Forum Comments

The Politics of Mars
In Setting Discussions
curradoc
Apr 02, 2020
Thanks for the feedback so far. I'm glad to see, to an extent, that I'm on the right track in framing my questions. I'm enjoying the setting you've got so far. I like the scope of it and that I can riff big ideas against it and it keeps bouncing back. Kudos for that. 5a) You raise an interesting point with your answers about hubris. It's probably a broader research question on cultural relevance that I should add to my original three. That is: D) How does a culture (or subculture) remain relevant over time, as events occur around it? I know it's an important design question, I'm just not sure quite where to put it. That is, whether it fits in the current scope or, whether it should be a question in its own right. I can see elements of it in the development of any kind of Martian identity. There's a point at which Mars is left alone to create the start of its identity (Occupation era). That moves on into the Expansion era, where Martian survival skills and expertise are actively sought out and vital. Expansion would also be the start of any kind of voice to the nationalist sentiment (and more general national pride in what it is to be Martian). Mars is riding high in the Orion War era, but things are already beginning to change (or have already changed). Other colonies have arisen to take the immediate need for Mars and Martian skills away (e.g.: Saturn, Ceres). Contact with aliens is becoming more common. The Treaty of Parella could (or would) be a real crisis point for what it means to be a Martian. Is Mars really as special and vital as it thinks it is? How does the culture adapt to those kinds of shocks? One answer could arise for Mars in the Artifact era with the Unification Charter (UC). Through joining and being a vital part of the UC, can Mars create a cultural renaissance? Or could the UC be the final nail in the Martian identity coffin? Is the Parella Station (Parella Station Defiant) a new start for Martians? A rebirth among the stars? Or is the Exodus to Parella the final death spiral of a culture in decline? I've framed most of those cultural relevance questions in terms of Mars, but you could do the same thing for most of the other cultures. Earth, Venus and Redlands definitely, Bactarans probably, and not so sure about Saturn and Ceres (I haven't looked too deeply into them yet).
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The Cascade States
In Setting Discussions
curradoc
Apr 01, 2020
Thanks for the America map, it really clarifies how that all went down. I also learnt about the whole Cascadia movement, so that's also cool. I'll make a distinction now between the American Cascade States (Cascadia + the 11 non-aligned states) and a broader Cascade State movement (i.e.: the movement towards non-alignment, or not participating in world government under the UEN). It answers a lot of my original questions and poses a whole heap more. 1) Who are the 34 nations that comprise the Cascade State movement? 2) Would the Cascade State movement have its own space launch capacity and space programme? 3) What impact would the Occupation experience have for African and South American states (Equatorial slaves) in relation to whether or not they become part of the Cascade State movement? I'd propose a list that looks something like this: * The American Cascade States (Cascadia +11 non-aligned per the map) * ASEAN nations (10): Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia. You've suggested that after the Guangdong split and during the Occupation that the Philippines remains untouched. This then leads Philippines to become non-aligned (so, part of the Cascade States movement). That's great. With the Philippines joining the Cascade State movement, I've then added the rest of the ASEAN states to the Cascade list. So, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia. (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/05/what-is-asean-explainer/). That'd give the movement a huge bump in economic credibility. It'd establish a solid SE Asian and Pacific trade bloc, which could keep the American Cascade States viable (Pacific trade based out of Cascadia). It'd also open the potential for space launch facilities from Indonesia. With the inclusion of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, it'd also put a potential lock on maritime traffic through the Straits of Malacca (making things awkward for India and China). * The former Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo), using the 'ethnic enclaves' argument from my original post (2a). In the scheme of the Cascade State Union, these states would be fairly inconsequential when compared to other states, but they couldn't be denied entry. * A split in South Africa to form a new Boer state, OFS Transvaal, a combination of Orange Free State (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Free_State) and the district of Transvaal (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transvaal_Colony). This is another use of the 'ethnic enclaves' argument from my original post (2a). * Republic of the Congo (Congo Brazzaville): This would give the Cascade States a second space launch facility on the equator. * The Russian Federation: Mostly because they're big enough in their own right, with economic strength, petrochemicals and mineral wealth to opt out of a world government system. * Iran: This is more in line with the Non-Alignment movement from my original post (3). It'd also add petro-dollars to the Cascade States. * Venezuela: This would add more oil capacity to the Cascade States and potentially add a trade outlet for the two non-aligned American Cascades on the Gulf of Mexico (Alabama and Mississippi?) into South America. It could also serve as a maritime trade route into Africa (and Congo Brazzaville). * Lesotho: Included under the ethnic enclaves argument (2a). As an otherwise landlocked nation in the middle of South Africa, Lesotho's inclusion in the Cascade list could also bolster viability for the OFS Transvaal. *Kashmir: Perhaps one of the most precarious Cascade States, formed out of the chaos of Occupation India, Pakistan and the disintegration of China after the Guangdong split. Included in the Cascade States list as part of the 'ethnic enclave' argument from my original post (2a). With that list of 32 nations, it'd make for a diverse ethnic and language mix within the Cascade States, across multiple continents. It would also allow for potentially 2 sites for the Cascades to develop a space programme (Indonesia and Congo Brazzaville), with a possible third space site in southern Venezuela. The Guangdong Exception I haven't included Guangdong in the Cascade States list (though it technically meets all the requirements). My reasoning for that is that Guangdong is its own separate and special case as an independent nation. I see the Guangdong secession serving as the potential blueprint for what made the Cascade States possible under the UEN. In part, how Guangdong was able to secede from China under the PCEG (and its later refusal, as a new sovereign state, to join the UEN), opened the way for the Cascade State movement. The Guangdong secession, potentially forced the UEN to include an 'opt out' clause in its charter. The UEN would also then need to include something like the ethnic enclave clause, to justify how Guangdong was able to secede from an otherwise sovereign Chinese state in the first place. The irony is that the UEN probably never intended for either of those clauses and exceptions to ever be used. Then the Cascade States happened.
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PCEG Trials, Ideals and Venus
In Setting Discussions
curradoc
Apr 01, 2020
Thanks for the rapid replies. I've got two (maybe three) ideas for starting campaigns for my group and was looking to nail down some of the tone for things like PCEG and Venus. The first campaign idea was a collaborator campaign (Occupation era) on Earth, based in Hong Kong or something. That would then extend into Expansion era and possibly having to face up to the consequences of whatever happened while the party were collaborators. It could also springboard into a campaign about Venus, as one option to escape any collaborator consequences is to escape to the stars. The second campaign idea is to do an Occupation era Mars campaign. Now, though the aliens never got to Mars, I think it could be interesting to look at what happens to a fledgling colony in extended isolation. We know from the Expansion era stuff that Mars survives, but at a high cost. 40% mortality or terminal health problems as a result of the isolation. The isolation, maintenance problems (failing infrastructure) and privation are finally relieved when contact is re-established. What does that kind of experience do to concepts of being Martian? More broadly, what does that mean to being human? The Mars Occupation campaign is perhaps my more ambitious idea and would probably take a lot more work to conceive properly, but I think there's loads of great material there to work with. I'll also need to sit down and better articulate the kind of questions that raises and put them into a separate thread. The third campaign idea is to do Occupation era in the Equatorial region on Earth, either as collaborators, Equatorial slaves, or a mix of both. I'd probably set that either in East Africa (Somalia maybe?), South Africa, or South America. That could lead (in Expansion era) to a UEN campaign, or maybe Redlands. I haven't tracked a solid trajectory for that one yet.
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