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FreakyCheeseMan
2013-04-30, 01:47 AM
The Literary Introduction
“Crowds gathered today at Cape Canaveral to witness the launch of the first manned spaceflight to mars. The mission, which is the result of over three years and...”

“Results were beyond anything we could have hoped for- we always knew there was liquid water at the poles, but this latest survey-”

“In a landslide, marking the party’s fifth consecutive term in control of both...”

“Really not that complicated - Mars had an atmosphere once, and even after the poles collapsed it took thousands of years for solar winds to strip that away. All we’re proposing...”

“Joint effort between the American and Chinese governments. While most eyes are on the planet’s potential mineral resources, many are hoping the cooperation will serve to ease international tension between the...”

“First detonation took place today at 3:57 Global Mountain Time. Already, nearby ground-base probes indicate ...”

“Temperature rise is well within expected variance. Advise Tier-One microbe introduction as soon...”

“People are nervous about the American government, and frankly, they have a right to be...”

“It only seems premature because you’re not listening, Mike. Establishing colonies of this size will have a massive impact on the developing ecosystem. Getting people in place now will...”

“Marks the first aboveground nuclear test in over...”

“How exactly can we, as a nation, continue to justify our continued contribution to this space program. Don’t we have enough problems on our own planet?”

“With at least some evidence of microbial life on over 80% of the planet’s surface, construction has begun on the massive “Colony Ships” intended to...”

“Lowered gravity eases pressure on cardiovascular systems; medical experts state the colonists could enjoy a healthy lifespan of up to...”

“Over 84,00 casualties reported, and that number is still climbing. The Russian premier blamed the incident on...”

“While we appreciate our resident’s passion about Homeworld politics, please restrict demonstrations to...”

“Following a weekend of non-stop communication between Houston and the colonies, NASA has finally released a long-awaited statement confirming the existence of native...”

“News we’ve been waiting for for decades. We still don’t understand how it happened- the leading theory is that Mars went through periods of increasing ecological chaos, as indicated by the striation of...”

“It’s not hibernation- the eggs themselves are laid in almost completely inert state, and if proper conditions are not met...”

“Denied allegations concerning the use of White Phosphorus north of the border. However, human-rights protestors...”

“Are consuming the engineered lichens before they have a chance to grow. Clearly, the introduction of native life requires a faster timetable...”

“Results may actually be slower; the more populated the system, the longer it takes for change to spread...”

“Colonists insist this violates the terms of their contracts. Quoted one resident, “I expected to walk on the surface myself- not wait for my grandchildren to -”

“Pulled all funding and support for ‘Foreign-owned’ Martian colonies...”

“No, of course not- the genetic pathways split off millions of years ago, if they ever shared a common ancestor to begin with. Still, the intricate symbiosis we’re witnessing is truly...”

“No options off the table. General Alexander Stewart issued a response to the statement, declaring...”

“More the ecosystem flushes out, the larger and larger specimens of native life seem to be hatching. Already, insect-like creatures the size of quarters have been spotted by some of our remote...”

“In the face of recent budget cuts. Quoted Senator Iseburn, ‘They’re welcome to come home, but we won’t be paying their cab fare.’”

“Further analysis of the plague indicates human tampering with the pathogen..”

“Floodwaters continuing to rise around the capitol, forcing senators to relocate to...”

“Holding just off the Aleutian Islands. Air patrols...”

“‘Vindication of Right’ finished the president, a clear reaction to 1900s-era President Kenedy’s reaction to what many see as a similar”

“Due to intense demand, personal calls to Homeworld are restricted to no more than five minutes per...”

“Shot down over...”

“Are in the air, repeat, we are tracking multiple...”

“Detonations reported over much of the eastern seaboard. I don’t know how much time before we go off air, but I just wanted to say...”

“Advising all citizens to seek shelter...”

“May God...”

*static*

“So, obviously we’re all still shaken by the news reports from Earth the last few days - I know I am. A lot of you have been asking for news about relatives back on earth- I understand your...”

“Over forty-eight hours since the last transmission. Even Homeworld orbital satellites have not responded...”

“Look at the bright side. Our O2 systems are holding, telemetry has confirmed no missiles were launched off-planet, and hydroponics claim they can support a population at least three times...”

“While the attack failed, two guards and a technician were killed, as well as all of the perpetrators. Overseer Jackson went on air following the event...”

“Hey, if they think fascism was such a great idea, they can do whatever they want with their colony- just so long as they don’t expect further shipments of...”

“Simply don’t have the manufacturing base, and it’ll be the best part of a century before mining operations become feasible...”

“With confirmed images from three different remote cameras, I feel pretty confident in saying that Bigfoot is real, and he’s here on...”

“Marks the fifth reported escape of this size . My contact in Ecologics says that even though the surface is at least five decades away from goals, it’s theoretically possible for a small group...”

“You can find photos posted in the dining area. Hydroponics claim the extreme growth of the forests can be attributed both to the lower gravity, and the presence of...”

“Were found mangled. Thankfully no one was harmed in the incident, which has left many administrators clueless- quoted one, “These rail lines were designed to withstand...”

“Celebrate the birthday of one of our oldest residents. Emma Koryo was part of the Homeworld space program when...”

“Best not to spend more than an hour or so at a time on the grounds- they are pretty, but the air’s still gonna be thin for a few more years...”

“Founded their settlement along the banks of one of the older rivers. While the President was displeased by their claim to political independence, he couldn’t deny the prospect of emigration was a relief to our strained...”

“Thousands of acres of arable land, and only a few remote biomes left without at least some vegetation...”

“Third attempt at an armedheavier-than-air vehicle. When pressed for a statement, the project supervisor...”

“Represents ‘A clear intrusion into our ancestral territory.’ Believes to be the descendents of one of several groups to escape...”

“This is your early-morning wake up call; the time is oh-seven-hundred Cydonian Standard time, and it’s a beautiful day on mars.”


The Normal Introduction (Warning: Wall of Text)
Red Iron is another setting that I've had kicking around my head for a few months now. At it's core, it is a (hopefully) strictly realistic sci-fi western, set on mars about ~150 to ~200 years from now. It'll be easier to explain through the history, so here goes.

First, humans launch manned missions to mars; they discover, among other things, that the Red Planet would actually be very easy to terraform to something that would be able to sustain human life; once the polar ice caps are melted, a number of strains of algae can be introduced, followed by sequentially more complicated life forms, until a complete and stable ecosystem could be established.

However, there was one problem with this plan - the act of introducing large scale human colonies would have a profound and negative impact on the developing ecosystem. Furthermore, a significant ground presence would be required to release additional bio-engineered flora and fauna to the surface when the time was right. Eventually, a strange decision was reached - the colonies would be established first, as hermetically sealed habitats, and the ecosystem would be allowed to grow around them. Volunteers signed on, agreeing to spend a few decades within such strict environs, before the surface became able to support them.

The colonies were set in place, with tens of thousands of people in several city-habitats spread across the surface of mars; while the habitats were loosely aligned with sovereign nations on Earth, the space program was at this point largely a joint venture, so they were mostly unified.

However, as the terraforming process advanced, native martian life began to appear in the form of microbes. This caused a burst of excitement in the scientific community, of course; the theory was settled on that Martian life had evolved to be born in a state of extreme hibernation, where new life forms would essentially remain inert until an ecosystem existed to support them, at which point chemical reactions would occur that would bring them to life.

Practically, however, the news was disastrous; the speed of the terraforming process relied on a complete absence of natural predators - each newly introduced species would spread unchecked until it reached its zenith, at which point another life form would be released to feed on it, continuing the cycle until a stable ecosystem could be formed. With native martial life - even at the scale of microbes and insects - in the picture, the process became much slower and more complicated. What was supposed to happen in twenty years would now take over a century.

By this point, Martian Exploration and Colonization was a cornerstone of the economy; with the news that no one would be seeing a return on their investment within their life times, the floor dropped out, leading to the worst economic crisis in history. In addition to this, the spectre of climate change on earth led to an increased rate of natural disasters; the next few decades saw both economic and political turmoil across the globe, and there was no chance of those colonists already living on mars getting a ride home.

The colonists watched as the situation on Earth went from bad to worse; once friendly nations began to fight openly over increasingly rare resources, all the while facing the threat of internal collapse as more and more major cities became the site of humanitarian crisis in the face of environmental disasters. Wars went from cold to hot to nuclear; within fifty years of the discovery of martian life, the colonists got their last transmissions from their home planet.

The decades that followed saw ingenuity and desperation on the part of the Martian colonies as, suddenly cut off from any re-supply, they struggled to make themselves self-sustaining. Several colonies failed entirely; others became brutal despotisms. Larger and larger native life forms began to be born as the slow and vital process of terraforming continued, with some creatures even large enough to destroy the rail lines connecting the colonies. As the oxygen levels crept higher, some groups of humans fled the colonies prematurely, heading to the valleys where the air was thickest and finding ways to survive even in the face of the as-yet-inhospitable environment.

Eventually, finally, the planet reached a point where the colonies could open up at last. Now badly overpopulated, hummanity spread rapidly, establishing farms and outposts in the few truly fertile areas that yet existed, always pushing further into the frontier. Despite having theoretical understanding of advanced technology, the colonies had never had the independent manufacturing capacity that earth did, and people were often stuck using only what they could make by hand. Even with so much space available, only limited arable land existed, and various groups often found themselves in conflict over it, or over accessible mineral deposits, or even over the herd animals that sustained many of the outlying regions.

Overview (For those afraid of walls of text)
Earth went boom, humanity is surviving on mars, which is still in the process of being terraformed, so new frontiers are opening up all the time. Humanity has retained its mastery of technology in theory - we have schematics and design notes and all of that - but without any factories and only the most basic of mines even starting to prop up, for the most part we're stuck at a much more primitive level (except for rare handfuls of advanced technology left over from when we were still being supplied by Earth.)

Martian life is a thing, and often a dangerous thing, but most of the conflicts are between humans; different nation-like structures exist, based around the colonies various populations originated from. There are also some semi-native humans, who left the colonies even earlier, and have been scratching out a difficult existence on the surface of the red planet ever since.

So, yeah - basically, it's a western set on mars. Have fun!

Xeratos
2013-04-30, 09:05 AM
I'm confused. Are you looking for input or just wanted to put a cool idea out there? Is there more coming (gamerule specifics for Mars style monsters, what ruleset you're using, etc.)?

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-04-30, 12:09 PM
Mostly just putting a (hopefully) cool idea out there, but I'd love to hear what people think, or if they have any suggestions.

As for building a game system for it... unlikely. If I ever ran this, I'd probably just use the Deadlands rules and strip out the supernatural stuff.

Selenir
2013-05-07, 11:00 AM
I now have an intense and passionate desire for two things:

1.) An audio file with all the awesome quotes from your Literary Introduction.
2.) A modernized and sci-fi-ified soundtrack of typical "Western movie" music, remixed and made to sound futuristic.

This setting sounds absolutely awesome. Love it!

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-05-09, 02:22 PM
*Grins* Thanks! I'm rather proud of this one, though once I had the basic idea (A Western! On Mars!) everything else seemed to write itself - Mars and Western just seem to go together, both visually (the surface of Mars is perfect, red-tinted deserts, massive, awe-inspiring canyons...) and in terms of the atmosphere (So much of Westerns is about that Frontier attitude, which lines up nicely with the "Colonizing a new planet" angle.)

I've got this wonderful image in my head of a guy in a duster and a cowboy hat standing in the foreground with a long-barrelled revolved in his hand, with a vehicle behind him that looks like a cross between a martian rover and a covered waggon, and the surface of mars stretching out behind him, except with a few stands of trees visible here and there, and maybe a river somewhere in the distance...

*Sighs* If only I had a modicum of artistic talent...

And yeah, I was imagining the radio transmissions playing the entire time I wrote that - I envisioned it as the intro sequence to a game, starting from Cape Canaveral and slowly zooming out, with assorted things happening to Earth from space (storm clouds and hurricanes, slowly turning to the night-time face of the planet and then either flashes of nuclear strikes (if such light is visible from space), or just the lights of the cities going out one by one), then a long pan through space, slowly zooming in on Mars (going from the dark to light side of the planet), then finally coming all the way in to first-person view from the PC as he wakes up, with that last radio program actually playing in the background.

Grinner
2013-05-09, 03:41 PM
I spotted one small typo:"the situation on Earth went from bad to worth", but it was very well done. The wall of text was actually interesting!

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-05-10, 07:53 PM
I spotted one small typo:"the situation on Earth went from bad to worth", but it was very well done. The wall of text was actually interesting!

Fixes - also, thanks!

Not quite sure where to go with it next, though...

Grinner
2013-05-10, 08:02 PM
Not quite sure where to go with it next, though...

Fill out the setting. Detail each Martian colony, or at least the important ones. Describe daily life, technology, and prominent organizations. Drop a few plot hooks, too.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-05-10, 08:04 PM
Fill out the setting. Detail each Martian colony, or at least the important ones. Describe daily life, technology, and prominent organizations. Drop a few plot hooks, too.

*Nods*

I'm actually trying to stay as scientifically accurate as I can with this one, so I want to study up on mars a bit more first - I'd like to actually have an outline of the specifics of the terraforming process, maybe even a notion of what regions would be the best once it had taken off.

Raazan
2013-05-12, 11:25 AM
I have a few things to say.
First, this setting is awesome! excellent job.
Second, it mite (how do you spell that word?) be a good idea to read some martian sci fi. the "Warlord of Mars" series has some interesting ideas for aliens, but it mite not work for you. there is a ton of literature on mars, and any of it could be useful to you.
Third, your literary introduction was brilliant, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish it (the disconnected text confused me, so I skipped right to the standard introduction). It would be really cool to have that as a video. maybe you could find someone who knows how to do that kind of thing to make the video based on your vision.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-05-12, 08:29 PM
I have a few things to say.
First, this setting is awesome! excellent job.
Second, it mite (how do you spell that word?) be a good idea to read some martian sci fi. the "Warlord of Mars" series has some interesting ideas for aliens, but it mite not work for you. there is a ton of literature on mars, and any of it could be useful to you.
Third, your literary introduction was brilliant, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish it (the disconnected text confused me, so I skipped right to the standard introduction). It would be really cool to have that as a video. maybe you could find someone who knows how to do that kind of thing to make the video based on your vision.

It's spelled "Might." Yeah, English makes no sense whatsoever. :P

What sort of aliens? Though, for the most part, the alien life in this case is not meant to be particularly important - none of it is sentient, it's mostly just there to have disrupted the terraforming process, and to give the Mountain Men of Mars something to be all woodsy and knowledgeable about.

*Grins* Thanks. If I ever make any friends into A/V stuffs, I'll see what I can do.