[Madlands] What's the first thing you want to know?

Ok, you're you. Suddenly you're in the not-too-distant-future, in what used to be called the United States of America. Everything is weird. Aside from obvious shit like "where am I?" and "what year is it?" and "what happened to all my peeps?", what's the first thing you want to know?

Same question, except you're a character that you've played in a RPG: what's the first thing you want to know?


  • Either way: Is the water clean?
  • What items do I have on my person that may be of use?
  • Are you wanting us to ask provocative, fiction-building questions like, "Why is the sky yellow?" and "When did the entire planet become a city?" I need a little more clarity to answer the thread question!
  • Hans,
    I'm trying to figure out what kind of information I need to focus on for introductory and setting material. My philosophy right now is if you don't need to know it, then it doesn't go in, and if you don't need to know right away, then it can be supplemental or left to the GM's discretion. So I'm asking to see what kinds of things people want to know about, both from an "if I was there" perspective, and from the perspective of one of their fictional avatars. As for what I end up using, that's still gonna depend on my editorial judgment, but I want to be informed about it or something.
  • edited April 2012
    I would want to know exactly "where am I?" in relation to danger, shelter and sustenance, in that order.

    oh right, that comes under obvious shit.

    how about - "What is familliar?" I guess you are basically an immigrant, and immigrants tend to cluster around familliar places to feel secure.

    Maybe you could hit up some first hand accounts of 'Coming to America' to get a feel for how it feels?
  • Who is protecting me and my right to be alive from this bullshit universe I appear to be in?
  • [Myself] Where's my family, and what condition are they in? If I know this, then instead: how safe is my family and/or how do I keep them safe.

    [RPG Character] What's causing all this weirdness?
  • Do I have enough toilet paper?

    On a serious note: Is there anything I can make into a make shift weapon to protect myself?
    Next question would be can I find transport?
  • What's my body like? Do I have orange skin? Mechanical implants? Or am I basically a human?
  • Marshall, you may well be familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs but I'd think it'd be a helpful framework for immediate concerns on a character's mind. Most of the answers you're likely to get will relate to the Physiological and Safety levels. "What happened to all my peeps" will tend to concerns about Love/Belonging. Eventually the more interesting questions for characters might gravitate to the Esteem layer but initially they'll want to know the lower levels of needs are taken care of,

    It ain't perfect but I think you'd do well to answer a bunch of questions related to the lower end of the pyramid, then leave the GM and players to explore the upper. Hope that's helpful.
  • I'm just going off of the information you game me Marshall, but what's this here United States of America called?
    Saying everything is weird is like saying everything is just fine.
    Everything is weird is just filler. It's like the waitress asking how you are.
    Where are the people I care very deeply for?
    And do I have to go back to my crumby job?
  • Ok, so maybe this was too vague and open to be fruitful. I'ma try handling a topic at a time. But first, I'll answer all the questions above that I can, for funsies, and because it's good practice for writing this thing:

    That depends on many factors, among them where exactly you are, what time of year it is, and what your definition of "clean" is.

    Whatever's in your pockets may be of some use. At the very least, you could try bartering something.

    Most things are familiar, just weirder and crappier. You can still get a burger that's decent if you don't inquire what's in it, and a job flipping burgers.

    All on you, buddy.

    Your family is probably fine and probably at home. If you want to keep them safe, get a job and get a gun. The weirdness has been around long enough that people don't really talk about it anymore, or even really know what happened.

    There's plenty of toilet paper to be had, but it's probably not quilted. There's always something to make into a weapon, even if it's only a stick (but you're more likely to find a handy chunk of scrap metal). For transportation, try a used car lot, taxi, or bus.

    You're pretty much normal. Implants and possibly (deliberately induced) mutation happen, though.

    There's not really a name for the collective land, except for a vague America. You can't go back to your crumby job, but you can probably get a new job that's pretty much the same except crumbier. Or you can say "fuck it" and live a (probably brief) life of adventure.

    Ok, now, the first topic:

    The Political Landscape
    The former US is now fractured into dozens of pieces, similar to the state of Japan in the early Warring States period, except without an emperor or anything. Well, there's supposedly a US President still, in a bunker somewhere, but no one cares.

    Mostly you've got nation-states anywhere from a single city to almost an entire US state. They run the gamut from despotisms to republics to anarchic autonomous collectives.

    While there's plenty of penny-ante daimyous and two-bit warlords, there's only a few major powers: the Holy Republic of Texas; the Denver Wolf in the Rockies; Hammurabi Musashi II in Arizona and New Mexico; the Disco King in Washington and Oregon; the Lord of Death, Odin, in Maine, Pennsylvania, and parts of Canada; the Silver Legion in parts of the Midwest; and the Greater Oceanic Co-Prosperity Sphere in much of New England.

    So, given that stuff: as you, and as a character in an RPG, what's the first thing you want to know about the political landscape?
  • What are the roads like? Who is dangerous? Who can I trust?
  • Roads used for trade routes are at least driveable, as the interested parties (various nations and trade conglomerates) pay to have them maintained. Other roads are pretty dodgy.

    If you're a PC, then you're dangerous, as is anyone like you. Bandits, soldiers, and hired guards are likewise dangerous, as well as many people in government.

    You can trust anyone who needs you more than you need them. Usually.
  • Posted By: Marshall BurnsSo, given that stuff: as you, and as a character in an RPG, what's the first thing you want to know about the political landscape?
    When can I start eating people?
  • As soon as you can get one to hold still long enough.
  • I want to work out which group is going to shoot me on sight, which is going to enslave me, which is going to ignore me and which is going to help me.
  • In order:
    Texas, if you don't have a visa
    Most likely Odin, or possibly the Silver Legion
    Definitely the Disco King (until you're important enough to attract his attention)
    Whoever would benefit the most from having you on your side
  • Another topic: the Wave.

    While short-range radio and television are still a thing, they are on the bottom of the media totem-pole. The big thing now is the Wave, a communications and media network created with wavecomm technology. A signal on the Wave is superpositioned throughout its wavespace, reaching every wavecomm terminal within that wavespace simultaneously, without any means to trace or triangulate it -- or any means for privacy or security, at least without serious wavecomm tech ratfuck mojo. Every major power has a wavespace in, near, or overlapping its territory, and the corporations that maintain the Wave see to communication and data sharing between wavespaces, via couriers or more archaic forms of telecommunication, such as modems and phone lines or fiber optic cables or wi-fi signals.

    So, what do you need to know about the Wave?
  • Is it possible to have two distinct wavespaces that overlap in physical space?

    How big can a wavespace be? How hard would it be to set up a single wavespace that cover the whole Earth? How about one that includes both the Earth and the moon? How about the entire solar system? How about multiple star systems?

    Is propagation through wavespace literally simultaneous? In other words, is this faster-than-light communication?

    When you say "serious wavecomm tech ratfuck mojo", I gotta wonder, are you saying there's something difficult about sending coded messages via the Wave?

  • Wavespaces can overlap, but a given wavecomm terminal can only access the information of one wavespace at a time.

    The size of a wavespace is limited by the amount of power you have to generate it, which is quite large, and directly proportional to the cube of the linear distance you want to cover (the actual range is spherical). This can be alleviated somewhat by daisy-chaining wavecasters such that they receive and send information to each other until they al share the same info, making them into a single wavespace, but this runs the risk of the Christmas light effect where if one 'caster goes out, it cripples the ones that come after it. Covering the globe with a single wavespace would require a *lot* of power and infrastructure, more than anybody can manage at present.

    Yep, the communication is faster than light. Establishing the wavespace isn't, but once it's up, the communication is instantaneous. It's a little bit quantum and a little bit sorcery.

    Codes and encryption work fine, but they can be cracked by some kind of ghost key (a portable, self-contained decryption and password cracking computer) or other. The main problem is that you normally can't restrict access to information on the Wave, but there *are* ways to do it by making the technology do things it's not supposed to do (i.e. ratfucking) involving complex harmonics, interference, etc.
  • How many guns am I carrying! and how many HP's do I have!
  • Lol.
    How many guns depends on your character class. Everyone has the same HPs except they're not HPs.
  • Here's a good source of strange objects, creatures and things. I think it'd work great to stock a dungeon or similar with.

  • What should I be on the lookout for?
    Who is in control here?
  • How do I get back to reality/normal life?
  • Do the people in charge here feel responsible for helping me? If so, how can I find them? If not, how can I avoid them?
  • Ross, be on the lookout for wild animals, bandits, people hired to kill your ass, armies who might kill your ass, people in power who might tell people to kill your ass. Depending on what exactly you mean by "control," the answer could be nobody, the Devil, or one of the governments mentioned a few posts upward.

    Carl, you don't. It's not that kind of game; sorry that the initial post was misleading in that manner.

    David, the people in power aren't going to help you unless they think they can gain something from doing so. Finding them might be as easy as walking up to city hall, or it could be a twisting path littered with red tape, greased palms, and punched balls. Avoiding them is mainly a matter of escaping their notice. In small places, that's hard to do unless you just stay out of town, period, but in big places you can make it pretty easily as long as you aren't blowing shit up all the time.
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