap propaganda, spoken to great effect by his holyness, the Minister Of Truth, demonizes whoever is living on the other side of the borders and promises rewards for the honorable and loyal servants of church and state, in this or the next life. The young ambitious emperor is currently little more than a glorified warlord, bound to prove his worth in military success, see what's left of his empire replaced by a complete theocracy or worse; face annihilation."  Possible units:

Spoiler

Pleb (Worker), Fodder (Levy Infantry), Border Horse (Light Cavalry), Paladin (Heavy Guard Cavalry), Martyr (Self-Sacrificial Unit), Witch Hunter (Anti-Caster), Minister Of Truth (Enhancing Caster), Monster Bombard (Siege Cannon), Armored Cleric (Combat Healer), Imperial Pegasus (Flying Cavalry)

 

Greed: "A number of weathly merchants, landlords, provincial governors and other oligarchs have formed a shady (and possibly loose) alliance backing a claimant to the throne, which controls most of the few remaining valuable lands and a majority of the former imperial armies. Bolstered by mercenary soldiers and scholars, their force is a numerous as well as technologically advanced one. Their espionage, propaganda and provocazia methods are second to none, with their full potential largely unknown to outsiders, making this cunning faction the most likely candit for ruined world domination." Possible units:

Spoiler

Slave/Mindless (Worker/Biological Automaton), C.E.A. (Certified Executive Administrator - Advanced Worker), Enslaved Charmer (Female Caster), Gnostic (Male Caster), Infiltrator (Stealth Spy/Saboteur), Companion (Elite Noble Cavalry), Midas (Armored Vehicle), Sword Of Liberty (Flying Airship/Drone Carrier), Eagle Drone (Flying Drone), Patriot Drone (Explosive Land Drone/Self-Deployable Mine)

 

Freedom: "In the power vacuum caused by the retreat of imperial troops, a number of minor provinces have claimed independance. In some cases there are efforts of horizontal self-governance by the people, backed by some renegade philoshopers and inventors who refused Greed's gold and escaped Order's persecution, as attempts to survive the new conditions through cooperation rather than face oppression. Their raids on oligarch properties along their religious freedom often get them labeled as criminals, terrorists or devil worshipers." Possible units:

Spoiler

Skismisher (Flexible Light Infantry), Raider (Flexible Light Cavalry), Ranger (Female Scout/Archer), Agnostic/Philosopher (Caster), Flying Machine (Air Scout), Hand Cannon (Light Siege)

 

Chaos: "Forced to migrate by the events of The Scorch, tribes of steppe riders have approached from the far northeast. Unified with clans living on the imperial border through conflict, marriage or blood oath, they marched towards the weakened empire in hopes of settling in what they hoped to be greener pastures. Since their entrance was forbidden, they have defeated several imperial armies during what has so far proved to be a desperate march against time and arid land. Regarded as barbarians, they have been largely fended off the strongholds guarding most of the few still fertile lands, while a number of them has found employment as mercenaries in Greed's armies". Possible units:

Spoiler

Clansman (Axe or Spear Infantry), Steppe Rider (Bow Cavalry), Oddity (Offensive Female Infantry), Cataphract (Armored Cavalry), Druid/Shaman (Caster), Falcon (Air Scout), War Elephant/Mammoth (Melee Siege)

 

Edited by Prodigal Son

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Btw I can see how this can be regarded as edgy and causing trouble for the community, so while I'm fully against censorship and for thought provoking messages/discussions, I won't complain if asked to remove it.

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I'd be more interested in a more creative alternate history, where you change some significant event and imagine what different results that might cause, rather than just transposing existing history into fantasy themes.

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12 hours ago, Adeimantos said:

I'd be more interested in a more creative alternate history, where you change some significant event and imagine what different results that might cause, rather than just transposing existing history into fantasy themes.

The main reason for this choice is giving me a basis to fit in a lot of critics and satyre on modern society, while using a mostly ancient RTS setting which is more interesting to me. A "what if" scenario on a more specific and historical event wouldn't allow as much freedom. On including the fantasy / steampunk tech I'm not sure yet though.

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1 minute ago, av93 said:

Conservatives, Capitalists, (social) Anarchist, and tribal nihilistic civ?

Yeah more or less. It started almost exactly like that, but I've been looking for ways to make it less obvious and a little more diverse and plausible in the setting.

For example the last civ started as a depiction of (parts of) nihilist thought and has turned into more and more of a tribal confedaration moved by need for survival and ruled by warrior elites. Kinda depicting the unknown/alien foreigner and the fear of migrations and multiculturalism. I partly give myself the excuse that a largely nihilist society would most likely end up being ruled by some kind of reign of power/terror, but it's also in contrast with ancient tribes who would have some sort of honor/religious morals instead of nihilism. So I'm not yet sure on their background story.

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I thought you were just basing it on Europe at 400 AD, it is interesting looking at it as a timeless depiction of the different organizing motives of human societies. Religion, wealth, natural law or the ideals of freedom and equality, and tribalism are all things societies have been organized around. I think a tribal society is more governed by culture and relationship in peaceful times, and by strong leaders in dangerous ones. I would  suggest that these organizing motives are not simply good or bad, that each can be good or bad depending on if it is moderate or extreme and what context it is in. Showing that could give more depth to the concept.

A campaign could be made to illustrate this, and it could be done in just about any game; I'm not sure it would be worth it to make a major mod for that reason. A fantasy mod would be fun for its own sake though 

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2 hours ago, Adeimantos said:

I thought you were just basing it on Europe at 400 AD, it is interesting looking at it as a timeless depiction of the different organizing motives of human societies. Religion, wealth, natural law or the ideals of freedom and equality, and tribalism are all things societies have been organized around. I think a tribal society is more governed by culture and relationship in peaceful times, and by strong leaders in dangerous ones. I would  suggest that these organizing motives are not simply good or bad, that each can be good or bad depending on if it is moderate or extreme and what context it is in. Showing that could give more depth to the concept.

A campaign could be made to illustrate this, and it could be done in just about any game; I'm not sure it would be worth it to make a major mod for that reason. A fantasy mod would be fun for its own sake though 

Nothing is set in stone. It started with the four "political" factions idea in a largely fantasy setting, but then I had the idea to make it more influenced by history in some yet to be chosen degree. The steam-punky idea came then, as an alternative means to depict modern tech, inspired by late antiquity advancements in mechanics and steam engines, but taken to the extreme (as if this tech had the right environment to trive for a while).

I'm still puzzled by the "chaos" faction, not sure if I want to give it a direction like the one you suggested (and make them seen as chaos by outsiders) or make it a satyre of people charmed by complete chaos and/or anarchocapitalism. While I tend to avoid black and white depictions of good vs evil, I do want to criticize and ridicule some aspects of humanity that I consider mostly harmful and/or stupid. This is the same reason for chosing a mod vs a campaign, custom units will give freedom with unit names and unit descriptions, on which I've written down many ideas already. Then a campaign based on the mod is a possibility.

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It would be interesting to see how much social commentary could be put into a game. Perhaps nihilists, with a backstory similar to that of the freedom group, and the barbarians from the steppes could be two different groups.

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A campaign would allow for more than just unit names and descriptions, but it's still too much work before reaching that point. I'll also try to make the gameplay of each faction different and inspired by their backstory and ethics.

Maybe I could split the factions like you suggested but I'd rather keep their number down to four. I'll think about using sub-factions though.

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