Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Cosmos of Valor Seed

Every good RPG should have a good back-story, whether its fully explained in the game or not.  You can always tell when a game world has its own history not part of the central plot.

The following information is not necessary to playing through Valor Seed, nor will it be particularly well gone over in it.  It is simply the back-story that I used as the foundation for the game.

The Other Universe, the Esprit, and the Ordiri

The origin of the Universe began in an other universe.  The other universe was very old.  The spread of Wyrd (entropy) had caused all materials to slowly become the same.  In fact, all life-forms had been combined into a single life-form, the esprit.

We designed the Esprit by taking all of modern Earth's most abundant life-forms, ranked by cognition, and merged them into a single gestalt. 

The esprit were not very interested in succumbing to maximum entropy.  As they were basically boiled-down life, they bestowed life to the remaining materials in the other universe.  Thus, the ordiri were created.

They're basically elementals.

The ordiri were made from heat, light, magnetism, metal, etc.  A diverse bunch.  They reckoned that the only way to escape the Wyrd, was to go to a different universe.  For this purpose, they used the dark materials (dark matter) to fashion a colossal spear , the dark spire.  

With the Dark Spire they stabbed through the wall of the other universe, and into a new one.  As the dark spire passed into the new universe, all of the ordiri were swept down along its length.  Those that were flung from it, were simply erased--they were not materials of the new universe.  

This Universe & the Spheres

The ordiri found they could not leave the proximity of the dark spire.  The esprit, feeling bad for their creations, departed out into the new universe, discovering that it was bereft of any form of life.  They gathered new materials and brought them back to the ordiri.

The ordiri were distributed foremost in three areas of the dark spire, its base, its middle, and its tip.  Using new materials, all of the three groups created spheres of worlds.  

The materials of the new universe were very raw--compliant to being animated.  All new life-forms took on a part of the esprit called Sele. To protect the sele from drifting off away from the dark spire, the esprit created a barrier around the center of the spire, and called it the Source.

When these new life-forms were placed into the spheres, however, the results were unexpected.

The Mortal, the Everlasting & the Undying

On the base of the dark spire a festering wound was found.  Marking where the pass between universes has closed, it was now a scathing mark, oozing Wyrd.  The sphere that had been created around this was greatly affected.  All material in the sphere was put into a constant state of flux--including life-forms.  The life-forms of this sphere were set to random changes in body.  The only constant was the nature of their sele.  Bound to a state of constant suffering, it was named the Sphere of Ire.  They were named the Wreth.  Because they were constantly changing, they could never experience death--life was forced upon them.

The Wreth have unusual physical forms.  On their native Sphere these forms change at random, however on the Sphere of Mortality they remain constant, though are always monstrous in appearance.  Basically, they're demons/devils, and such is why they look ugly.

The middle sphere, home to the greatest abundance of life-forms, became the Sphere of Mortality.  All life could end there.  When a life-form expired, its sele would return to the Source, charged with the personality, but not the memories from, its former body.

All creatures are life-forms--animals, plants, humans even.  As all were created whole and in their present form, there is great and unexplained variety of personal features that do not have genetic backgrounds that fuel racial bias.  So, yeah.

The last of the spheres was called the Sphere of Apathy, for it knew no suffering.  It was too far from the Wyrd-wound, and so deep into the new universe, that its life-forms were incapable of undergoing change.  They were named the Frith.

The War for Sele

Sele reincarnate constantly.  Throughout each life they develop new personality traits that carry over from life to life.  Most sele reincarnate back into the Sphere of Mortality.

The Wreth, suffering endlessly as they were, decided that the best way to end said affliction would be to tear open the Wyrd-wound and let the new universe go the way of the old one.  For this, they decided they needed more Wreth.

Frith and Wreth can, using treacherous paths, travel to the Sphere of Mortality.  There, like every other living creature, they can, however, die.  A sele marked with Wyrd, retains that throughout all its lives, and if enough Wyrd marks it, it reincarnates in the Sphere of Ire.  

Posing as gods, devils, or whatever, the Wreth infiltrated the inner-workings of mortal society to try and contaminate sele in order to spur on their reincarnation into suffering.  

Recognizing this as a bad thing, the aloof Frith did as the Wreth, but for the purpose of purging Wyrd from sele, to avoid bad reincarnation.  You get it, now, surely.

The Sphere of Mortality--The Planes

The Spheres are not like a planet in our own universe.  They are big and full of space.  The Sphere of Mortality is full of aether, which is basically elemental light.  There is no sun.  Floating in this aether are the Planes--each one a flat world floating in a fixed position, with  most being about the size of Australia.  Valor Seed does not take place on a planet--its takes place on Plane Pharamonde.  Instead of a planet full of countries, each country is basically its own small planet.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Davies Code

Did RTD "warn" us about the contents of Series Five? It may appear so. I had a strange epiphany while re-watching The End of Time part two the other day. I hopped on over to The Writer's Tale, and looked up the script for the episode--this passage in particular.

"But if the Timelock's broken, then everything's coming through, not just the Daleks, but the Skaro Degradations, the Horde of Travesties, the Nightmare Child, the Couldhavebeen King with his Army of Meanwhiles and Neverweres. The War turned into Hell."

Is this a prophecy for the Moffat-era of the show, particularly in regards for what to expect? Perhaps; perhaps not.

The Skaro Degradations: To degrade something is to lower its quality, to show contempt for it, or to disrespect it. "Skaro" is the Daleks' home-world, suggesting that what is degraded is "of Skaro." The "new paradigm" Daleks from the episode "Victory to the Daleks", enact this by executing their inferior progenitors. The production team also designed new Daleks, making changes to their height and appearance...again.

The Horde of Travesties: A horde is a derogatory way of describing a large group of people. A travesty is an absurd, false, or distorted representation of something. In the episodes The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, a new vision of the Silurians is presented, which is vastly different than what had previously shown in the series. Again, the Daleks underwent massive changes. In "The Pandorica Opens", a horde of the Doctor's worst enemies ally with one-another in a travesty of their respective personalities to justify the premise of the episode. This would appear to represent all of the classic monsters of the show and their respective treatment in the new series.

The Nightmare Child: This one is too easy. This is a reference to nearly every episode of Doctor Who penned by Stephen Moffat. In The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances, The Girl in the Fireplace, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, The Eleventh Hour, The Beast Below, A Christmas Carol, and The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon a small child is put into a nightmarish situation that only the Doctor can save them from.

The Couldhavebeen King: I have two lines of thought with this one. Firstly, Moffat's heavy use of the Doctor changing the past (The Girl in the Fireplace, Blink, Time Crash, The Eleventh Hour, The Big Bang, A Christmas Carol, and The Impossible Astronaut). This could certainly make him the series monarch of "could have been" style stories in which the Doctor changes the history of a character in ways to plausibly affect their future somehow without causing the universe to explode.

Though the containing sentence uses the pronoun "He," this could also refer to River Song. No other character in Doctor Who has set such precedent with the fans for their asking of one question, "Who River Song could have been?" "Could have been," literally means "possibly existed as." River Song is played by actress Alex KINGston. Hence, "king."

Army of Meanwhiles: Here we go, now. "Meanwhile," as we all know, means, "at the same time." A prominent aspect of the Moffat-era Who narrative boasts a great many instances of this regarding plot. Though the RTD-era was no exception to this, its usage was significantly less prolific. In every-single-episode of the Moffat-era Who, screen-time is devoted to expository dialog or events relating to "as-yet-unseen" events. An "Army" of these, would describe them as being organized for a particular purpose, such as the series finale. It can even be argued that some episodes of the new series serve simply as a vessel to carry a meanwhile to the audience, while its own story is somewhat less interesting.

Neverweres: This is a subjunctive way of explaining something that has never existed. "To imagine that something has never existed", may be a better way of saying it. "Were," as a subjunctive, refers to a second-person, imagined view, of a thing's past. This does not mean something never did exist, only that it did not exist in the mental image of a second-person narrator.

Again, this has a couple of possible meanings.

Firstly, the plot of series five was essentially just this.. The Universe blew up, the stone dalek, the references to the cyberking and The Stolen Earth. All Amy Pond/crack in the world shenanigans.

Secondly, this can serve to describe many monsters of Doctor Who created by Stephen Moffat. The microscopic Vashat Nerada, the quantum-locking Weeping Angels who were as statues when observed, and the Silence--aliens who had existed on Earth for thousands of years without notice due to their power to cause all viewers to forget having had viewed them.

The War turned into Hell: Some Doctor Who fans' loudly exclaimed distaste with RTD's emphasis on character development over actual plot. Stephen Moffat writes so much plot, that the finale episode has to intrude on every other in the season. Perhaps the War was ended with RTD leaving, and now Hell is the over-thought series plot of the new era?

Now, I am not particularly a fan of either showrunner more than the other. My favorite era of Doctor Who is long over. What I am curious about with my above observations, is if they make sense to everyone else. RTD had stated having read the scripts for Series Five before having left the show in 2009. Perhaps this was his poet's way of expressing his distaste for Moffat, despite his public opinion of him?


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sprite Dump: Enemies, Set I