Which Beyond Earth leaders could lead factions in SMAC?


Dec 25, 2008
So I’ve been writing a SMAC/C:BE crossover for a while now, so I think a lot about how the two settings can coexist. In my story it’s heavily based on the characters’s relations with each other, the state of Earth before the mission, and what happens during Planetfall.

I want this experiment to be different:

WHAT if the sponsors each represented a distinct ideology, like the original seven factions? Or at least had a distinct vibe or gimmick that could be paired with specialized game mechanics, as the five SMAX human factions. Note that because SMAC has only so many mechanics, let’s assume that we can come up with more to support their ideologies/gimmicks.

Here’s my take. I’m rating each of my own attempts with either Good, Bad, or Weird, because that’s a fun stylish movie.

Elodie: Culture, and the preservation of it. Imagine an art school version of the University, where everyone is a creative or a critic. Everyone is raised and trained to have the best taste. All of the artistic fields from literature to music to culinary arts are practiced, where elevated discourse takes place in the Curator’s salons while everyone sips fungal wine. Also, like a secular version of the Believers. The cultural memory of Earth must not and cannot be lost. The purity of the species’ civilizational achievements must be preserved. Rebuild a life-sized replica in the Virtual World, even. So a lot of novel ideas for this faction. They could take advantage of whatever culture mechanics exist in this hypothetical SMAC sequel. This idea is Good.

Koslov: Infrastructure, and the building of it. This faction is for the hyper-development of the Planet. Humanity must colonize Planet to the utmost, and pave great roads over it. So a lot of Industry, and the exploring that leads to the creation of it. We must build our way to civilization. A decently Goodidea for a faction I think, if slightly broad.

Fielding: Can’t really figure it out. She’s a master spy and a corpo, but how does that translate to a faction? A competitor to Morgan Industries where the executives are really good at espionage? Seems like Fielding could simply be just a hyper-competent employee, maybe a SVP, of Morgan’s (as in my fanfic). Kind of pointless to have another faction that’s just a different corporation, whose only gimmick is it's more good at spying. Fairly Bad idea.

Bolivar: He might be a real general and represent traditional militaries, unlike Santiago’s rabble of rebel survivalists playing militia, but he still embodies similar values of military preparedness and discipline. If anything, Bolivar is too level-headed and professional to create a fanatical Starship Troopers-type stratocracy that Santiago wants. Doesn’t make sense to be its own faction; in my crossover story, I made Bolivar the head of Lal’s peacekeeping forces. Rather Bad idea for a new faction on its own.

Hutama: His big thing is about Trade, and there’s potential there. Morgan is about trade? No, he’s about Economy. Economic activity for its own sake. And even if that means his personal company becomes a monopoly that swallow up all of Planet’s businesses, and all sentient life of its own, so be it. But Hutama is about Trade between factions. About making mutually beneficial deals. So that’s different. Maybe his faction is about ensuring that the Planetary market is not monopolized, but rather flourishes as each faction has something to offer to the other, while his own prospers as much as possible, of course. Not sure how to go beyond that, this doesn't mean he'd go around committing vendetta against monopolists or those who close themselves off from trade, though. I'll rate it a Weird.

Sochua: She's literally Zakharov except an Eastasian female instead of an Eurasian male. In my fanfic I made her head of Engineering aboard the Unity while Zakharov was head of Science, and later she's a prominent University member. Would be redundant if both led factions. Bad idea for a new faction.

Barre: On the face of things he's like Hutama but more avuncular or grandfatherly, rather than being a young shark. But I think the one ideology from his background could be Anti-Imperialism and Decolonization. His whole backstory is about becoming the leader of a continent that was plundered by outsiders in previous centuries, and bringing it to prominence (and growing a lot of food along the way). In SMAC, where the politics of future nation-states matters less, I think the ideology would be Freedom from Fear. That is, going beyond Peacekeeping ideas of liberty and self-determination, it's about proactively fighting against those who would dominate weaker factions, not just militarily/politically, but economically as well. So like Maoist and other third world ideologues during the Cold War, Barre on SMAC would seek to oppose the forces of capital and neo-imperialism whenever possible. Sending probes to sabotage aggressors, and to mess with Morgan's economic imperialism. Sort of like the Free Drones, but instead of seeking to liberate a specific class of people, seeking to liberate entire factions from being pushed around by stronger ones. Would depend a lot on mechanics that don't actually exist in SMAC, so Weird idea.

Kavitha: Her whole shtick is that she's religious based, which the Believers already have. Yes, you could perhaps have a different religious faction that's based on a different style of religion (eastern/dharmic based instead of western/Abrahamic), but ultimately their ideologies are the same, just centered around different variants. And I believe counter to the stereotype of Miriam, you could have versions of the Believers who truly are devoted to their in-game Datalinks agenda of "Life of Religious Worship" in literal terms- meaning they're okay with any religious worship, even if it's not Miriam or the ruling class's religion. Maybe they're fanatical Unitarians or something. I think having the Kavithans be a separate faction is a Bad idea, but what would be interesting if a SMAC game supported different leaders like in a Paradox grand strategy mapgame, meaning she could take over from Miriam.

Arshia: Pilgrimage and wandering could be the basis of their faction. Again, this is stipulating game mechanics that don't exist, but maybe like the nomadic Roving Clans of Endless Legend, her faction could be a nomadic one that wanders, freely trades with whomever they meet, and are ultimately seeking to find a "promised land" on Planet. It's all very mystic and evocative, insert your influences from Homeworld and Battlestar Galactica as you see fit. Good idea for a SMAX-type "gimmick based on game mechanics" faction rather than a SMAC-type "Big Idea" faction.

Han: I don't get Chungsu, and still don't. Their shtick is they're water-based and undersea. Their lore is a big fat nothing. Oh, Korea is under the secret Illuminati leadership of "an interstellar defense organization founded by ambitious futurists"? What was the Unity mission in SMAC, or for that matter, every other sponsor's national (or in ARC's case, corporate) space colonization missions if not also for interstellar defense and ambitious futurism? I guess Chungsu is supposed to be a Firaxis XCOM in-joke but in that case you would think they would be better at killing alien wildlife, wtf. Maybe Rising Tide was supposed to get sentient alien sponsors a la SMAX, who knows. Anyway I think Han would be a lame idea to base a faction around because his lore already doesn't stand for much, but I guess if they have stats bonuses at fighting Progenitors + studying their tech, maybe there's potential. I'll give it a Weird instead of Bad as a sop to the country that the movie my rating system is based on, anyway.

Ebner: INTEGR is also pretty bad in terms of lore, just a lot of buzzwords, but the gist is that they like Green but they also like Research. As far as factions go, a faction that's pro-environmental friendly tech could exist, it just seems rather mundane and unambitious compared to the SMAC ones. I'd say it'd be Bad for Lena to lead her own faction, but she could equally fit in as a leading Talent in Gaian, University, or Peacekeeper society alike.

Hughes: His whole shtick is building stuff in the sea. I think it's a mildly Good society for having an aquatic faction that's about developing Planet's oceans rather than protecting it and using it as a means to prey upon other people. So the SMAC equivalent to the NSA would be Ulrik's more socially well-adjusted equivalent. And likely, a primary target of his piratical campaigns of terror. Would also be fun to see the water trade wars between Hughes and Morgan.

Thoughts? Questions?
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