Lore.   Posted by Narrator.Group: 0
Narrator
 GM, 2 posts
Tue 8 May 2018
at 04:08
Lore
World

  • We don’t know much about the world geography.  We have some clue however which we can use:
  • Badlands is an isolated location surrounded by the wall and checkpoints, we do not know why it is isolated but it has been mentioned that the wall doesn’t protect badlands from the world, it protects the world from the Badlands.
  • The world is clearly our own and likely on North American continent (Quinn even has replica of the White House).  Therefore it is reasonable to assume the US map is applicable.  Major cities are now ruins and can be mined/scavenged
  • There is a map of the Badlands on screen once in a while.  The current map of the Badlands leaves only two barons, but depending on the timeline of the game the map could have up to 7 baronies.
  • Existence of oil fields combined with climate for growing poppies suggest South USA, possibly Texas, New Mexico, California.
  • S3E3 update.  At the beginning of the episode and when considering Widow's supply routes Tilda is looking at the map that has "Roadmap of Oklahoma" in the left-bottom corner.



History

We really don’t know much, but this should not be a major issue for the players since characters are not supposed to know much either.  “The wars were so long ago no one even remembers”.  Clearly some of the world is our own with our history, at some point - possibly in the future but also possibly in the past say in 18th century our worlds diverged.  We know nearly nothing about the reasons or the nature for war.  Was it biological, nuclear, something even more dramatic?  Possible clues here come from the ban on guns which appears to be universal and not limited to Badlands only, and hinted technological advances (article title on the cover of the magazine include “Bio Shock - pharma revolutions”, “Gadgets with Holographics”, etc)
We know a little more about recent history, although this is best discussed in the context of factions and barons later.

Technology

The world of the series is descendant of our own.  Anything we have today, they had but lost.  And they had more, the existence of the dark ones is the proof but who knows what else has been developed before or during the war that ended the old world.
Much of the technology is now lost however, a life of average clog is something akin to late 19th century, wooden cottage, rough cloths, charcoal stoves.  Such person might come across more advanced tech, it might not be even a rare occasion but it’s not truly part of their life.  Like a train passing a hut of 19th century peasant every day, so are trucks passing a clog in the field.
The military technology is lagging even further, ban on firearms means weaponry is generally comparable to 16th century - swords, axes, crossbows.  However quality of those weapons are often considerably more advanced, it might be a crossbow but it has polymer stock and synthetic string.  Curiously despite the absence of firearms heavy armor have not made a come back, there is no plate apparent, but leather, chain and scale armor is available.

But then there are secrets of the past, legacies of the ancients… some individuals or even factions have access to technologies at least comparable to late 20th century.  A healer might have access to X-Ray machine or have knowledge and equipment to produce rudimentary chemo treatment for a cancer patient.  A baron’s engineer might know how to refine oil or cook opium, fix trucks or keep electrical lamps running.  Even wild tribes may have some long cherished ancient piece of knowledge… a tribe might have a secret of making crude antibiotics, or creating electromagnetic induction and charging capacitors for a primitive taser.
However, even such advanced tech is generally a relic, something people still can use, maybe even keep running, but not reproduce.  Synthetic string and polymer plastic for those crossbows aren’t made, they come from the ancient ruins… scavenged.  X-Ray machine will break one day and healer will have no way to create new one, engineer might know how to fix a truck but has no understanding of the process and so do not expect improvements or advancements.
Rarely however there is an inventor who can stand out, such a person might not even have a proper scientific foundation, but through natural ingenuity these people are able to produce some amazing gadgets.  An example is Rook (Blade Battle game), a capable fighter in his own right, he augments his power with pneumatic gauntlet and flamethrower backpack (in gameplay such gadget would have severe restrictions, for example Rook would only be able to use gauntlet once per fight needing to reset it, and flamethrower will have limited ammo and range while also creating a vulnerability)

It is possible however that more advanced societies exist in the world.  The mythical Azra is most likely an example of such, even if Azra did lose its former power it likely and hopefully preserved some knowledge and science of the old.

Even if Azra is nothing but a myth… who knows what has survived in the far corners of the Earth, isolated islands, government bunkers, space…  My own ideas have always involved a scout from a Fallout style vault, someone who is sent out into the world to learn it, to find resources and allies, assess threats… but this is rather risky path to follow as it might deviate from official lore far too much.

Please Note: In my vision the game is strictly science fiction, no magic, no spells, not even actual chi powers (The Gift is a technology although I still have not decided if it’s genetic enhancement or nano-tech).  The combat will be over the top martial arts but there will be a number of mechanical and narrative limitations even for someone playing a Gifted.  If you looking for mysticism and occult - convince me but I have to warn you that won't be easy. :D

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:04, Wed 09 May 2018.

Bone Flower
 player, 2 posts
Tue 8 May 2018
at 16:50
Lore
I don't agree that The Gift is technological in nature. Henry having it doesn't support that very well. It seems to be some innate thing - perhaps genetic, perhaps spiritual.

I'd argue spiritual is at least a possibility - when Baije healed Sunny and Cressida's vision are both clear examples of the kind of Chi powered spiritual or quasi-psychic ability that has always populated wuxia.

Now, from a mechanical perspective, I'm not sure it matters much. It amounts to Trappings in Savage Worlds - Psychic, Chi, Technology Sorcery - its all way to describe the fiction. The mechanics are hits being taken and attacks being made.
Narrator
 GM, 7 posts
Tue 8 May 2018
at 17:07
Lore
I'll have a thread about the Gift were we can discuss it in more details... but short version...

When Bajie healed Sunny he needed a manual and technological component (very specific needles) which suggests tech (why not any needles if this is just a spiritual exercise, what do needles actually do? In fact similar needles were used on Tate and "drained" him of the gift... removed the nano-bots perhaps?)

Cressida's vision is a classical example of "on board" computer supplying host with information through subconsciousness (due to lack of proper interface).  This would not work well with genetic enhancements tech, but network of nano-bots cursing through Cressida's blood can handle visions fairly easily.

Henry's gift as well as general "gift is passed with blood" concept works both with genetic enhancement - gift is a part of the child DNA, and nano-bots (nanites can be transferred with bodily fluids, can implant a fetus, self replicate in a compatible host and manifest at a later time)
Liu Manchu
 player, 2 posts
Thu 10 May 2018
at 16:46
Lore
The answer to 'why needles' is that Needles are the classical acupuncture tool. Which is frankly magic. We know from medical studies (my friend is a Doctor that does accupuncture) that accupuncture is capable to providing significant pain relief (it stimulates the para sympathetic nervous system), but has no other theraputic effect (we also know that where you stick the needles doesn't really matter, although few practictioners will agree with that).

However there is a long body of lore in Chinese mythology that accupuncture has Chi effects and medical benefits. It's about as 'magical' as you can get. There are diagrams and manuals that you can buy in any bookstore in Hong Kong. My Kung Fu teacher has posters on his wall and they look great. Using these massively increases any placebo effect of a treatment. But they are magical (in that they don't work but we want them to and in books and legends they work great).

So you could easily say 'tech' because any technology significantly advanced etc... But you can just as easily say magic because neither has any basis in todays tech.

Once you say 'nanotech exists' it doesn't really matter whether you pick magic or chi or tech. They are all magic with a different name. So my thoughts would be to go with whatever matches the story you want to tell.
Narrator
 GM, 28 posts
Thu 10 May 2018
at 17:08
Lore
not needles... THE NEEDLES.  specific devices in the Master possession, which M.K. and Bajie are willing to risk their lives to get rather than ask for some nails and needles at the next village.  Yes, Bajie has other reasons to go back to the Monastery but at no point does he suggest needles are not important, on the contrary he makes it clear he can't heal Sunny without these specific devices.

It should also be noted "Needles" turn out to be nothing like classical acupuncture needles, nor are they used like ones.  Note Bajie instructing M.K. "load it up, quickly" and then stubbing Sunny with it... not unlike  adrenaline shots.

More importantly the difference between magic and tech in this case is that scientific method can be applied to tech, but not to magic.  That means PCs can observe and experiment with the Gift, and if they come to a reasonable conclusion I will have to accept it... and if gift in the story contradicts PCs understanding or laws of nature I will need a reasonable explanation instead of "Wizard did it"
Bone Flower
 player, 16 posts
 Ninja
Thu 10 May 2018
at 17:14
Lore
----> Exit to the Gift thread
Narrator
 GM, 30 posts
Thu 10 May 2018
at 17:18
Lore
For the record, to quote Journal of Pain and Symptom Management:

"The conclusions of many trials and numerous systematic reviews of acupuncture are largely inconsistent, which suggests that it is not effective"

However success of placebo in pain management is consistently 30% so...
Liu Manchu
 player, 5 posts
Thu 10 May 2018
at 19:05
Lore
I'll go with my Doctor friend. She can prescribe much lower thresholds of pain killers for persistant cases. She loves placebos. When the NHS allows homeopathy she 'learnt the language' and prescribed them like mad. In most cases a placebo is better than a real drug as it does not harm and is surprisingly effective for trivial cases. In her words 'distilled water is a great cure for a lot of things'.

She doesn't put accupuncture in the same category as placebos. I haven't spoken to here on the topic for a decade, but at that time there had been hardly any proper clinical trials done.
Liu Manchu
 player, 6 posts
Thu 10 May 2018
at 19:11
Lore
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Acupuncture/

I trust the NHS ;) They state basically

  • chronic tension-type headaches
  • migraines
  • Acupuncture is also often used to treat other musculoskeletal conditions (of the bones and muscles) and pain conditions, including:
  • chronic pain, such as neck pain
  • joint pain
  • dental pain
  • postoperative pain

And for other things they say
quote:
However, in many conditions where acupuncture is used, there's less good quality evidence to draw any clear conclusions over its effectiveness compared with other treatments.

Narrator
 GM, 35 posts
Thu 10 May 2018
at 19:46
Lore
:D Yeah I would recommend comparing the list as well as success rates to those of placebo.  Also I would expect acupuncture to have somewhat higher success then placebo in anything related to muscle tension and performance.