Are there any positive traits of the Jovian Junta?

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Tiberia Tiberia's picture
Are there any positive traits of the Jovian Junta?

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I am new to EP. I've been reading through the setting, and other then being impressed and amazed (I have regularly told people that this is my new favorite setting) I find that the Jovian Junta feels like a strawman. There doesn't seem to be any positive traits for them. Many of the details about them feel like needless jabs and the American Right wing of today. The sidebar about Reagan cylinders says they are inefficient and worse versions of O'Neil cylinders, but never says anything about why they are more inefficient or worse.
here is the text from the book

Quote:
The standard O’Neill cylinder is a proven habitat type that can be found all across the solar system. Several years prior to the Fall an American aerospace consortium backed primarily by Raytheon rolled out a new cylinder design, christened the Reagan cylinder as a nod to the resurgence of interest in the historical president’s economic doctrines. Reagan cylinders differed from O’Neill designs in that they were built within hollowed-out asteroids or moonlets, usually mined out, using the rocky exterior as a layer of radiation shielding, a requirement for the Jovian system. In the years since, Reagan cylinders have become infamous for their inefficiency. Environmental and power systems are notoriously sub-par, subject to frequent failures. Brownouts, blackouts, and septic contamination are a common state of affairs on these “sarcophagus” habs

I looked into it and couldn't find anything. There was this forum topic ( http://eclipsephase.com/reagan-cylinders ) discussing it, but the main theory seemed to simply be that they were worse because the Junta shuns advance biotech, and nanotech. The main issue I see with this theory is that the book seems to imply that the Reagan cylinders are inherently worse in design, so that even with the advanced technologies they would be worse. The whole thing feels like a needles political jab.

I heard somewhere that later books improved this, but I'm having trouble finding anything. So I'm wondering if anyone else knows of any positive traits of the junta that would balance things out.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Positive traits of the Jovian

Positive traits of the Jovian Junta...

Hrm...

Well... They aren't literally Nazis.

That's about the long and the short of it. They're referred to as Space North Korea for a reason.

I guess if you wanted to look REALLY hard, Firewall might praise that their military might would be useful in the event of a major exsurgent breakout somewhere mid-system, but even that would have to be tempered with the caution that an overwhelmingly-armed Jovian Junta does, in and of itself, represent an X-Risk to transhumanity, with their stated outright hostility towards the "trans" part of transhumanity.

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mellonbread mellonbread's picture
Off the top of my head,

Off the top of my head, indenture is illegal in the Republic, and your morph cannot be confiscated as a judicial punishment, unlike the Inner System.

Beyond that they're a bit of a dumping ground for all the ideas the authors dislike (authoritarianism, neoconservatism, bioconservatism) and it adds up to make them a pretty one dimensional villain faction (that's probably why they're my favorite), although Rimward (that's the outer system splatbook) made some effort to address this.

This is actually a popular subject around here.

E: I was totally off base about the morph confiscation thing, from p278 of the corebook, "Characters visiting the inner system or Jovian Republic may be able to lease morphs belonging to prisoners."
Chalk it up to another Altered Carbon reference.

Did you hear the one about the guy who became a fence?

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They say he was a real posthuman
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Tiberia wrote:I am new to EP.

Tiberia wrote:
I am new to EP. I've been reading through the setting, and other then being impressed and amazed (I have regularly told people that this is my new favorite setting) I find that the Jovian Junta feels like a strawman. There doesn't seem to be any positive traits for them. Many of the details about them feel like needless jabs and the American Right wing of today.

To someone who is bioconservative, who believe in the wisdom of repugnancy and (their to me strange idea of) human dignity, who believe that transhumans have souls that don't transfer with resleeving, who believe that certain tech is inherently dangerous, the junta has all the positive qualities and the rest of transhumanity has it wrong.

This is not a needless jab at the American Right wing, this is an honest representation of their non-moderate wing and their brethren in many other countries.

Quote:

The sidebar about Reagan cylinders says they are inefficient and worse versions of O'Neil cylinders, but never says anything about why they are more inefficient or worse.
here is the text from the book
Quote:
The standard O’Neill cylinder is a proven habitat type that can be found all across the solar system. Several years prior to the Fall an American aerospace consortium backed primarily by Raytheon rolled out a new cylinder design, christened the Reagan cylinder as a nod to the resurgence of interest in the historical president’s economic doctrines. Reagan cylinders differed from O’Neill designs in that they were built within hollowed-out asteroids or moonlets, usually mined out, using the rocky exterior as a layer of radiation shielding, a requirement for the Jovian system. In the years since, Reagan cylinders have become infamous for their inefficiency. Environmental and power systems are notoriously sub-par, subject to frequent failures. Brownouts, blackouts, and septic contamination are a common state of affairs on these “sarcophagus” habs

I looked into it and couldn't find anything. There was this forum topic ( http://eclipsephase.com/reagan-cylinders ) discussing it, but the main theory seemed to simply be that they were worse because the Junta shuns advance biotech, and nanotech. The main issue I see with this theory is that the book seems to imply that the Reagan cylinders are inherently worse in design, so that even with the advanced technologies they would be worse. The whole thing feels like a needles political jab.

They do have a problem with a lot of the technologies normally used being restricted.

Current USA: how efficient is the EPA? Can lobbyists bribe politicians to get away with pollution? How is it going with investments needed in aging parts of the infrastructure? Is the Veterans Affairs and other parts of the public health care system running smoothly and using the best technologies available? How are the Republicans typically voting on such issues?

Reality is stranger than fiction. If you didn't know about bioconservatives, religious extremists and lobbyism beforehand and saw it in a movie, you'd go "pffft, no one would do that".

Freedom Geek Freedom Geek's picture
The fact that they're opposed

The fact that they're opposed to slavery has already been mentioned.

Compared to some real life bio-conservatives they're downright moderates. Look at the beliefs of Leon Kass for instance - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Kass

Hell compared to many "progressive" sci-fi settings they're liberal about technology. Look at Star Trek for instance - in the Junta basic biomods are still allowed whereas in the federation genetic engineering is outright banned, in the Junta lots of people still have mesh inserts (albeit without muses) whereas there's nothing like that in the federation.

-

Jaberwo Jaberwo's picture
Can you name any positive

Can you name any positive aspects about North Korea? I'd rather live in the Jovian Junta than in present day NK.
At any time in the history of humanity there always have been terrible, horrifying bunches of criminals mistreating their fellow humans in incredibly cruel ways.

Read this UN report (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/CoIDPRK/Pages/ReportoftheCommissionofInquiryDPRK.aspx) and you will suddenly realize a lot of 'positive' aspects about the Junta compared to how bad the real world is.

obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
There is this trend in the EP

There is this trend in the EP community about making the Junta and the PC less "evil".

To be fair, I have no problems with them being fundamentally evil organizations. Note the organizations, though, it's the structure of both the Junta and the PC that makes them "bad guys" rather than the people in them, who are probably ignorant, naive or just powerless to the most questionable of acts that the organizations commit.

My only issue with the Junta is that it's caricaturesque. The way they renamed the moons of Jupiter, the references to US political right-wing figures... it's kind of absurd.

As to good traits of the Junta... as mentioned they flat-out ban indentures. They also act as a "buffer" between the PC and the Autonomists. As a government they probably hate the Autonomists more, but they aim their weapons to both and actively work against PC expansion rimward, hence keeping the two factions from going into all out war.

I could actually see a campaign where a bunch of Firewall sentinels actively try to reinforce Junta authority on a region as a potential system wide war between autonomists and PC could be a potential x-risk.

Evilnerf Evilnerf's picture
One plus is that they're one

One plus is that they're one of the more unlikely factions to accidentally pose an X-Risk. Sure, they're aggressive and domineering, but at least they stick with conventional weapons.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
obsidian razor wrote:

obsidian razor wrote:

My only issue with the Junta is that it's caricaturesque. The way they renamed the moons of Jupiter, the references to US political right-wing figures... it's kind of absurd.

Anymore absurd than a lot of the present US warships are named after past presidents?

obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
Smokeskin wrote:obsidian

Smokeskin wrote:
obsidian razor wrote:

My only issue with the Junta is that it's caricaturesque. The way they renamed the moons of Jupiter, the references to US political right-wing figures... it's kind of absurd.

Anymore absurd than a lot of the present US warships are named after past presidents?

Fair point :P

Though I guess it's weirder cause the Junta only has testimonial continuity with the US goverment and Chile's military.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Naming a warship after Bush

Naming a warship after Bush or Jackson is one thing, naming a habitat after Pinochet is like naming one after Saddam or Jung-Il. Kind of a step too far maybe, but even if politically I am biased against certain past POTUS, I live in the USA so perhaps that inures me against seeing them on the same foot as Pinochet.

I really like that Rimward explicitly says "use them as pulp heroic naziesque villains if need be, or use them as a foil to the scum and autonomists, as well as the Consortium."

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
funny you should mention N.

funny you should mention N. korea. Talking with a friend, the exact thing you said occurred to me. There ARE real world Nations that are without any positive qualities of true note, N. Korea at the top of that list.
What bothers me most about the Junta is how much it feels like a Straw-man argument. It feels dishonest to portray the other side of the debate as a caricature.
And then I remember that N. Korea IS a straw-man argument given form, and I die a little inside (its ok, death's not permanent as we all know).

Obsidian razor wrote:
As to good traits of the Junta... as mentioned they flat-out ban indentures. They also act as a "buffer" between the PC and the Autonomists. As a government they probably hate the Autonomists more, but they aim their weapons to both and actively work against PC expansion rimward, hence keeping the two factions from going into all out war.

I could actually see a campaign where a bunch of Firewall sentinels actively try to reinforce Junta authority on a region as a potential system wide war between autonomists and PC could be a potential x-risk.

That is a very interesting idea, and a great idea for a plot hook. The only issue I can think of is that the Junta might just sit back and let the transhuman monsters kill each other off while they prepare to sweep up the survivors once most of the fighting is over.

Undocking Undocking's picture
The Jovian Republic is most

The Jovian Republic is most like present day Earth society. Compared to the rest of transhumanity it looks backwards, but I would probably go live in the Junta with all its tech as described if it was suddenly dumped into RL continuity at this moment. Its authoritarian and socially conservative, but so is Canada. The Junta is in a state of moral fear and societal disenfranchisement because the rest of the species is outpacing them and leaving them behind. This is their, ultimately vain, attempt to keep themselves relevant and I find a certain romanticism in that.

And the Good-Evil dichotomy is still bugging me, because the Republic is more nuanced than the 'Evil' label. When humanity has slime-mold alien hiveminds, corrupted seed AI with eldritch motives, and infected biological matter only concerned with wiping out our species, the Jovians are on the 'Good' side. Yes, their society is reactionary, alarmist and authoritarian, but they aren't malicious or acting without reason.

I don't agree with the Jovians at all—but I can definitely sympathize with their position.

obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
What makes the Junta evil is

What makes the Junta evil is not it's backwardness... that just makes them backwards...

It's the fact that their leadership is completely corrupt and basically lives with all of the advantages that they deny to their people so they are "the last bastion of humanity".

The sad fact is that this has a lot of parallels to many modern day dictatorships or ultra-conservative states. No need to go to North Korea, the sultan of Brunei is infamous for establishing a quasi-sharia on his country, instituting death by stoning to impure women and at the same time he flies in Russian prostitutes for his personal harem...

bblonski bblonski's picture
Security

I'm always surprised nobody mentions they are the most secure against Titan or Exsurgent threats. If you consider EPs central premise, where the Titans and Exsurgent Virus are the primary threats to Transhumanity and technology takes us closer to extinction, which is more or less "correct" in the EP universe, then a lot of what they do makes sense.

Their habs might be out of date, but they are the hardest to hack because a lot of stuff is still handled by actual people rather then easily exploitable AI and wireless networks. Forsaking AIs is like forsaking the internet. It's inefficient and people may laugh at you, but your data is far more secure.

They're also the only faction really focused on building up and army and having children to rebuild humanity. They heavily control technology because people can easily print weapons of mass destruction. Imagine if creating a nuke was as easy as downloading a MP3, and the steps you'd have to take to counter that. The leaders are generally trusted with technology, but no way would you trust every Joe Shmoe on the street.

While the Anarchists are focused on freedom and the Planatary Consortium is focused on profits, the Jovians are focused on survival. Honestly I think a lot of what they do isn't any more extreme than a sufficiently paranoid and well prepared group of PCs would do. Sure there is a lot of baggage with all the racism and their totalitarian nature, but they still have the best shot of actually surviving the Titans returning. Considering how America reacted after 9/11, I'm not surprised at the Jovians considering the Fall was like a million times worse.

branford branford's picture
I don't view the Jovians as evil

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
- George Santayana

Despite the obvious political ideologies of the authors and caricature that is the Jovian Junta, I still do not even remotely view them as "evil." In fact, they may be the smartest faction in the game.

I think many players often fail to remember that Eclipse Phase is basically a horror setting. It was a mere 10 years earlier that 95% of the human race was killed by technological and alien horrors that humanity still does not understand. The survivors still do not know the TITANS real motives, why they stopped, where they went or if they intend to return.

Instead of ensuring that humanity is protected from another extinction-level event, particularly now that we are so vulnerable, the bulk of humanity is carelessly and with selfish abandon playing with technologies, both biological and mechanical, that could easily lead to our doom. If this wasn't bad enough, we're also wantonly exploring alien worlds even after discovering the death of other species and interacting with aliens with mysterious motives and superior technology. Heck, the very reason for Firewall in the game is to protect against the X-risks caused by humanity failing to learn from its mistakes.

The way I see it, the Jovians are the only major faction that's managed to learn any lessons from recent history. They realize the risks and are taking necessary precautions. They're not Luddites or gratuitously sadistic, they're simply cautious, prudent and justifiably worried. The issue of sacrificing freedom for security (and the knock on contemporary American politics) is at the core of the Jovian Republic. However, after facing near extinction, not primarily focusing on security and safety is unforgivably reckless.

Many posters also allege an excessive level of corruption or greed in the Jovian government. I do not see that supported in the text. All the factions have their dark sides, and the explicit descriptions of the Jovian Security Council in Rimward demonstrates that the members are believers in the Jovian ideology and care about both their citizens and the survival of the human race. The Jovian populace are also believers and are described as generally content, albeit frightened with very good cause that their fellow "humans" will cause the return of the TITANS, or worse!

The authors are obviously using the Jovians to dig at America's corporate power, military strength, religious belief and conservatism. However, what happens if the TITANS return or Firewall fails to stop some X-risk, and Transhumanity again falls victim to their technology, greed, ambition or carelessness? Ironically, in a parallel to WWI, WWII and the Cold War, where the world looked to the USA for leadership and security, I would imagine that many transhumans would seek the assistance and protection of the Jovians, the one polity with the military might, foresight and planning that has the best chance to survive.

In light of the above, I was most amused by the "Morph Conspiracies" fiction in the Morph Recognition Guide. The exchange details how the TITANS may have previously altered and interfered with humanity's morph designs to render us susceptible to their influence and domination, and that these subtle actions may be continuing into the present. If true, those naturally conceived and "inferior" Jovian flats may be the only people standing if and when the TITAN's return.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
If the TITANs come back,

If the TITANs come back, transhumanity is doomed. The Junta will survive about five hours longer than Locus, half an hour hour longer than the Titanian Commonwealth, and two hours less than Mars. No amount of military preparations on the level of Jovian thinking can stand up to the kind of things that unfettered, exponentially-advancing intelligences can devise.

Frankly, they're not worth worrying about. If the TITANs, or even any one TITAN, decides to come back and finish what they started, nothing will stop them; not Project Ozma, not Firewall, not the Autonomist Alliance, not the Planetary Consortium, not the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, not the Ultimates, not the Argonauts, not the Promethians, not the Morningstar Commonwealth, not the Factors, and not the Jovian Junta. Not even all of the above combined.

So you may as well not even bother prepping for the return of the TITANs. Transhumanity prepping for the return of the TITANs would be like the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago prepping for a full-scale war waged by the United States of America for the single and sole purpose of exterminating every Trinbagonian man, woman and child.

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Some people keep saying that

Some people keep saying that the junta is a caricature and the authors' dig at at a political ideology wing they don't like.

I'm curious, if you wanted something like the Republican Tea Party in space, what would you change?

obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:If the

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
If the TITANs come back, transhumanity is doomed. The Junta will survive about five hours longer than Locus, half an hour hour longer than the Titanian Commonwealth, and two hours less than Mars. No amount of military preparations on the level of Jovian thinking can stand up to the kind of things that unfettered, exponentially-advancing intelligences can devise.

Frankly, they're not worth worrying about. If the TITANs, or even any one TITAN, decides to come back and finish what they started, nothing will stop them; not Project Ozma, not Firewall, not the Autonomist Alliance, not the Planetary Consortium, not the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, not the Ultimates, not the Argonauts, not the Promethians, not the Morningstar Commonwealth, not the Factors, and not the Jovian Junta. Not even all of the above combined.

So you may as well not even bother prepping for the return of the TITANs. Transhumanity prepping for the return of the TITANs would be like the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago prepping for a full-scale war waged by the United States of America for the single and sole purpose of exterminating every Trinbagonian man, woman and child.

Very well put. Let us remember that the only reason humanity survived the TITANs the first time was because of the Prometheans.

Yeah, security against the TITANs or exurgents is not really a plus on the Republic.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
The Jovians are also divided

The Jovians are also divided among themselves with many scientists and doctors who wish to utilise nanotech to reduce the suffering of their fellows. Hardly amoral monsters without redeeming qualities. To say nothing of the fact that while ruthless and abominable states like North Korea exist, there are still those within who are still human people who are operating within the parameters of their situation. Just because some people have made bad or immoral decisions doesn't mean the entire faction is "evil."

To say nothing of the fact that the authors never explicitly mention good or evil, simply assign numerous memes to a particular faction (which occurs naturally when people form polities, cultures, and clades with those who have complementary memes) and while the authors clearly have biases (and have even recently explicitly announced them), they leave plenty of room in the text (to say nothing of our ability to alter the setting according to OUR whims and beliefs) about whether the Jovians are despicable or just following a different course.

The numerous and myraid threads about the contentious Jovians prove that we all have our own ideas regarding the Jovian Republic (calling them the Junta is to accept the partyline of the Autonomists (and Hypercorp?), which is incendiary propaganda) and I think it is great that they have created so dynamic and intellectually challenging of a faction for us to debate the pros and cons over.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

branford branford's picture
I think part of the problem

I think part of the problem is that many here, including and most particularly the authors, have strong political, social, religious and cultural beliefs and preferences. I seriously doubt we could agree on appropriate descriptions of the core ideologies of American "mainstream" Democrats and Republicans (without regard for regional differences) without resort to tired slogans, hyperbole, oversimplification or plain insults. Trying to define "Republican Tea Party in space" as it applies to the post-apocalyptic, near post-scarcity, Eclipse Phase universe would likely prove futile, frustrating and more than likely, an exercise in confirmation bias. Oh, that way madness lies.

Moreover, the authors have essentially conceded that the Jovians are caricatures. They've indicated that they were intended to be veritable "Space Nazi" villains that could be killed or defeated without guilt or shame. The authors attempt to slightly balance this in Rimward (p.195), but the damage has already been done.

I think EP is an imaginative and colorful setting with great possibilities. Nevertheless, the authors very idealistic, nigh romantic, portrayal of various left-wing ideologies, while displaying hostility and scorn to conservative, capitalistic and religious ideas, was unnecessary, and at times, jarring or even insulting, and distracted from an otherwise excellent RPG setting. Ironically, although I'm left-of-center politically, I found myself more sympathetic to the Jovians and Planetary Consortium almost as a reflexive urge to compensate (although the lawyer in me most enjoys the Extropians).

I found this all the more disappointing since the authors appear to want an inclusive game (and forum) where those of all beliefs and creeds feel welcome.

branford branford's picture
obsidian razor wrote

obsidian razor wrote:
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
If the TITANs come back, transhumanity is doomed. The Junta will survive about five hours longer than Locus, half an hour hour longer than the Titanian Commonwealth, and two hours less than Mars. No amount of military preparations on the level of Jovian thinking can stand up to the kind of things that unfettered, exponentially-advancing intelligences can devise.

Frankly, they're not worth worrying about. If the TITANs, or even any one TITAN, decides to come back and finish what they started, nothing will stop them; not Project Ozma, not Firewall, not the Autonomist Alliance, not the Planetary Consortium, not the Lunar-Lagrange Alliance, not the Ultimates, not the Argonauts, not the Promethians, not the Morningstar Commonwealth, not the Factors, and not the Jovian Junta. Not even all of the above combined.

So you may as well not even bother prepping for the return of the TITANs. Transhumanity prepping for the return of the TITANs would be like the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago prepping for a full-scale war waged by the United States of America for the single and sole purpose of exterminating every Trinbagonian man, woman and child.

Very well put. Let us remember that the only reason humanity survived the TITANs the first time was because of the Prometheans.

Yeah, security against the TITANs or exurgents is not really a plus on the Republic.

Although the Prometheans assisted humanity immensely, largely by containing the exsurgent virus, humanity survived only because the TITANS stopped waging war and disappeared. (EP, p. 354-55). Humanity was simply "lucky."

I agree that if the TITANS ever returned as before the Fall, humanity would be doomed. However, the precautions instituted by the Jovians may mean the difference between survival or extinction in the event of a more limited TITAN return, release of some dormant TITAN technology, belligerent aliens, or the more common human-originated X-risks, anything from nanoplagues to antimatter terrorism.

I like to think of the Jovians as a sort of "control group" for humanity. Just in case we really, really screw-up, the Jovians are our resent button for "Humanity 1.0" safely ensconced in the wireless, hardened bunker.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Funnily enough, I think the

Funnily enough, I think the Jovians are a human-originated X-Risk.

They are statedly, demonstratably hostile to the trans part of transhumanity. They would fare only SLIGHTLY better against an outbreak of dormant TITAN tech or exsurgency than they would against the full might of the TITANs themselves, while the polities that don't ferociously clamp down on technology will be better equipped to deal with those things.

The only things the Jovians would be good at fighting is a symmetrical war against transhuman-originated mainstream military forces, like the Consortium or the Commonwealth. Only, they won't be, because they live in a radiation-soaked hellhole and they're the people least well-able to live in a radiation-soaked hellhole, let alone to fight in it. While the Junta crews its ships with squishy flats running around shouting "Make a hole!" as they run to man their battlestations, the Consortium and Anarchist forces will be fielding ships which are not "crewed" in the traditional sense at all, instead operated entirely by multiple informorphs, with a captain "sleeved" into the ship and a bunch of bots, great and small, running around to fix things up. Meanwhile, the Jovians need to spend mass on the crew; they need mass for the atmosphere that crew needs to breathe, mass for the food they need to eat, mass for the systems that recycle the crew's shit into more food to eat, which is going to be a lot nastier than the comparable recycling systems on autonomist habitats because NANOTECH EVIL! They need mass for redundant life support systems, mass for emergency atmospheric control systems, and above all, mass for the radiation shielding needed to keep all those squishy flats from catching a terminal case of the death in the intense magnetic field of Jupiter.

Even the Titanians, with their own over-emphasis on biomorphs in military staffing positions and on manual, analog backup systems which (they believe) are hack-proof, will be better suited to fighting a war in the Jovian system than the Jovians will be, because they won't need kilotons of radiation shielding on their ships, simply because they will have upgraded everybody's biomorph with radiation hardiness before they left the Saturnine system.

Honestly, the only people the Jovians are really going to mop up against are ill-equipped civilians and people who are otherwise not expecting a fight, like when they vaped that Consortium corvette that was carrying a VIP to send a message. They'd lose a knock-down, drag-out fight with either the Consortium or the Alliance. Honestly, the only foreign power I'd expect them to win against would be the Morningstar Coalition, I wouldn't even give them good odds against taking on the LLA.

But they'd be incredibly destructive during the course of such a war, and if one of the other sides entered on their side, they'd win. It's kind of a three-way mexican showdown between the Consortium, the Alliance and the Jovians. If one side looks to start shit, the other two can gang up on him and beat him down easily. Conversely, while either of the other two could take out the Jovians, doing so would leave them so weakened that the third would roll them over afterward.

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branford branford's picture
ShadowDragon8685,

ShadowDragon8685, respectfully, no one would believe we were reading the same entries on the Jovians in the core book or Rimward. Even in the core, the Jovians are not described as incompetent Luddites, particularly with respect to martial matters. Bioconservative most definitely does not equal reckless and stupid.

The Jovians have access to the same technology as everyone else, they simply regulate it much more strictly for general use. Not only do they explicitly have the largest and most advanced space fleet and defense forces, their military is highly organized and led largely by old-world military officers who have survived TITAN engagements (most in their original bodies!). The Jovians also have access to ample resources and a loyal and motivated population inured to sacrifice and military life.

Besides the fact the many Jovians are splicers, they have a large and growing population, and virtually all have served in the military, a more advanced morph will be of only slightly greater benefit in combat among ships or against habitats. Your fancy morph will survive asphyxiation and decompression a few moments longer while his AA militia forces are routed and his habitat breaks-apart.

The Jovians are undoubtedly the "Space Nazis" of the EP setting. However, never forget that Nazi-esque groups as villains is a common trope not only because they are personally vile individuals who elicit little sympathy, but because they are powerful, competent and very scary.

obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
I'm gonna agree with

I'm gonna agree with ShadowDragon8685 here.

While the Jovians are not luddites or amish, they are reticent to implement many technological advantages that the other factions have. The aforementioned fully-infomorph crewed ships are just one of many ideas bouncing on my head.
Sure, the Jovians use resleeving in dangerous or military jobs, but I would imagine most of their rank and file military would be against, plus many of their officers.

I actually see them less and less as space nazis and more as space North Korea, in the sense that they put a great show outwards but the moment you examine everything carefully you realise they are basically a paper tiger. In the even of a system-wide war, it's unlikely that they would get the upper hand anywhere, but all factions would be wary of the damage they could cause before going down, hence why everyone just prefers to keep their distance and let them do their thing in peace.

branford branford's picture
obsidian razor wrote:I'm

obsidian razor wrote:
I'm gonna agree with ShadowDragon8685 here.

While the Jovians are not luddites or amish, they are reticent to implement many technological advantages that the other factions have. The aforementioned fully-infomorph crewed ships are just one of many ideas bouncing on my head.
Sure, the Jovians use resleeving in dangerous or military jobs, but I would imagine most of their rank and file military would be against, plus many of their officers.

I actually see them less and less as space nazis and more as space North Korea, in the sense that they put a great show outwards but the moment you examine everything carefully you realise they are basically a paper tiger. In the even of a system-wide war, it's unlikely that they would get the upper hand anywhere, but all factions would be wary of the damage they could cause before going down, hence why everyone just prefers to keep their distance and let them do their thing in peace.

I would note victory is not simply a matter of an all infomorph crew or similar purported technological advantage. Rather, the relevant issues are the skill and experience of the crew, the quality of the ships, and the military planning and cunning employed both before and during battle.

How many quality battleships does the AA field and are the egos of their population anywhere near as experienced in military matters as the Jovians? The size, sophistication and lethality of the Jovian Fleet and officer corps vastly exceeds any opposition. The fact that the defender's original morphs would be in their home and they had muses with better porn XP when the Jovian Fleet arrived would be of little solace as the missiles ripped through their habitat.

You also assume that the entire AA would present a unified military opposition. Other than possibly the Titanians, the autonomists are hardly a cohesive and agreeable bunch, nor do they possess the large scale equipment, resources or experience to wage a sustained war. It's also very possible that in a military engagement with the AA, the PC may well back the Jovians.

Although I do not agree with the comparison of the Jovians as space North Korea, remember that the DPRK, even starving and with few resources, is a nuclear power with an army consisting of millions and artillery that could level Seoul in short order. What would NK be like with ample resources, competent leadership and a fighting spirit stirred by the belief that they were the last "real humans" fighting extinction?

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

I think EP is an imaginative and colorful setting with great possibilities. Nevertheless, the authors very idealistic, nigh romantic, portrayal of various left-wing ideologies, while displaying hostility and scorn to conservative, capitalistic and religious ideas, was unnecessary, and at times, jarring or even insulting, and distracted from an otherwise excellent RPG setting. Ironically, although I'm left-of-center politically, I found myself more sympathetic to the Jovians and Planetary Consortium almost as a reflexive urge to compensate (although the lawyer in me most enjoys the Extropians).

I found this all the more disappointing since the authors appear to want an inclusive game (and forum) where those of all beliefs and creeds feel welcome.

I sometimes wonder if we're reading different books or live in different realities.

Today in America, the is a religious right that is quite powerful politically and is fighting (and often succeeding) against reproductive rights, against homosexual rights, stem cell research, against basic science like evolutionary theory being taught to children instead of religious dogma.

Transplant that into space and that is scorn and insult?

Today, lobbying is rampant and politicians are routinely bribed and bought through various channels, allowing corporations and the elite to wield legislation and the state machinery to maximize their profits at the expense of ordinary citizens. In the Planetary Consortium the elite got to set up the political system, why wouldn't they make a system where they got even more influence? And btw to balance that you have Morningstar, which is a capitalistic democracy that seems more well functioning than what we have at present.

Among the autonomists, there are plenty of problems. The Titans have Janteloven and a stiffling culture of political correctness. The Scum is literally called scum and most people would be incredibly offended at the way they live. They're certainly not doing anything productive with their lives or achieving anything except for doing lots of drugs and getting rad body mutilation art. The anarchists have freedom and a nice enough life due to post-scarcity tech, but they're scrabing by in the outskirts of the solar system, often with little access to energy and raw materials. And they're a lazy bunch that work 4 hours a day and they don't have the state apparatus or economic incentives to get any sort of major stuff done unless everyone thinks its a fun project (and they're going to be arguing over everything instead of just getting it done because they don't have a hierarchal structure). And then there's the whole security thing. How many on this forum wants gun control? How many wants zoning laws that keeps the neighbor from manufacturing toxic chemicals?

All of these things are in the books. Why is it that the negative things about the autonomists are ignored?

obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
Quote:All of these things are

Quote:
All of these things are in the books. Why is it that the negative things about the autonomists are ignored?

I imagine most people do because while the anarchist have their shortcomings, they are obviously framed as the "good guys" in the setting.

I personally see nothing wrong with this. The anarchists are, in my perception, well written as ideological good guys, but they have massive shortcoming compared to everyone else, which stops them from being complete mary-sues.

branford branford's picture
Smokeskin, I am curious, are

Smokeskin, I am curious, are you American and/or live in the USA?

As I mentioned in my earlier post, any discussion of the Jovians inevitably leads to even more heated discussions of politics, religion, economics, etc. Given the polarizing and personal nature of these issues, I believe it best to mostly avoid them on RPG forums.

As I stated, the authors very leftward leanings are obvious, well-known and intentional. They are certainly entitled to their views, many of which I happen to share, and I and others are free to purchase their products at our discretion. That is the beauty of capitalism. ;) Unfortunately, in a RPG with a wide audience, politics and religion, particularly when represented by little more than caricature, can be alienating.

Although I am somewhat liberal, I am not an ideologue. I am also an attorney in NYC. You obviously reference some recent hot button Supreme Court cases and other social issues in your complaints about the purported influence of conservatives and the religious in the USA. Despite what you might hear on your favorite talk shows or read on your preferred political blogs, both the legal and practical reality of virtually all of the decisions are relatively minor and bear absolutely no relationship to the claims of politicians and pundits. The talking points and propaganda from both the right and left, however, do energize the base before elections. Abortion is still legal, contraception is cheap and ubiquitous, same sex marriage is legal in almost all states, Americans still have most of the top universities and unparalleled scientific research, and the Bill of Rights is doing just fine, including a right to bear arms and protections for the free exercise of religion. In fact, American's free speech and free press rights well exceed our European cousins. Moreover, unlike our friends from across the Atlantic, no matter how conservative our politicians, they are rank amateurs compared to the honest-to-goodness neo-Nazis recently elected to the European parliament.

One's views and politics always color one's perceptions, and we inevitably defend and support those with whom we agree and rarely sympathize with our opponents. How we view the the factions in Eclipse Phase is no different.

The more I think about the Jovians, the more I find myself empathizing with their goals. The comparisons to the Jovians as "Space Nazis" got me thinking about my own background and rejecting the terminology. I am Jewish, and my family emigrated from Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, much of my family was killed in the Holocaust. Given the medical experiments performed on those in concentration camps to advance "science," the Nazi ideology of a pure race and practiced eugenics, not to mention a religious belief in a soul, I admit to being somewhat sympathetic to a "bioconversative" ideology. As a member of a cultural, religious and ethnic group that was almost the victim of a genocide, and to a far lesser extent, being in NYC on 9/11, I can also appreciate a need and desire for security and safety above individual concerns or "freedom" that can be little more that personal indulgence. I can very well imagine myself comfortable in the Jovian polity after biological and technological horrors almost caused the extinction of the human race merely a few years earlier.

I simply believe that the Jovians could have been better written with far more nuance and depth, while still providing ample role-playing opportunities. However, then players wouldn't have Americans, err . . . Space Nazis, to kill and the authors couldn't mock conservatives and the religious with gratuitous shots like the Pinochet habitat and a Space Pope.

Freedom Geek Freedom Geek's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

I would note victory is not simply a matter of an all infomorph crew or similar purported technological advantage. Rather, the relevant issues are the skill and experience of the crew, the quality of the ships, and the military planning and cunning employed both before and during battle.

How many quality battleships does the AA field and are the egos of their population anywhere near as experienced in military matters as the Jovians? The size, sophistication and lethality of the Jovian Fleet and officer corps vastly exceeds any opposition. The fact that the defender's original morphs would be in their home and they had muses with better porn XP when the Jovian Fleet arrived would be of little solace as the missiles ripped through their habitat.

The point of informorph crews is not so their morphs are safe back at home. The point is that you can accelerate their minds - possibly up to 60x normal speed if we assume they use the most cutting edge computers and software on their ships. Know what that would mean? Every second you have to react they have a minute, every minute you have to plan they have an hour. The advantage that brings cannot be overstated.

And that's before we get to any mental augmentations. Remember that 10 cog is a regular human, 20 cog is the smartest unaugmented human to ever live. They can field people up to cog 40. Such a being could potentially, with the right training, be a better strategist than anyone who has ever lived.

Smokeskin wrote:
And they're a lazy bunch that work 4 hours a day

I'm pretty sure that's 4 hours a week. Though that's a minimum number - people who like their jobs (or want to rack up some extra rep) can work more.

I'm liable to see that as a good thing though. Hard work is not valuable for its own sake - it's only valuable in the good it brings. If society can get by while giving everyone an decent quality of life, decent medical care, etc while giving people that sort of free time then that, to me, seems the right thing to do.

-

Darkening Kaos Darkening Kaos's picture
. All it would take is for

. All it would take is for some wiz-hot, space-combat MMO to take over a few habs and you would have your crews trained and the participants would be none the wiser.
. Consider the movie "The Last Starfighter" coded as an MMO. Then fork off all the participants as infomorphs on a cutting edge ship, and let them loose.

Your definition of horror is meaningless to me.......
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LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
"Fiction has to be plausible,

"Fiction has to be plausible, reality doesn't."

The Jovians occupy an extremely bad design space. They're both supposed to be a playable faction and they're written as a caricature of modern-day neo-conservatism. Additionally, "fun" in EP comes from running around in a radically transhuman setting, augmenting yourself chemically, biologically, mechanically, and neurologically, while treating death as a minor inconvenience. As a faction, the Jovians are ideologically opposed to radical transhumanism. In other words, the Jovians hate fun. EP's combat is extremely lethal, which is balanced by the ability to use backups to return from the dead; the Jovian faction is ideologically opposed to doing this. Playing a Jovian in a mixed party means playing someone who believes themselves to be surrounded by heretics and devil-worshipers in a game about fighting the forces of Satan.

It certainly doesn't help that the Jovians are not written to be anything but 1-dimensional antagonists; Rimward flat-out admits they exist to be "Nazis it's OK to shoot" with, at best, the noble motivation of not wanting to be eaten by the TITANs to give them nuance. They're actually fascists according to Eclipse Phase, and their government has formalized second-class citizenship, no universal sufferage, no right to assembly, or the press. The Jovian chapter in Rimward hammers on and on about the oppressive methods of the Republic, including how nobody are allowed to leave without near-impossible-to-get-exit-visas. The TAHI are described as hypocrites, and there's a strong undertone of hypocrisy in the way rich and powerful people have better access to advanced technologies. They let terrorists bomb their own citizens just to get a casus belli, they're so incompetent that their Reagan Cylinders are all polluted, the reader is told that Jovians have shorter, more painful lives because they don't have access to proper medical tech...

It seems like the authors don't actually take the Jovian Republic seriously. The narrator for the Jovian chapter in Rimward claims to be a patriotic Jovian, yet the author still felt the need to have him point out that the Republic is not actually democratic, that their democratic institutions don't work, and that the Governors are all alcoholic pricks. He even manages, as a patriotic Jovian, to call the Jovian Anarchist Cells "freedom fighters".

Yes, North Korea exists in the real world. North Korea also has 60 years of complicated social and political developments to bring it where it is today, and doesn't make for a very compelling antagonist except to South Korea. The Jovian Republic, notably, doesn't have a South Jupiter to overrun. Rimward even makes sure to point out that the Titanian Commonwealth isn't afraid of Jupiter at all, just to make the JR even more pathetic and pointless.

The Jovian Republic is a shallow caricature, and offers nothing new or interesting to the setting.

Smokeskin wrote:
Among the autonomists, there are plenty of problems. The Titans have Janteloven and a stiffling culture of political correctness. The Scum is literally called scum and most people would be incredibly offended at the way they live. They're certainly not doing anything productive with their lives or achieving anything except for doing lots of drugs and getting rad body mutilation art. The anarchists have freedom and a nice enough life due to post-scarcity tech, but they're scrabing by in the outskirts of the solar system, often with little access to energy and raw materials. And they're a lazy bunch that work 4 hours a day and they don't have the state apparatus or economic incentives to get any sort of major stuff done unless everyone thinks its a fun project (and they're going to be arguing over everything instead of just getting it done because they don't have a hierarchal structure). And then there's the whole security thing. How many on this forum wants gun control? How many wants zoning laws that keeps the neighbor from manufacturing toxic chemicals?

All of these things are in the books. Why is it that the negative things about the autonomists are ignored?

To be frank, because half those things you've listed as negative (I've bolded them) are things not everyone thinks are bad. I don't think that there's any inherent philosophical value in "achievement", "doing something productive", or that economic incentives to get things done are signs that things are terrible. I wouldn't characterize a 4-hour work week as "lazy" either, and I see no inherent philosophical value in working 6 hours instead of 4, or 8 hours instead of 6. Even though I'm no fan of the Scum, I see no reason to criticize them for indulgent drug-use and body modification, since enjoying that is not exactly some great moral failing.

As for the rest, most of it is simply wrong; according to Rimward, the anarchists are not "scrabing by in the outskirts of the solar system"; they're supposedly doing quite well (this is stupid, but nonetheless part of the setting), and as-written they don't seem to have any actual problems getting stuff done.

That said, I could go on at length about the problems of the Autonomist Alliance and the anarchists from a worldbuilding perspective, as well as a political one, and have. But where the anarchists are just kind of dull all around, the Jovians have some vaguely interesting concepts buried under a truckload of shoddy writing. For one, there's some 35 million-ish Jovians right there in orbit around Jupiter, doing stuff and being stuck between the PC and the TC. The anarchists, meanwhile, are off in the middle of nowhere doing nothing in particular and interacting with nobody, so there's less incentive (for me personally at least) to actually bother trying to fix them.

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uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
While I respect your take on

While I respect your take on it, LatwPIAT, it also says in Rimward that Callisto and Europa are both non-JR polities within Jovian reach, sort of like the equivalent to South Korea. Beyond that I also think you're judging their depiction too harshly, while true that the patriotic Jovian wrote those things, he also referenced his own beliefs and acknowledged that while his chosen faction was far from perfect, it was the one he chose. As a Firewall Sentinel, you likely has access to resources to escape if he so chose, but instead he stays because he identifies with it.

Maybe it is because I agree with the authors in a lot of their biases and beliefs, but I don't see the JR being depicted THAT poorly, though I suppose ANY faction/group that can be killed without guilt is a problematic thing in games that are more nuanced then "go kill the Orcs, they serve the Dark Lord."

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obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
Many RPGs intially start with

Many RPGs intially start with ideas that become problematic later or simply become outdated.

I suspect this is what happened with the Junta. Initially it was though as some one dimensional bigots in space to serve as targets for it's probable audience. However, when the more planescape-y and political game started to become one of the most interesting things about the setting (the most, for many in this forum) the Jovians became problematic as caricaturesque villains and needed some fleshing out to make them more third dimensional.

As they stand post-Rimward, I'm satisfied with all factions in EP. There are clear (IMO) good guys and bad guys, but all of them are nuanced enough that you could have a grey across the board game without much tinkering.

As for the Autonomist being boring... I don't get it. In most games the Autonomists would be a non-faction at best or some failed rebels in the outskirts at worse, considering the way anarchism is usually portrait in media. The fact that in EP they are a credible ideologically challenger in the political play field, and that they are framed as the good guys (or at least, the ones with the best new ideas) is already incredibly fresh in my eyes, since usually in sci-fi games you usually have the Federation and Empire expys and nothing else.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
It's not just the mental

It's not just the mental acceleration to consider, though that, of course, cannot be overstated: the Autonomist ships will be crewed by infomorphs running at 60x acceleration when the fighting starts. The tacticians, pilots and engineers will be twinked and optimized for 40 COG, the gunners for 40 REF, etcetera, etcetera.

But that's not even the main issue, despite the crushing advantages it brings.

The main issue is the mass! Even in EP, ships are going to be largely fuel and drive systems. And for every extra kilogram of weapon you bring, you need to bring that much more fuel, which means the fuel tank has to expand, itself getting heavier, which means you need more fuel to move the tank, which means you need more fuel to move the fuel required to move the tank and the extra fuel for the weapon!

The Tyranny of the Rocket Equation is still in effect, even with ultra-energy-dense fuels such as antimatter and metallic hydrogen. They just give you more wiggle room, but at the end of the day, everything extra you want to bring on your ship requires an exponential increase in the fuel you're bringing.

Now, a ship crewed by infomorphs and jammed bots doesn't need air. It doesn't need life support, or life support redundancies, it doesn't need food supplies or food recycling or waste recycling. It doesn't need water tankage for showering or cooking or drinking, it doesn't need the kind of minimum creature comforts that even a jovian crew would put up. (No matter how fanatical a man is, he's still not going to fight for you if you expect him to kip down on the floor in the lavatory.) And it does not need the massive, heavy radiation shielding that anyone who's flying a shipful of flats in Jovian orbit will need to prevent killing his crew.

Are you understanding now? That's going to add an incredible amount of mass to the ship. So, kilogram-for-kilogram, any ship launched by literally anyone else is going to be much more killy on account of not needing that massive radiation shield, even if they do bring a biomorph crew, and crewed by people who are far more capable than the Jovian crew.

To put this in perspective, consider a World War I navy, fully-equipped and prepared for World War I surface combat. Make them a big, powerful navy, with lots of resources, lots of battleships and cruisers and even some u-boats.

Now imagine they're fighting a Vietnam-era navy. You may proceed to wince in sympathy.

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

The Tyranny of the Rocket Equation is still in effect, even with ultra-energy-dense fuels such as antimatter and metallic hydrogen. They just give you more wiggle room, but at the end of the day, everything extra you want to bring on your ship requires an exponential increase in the fuel you're bringing.

This is not correct. According to the rocket equation, mass scales linearly to fuel. It is velocity that scales exponentially.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:Smokeskin, I

branford wrote:
Smokeskin, I am curious, are you American and/or live in the USA?

No, I'm Danish.

Quote:

Although I am somewhat liberal, I am not an ideologue. I am also an attorney in NYC. You obviously reference some recent hot button Supreme Court cases and other social issues in your complaints about the purported influence of conservatives and the religious in the USA. Despite what you might hear on your favorite talk shows or read on your preferred political blogs, both the legal and practical reality of virtually all of the decisions are relatively minor and bear absolutely no relationship to the claims of politicians and pundits. The talking points and propaganda from both the right and left, however, do energize the base before elections. Abortion is still legal, contraception is cheap and ubiquitous, same sex marriage is legal in almost all states, Americans still have most of the top universities and unparalleled scientific research, and the Bill of Rights is doing just fine, including a right to bear arms and protections for the free exercise of religion.

Obviously. However, if those issues were democratically decided instead of by your Constitution, I doubt the picture would be the same. And that's witj your current voter base.

Now take a subset of those people who have similar political leanings and jet off to Jupiter, free from the constraints of the Bill of Rights - what would likely happen?

Quote:

Moreover, unlike our friends from across the Atlantic, no matter how conservative our politicians, they are rank amateurs compared to the honest-to-goodness neo-Nazis recently elected to the European parliament.

Don't worry, I'm not one of those "Americans are so primitive compared to us" types. I think European politicians are on the whole doing a worse job than the American ones, but it's close. Many of the particulars on how they fail are very different though, and the JR doesn't resemble Europeans.

Quote:

I simply believe that the Jovians could have been better written with far more nuance and depth, while still providing ample role-playing opportunities. However, then players wouldn't have Americans, err . . . Space Nazis, to kill and the authors couldn't mock conservatives and the religious with gratuitous shots like the Pinochet habitat and a Space Pope.

I just googled it, and Pinochet is still regarded as a hero in certain right wing circles in Chile. I think you're assuming that everyone hates Pinochet, but that is not true.

How is still having a pope a mockery?

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:

Freedom Geek wrote:

I'm pretty sure that's 4 hours a week. Though that's a minimum number - people who like their jobs (or want to rack up some extra rep) can work more.

I'm liable to see that as a good thing though. Hard work is not valuable for its own sake - it's only valuable in the good it brings. If society can get by while giving everyone an decent quality of life, decent medical care, etc while giving people that sort of free time then that, to me, seems the right thing to do.

You're right, my bad.

I don't agree with your position on work. I think we should strive for more than that.

I'm also voluntaryist so I'd not want to force others to do as I think they should, but if I were a statist I don't think I'd go along with it. I'd want the hab to prosper from having people work normal hours for their community benefits.

Freedom Geek Freedom Geek's picture
Smokeskin wrote:

Smokeskin wrote:

You're right, my bad.

I don't agree with your position on work. I think we should strive for more than that.

I'm also voluntaryist so I'd not want to force others to do as I think they should, but if I were a statist I don't think I'd go along with it. I'd want the hab to prosper from having people work normal hours for their community benefits.

Prosper for what? When you have an unrestricted nanofabricator, an allowance of feedstock and a mesh connection what else would really improve your quality of life? Improve it significantly enough to justify losing the significant value of having all that free time?

-

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:

LatwPIAT wrote:

They're actually fascists according to Eclipse Phase, and their government has formalized second-class citizenship, no universal sufferage, no right to assembly, or the press. The Jovian chapter in Rimward hammers on and on about the oppressive methods of the Republic, including how nobody are allowed to leave without near-impossible-to-get-exit-visas. The TAHI are described as hypocrites, and there's a strong undertone of hypocrisy in the way rich and powerful people have better access to advanced technologies. They let terrorists bomb their own citizens just to get a casus belli, they're so incompetent that their Reagan Cylinders are all polluted, the reader is told that Jovians have shorter, more painful lives because they don't have access to proper medical tech...

What part of that is unrealistic?

Quote:

It seems like the authors don't actually take the Jovian Republic seriously. The narrator for the Jovian chapter in Rimward claims to be a patriotic Jovian, yet the author still felt the need to have him point out that the Republic is not actually democratic, that their democratic institutions don't work, and that the Governors are all alcoholic pricks.

That's very common, to be patriotic and still think your government sucks.

Quote:

Smokeskin wrote:
Among the autonomists, there are plenty of problems. The Titans have Janteloven and a stiffling culture of political correctness. The Scum is literally called scum and most people would be incredibly offended at the way they live. They're certainly not doing anything productive with their lives or achieving anything except for doing lots of drugs and getting rad body mutilation art. The anarchists have freedom and a nice enough life due to post-scarcity tech, but they're scrabing by in the outskirts of the solar system, often with little access to energy and raw materials. And they're a lazy bunch that work 4 hours a day and they don't have the state apparatus or economic incentives to get any sort of major stuff done unless everyone thinks its a fun project (and they're going to be arguing over everything instead of just getting it done because they don't have a hierarchal structure). And then there's the whole security thing. How many on this forum wants gun control? How many wants zoning laws that keeps the neighbor from manufacturing toxic chemicals?

All of these things are in the books. Why is it that the negative things about the autonomists are ignored?

To be frank, because half those things you've listed as negative (I've bolded them) are things not everyone thinks are bad. I don't think that there's any inherent philosophical value in "achievement", "doing something productive", or that economic incentives to get things done are signs that things are terrible. I wouldn't characterize a 4-hour work week as "lazy" either, and I see no inherent philosophical value in working 6 hours instead of 4, or 8 hours instead of 6. Even though I'm no fan of the Scum, I see no reason to criticize them for indulgent drug-use and body modification, since enjoying that is not exactly some great moral failing.

I didn't say everyone thinks these things are bad. I said some do.

Sure, you think drugs are fine. But to many drugs are evil, drug dealers are the ultimate criminal, they believe even recreational users should get long prison sentences.

The same with a work ethic. Some of the most prominent conservative bioethicists like Fukuyama argue that nootropics should be banned (and we're even talking Ritalin for children who suffer from ADHD) because it reduces the need to work for your achievements, and that devalues their human dignity. And the whole talk of moochers.

Just because your ideals align with the autonomists, that doesn't mean everyone does.

Erulastant Erulastant's picture
What even qualifies as

What even qualifies as "normal hours"? Why should what's normal for the 21st century be normal for 10 AF?

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

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Smokeskin wrote:I didn't say

Smokeskin wrote:
I didn't say everyone thinks these things are bad. I said some do.

Sure, you think drugs are fine. But to many drugs are evil, drug dealers are the ultimate criminal, they believe even recreational users should get long prison sentences.

The same with a work ethic. Some of the most prominent conservative bioethicists like Fukuyama argue that nootropics should be banned (and we're even talking Ritalin for children who suffer from ADHD) because it reduces the need to work for your achievements, and that devalues their human dignity. And the whole talk of moochers.

Just because your ideals align with the autonomists, that doesn't mean everyone does.

Let me rephrase that; I have these beliefs, and I know that such beliefs are common. The reason there's so little comparative criticism of the Autonomist Alliance is probably because very few people who are likely to be interested in Eclipse Phase are likely to also hold traditionally conservative beliefs about work ethics, welfare, and recreational drug use. In short, the kind of person interested in EP is the kind of person likely to agree on some level with the political ideals of the Autonomist Alliance.

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ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
I was unemployed for a year

I was unemployed for a year and while having a surplus of free time meant i could do anything i wanted after about 6 months i got cabin fever because the normal diversions became bland and boring.

Normal work week in the US is considered 40 hours monday through friday. Part time is 20 and is is to be avoided. although 20-30 years ago there was nation wide talk of changing the normal work week to 30 hours do to our high level of productivity.

bblonski bblonski's picture
Rimward (p.195)

branford wrote:
Moreover, the authors have essentially conceded that the Jovians are caricatures. They've indicated that they were intended to be veritable "Space Nazi" villains that could be killed or defeated without guilt or shame. The authors attempt to slightly balance this in Rimward (p.195), but the damage has already been done.

I think Rimward (p.195) is actually a really good section. I'm not sure why you so easily dismiss it. Sure, it says that the Jovians make good Space Nazis if you've looking for that kind of thing, but literally the next sentence says "On the other hand, you can also present them in a more nuanced fashion." Then it goes on for several paragraphs on how to portray them as more sympathetic and highlight their positive qualities. It's up to the individual campaign. Why does pointing out that they make a good bad guy for certain scenarios invalidate that they can be more nuanced and sympathetic in others depending on group preference? Sure you could portray them as evil Space Nazis, but I think it's much more interesting to explore their dual nature of being most allied with Firewall's goals, but having differences in tactics. This is explicitly supported by the authors and the setting. I think it's actually pretty cool that they can either be the bad guys, or the cavalry that rides in last minute to save your ass. You can be sure in my campaigns, they'll end up being both.

If you want to portray the Jovians with positive traits, then there is plenty in the setting to support this. You really have to go out of your way to say they have no positive traits. I mean earlier some people dismissed having the best defenses against TITAN and Exsurgent threats was a positive trait because the TITANs could just destroy us all if they wanted anyway so might as well not even try. Seriously? I guess Firewall should just pack up and go home then. Almost the entire point of the game is to defend against TITAN and Exsurgent threats. How is an entire faction dedicated to that cause not at least partly good?

I'm not sure why everyone thinks the anarchists are so trouble free. I think the very first published adventure was about WMDs being sold in anarchist habs. How is that not a huge drawback? You couldn't pull that in a Jovian hab. Firewall is practically not even needed in the Jovian system, where the anarchists probably only still exist because Firewall keeps saving them and covering up all the near disasters.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:Smokeskin

LatwPIAT wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
I didn't say everyone thinks these things are bad. I said some do.

Sure, you think drugs are fine. But to many drugs are evil, drug dealers are the ultimate criminal, they believe even recreational users should get long prison sentences.

The same with a work ethic. Some of the most prominent conservative bioethicists like Fukuyama argue that nootropics should be banned (and we're even talking Ritalin for children who suffer from ADHD) because it reduces the need to work for your achievements, and that devalues their human dignity. And the whole talk of moochers.

Just because your ideals align with the autonomists, that doesn't mean everyone does.

Let me rephrase that; I have these beliefs, and I know that such beliefs are common. The reason there's so little comparative criticism of the Autonomist Alliance is probably because very few people who are likely to be interested in Eclipse Phase are likely to also hold traditionally conservative beliefs about work ethics, welfare, and recreational drug use. In short, the kind of person interested in EP is the kind of person likely to agree on some level with the political ideals of the Autonomist Alliance.

So along comes post-scarcity tech like AI, advanced robotics, and nanomanufacture, and that allows a society of people who are relatively unproductive to still have a high standard of living.

Some of these people make techno-progressive democratic states like Europa, others the technosocialism on Titan, some party hard on Scum barges touring the solar system, some band together in anarchist habs.

Where is the problem? It seems natural that a society of people that you agree with would of course seem perfect to you. How could it be otherwise?

branford branford's picture
bblonski wrote:branford wrote

bblonski wrote:
branford wrote:
Moreover, the authors have essentially conceded that the Jovians are caricatures. They've indicated that they were intended to be veritable "Space Nazi" villains that could be killed or defeated without guilt or shame. The authors attempt to slightly balance this in Rimward (p.195), but the damage has already been done.

I think Rimward (p.195) is actually a really good section. I'm not sure why you so easily dismiss it. Sure, it says that the Jovians make good Space Nazis if you've looking for that kind of thing, but literally the next sentence says "On the other hand, you can also present them in a more nuanced fashion." Then it goes on for several paragraphs on how to portray them as more sympathetic and highlight their positive qualities. It's up to the individual campaign. Why does pointing out that they make a good bad guy for certain scenarios invalidate that they can be more nuanced and sympathetic in others depending on group preference? Sure you could portray them as evil Space Nazis, but I think it's much more interesting to explore their dual nature of being most allied with Firewall's goals, but having differences in tactics. This is explicitly supported by the authors and the setting. I think it's actually pretty cool that they can either be the bad guys, or the cavalry that rides in last minute to save your ass. You can be sure in my campaigns, they'll end up being both.

If you want to portray the Jovians with positive traits, then there is plenty in the setting to support this. You really have to go out of your way to say they have no positive traits. I mean earlier some people dismissed having the best defenses against TITAN and Exsurgent threats was a positive trait because the TITANs could just destroy us all if they wanted anyway so might as well not even try. Seriously? I guess Firewall should just pack up and go home then. Almost the entire point of the game is to defend against TITAN and Exsurgent threats. How is an entire faction dedicated to that cause not at least partly good?

I'm not sure why everyone thinks the anarchists are so trouble free. I think the very first published adventure was about WMDs being sold in anarchist habs. How is that not a huge drawback? You couldn't pull that in a Jovian hab. Firewall is practically not even needed in the Jovian system, where the anarchists probably only still exist because Firewall keeps saving them and covering up all the near disasters.

It's not that the Jovians could be Space Nazis, it's that they were intentionally and gratuitously designed and written to actually be Space Nazis that could be killed or defeated without compunction or remorse. The canon text in both the core and Rimward offer Jovians as one-dimensional, mustache twirling, incompetent Luddite villians for the express purpose of being the "bad guys" and foil to the "good guy" anarchists.

The repeated threads about the Jovians simply demonstrate that below the surface of express Jovian canon (and the obvious biases of the authors) lie a polity that may (and should) have ideas, motivations and competencies that are realistic, very sympathetic, nuanced and entirely appropriate for a post-apocalyptic horror setting. This is all the more true in light of the fact that PCs are intended as Firewall agents seeking to protect humanity against many of the same threats as the experienced and prepared Jovians.

The three short paragraphs on p. 195-6, at best, represent an acknowledgement by the authors' of justified criticism that they entirely failed to present a deeper, more comprehensive or relatable faction in the EP universe. Nevertheless, no additional or revised materials are presented in Rimward or anywhere else to actually correct this deficiency in the official setting.

As an aside, I also found the authors' decision to keep Europa firmly out of the control of the Jovians most interesting (unlike the admittedly more nuanced relationship with the city-states of Callisto). Europa, with its vast oceans, has always captured the imagination of the public due to the possible presence of alien life, and has been a premier setting in science fiction rpg's set in our solar system.

Given Europa's vast potential resources, profitability and strategic interest, the fact that it is not firmly and unquestionably under the heel of the vastly superior military force of the Jovian Republic to be inexcusable and foolish, particularly while its own citizens needlessly suffer in their Reagan Cylinders. The fact that the text explicitly notes that the Europans have no fear of the Jovians is laughably absurd in light of the setting and purported motivations of the Jovians, inconsistently (see, Hydon, Rimward, p. 47) rendering them nothing more than a paper tiger.

However, I can only imagine the hew and cry from disgruntled (left-wing?) fans if Europa was occupied by Space Nazis, and worse, if they had to routinely role-play dealings with such Neanderthals in order to access and explore such a rich setting. (I also think that a fishy Vichy regime on Europa would offer great setting possibilities :) )

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:Smokeskin

Freedom Geek wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:

You're right, my bad.

I don't agree with your position on work. I think we should strive for more than that.

I'm also voluntaryist so I'd not want to force others to do as I think they should, but if I were a statist I don't think I'd go along with it. I'd want the hab to prosper from having people work normal hours for their community benefits.

Prosper for what? When you have an unrestricted nanofabricator, an allowance of feedstock and a mesh connection what else would really improve your quality of life? Improve it significantly enough to justify losing the significant value of having all that free time?

If we use Maslow's hierarchy of needs, you're only adressing the bottom 2-3 levels here. The top 2 levels, you're not going to be adressing them unless you actually do something with your life.

Most people perform much better with some outside need. Few have that internal drive to really get up and push hard and work for something without a carrot and also a bit of whip.

It is anyone's guess if the rep economy is actually so close to a traditional economy that unless you produce value for the society your life quality will drop significantly. In that case, the whole 4 hour workweek is an illusion though.

But let us compare two courses you could take in EP.

You could join a scum barge, and ten years later, man you partied a lot, did a lot of drugs, had a lot of sex, barrels of fun. That's pretty much it. Yeah, you dabbled in a few projects, but never really completed them because it is always like this:

Or you joined a 35 hour workweek hab. Still plenty of fun in the weekends, but the weekdays you work. Maybe you're helping build morphs for those in cold storage, or on a research team, or harvesting raw materials for hab construction. But you'll have accomplished something, achieved goals, acquired skills, built stuff, helped people, and you'd have done it together with colleagues working on a common task. You'd look back at those 10 years and feel they were worth something.

Which is the happier life? Which society is better off and able to do most good, the one with the hedonistic lifestyle or the productive one?

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Smokeskin wrote:So along

Smokeskin wrote:
So along comes post-scarcity tech like AI, advanced robotics, and nanomanufacture, and that allows a society of people who are relatively unproductive to still have a high standard of living.

Some of these people make techno-progressive democratic states like Europa, others the technosocialism on Titan, some party hard on Scum barges touring the solar system, some band together in anarchist habs.

Where is the problem? It seems natural that a society of people that you agree with would of course seem perfect to you. How could it be otherwise?

I fail to see your point here. Could you please state what the point you're trying to make is?

(Edit: also, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs holds about as much water these days as a sieve; it's about as scientific as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and phrenology. Part of the reason it's been discredited is because the top two levels have been found to be somewhere between non-universal and pulled out of thin air.)

@-rep +2
C-rep +1

capybara capybara's picture
The one positive side of the

The one positive side of the Junta is that they are essentially a control group to the grand experiment of post-fall transhumanity. What if having a stack makes you a potential TITAN slave? What if each egocast drives you a bit closer to SCH? What if the entire transhumanity is slowly becoming exhuman? Probably not, but WHAT IF?
Remember how BSG starts? Modern human fleet gets wiped out, the Galactica survives because it is literally too old. Jovians are the Galactica of EP universe.

As for their portrayal, personally I don't view it as too cliche, despite being fairly right-wing myself. They are a consistent, if not the most interesting, faction. EP is a setting where the tiresome american "right-wing is always backwards" trope actually makes some sense.

DrewDavis DrewDavis's picture
Who's unproductive?

I think there is some confusion about the 4 hour work week on Anarchist habs.

The four hours refers to unfun jobs that no one on the hab wants to perform, so everyone pitches in a little to make the work bearable. So, members of the local programing collective may spend four hours a week handling some element of waste disposal that just has to be done by hand.

The rest of the week they are programming. Yes, they may spend a little more time then the average junta citizen playing MARGs and there's no boss getting on their case if they decide to take a nap in the middle of the day, but there is still a lot of productive work being done. That collective doesn't face a loss of income if they don't produce, they face a loss of the respect of their peers and the loss of REP. That can be a surprisingly effective motivator for a lot of people.

At least on collectivist and mutualist habs. Who knows what the scum are up to...

Oh, and dragging this back on topic:

The Junta is actually a fairly good way to introduce players who are not schooled in Transhuman sci-fi. Look at their society: it's Cyberpunk. If you have players who are casually interested in Sci-Fi chances are they can recognize a hab that looks like Blade Runner better then something out of a Banks novel.

That's more of a meta-positive then the OP probably wanted, but hey...

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

It's not that the Jovians could be Space Nazis, it's that they were intentionally and gratuitously designed and written to actually be Space Nazis that could be killed or defeated without compunction or remorse. The canon text in both the core and Rimward offer Jovians as one-dimensional, mustache twirling, incompetent Luddite villians for the express purpose of being the "bad guys" and foil to the "good guy" anarchists.

The repeated threads about the Jovians simply demonstrate that below the surface of express Jovian canon (and the obvious biases of the authors) lie a polity that may (and should) have ideas, motivations and competencies that are realistic, very sympathetic, nuanced and entirely appropriate for a post-apocalyptic horror setting.

If I described North Korea to you at the political level, would you assume that all their citizens were like that? That the people are just a bunch of mindless, great-leader-loving drones? Taleban ruled Afghanistan, do you think all Afghans are fanatical terrorists?

Really, people are a very varied bunch. Sure you can generalize, but it is going to cover a wide spectrum of personalities and nuances. This doesn't have to be spelled out all the time in every description. There are good people in the JR and the PC, and there are selfish pricks in the AA. This goes without saying, really.

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