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The Long Game

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Daftpanzer, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Hello and welcome to The Long Game, an attempt at world-building that extends far backwards from the dawn of civilization to include both the evolution of life and the formation of continents themselves, opening everything up to player influence along the way. It will include elements of previous games, notably Alternate Timeline Experiment, NESLife and the abortive IoTerra.



    Essentially the idea is, what if players not only had a chance to create civilizations, but were able to influence the evolution of intelligent life, as well as shape the continents and the kind of life forms (both plants and animals) that our human-analogues would ultimately have to deal with? I thought this may be, ‘fun’ :)


    Disclaimer

    I fully admit I’ve had a few short-lived or problematic projects ever since my golden years on the NES forum, which just so happened to be before I started working full-time... but, a lot of this has also been caused by my games being too graphics-heavy to sustain. In this game, there will be little more than the world map to go with, and I will concentrate on thinking and writing up the actual events, though I may provide some drawings here and there. The rules will also be very simple. This will hopefully lead to a smoother experience.


    Further Explanation
    Over the first part of the game I will be guiding this world towards the evolution of intelligent, human-like life, although player input may result in many strange animals evolving with them - or the existence of surprising survivors from previous eras, whose counterparts are long extinct in our timeline (dinosaurs? giant arthropods?).

    Basically, the initial trajectory will be set towards the eventual rise of mammals and hominids, but this is not set in stone - if there’s enough *consistent* pushing from players to explore other ideas, even a civilization of non-mammal sentients, I will be willing to go with that. It may also be that we end up with not just one sentient species, but several rival species that survive long enough to be involved in the birth of civilization. The choice, as they say, is yours.

    Thus we begin with an ‘alternate reality earth’ in what would roughly correspond to the late Devonian era, though the continents are already arranged differently.



    The Rules
    In the opening phase of the game, each player receives 2 points per turn, which can be used to:
    • Alter the global climate on either of two axes (hot-cold, wet-dry)

    • Nudge a continent in a certain direction on the map - obviously the poles are cold and the equator is warm, and great mountain ranges will form where continents collide.

    • Boost the evolution of a group of creatures (such as amphibians) or plants/fungi (such as giant fungus, or primitive vascular plants).

    • Summon a global disaster, such as a meteor impact or volcanic upheaval. The more points spent on it, the more disastrous the effects will be (especially if more than one player combines their efforts). Large animals near the top of the food chain tend to suffer most from these events, but life can be affected at all levels.


    This can of course lead to a situation where player’s actions are contradicting each other, which is actively encouraged; it’s my job as GM to work out these battles - you may see continents splitting apart, climate chaos and other such fun things occuring.

    As and when human-analogues appear, players will start to lose these abilities, but will instead be able to spend their points on guiding a chosen culture/ethnic group - granting general bonuses to economic, military, social, scientific endeavours, or giving a boost to a specific military campaign, or perhaps influencing the building of a wondrous monument.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
    inthesomeday and Danwar like this.
  2. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    World History

    Epoch 0 - a boom in bony fish. The first tetrapod fish crawl onto land.
    Epoch 1 - a warm, oxygen-rich world. Air-breathing trilobites compete with primitive lizards, amphibians and giant insects.
    Epoch 2 - The Great Dying - a serious setback for complex life. Massive volcanic eruptions give birth to the Moddier subcontinent and trigger global warming; and a heat crisis kills off many species. In the aftermath, more molluscs crawl onto land, and there is a revival of velvet worms.
    Epoch 3 - vertebrate survivors begin to evolve into frogs, reptiles and mammals. But half the world is now ruled by invertebrates; there is a revival of arachnid species, and land squid make an appearance. Bioluminescent reefs begin to sparkle in the waters.
    Epoch 4 - mammals, dinosaurs and terrestrial squid become more developed. Plesiosaurs and pterosaurs (swimming and flying reptiles) spread across the world. Ice returns to the poles.
    Epoch 5 - a supercontinent begins to form, mixing terrestrial species together; mammals, land squid, giant velvet worms, giant spiders and pterosaurs grapple with each other. Aquatic cephalopods are the first to evolve higher intelligence. Cooling continues. Various animals evolve eusocial traits.
    Epoch 6 - almost all landmasses have combined, and ice retreats, creating dry vast deserts in the interior where dinosaurs and giant lizards have a brief flourishing. A peak of cephalopod intelligence is reached in the oceans, and flowering plants begin to evolve on land.

    Epoch 7 - the planet again cools drastically, covering much of the land in ice sheets and lowering sea levels, disrupting the world of the undersea cephalopds. Island land masses drift towards the equator to become new homes for tropical species. On land, mammals now thrive alongside pterosaurs and feathered squid, while plesiosaurs, dinosaurs, giant lizards and the venerable trilobites are all in decline. Birds appear.
    Epoch 8 - the first half of this era saw the supercontinent of Nesiota reach a peak of size, while an ice age continued, and the temperature plunged to a new record low. Millions of years of volcanic activity and fluctuating weather followed.
    Epilogue - the first truly sentient life appears...

    STATS


    This post is reserved for ‘stats’ - a list of player involvement, and what areas of the planet and/or life forms are associated with them. Later, players will also be able to claim an ethnic group / culture to work with.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  3. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Epoch 0

    The oceans already harbour a great diversity of life. Various kinds of coral reefs, shelled creatures, crustaceans, molluscs in many forms - including giant ammonites - and monstrous sea scorpions are all to be found in vast stretches of warm, shallow seas. Molluscs and sea scorpions seem to be in decline, however, as bony fish are emerging as the big winners of this era - diversifying rapidly, including some that are using their fins to haul onto land. But the true monsters of this era are the ‘armoured fishes’, ferocious and near-indestructible bony fish, some of which already reach the size of small whales.

    By contrast, much of the land surface is still barren sand, rock and gravel. Plants have taken hold, but for millions of years, you would have seen little growing on land apart from carpets of moss-like growths, sprinkled with alien-looking towers of giant fungus. The landscape is now starting to look more varied, with the first vascular plants appearing, some already growing to tree-size proportions, and bizarre-looking spore cones shooting up above the undergrowth. Plants have little to fear as there are no large, grazing herbivores, though various kinds of early arthropods and insects have evolved to suck and nibble on plants and to recycle dead vegetation.

    Early arachnids (active hunters without webs) are the top predators, except in swampy or river areas where tetrapod fish - not true amphibians, but fish able to haul onto land for short periods - are starting to make their presence felt; with their more sophisticated lungs and circulatory systems, tetrapods are already able to grow to fairly large sizes, with bony jaws and teeth to gobble up smaller prey. However, as land plants spread across the continents, atmospheric oxygen levels are also rising, meaning arthropods and insects may also soon be able to grow equally large. There is also no sign of tetrapods breaking their ties with the water just yet - leaving arthropods to rule beyond the swamps and riverbanks.



    The climate is generally temperate, with periodic glaciers in the northern reaches, and quite dry in the continental interiors.

    ‘Iotania’, the largest and most diverse continent, is drifting westwards. Though having a great internal desert, it also has the most variety of land-dwelling life, and the home of the first tetrapods venturing onto land.

    ‘Nessaria’ is drifting east and northwards, while gently rifting apart.

    ‘Panzerna’, an archipelago of rugged, rocky terrain and fewer varieties of plants and animals, is drifting west and south, while gently rifting apart.

    Spoiler WORLD MAP :




    [more info here]

    [You may now post :D]
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  4. Omega124

    Omega124 Challenging Fate

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    Let's make the planet wetter.

    Also, lets give evolutionary pressure for tribolites to adapt better to the rising challenge that are bony fish. Make Tribolites Great Again!
     
  5. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    That's perfect, thanks megs :D

     
  6. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Make the atmosphere denser and wetter.
    Increase geological (volcanic) activity, especially in undersea vents and along continental plates (increased atmospheric temperature, CO2, decreasing oceanic pH)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  7. Ailedhoo

    Ailedhoo wonderer

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    Things need to get a bit... hotter.

    Also: increase the development of tropical trees.
     
  8. TheGryphonPrince

    TheGryphonPrince King

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    I'm going to make Iotania colder and also pressure the trilobites into evolving faster.
     
  9. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Thanks guys :D

    @TheGryphonPrince just FYI, I want to make climate actions a global thing, so it affects the whole planet at once. But you can nudge the continental drift so Iotania heads towards the poles (probably north), so that is gets colder that way. I'll interpret your orders as doing so, unless you say otherwise!
     
  10. Danwar

    Danwar Warlord

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    I will spend both of my points on the evolution of the Tetrapod landfish. Can we specify what sort of direction we evolve them into? If so, try to improve the Tetrapod's lung systems.
     
  11. Angst

    Angst Rambling and inconsistent

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    Let's have a subset of the trilobite evolve into being more flexible, with softer crusts acting slightly muscle-like in a multitude of fragmentations along their moving & interactive limbs, living near the northeastern coast of Nesaria.

    Also, make the world hotter.
     
  12. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Lets sink Panzernia slightly

    Lets also have a plant species that reproduces over vast distances through super-light fruiting bodies thatare carried vast distances over the planet. I envision them maybe harnessing some of the lighter gases involved in photosynthesis (hydrogen?) to be semi-boyant.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  13. Marcher Jovian

    Marcher Jovian Emperor

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    Let’s boost the evolution of vascular plants and have some arthropods to the skies and fly.
     
  14. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    Thanks again!

    @Dunwar, that may be a little too specific for both spending points (lungs), but I can certainly take that as 'evolving to survive on land'

    @Thomas a couple of issues I'm afraid. I'm not having raising / lowering of land as an action this time around - I'd rather replicate the continents moving around, merging, then splitting up again etc. Sea levels can rise or lower depending on how much ice is around, they also tend to fall when supercontinents form (according to science). Also, I'm not cool with lighter-than-air floating plant parts, at least not at this early stage of evolution. Spores and fluffy seeds would seem to work just fine!

    @Marcher Jovian I should have mentioned that early flying insects are already around, but you can certainly boost their evolution (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meganisoptera).
     
  15. Decamper

    Decamper ..!

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    Make bony fish bonier.

    Volcanos erupt off eastern Panzerna.
     
  16. Danwar

    Danwar Warlord

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    Good enough. With the increasing competition in the oceans with the bonefish and trilobites, I doubt they'll prosper just remaining largely sea animals.
     
  17. Lord_Herobrine

    Lord_Herobrine Back in the Saddle

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    Plants/trees develop deeper root systems, allowing them to survive in harsher conditions.

    Trees of this world instead draw water out of the ground to the top of the tree, then let it mist down to lower leaves and water receptors. Think like a fountain.
     
  18. Shadowbound

    Shadowbound Incorrugible

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    Let's make the atmosphere thicker, as some passing ice fields get trapped by the planet's gravity. Some of this goes on to form a pretty ring, but a big chunk enters the atmosphere, burns up, and releases its contents.
     
  19. Daftpanzer

    Daftpanzer There may be more posts after this.

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    @Shadowbound, that doesn't fit with what I know of astrophysics, also its not in the rules :D I can give you volcanic eruptions or a comet impact (or both) if you really want.
     
  20. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Alright, editing my previous post:

    spend 1 action to evolve kelp-like plants, with gas bladders to be buoyant in the water.

    Spend 1 to erupt a supervolcano somewhere
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018

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