Accepting Alternate Lifestyles

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Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Accepting Alternate Lifestyles

Although the source books leave many things wide open to interpretation, as any good Tabletop RPG, there do seem to be certain prejudicial trends in the player base I've noticed toward's certain notions of what a character's personal life would be like.

Now, there are many things that are shown to be accepted lifestyles among the Autonomists, as would be expected. Gatecrashing, comet riding, Earth expeditions, suicide skydivers, the various Scum, etc. etc.

However, a few times I'll see someone post an idea for a character that engages in fun that's not quite common in the setting given and the usual follow up comments are generally variations of "no one does that anymore" and the person who would choose that life then has to justify their reasons for choosing it.

Doesn't that seem to conflict with the entire purpose of the Autonomist Alliance? One should not NEED to justify why they find something fun and engaging to anyone, and in such a free and varied place as the Rimward, I would think "social norms" of any kind would themselves be obsolete.

To you I ask, have you ever called yourself part of one of the Autonomist factions and yet felt like you were being put on the spot with little reason apart from a character's background hobby or passion? Related; could it be that even in societies that founded themselves on lacking conformity inevitably develop it?

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

DrewDavis DrewDavis's picture
Being a part of the alliance

Being a part of the alliance doesn't mean there are no rules, or that society throws things like mores out the window. There are going to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in any grouping of sapients, autonomist or otherwise. I'm not sure where you're getting the argument that social norms are obsolete. Groupings of people are going to develop norms or mores, even if it's just to make communication easier.

You neglected to provide any examples in your post so I'll pull a canonical example of someone making a similar complaint to the one you just made: page 159 of Rimward has a callout about someone removed from an anarchist hab for reasons he feels amount to prejudice. He was fork jacking members of the hab and using their forks as sex slaves. From that person's perspective he was being discriminated against for having an alternate lifestyle.

But the hab had certain social mores that found that behavior unacceptable. In general anarchists feel that forks should be treated with the same rights as any other sapient. From the perspective of the habitat forkknapping is a horrible abuse of transhuman rights. From his perspective it was a harmless act that made him happy. The habitat wins in this situation (and rightfully so, in my opinion).

Does the fact this fictional person doesn't consider kidnapping and slavery crimes mean that the rest of society should just let him do his thing?

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Understood

Good point, it just seems that certain lifestyles that otherwise aren't hurting anyone and are simply rare should not be seen as any less relevant.

It's not something that's really made out in canon, it's just a behavior I've noticed here. Specifically, myself and others have been challenged on our interest in pursuing the martial arts in this setting.

It just seems odd that a society that finds suicide x-casts acceptable would find the ones doing Katas as the weird ones.

Not a huge issue, just something I noticed.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
mmmmm I think it may be more

mmmmm I think it may be more of a meta gaming issue creeping. For example down in this forum shadowdragon posted a character which i love but i would find incredibly awkward to rollplay with

Kassil Kassil's picture
Swords and Laser Guns

There's a contingent of sci-fi-related tropes where it gets firmly decried that melee weapons of any kind (specifically focused on swords) could not possibly see any use in a world with firearms of any kind. It's silly, since melee weapons still get used, regularly, in today's society when there aren't any concerns about punching holes in life-critical systems or atmosphere-retaining walls.

That said, knives and other short blades are far more likely than the anime-style super-greatsword, which is where a fair chunk of the protest comes from. People don't think of knife-fighting SEALs, they think of Cloud Strife and his more-massive-than-him Buster Sword.

"Don't eat the jelly, that's a protoplasm someone sleeved into."

thebluespectre thebluespectre's picture
I can picture a stealth

I can picture a stealth-focused character doing very well with melee weapons, though Lion Man seems to be the exact opposite of stealthy… but he's probably a "face" character, who mostly uses diplomacy and only busts out the weapons for backup, which ALSO makes sense.

I have to ask though, why a talwar? a long slashing weapon seems like it might be less than efficient in a narrow spaceship hull or cramped habitat. I woulda went for a Chinese straightsword, myself.

"Still and transfixed, the el/
ectric sheep are dreaming of your face..." -Talk Shows on Mute

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
In an autonomist habitat,

In an autonomist habitat, nobody except maybe the resident low-rep asshole is going to bust your chops or ping your rep for doing something they consider weird.

If you want to put on a vac-suit and practice zero-g tai chi poses for days on end in the biowaste tank to test your stamina and resistance to absurd environs, nobody's going to call you a freak or try to have you exiled.

And if you want to play around with great fuckoff-huge daiklaives, so be it. You'll wind up getting reputation bumps for doing something visually awesome, even if the local fighty-types roll their eyes and think it's absurd.

ORCACommander wrote:
mmmmm I think it may be more of a meta gaming issue creeping. For example down in this forum shadowdragon posted a character which i love but i would find incredibly awkward to rollplay with

Who, Angela? I wouldn't think so. Her only really impressive stats are her @-Rep and the numbers relating to doing things to morphs with a healing tank. Rollplaying with her shouldn't be awkward, she shouldn't wind up stepping on anybody's toes.

Or did you mean roleplaying with her? :) And if so, whysat?

Skype and AIM names: Exactly the same as my forum name.

My EP Character Questionnaire
Thread for my Questionnaire
The Five Orange Pips

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
ack got the words mixed up

ack got the words mixed up again :P

lets see. being professional with Angela would not be too difficult. being sociable on the other hand...

on an intellectual level i can accept her physiology and lifestyle but emotionally i am still unable to reconcile it after all its a bit of a double whammy of having no expierence. even outside that amorous relationships in roleplay games has been mutually avoided. i just can't find a way to describe it more than awkward, social mores and all that.

can never avoid the metagame eh?

as for the weapons. in any time as much as love the bastard sword i can not see it being useful in an era with firearms post trench warfare. they are simply to cumbersome and require you close on the target. and except en mass you can not get close enough to a ranged weapon without getting taken out yourself. knives on the other hand will always be useful. close quarters concealability and general utility will make them stay a long time.

Undocking Undocking's picture
Steel Accord wrote:It's not

Steel Accord wrote:
It's not something that's really made out in canon, it's just a behavior I've noticed here. Specifically, myself and others have been challenged on our interest in pursuing the martial arts in this setting.

It just seems odd that a society that finds suicide x-casts acceptable would find the ones doing Katas as the weird ones.

I have definitely participated in that behaviour, and I will happily distinguish my thoughts on martial arts and melee weapons in EP and other hardish sf settings. Personally, I practiced Tae Kwon Do on a weekly basis for twelve years from 6 to 18, two years of mediaeval martial arts (grappling, dagger and sword) and 'renaissance' fencing (Italian, Spanish and currently French) for the past three years until present. Two weeks ago I started sport fencing epee. Martial arts has always been a part of my life. That being said, if I had to choose between a sword and a pistol for a one on one to the pain, I'd pick the pistol.

Across the EP setting, as previously expressed, no free ego would be exiled or negged for practicing martial arts—perhaps 'fork-fu' and 'synergist tai-chi' would be discouraged in the Consortium. Hobbiests and enthusiasts of all types abound in the Solar system, martial arts would be no different. I imagine entire enclaves would flock together to invent or practice various styles to show off at the Scum Olympics. Ultimates would be eager to become the best at and perfect whatever martial arts they attempted. Martial art skillsofts would be on every street corner. Maritan Wuxai films and other martial arts vids (The Raid XI: Shackleton) would be super popular.

Practial martial arts and melee fighting skills would be learned or trained into soldiers, mercenaries and those who employ fisticuffs for their trade. Exploring microgravity martial arts and anti-synth martials arts have been particular intrests of mine. But they would utilise weapons and techniques that fit the situation. Short blades, claws, shock gloves and the like would be excellent for cramped micrograv or low-g fights. There are definitely reasons why a stealthy character would want a covert melee weapon. But claymores, katanas and talwars have been vacant from professional warfare for a century, and in the projected future of EP they would remain moot.

In short, pursuing any type of martial arts in the setting is entirely within the parametres of the setting but practical martial arts would maintain their hold over actual conflicts when necessary.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
So what?

Is such a character, with superior strength, reflexes, and agility really anymore out of place than a surya with an anti-capital ship plasma cannon on his back or a heavy synth morph that's able to soak up bullets and pound his foe into the ground with fists the size of refrigerators?

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Agreed

I would just contest that what's "practical" or even just feasible may have changed a great deal with the presence of different morphs, mods, and implants.

Is carrying around a baton that extends into a full size staff really that bad a weapon to have?

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Erulastant Erulastant's picture
It's quite practical, just

It's quite practical, just not in the same circumstances where guns are practical. You'd want melee specialists around delicate hardware that you don't want damaged, or when infiltration needs rule out firearms. (A heavy synth that punches things seems pretty much all-around impractical. If you're going big, go big, and big means HEAP or plasma rifles.)

You, too, were made by humans. The methods used were just cruder, imprecise. I guess that explains a lot.

Undocking Undocking's picture
Steel Accord wrote:Is such a

Steel Accord wrote:
Is such a character, with superior strength, reflexes, and agility really anymore out of place than a surya with an anti-capital ship plasma cannon on his back or a heavy synth morph that's able to soak up bullets and pound his foe into the ground with fists the size of refrigerators?

I would just contest that what's "practical" or even just feasible may have changed a great deal with the presence of different morphs, mods, and implants.

Is carrying around a baton that extends into a full size staff really that bad a weapon to have?

Melee combat is limited by its range. Its practicality, as I mentioned, is determined by specific circumstances. The ability for a laser to fire multiple times while a solely melee combatant attempts to close vastly outweighs the melee weapon. Even closing using cover would be tedious.

Yes, spend the points, rep or creds to shove enough 'ware into your morph for it to clear the distance with enough fight left in it to deal damage, but look at the costs. For a fraction of the augs required, your opponent could pick up a seeker rifle with smart-HEAP or thermobaric rounds and call it a day. The melee monster has more actions? So what, you can still only close your total movement (generally 20) in one round.

That is why, in modern warfare, tanks are not given an assortment of diamond/tungsten chainsaws as their primary weapons. Even though they have all that armour, other combatants can dish out a 105 mm shell from 3 km away and call it a day.

That is besides the point, because melee combat is not useless. In confined spaces CQC is essential. It also has the ability to be less lethal than ranged weapons and more controlled (as Erlusant says about protecting hardware). Many characters in the EP setting will be rather unskilled in melee combat, so engaging in melee will catch opponents off guard. Stealthily neutralizing opponents is also under melee's umbrella.

Carrying around a baton-staff is not a bad idea, it could be a great idea and have cool implications in micrograv combat like using the extension mechanism to propel around.

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Honestly I think the stance

Honestly I think the stance of 'you won't get pinged for being weird' is a bit of a pipe-dream. In geek culture, we're proud of how we're the 'outsiders' and we support people in doing the weird stuff other people frown on. Really, that sort of acceptance is kind of one of our 'things' that defines us as a group. But take that same group of friends who talk about dragons, history, quantum mechanics, and gay rights, and introduce a brony to the mix. Do they all say 'hey, your hobby is cool too'? Or do they tease him?

We do normalize stuff and we have an expectation of what is normal and what perhaps tells of a psychological disorder. In the Autonomists' case, the bronies have won. People make pony morphs and so on, and that's just sort of 'mainstream' now. But there's always a horizon. There will be something that's too weird for most autonomists. I'm sure there are autonomists habitats or cliques that other autonomists think are weird. Plus there are people with genuine psychological issues in need of care who people will ping because, well, they're not seeking out that medical attention.

Steel Accord asked specifically about 'things people don't do any more'. That implies activities that are out-dated. This is pretty much exactly what the steam punk, primitivists, and paleo-diets are right now. I have no question those will exist in the future, and people can practice those in just about EVERY culture without it being a serious issue.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Agreed, however . . .

My point wasn't whether swordplay was feasible for a combat operation though. My point was would those on this forum who would call themselves Autonomists of any kind within the setting look down on those who would still practice it? Or any ancient tradition for that matter such as playing with a physical instrument. (Violin, piano, etc.)

They talk about acceptance, but do they truly hold it in their hearts?

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
My point exactly

I would not expect to be pinged too heavily or thrown out of an airlock or anything so extreme, but just from what I've seen on this forum, people, even forward thinking ones, still consider some things to be a faux pas.

Which is understandable, I myself would have such prejudices. For instance, I'm not the hugest fan of polygamy, but I understand many are. Or if someone was mocking religion, or even a specific one and I overheard, I can't promise that I would not ding them myself.

However, upon consideration later, I would probably remove that ding later or give a bump to balance it out if I couldn't. I should not penalize someone for simply disagreeing with me on a highly personal topic.

Also, brohoof! /)*

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

Kremlin K.O.A. Kremlin K.O.A.'s picture
Steel Accord wrote:My point

Steel Accord wrote:
My point wasn't whether swordplay was feasible for a combat operation though. My point was would those on this forum who would call themselves Autonomists of any kind within the setting look down on those who would still practice it? Or any ancient tradition for that matter such as playing with a physical instrument. (Violin, piano, etc.)

They talk about acceptance, but do they truly hold it in their hearts?

Of course they don't. We are all human, after all. Humans are biologically wired to be tribal. We will be well past transhuman, and deep into posthuman, before we delete that bit of our neural coding.

As a go to example for the setting. Consider poker players, tournament level ones. A big part of the skill and strategy of poker is playing your opponent. Speaking from experience, a major portion of that is dealing with the tension. Wen you remove wealth from the equation, a lot of that tension evaporates. Poker played just to see who ends up with all the chips becomes very silly, very quickly.
I cannot see poker tournaments having any real place in the A.A. AnCol, and AnSoc, habs would have no real place for it. I also suspect that tournament poker players would get dinged in the A.A. After all, their chosen identity clings to money, and thus to capitalism.

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Opportunity

You could always hop on over to Extropia. I'm sure there would be some casinos there. I'm not one for games of chance myself, but I do hate to see a "tribe" to use your analogy, go completely extinct; it devalues transhuman culture.

Hell if you were into the REALLY high stakes, there might be some casinos open on Mars or Consortium habitats. I wouldn't trust them to go easy on you and just throw you out though if you were winning too much.

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
For poker being on existent

For poker being on existent in @ habs i would like to point to the good ship serenity. It has a collectivist attitude when it comes to the general chores of ship. When they played poker instead of money they wagered their responsibilities. I would think of this as being relatively common for the non vital and some of the more unpleasant activities required to keep a habitat spinning.

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
I am afraid i must agree with

I am afraid i must agree with steel. while our diverse nature is often to our disadvantage anything that propels us toward the monoculture is abhorrent. Strife breeds innovation and progress by however you want to define the term. a culture where everyone gets along and in collective harmony with each other ie utopia is by definition stagnant

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Excellent point

Fun fact: The actors actually made up the game they were playing.

"That's a nice pile of things I don't have to do."

GOD I love that show!

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

DrewDavis DrewDavis's picture
Of course, there are going to

Of course, there are going to be some people who will ding you for playing an instrument that is considered archaic but those are the kind of micro rep transactions that even out over the course of a day. Same for the sword fighter or the person that keeps quoting 21st century children's cartoons. Minor annoyances aren't enough to tip you rep in a significant manner one way or the other.

Now if this violin player invited the entire hab to a recital and just failed miserably then they would see a significant rep hit, but in most habs they should be able to recover after a little bit of time.

Most habs.

As for being accepting: Anarchists, (both real world and in-game) are humans like anyone else. Anarchist societies and groups have their own structures and own idiosyncrasies: just like every other grouping of sapients. There are things Anarchists accept and things they will not. And many of those things are likely to be different between habs. That's a good thing.

Kremlin K.O.A. Kremlin K.O.A.'s picture
Steel Accord wrote:You could

Steel Accord wrote:
You could always hop on over to Extropia. I'm sure there would be some casinos there. I'm not one for games of chance myself, but I do hate to see a "tribe" to use your analogy, go completely extinct; it devalues transhuman culture.

The preservation of high stakes poker tournaments (not casino play) is one of the big plusses of Extropia, IMHO.

Quote:
Hell if you were into the REALLY high stakes, there might be some casinos open on Mars or Consortium habitats. I wouldn't trust them to go easy on you and just throw you out though if you were winning too much.
hat would be blackjack or roulette.
In Casino poker tables, the house doesn't have a player seat. The house deals, keeps the cards fair, and takes a percentage of everyone's stake. Sure, in some of the places that would have been referred to as "Sawdust" casinos back in the mid 20th, you would have a ringer screwing over the customers. But most established casinos would just rake in the 'off the top' fee as that is a more certain return on investment.
thebluespectre thebluespectre's picture
On Angela

Hmm, after thinking about my own prejudices for a while, I think I can see why someone might have trouble playing with Angela as a fellow PC. Angela is actually a fairly typical anarchist in the EP setting, and there's nothing particularly "crazy" about her in the context of where she lives. Her sexual openness is part of her culture rather than any overcompensation on her part, and while the character quiz made her come off as somewhat rant-y, I found from personal experience that being in-character while filling it out will inspire at least one rant from the PC.

The problem comes from knowing that the sexually promiscuous hermaphrodite lesbian anarch is probably being controlled by a player who identifies as male. If I were playing at a table instead of over Skype, I would feel very awkward accepting advances from a guy acting as Angela. I also know that ShadowD is probably beyond petty wish fulfillment, yet I still get a sort of "lesbian stripper ninja" vibe from her. I would have to go through a practice session with this player/PC combo to make sure that there would not be problems.

"Still and transfixed, the el/
ectric sheep are dreaming of your face..." -Talk Shows on Mute

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
thebluespectre wrote:Hmm,

thebluespectre wrote:
Hmm, after thinking about my own prejudices for a while, I think I can see why someone might have trouble playing with Angela as a fellow PC. Angela is actually a fairly typical anarchist in the EP setting, and there's nothing particularly "crazy" about her in the context of where she lives. Her sexual openness is part of her culture rather than any overcompensation on her part, and while the character quiz made her come off as somewhat rant-y, I found from personal experience that being in-character while filling it out will inspire at least one rant from the PC.

Honestly, I'm disappointed that I haven't gotten more rants in the questionnaires my players have given me. I wrote that questionnaire with the hope of getting in-character rants.

There's no better way to get a measure of what motivates a character (or a person, for that matter,) than to learn (at length) what gets them hopping mad, or otherwise fired-up.

Quote:
The problem comes from knowing that the sexually promiscuous hermaphrodite lesbian anarch is probably being controlled by a player who identifies as male. If I were playing at a table instead of over Skype, I would feel very awkward accepting advances from a guy acting as Angela.

For my part, I don't play at tables. Or even with voice chat. I'm kind of old-school, a text roleplayer. It divorces the in-character happenings from the voices of the player, which is all sorts of handy, because it means you can just describe (or, if ye want to be a wee bit fancy, type out,) someone's accent, rather than trying to mimic it. It also means that you can play whatever you want to play without the context of what you are getting in the way.

(Also it leaves a permanent record, which is handy for things like "How far from the target's apartment did you say that billboard with clean lines of sight was again?")

Also, Angela would object (patiently, but at length) to being labeled as a lesbian.

Quote:
I also know that ShadowD is probably beyond petty wish fulfillment, yet I still get a sort of "lesbian stripper ninja" vibe from her. I would have to go through a practice session with this player/PC combo to make sure that there would not be problems.

Complex and grandiose wish fulfillment is so much more... Fulfilling. :P

Skype and AIM names: Exactly the same as my forum name.

My EP Character Questionnaire
Thread for my Questionnaire
The Five Orange Pips

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
On wish fufillment

Amen to that!

Why do you think my in-universe persona is a swashbuckling, super strong Lion-O expy with a motley crew and diverse crew of space pirates? XD

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!

thebluespectre thebluespectre's picture
Thanks, man

I was honestly worried that you would be WAY more pissed than you were, so thank you. I actually like Angela as a character, and wouldn't mind her as an NPC.

I might try showing you the questionnaire once I fill it out completely. I did one for Gomes, the Jovian I mint have mentioned before. Thing is, I'm sort of… allergic to google documents and other things that require a Google+ account. Is there another way I can host it somewhere, maybe just dump the text into a forum post?

"Still and transfixed, the el/
ectric sheep are dreaming of your face..." -Talk Shows on Mute

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
thebluespectre wrote:I was

thebluespectre wrote:
I was honestly worried that you would be WAY more pissed than you were, so thank you. I actually like Angela as a character, and wouldn't mind her as an NPC.

For the Ninja Robot Stripper comment? :P

Eh. *shrug* Angela's very sexualized character and was always meant to be so. That won't fit at all tables. Neither would an AGI-hater or a Jovian. (Though I question whether a Jovian would fit at any table, but I digress.)

Is there an element of sexual wish-fulfilment to her? Of course. Hell, all of the pictures I've found for her (or her fork-sisters) are nudes. But that doesn't mean she isn't a "serious" character, by any stretch of the imagination.

Quote:
I might try showing you the questionnaire once I fill it out completely. I did one for Gomes, the Jovian I mint have mentioned before. Thing is, I'm sort of… allergic to google documents and other things that require a Google+ account. Is there another way I can host it somewhere, maybe just dump the text into a forum post?

Well, it's a shame you're allergic to Google Docs. They're very handy, I find. Um... Pretty much anything I can think of would bugger the formatting royally, like pastebin. I guess you could drop it into an rtf file (which can have formatting,) and put that on DropBox?

Skype and AIM names: Exactly the same as my forum name.

My EP Character Questionnaire
Thread for my Questionnaire
The Five Orange Pips

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
So, about archaic things

So, about archaic things being kept, I got the feeling that's more accepted around the PC, and especially the LLA, as they cling to many old world concepts for government and economy.

Also, Angela's a stand-up girl, even if I disagree with her on philosophical points.

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
I can only see this group

I can only see this group expanding their scope as the centuries go on
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_Creative_Anachronism

and ya Angela would be fun to meet and hang around with for a while but she would be to intense for me

Steel Accord Steel Accord's picture
Figures

That does make sense. Problem is, I have a bigger bone to pick with the Alliance than I do with Consortium.

(They're racist against synths and AGI life.)

*sigh*

Extropia = "every man for himself"

The Constellation = Brewing civil war

Anarchists = "the greater good" (Hot Fuzz)

Etc, etc. Pick your poison it seems. XD

Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!