Are there any positive traits of the Jovian Junta?

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Lorsa Lorsa's picture
branford wrote:Again, I think
branford wrote:
Again, I think with disagree on some foundational material. The other factions of transhumanity are recklessly engaging in activities that will hasten our extinction. Relationships with advanced aliens (Factors) who reveal little about themselves or their technology? Using the Gates even though we have no understanding of the technology and have encountered at least three unexplained, extinct species? Selfishly and wantonly altering the very nature of the human mind, body and soul to narcissistically suit petty whims and desires? Permitting anyone to research and access dangerous weapons of mass destruction like antimatter, virulent plagues and TITAN technology, without proper oversight and caution? From their perspective, the Jovians have more than ample reason to attack and put a stop to the species-level dangerous stupidity of many other groups and factions. The fact these enemies of humanity may already be dead, or were never truly human to begin with (AGI's and Uplifts), simply makes the Jovian's difficult, but ultimately necessary, task a little bit easier. In fact, taking control of the Gates to protect humanity (and maybe reclaiming Earth) should be Jovian's highest priority and most solemn duty. [Note that I do not agree with Jovian philosophy, and am just opining based on their perspective]
Perhaps I should have phrased it as being one of many options to choose. Fighting an attacking war is harder than simply defending and it's quite possible all the other factions will destroy themselves soon enough. It's not like "this is how it is" but it's a rationalisation you can use if you want to explain away why the Jovians [i]aren't[/i] attacking anyone.
branford wrote:
As to your other responsive post, I happen to agree with you about the other rules and setting inconsistencies. As you acknowledge, no game is perfect. I personally am more sensitive to setting problems than rules issues.
I find setting easier to mold than rules. We're all different I guess.
branford wrote:
Additionally, it is very common for RPG rules to imperfectly depict narrative features of a game universe. Although some rules systems are better than others, the "crunchier" and more "realistic" ones tend to be difficult to learn and even slower to play, and in any event, there is only so much you can do to equate real (trans)human action to the roll of some dice.
Imperfectly depict narrative features? You mean like the morality system in WoD? The best games in this regard are usually those where the rules are built first and the setting constructed afterwards.
branford wrote:
With respect to the biomorph growing times compared to healing vats issue, it was my interpretation that brains and other nervous system structures are simply far more complicated and difficult to quickly grow. That is why pods have cyberbrains and you can expeditiously regrow a foot or lung in a healing vat, but not a prefrontal lobe, even with the availability of a cortical stack. The disastrous attempt to expedite the growth of both the minds and bodies of the Lost Generation may add some plausibility to my hypothesis.
But it makes little sense. It's not like nerve tissue is very difficult to grow (the whole body consists of it and the healing vat has no problems with that) or difficult to arrange (an ego bridge does that). Besides, the regrowing from a head is for when you want the ego to be intact once the morph is regrown. According to the rules, a morph can get its head blown off and then heal [i]that[/i] in days. There is never any mention in the rules that a torso is okay, but a head is a no-go. And you still haven't explained the extremely cheap price of biomorphs. So yeah, I guess it's an issue of what you have issues with. Small errors in the setting is easy to correct for me, whereas inconsistencies in the rules or the rules-vs-setting are much more difficult to handle. Do you try to rewrite the rules to fit the setting or the setting to fit the rules?
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branford branford's picture
Jovians as Space North Korea
Another idea. Many here compare the Jovians to Space North Korea. It would actually be fairly easy to truly make the Jovians the DPRK of the outer system. The Junta claim to be military heroes who saved mankind from the Fall. If only that were true. The leadership was really nothing more than bureaucratic cowards in uniform who only survived the Fall because they amscrayed on the first freighter out of town to save their sorry behinds. They are now little more than petty, incompetent and selfish tyrants, ruling by fear and ignorance while their people suffer. The fleet that brought many to Jupiter was once strong and proud. Sadly, it has not been that way since most of us were born. The fleet, although large, is old and decrepit, poorly maintained and shrinking since the exodus of the Fall without the expertise and advanced technology that other transhumans take for granted. In order to tighten their control over the populace after the Fall, the Junta immediately initiated a program of strict media censorship and militarization. The people were told that most of the rest of humanity is dead, and those who survive would welcome the bounty of the Republic. The memeticists of the Junta tell the people that the shiny morphs, sleeks ships and seemingly miraculous technology that is sometimes discussed in hushed whispers or seen when rare visitors come to the habitats, are all exurgents, their tricks or supporting cults tempting the people. To leave the Republic for a taste of the shiny transhuman apple would bring damnation to their souls and ruin to their lives and those of their family. It is well known that whenever a citizen tries to leave the Republic, their families will be arrested and disappear to "prevent the spread of any exurgent infection." Few have the courage or are willing to sacrifice their loved ones to explore the outside. It's easy to keep the people ignorant. The Jovian radiation and government controls prevent their barely functioning mesh network from accessing anything but highly edited government channels on ectos that were obsolete before anyone even knew about the TITANS. It wouldn't matter anyway, since without makers, most of the people's time is occupied by eeking out a meager subsistence farming existence deep in the dreary, poorly shielded, asteroid habitats. Who has the time or knowledge to complain, no less revolt, when you're barely producing enough neo-algae to feed your children. There are few visitors to the dirty habitats except for some minor diplomatic and humanitarian efforts, mainly from very concerned Titanians. Despite the horror of what they see, the government minders and implied threats against the people limit how these brave people can help. The Church is present in the Republic and was once influential. However, they incurred the wrath of the Junta when years ago they began to lobby for the people. Some members of the church who have not been executed in the periodic purges try very quietly soothe the people's souls, for that's all they can do, all while trying to avoid arrest. Most of the other bishops and priests are now corrupt sycophants to the rulers, helping to maintain their lies, in exchange for petty favors and indulgences. Nevertheless, the Jovians are truly dangerous. The armed forces are particularly large. Many join as it is the only way to provide for their children or escape debt, the rest suffer from forced conscription. Jupiter's access to large amounts of energy from Io permits production of copious amounts of antimatter. Together with the restricted military weapon schematics smuggled out during the Fall, the Junta has developed and deployed an excess of unreliable and immensely dangerous antimatter weapons to discourage other factions from interfering in their affairs. As most polities avoid the Jovian system due to the ridiculous transit taxes imposed by the regime, despite the convenience of the routes, and with few sources of hard currency, the Junta has begun selling both WMD blueprints and antimatter to every crazed terrorist group, brinker and anarchist throughout the system. Even worse, the Junta knows at the current rate their society may implode or starve sooner rather than later. Rather than open their society and accept help from the Titanians and many others, plans are being laid to arm their unreliable fleet with their even more dangerous antimatter weapons, and simply take from others what they have been unable and unwilling to produce themselves. Firewall proxies are developing plans to try to instigate a coup, or if that proves impossible, sabotage the fleet. The weapons and antimatter proliferation will also need to be addressed once the more immediate threat is resolved. If the Jovians are not stopped, they may finish what the TITANS started.
branford branford's picture
Lorsa,
Lorsa, We are generally in agreement about the rule issues, including biomorph healing, availability and prices. I suppose it would be easy enough to insert some techno-babble about how rushing neural growth leads to synaptic degradation and remnant memories during resleeving, studies have shown rapid neural regeneration increases the risk of exurgent infection, etc. Raising the prices of biomorphs or increasing their availability would also not prove disastrous for the setting. I also generally viewed the purported scarcity of available biomorphs due to the lack of available space and life-support resources necessary for their upkeep, rather than too few bodies. In the inner system polities, where space is less of a premium, it may be an intentional artificial reduction in biomorph supply to keep prices high, enforce class distinctions and separation from the recent poor infugees, and maintain the lucrative indenture system. Human greed and arrogance can often explain most problems. As to the WoD morality system, if I had to choose between it and the TITANS . . .
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote: In the inner
branford wrote:
In the inner system polities, where space is less of a premium, it may be an intentional artificial reduction in biomorph supply to keep prices high, enforce class distinctions and separation from the recent poor infugees, and maintain the lucrative indenture system.
Even if you have enough space in the inner system, there's still a lot of other resources that a morph needs. Basically they need an income, and good luck getting that. They're already sleeving all the infogees they need for cheap labor in the PC.
Lorsa Lorsa's picture
I like your new idea branford
I like your new idea branford. It opens up for exploring a true, honest-to-God fascist system, with all the corruption and inefficiencies that comes with it. Technically there are many ideas about the Jovians that I like, but it's a good one for sure. As for biomorph construction, I ruled that the long process was the old, "safe", way and that it ws possible to do it quicker with new technology but the potential drawbacks weren't really known. You are right that the lack of space and life-support may be the bigger issues. Still, it's an inconsistency that bugs me.
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branford branford's picture
Lorsa wrote:I like your new
Lorsa wrote:
I like your new idea branford. It opens up for exploring a true, honest-to-God fascist system, with all the corruption and inefficiencies that comes with it. Technically there are many ideas about the Jovians that I like, but it's a good one for sure. As for biomorph construction, I ruled that the long process was the old, "safe", way and that it ws possible to do it quicker with new technology but the potential drawbacks weren't really known. You are right that the lack of space and life-support may be the bigger issues. Still, it's an inconsistency that bugs me.
Sometimes science and "realism" takes a backseat to setting and narrative themes, no less rules crunch. I just wish it wasn't always so heavy-handed. However, when in doubt, if there's a problem with inconsistencies in the setting or the rules don't make any sense, it's always the fault of the TITANs or exurgents. Your Fury stubs her toe while reloading her railgun, damn TITANs! Your Scurrier develops space mange after a trip through a Gate, blame the TITANs. Your Nautiloid springs a leak while exploring Europa, definitely TITANs. Heck, I guess if the Jovians have all this military might, but haven't yet moved against another faction, could it be anything but the result of TITAN influence . . .?
branford branford's picture
DELETE - DUPLICATE POST
DELETE - DUPLICATE POST
Tiberia Tiberia's picture
accidentally posted twice?
accidentally posted twice? TITANS! I don't see myself going that route, but making the Jovians a true Space N. Korea rather then a mere paper tiger caricature sounds like a good idea. It could definitely make for interesting adventures in an oppressive state. I am still curious as to why the Jovians hold animosity for the Titanians over other factions. I don't see them getting along, but why the titanians over the anarchists, or PC?
ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
its because the pc is still
its because the pc is still very familiar. capitalism run amok while titania is the polar opposite if the junta
branford branford's picture
Tiberia wrote:accidentally
Tiberia wrote:
accidentally posted twice? TITANS! I don't see myself going that route, but making the Jovians a true Space N. Korea rather then a mere paper tiger caricature sounds like a good idea. It could definitely make for interesting adventures in an oppressive state. I am still curious as to why the Jovians hold animosity for the Titanians over other factions. I don't see them getting along, but why the titanians over the anarchists, or PC?
I prefer a more nuanced and believable, or at least truly threatening, Jovian Republic inspired by Starship Troopers and BSG. However, all the Space North Korea talk earlier triggered my creative juices last night, so I set proverbial pen to paper for those who may be interested. The Space North Korea angle at least explains the Jovian's incompetence with still making them a threat to their neighbors. I, too, do not understand why the Titanians specifically anger the Jovians, as opposed to any other right or left leaning faction, other than the fact that the Commonwealth is spatially close to the Republic. In fact, the Titanians are a relatively stable, peaceful and responsible polity that has never threatened the Republic, and they are no more "transhuman" in outlook, biology or technology than the PC, anarchists, Ulitmates, etc.. The Jovians even secretly helped the Autonomous Alliance in the Second Battle of Locus. I think the animosity may be part of the authors' caricature - the Jovians (and to a lesser extent, the PC and LLA) represent the fascist/conservative, corporatist, militant and religious Americans who hate the peaceful, advanced, enlightened, successful and near perfect socialists/Titanians for no other reasons than blind ignorance. Ugh.
branford branford's picture
ORCACommander wrote:its
ORCACommander wrote:
its because the pc is still very familiar. capitalism run amok while titania is the polar opposite if the junta
The anarchists or Scum are closer to opposite than the Titanians who actually have a responsible government to prevent any extinction-level irresponsibility. The Jovians should hate Locus or the entire Autonomous Alliance, but their ire is explicitly targeted primarily at the Commonwealth.
ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
except that from the jovian
except that from the jovian perspective the anarchists and scums are not political entities like a nation state. they prescribe to the traditional view of anarchism as not unifiable completely leaderless and unable to rally common causes. albeit SBL undermines that last part
Lorsa Lorsa's picture
branford wrote:However, when
branford wrote:
However, when in doubt, if there's a problem with inconsistencies in the setting or the rules don't make any sense, it's always the fault of the TITANs or exurgents.
So Obama is a TITAN? It all makes sense now... (I am not trying to make any political stance whatsoever, just that this reminded me of the popular "thanks Obama" meme)
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Tiberia Tiberia's picture
Thanks TITAN OBAMA!
Thanks TITAN OBAMA!
Surly Surly's picture
New conspiracy theory:
New conspiracy theory: a) The Planetary Consortium has a single leader. b) That leader, unbeknownst to even his fellow Hypercorp Council members, is a TITAN's delta fork.
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
branford wrote:I prefer a
branford wrote:
I prefer a more nuanced and believable, or at least truly threatening, Jovian Republic inspired by Starship Troopers
This, this, a thousand times this! I'd probably compare them to Fascist South America, myself, but Heinlein understood the notions of fascist ethics pretty well when it came to that story.
branford wrote:
I think the animosity may be part of the authors' caricature - the Jovians (and to a lesser extent, the PC and LLA) represent the fascist/conservative, corporatist, militant and religious Americans who hate the peaceful, advanced, enlightened, successful and near perfect socialists/Titanians for no other reasons than blind ignorance. Ugh.
I agree with this, but, if I had to offer a reason, I'd say that the Jovians do seem to have something of an us-vs-them mindset, and the Titanians may simply offer the largest, most visible example of "Them" out there. Consider the West and the East in the Cold War; the US and UK treated Communism like a disease. The Titanians are a relatively stable, peaceful polity that also just so happens to have three weaponized moon fortresses and a military fleet, and is nominally allied with, and protecting, the people the Jovians consider to be monkeys playing with nuclear weapons. In short, the Titanians are a threat standing in the way of dealing with other threats; a polity filled with heavily-armed transhumans in the outer system, living in ways totally opposite the Jovian's own, protecting the anarchists who are experimenting with lunacy. Compare that with the PC or LLA, who, despite being transhuman as well, at least have a familiar style of living and are trying to regulate and control the technologies the Jovians fear.
ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
thanks axel. that is what i
thanks axel. that is what i was going for but did not have time to fully articulate
ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
I am a tad wierded out.
I really don't get the problem, other than the explicit contradictions. And having the JR be expansionist, have a huge military, and not attack people isn't a contradiction. It just means they have reasons not to attack. Like, say, living unstacked in shockingly vulnerable habitats in one of the most hostile environments in the entire system for example. Similarly, I don't see the facism as a problem because those in charge think that they are the last bastion of humanity in a system otherwise filled with horrible cyborgs and philosophical zombies. I'm not even changing anything. That is, unless I'm completely misremembering, entirely canon. The thought precess isn't "they're aggressive, but not attacking... they're badly written!", its "they're aggressive, but not attacking... there must be a reason for that."
In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few. But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?
LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:I'm
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
I'm not even changing anything. That is, unless I'm completely misremembering, entirely canon. The thought precess isn't "they're aggressive, but not attacking... they're badly written!", its "they're aggressive, but not attacking... there must be a reason for that."
I think there are two things to keep in mind with regards to this: 1: Eclipse Phase and Rimward are lexicons of a fictional world. Their purpose is to tell people about a world so they play in it. RPG sourcebooks are not the place for subtlety; they should strive for clarity and efficient communication. It should not be the responsibility of the [i]reader[/i] to assign meaning to the text - that makes the the book superficial. 2: Reality is, [i]necessarily[/i], a creation of realistic, believable factors. Superficially, some things may seem fantastic, but because reality is created as an [i]effect[/i] of previous reality, everything automatically makes logical sense. This is not the case for fiction. Fiction is creationist, spun wholesale from the mind of the writer. Fiction does not have to obey the constraints of reality, so we have reason to charitably assume it makes sense internally. If the Jovian Republic was real, we could look at its giant army and refusal to use it, and conclude that there must be some logical cause for that. Being fiction, however, we have no reason to assume that there are "real" reasons the Jovian Republic is not aggressive; such reasons do not have to exist at all. Perhaps the Jovian Republic aren't aggressive because they fear the cost of war will be to high... or perhaps they aren't aggressive because the author didn't want non-anarchists to be capable of posing any threat whatsoever to the glorious techno-utopian anarchists. That said, I don't think there's an inherent contradiction in having a large army and not frequently using it. As a thematically apt comparison, the Soviet Union had one of the biggest armies in the world, but scarcely ever used it in aggression. The problem is (to me) more that the Jovian Republic are given the short end of the stick each and every time, being reduced to a caricature simply because they're not Glorious Techno-Utopian Anarchists. Build their own O'Neil cylinders? Suddenly they have hygiene problems not because of some inherent flaw in using rock as a building material, but because someone feels the need to mock them. Despite claims that they see medical technologies as extremely important and embrace them as long as they're not nanotech, there just [i]has[/i] to be a sidebar telling us that all aging suffer for decades because Jovian medical technology is oh-so-backwards. There are anarchists planting bombs and killing Jovians very permanently, yet Rimward sees the need to tell us that the bomb-throwing anarchists are actually nice people, while the Jovians are actually to blame for the all the casualties. The reasons for all of this are always shallow and lacking in nuance. It always comes down to, axiomatically, "the Jovians are bad guys".
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bblonski bblonski's picture
This thread reminds me of a
This thread reminds me of a post I read about how RPG settings are held to a higher standard of "realistic" than reality is. It contained a whole list of real historic events that could be trivialized to sound unrealistic, like how someone born before automobiles were invented could live to see the moon landing, despite the rather slow rate of technological advancement beforehand. It's like saying "America is by far the dominate world military power but they just let Russia take the Crimean peninsula? Why aren't they invading everyone? They invaded Iraq, but the won't invade Iran, Syria, or any of the other dictatorships around? How inconsistent. If freedom and privacy are so important to them, why do they let their government spy on them and willingly share intimate details of their lives on social networks. I'd rewrite them to be more nuanced and consistent so they systematically invade every dictatorship, are all 100% in favor of a totalitarian government." You can trivialize plenty of real word situations to sound unrealistic. It's not about if the setting is presented with enough nuance and detail to seem realistic, but rather if there is anything that prevents you from adding nuance and realism yourself. This is an RPG setting which means you are expected at add in a lot of the details and nuance yourself. Vagueness is good. Vagueness allows you add in the details to customize the setting to your preferences. The authors purposely left a lot of things vague and up for interpretation. For example, the TITANs are presented superficially as the bad guys, but it's also heavily hinted that they could just be victims of the exsurgent virus themselves. The factors are presented as both a possible ally and potential threat. Even groups like OZMA can be interpreted to be good guys. It's up to the GM on what themes the want to focus on. If the Jovians were written as a more capable threat that was actively invading everyone, then most of the plot hooks would have to revolve around that. It's hard to have a interplanetary war not take center stage in a setting. If the Jovians were presented as being able to shun transhuman tech but have equally comfortable lives and no significant drawbacks, then they would be obviously correct and there would be no need for transhumanism in the first place. Personally I like the Jovians as written because they're not bad enough to be a flat out evil, but are bad enough that you see that the cost of security. That is one of the underlying horror elements of the setting. In order to protect yourself, you have to resort to terrible measures.
lets adapt lets adapt's picture
CTRL + F "Rimward: Page 151 -
[i]CTRL + F "Rimward: Page 151 -- a whole page discussing Jovian/Autonomist war deterrents" not found?![/i] :P
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
LatwPIAT wrote
LatwPIAT wrote:
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
I'm not even changing anything. That is, unless I'm completely misremembering, entirely canon. The thought precess isn't "they're aggressive, but not attacking... they're badly written!", its "they're aggressive, but not attacking... there must be a reason for that."
I think there are two things to keep in mind with regards to this: 1: Eclipse Phase and Rimward are lexicons of a fictional world. Their purpose is to tell people about a world so they play in it. RPG sourcebooks are not the place for subtlety; they should strive for clarity and efficient communication. It should not be the responsibility of the [i]reader[/i] to assign meaning to the text - that makes the the book superficial.
The books could never cover all the actual complexities of the setting. Even current textbooks meant for people who devote a large part of their lives studying a small part of the world we live in are capable of doing that.
Quote:
2: Reality is, [i]necessarily[/i], a creation of realistic, believable factors. Superficially, some things may seem fantastic, but because reality is created as an [i]effect[/i] of previous reality, everything automatically makes logical sense. This is not the case for fiction. Fiction is creationist, spun wholesale from the mind of the writer. Fiction does not have to obey the constraints of reality, so we have reason to charitably assume it makes sense internally. If the Jovian Republic was real, we could look at its giant army and refusal to use it, and conclude that there must be some logical cause for that. Being fiction, however, we have no reason to assume that there are "real" reasons the Jovian Republic is not aggressive; such reasons do not have to exist at all. Perhaps the Jovian Republic aren't aggressive because they fear the cost of war will be to high... or perhaps they aren't aggressive because the author didn't want non-anarchists to be capable of posing any threat whatsoever to the glorious techno-utopian anarchists.
Yes, a favorite technique for many people also in the real world: instead of looking at the actual reasons, one can dream up all sorts of motives and blame someone for the problems instead. It doesn't make it anything but political mudslinging.
Quote:
The problem is (to me) more that the Jovian Republic are given the short end of the stick each and every time, being reduced to a caricature simply because they're not Glorious Techno-Utopian Anarchists. Build their own O'Neil cylinders? Suddenly they have hygiene problems not because of some inherent flaw in using rock as a building material, but because someone feels the need to mock them. Despite claims that they see medical technologies as extremely important and embrace them as long as they're not nanotech, there just [i]has[/i] to be a sidebar telling us that all aging suffer for decades because Jovian medical technology is oh-so-backwards.
Why would their habs work properly? All it takes is their leaders to not care, and with little incentive for the leaders they mostly don't care - in the real world we see it all the time, that governments fail in making basic services for the citizens work properly, even in democracies. Until recently, the Chinese had the whole country hold vacations at the same time, overloading the infrastructure so workers couldn't get back to their family. In the USSR, pollution was horrible and people lacked basic amenities. The US is one of the richest countries in the world and doesn't have universal health care and plenty of government institutions that function very poorly. In Denmark, our universal health care is almost exclusively run by the government. Waiting times were horrendously long, so when the right wing came to power in 2001, they gave citizens the right to get treated privately if the waiting list was longer than 1 month. The health care system responded by staggering meetings so they occured every 30 days - that didn't trigger the right to private treatment while effectively delaying the treatment. After several years, the politicians passed special laws for heart disease and cancer that requires that the public health care system has a plan for scans, evaluation and treatment that has treatment starting within 4 months. Why should the junta manage better than the real world?
Quote:
There are anarchists planting bombs and killing Jovians very permanently, yet Rimward sees the need to tell us that the bomb-throwing anarchists are actually nice people, while the Jovians are actually to blame for the all the casualties.
Could you give a page reference?
branford branford's picture
lets adapt wrote:CTRL + F
lets adapt wrote:
[i]CTRL + F "Rimward: Page 151 -- a whole page discussing Jovian/Autonomist war deterrents" not found?![/i] :P
As much as the fiction may be an attempt to provide some desperately needed justification for the current political equilibrium, rather that open hostilities, in the setting, it also highlights some of the problems noted by LatwPIAT and others. The fiction primarily discusses the event surrounding the Battles of Locus. When reading the other text in the core book and Rimwards about the battles, I recall chuckling about how the PC was visibly incompetent and unlucky, while the autonomists seemed to be protected by divine providence. Every choice and strategum of the PC failed miserably for no apparent reason, while the automists never failed in any political or military objective, demonstrating acumen almost opposite to their experience. Even the Jovian's surreptitious aid to the autonomists would not nearly have the claimed effect, and the authors could not allow such assistance to have been public lest the Jovians would be humanized, or worse, owe their survival, in part, to the fascists. Simply, the obvious political sympathies of the authors are seen well beyond the Jovians, including the p.151 text. Moreover, even p. 151 is taken as gospel, it still fails to explain the numerous other glaring inconsistencies in the Jovian text that have no relevance to military conflict (e.g., dirty habitats, radiation poisoning, medical care, education, etc.) Unlike any other polity in the setting, the writers basically acknowledged the problems with the Jovians being little more than "Space Nazis" and tried to provide a little more nuance, or at least believable motivations. (Rimward, p. 195-96). You certainly may view the material on P. 151 as proof of setting nuance (and not primarily about the Jovians). However, I saw it as a necessary reaction to well-deserved criticism that did very little to mitigate the initial lazy design and caricature of the Jovians as evil conservatives and religious believers, likely due to the very prevalent social, political and economic biases of the authors.
branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
Why would their habs work properly? All it takes is their leaders to not care, and with little incentive for the leaders they mostly don't care - in the real world we see it all the time, that governments fail in making basic services for the citizens work properly, even in democracies. Until recently, the Chinese had the whole country hold vacations at the same time, overloading the infrastructure so workers couldn't get back to their family. In the USSR, pollution was horrible and people lacked basic amenities. The US is one of the richest countries in the world and doesn't have universal health care and plenty of government institutions that function very poorly. In Denmark, our universal health care is almost exclusively run by the government. Waiting times were horrendously long, so when the right wing came to power in 2001, they gave citizens the right to get treated privately if the waiting list was longer than 1 month. The health care system responded by staggering meetings so they occured every 30 days - that didn't trigger the right to private treatment while effectively delaying the treatment. After several years, the politicians passed special laws for heart disease and cancer that requires that the public health care system has a plan for scans, evaluation and treatment that has treatment starting within 4 months. Why should the junta manage better than the real world?
Respectfully, Smokeskin, even the lazy text implies that the Jovian leaders care. Moreover, mass death and suffering of their "human" citizens actually goes against many core Jovian ideologies, makes no scientific sense even with their bioconservatism, and is politically unwise as it would lead to revolt of an otherwise loyal and accepting populace. As discussed before, the authors admitted that the Jovians were superficially designed as irredeemable Space Nazis, and that more than easily explains why their government does nothing to alleviate any of the population's suffering, despite the ease of doing so. Although I would never defend actual Nazis, what made them so scary in real life is that they cared about "their" people, were extraordinarily competent, and ruthless in achieving their aims. If the Jovians had a small fraction of the drive and ability of some contemporary or historical fascist regimes, EP would be a very different game. Most importantly, no one is implying the the Jovian leadership should be perfect or that no problems should exist, only that the near pervasive nature of these issues is both inexplicable and expressly contradicted in other parts of the text. I also find that your purported contemporary examples justifying Jovian behavior not only fail to explain the numerous contextual inconsistencies, but also reveal similar political biases and perspectives that likely affected the authors. If this purported "realism" was also demonstrated in the far more left-leaning and techno-progressive factions like the beloved Titanians or anarchists, I would find your rationale more convincing
Smokeskin wrote:
Quote:
There are anarchists planting bombs and killing Jovians very permanently, yet Rimward sees the need to tell us that the bomb-throwing anarchists are actually nice people, while the Jovians are actually to blame for the all the casualties.
Could you give a page reference?
The authors very positive and romanticized tone and tenor, no less the explicit text and fiction, concerning anarchists is pervasive in all the books. To suggestive otherwise is truly disingenuous. Even the description of the Jovian anarchists attempt to humanize them by highlighting how they only attack military, state and religious targets and sometimes call in warnings (as if that could make bombings more acceptable). (Rimward, p. 45)
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:Smokeskin
branford wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
Why would their habs work properly? All it takes is their leaders to not care, and with little incentive for the leaders they mostly don't care - in the real world we see it all the time, that governments fail in making basic services for the citizens work properly, even in democracies. Until recently, the Chinese had the whole country hold vacations at the same time, overloading the infrastructure so workers couldn't get back to their family. In the USSR, pollution was horrible and people lacked basic amenities. The US is one of the richest countries in the world and doesn't have universal health care and plenty of government institutions that function very poorly. In Denmark, our universal health care is almost exclusively run by the government. Waiting times were horrendously long, so when the right wing came to power in 2001, they gave citizens the right to get treated privately if the waiting list was longer than 1 month. The health care system responded by staggering meetings so they occured every 30 days - that didn't trigger the right to private treatment while effectively delaying the treatment. After several years, the politicians passed special laws for heart disease and cancer that requires that the public health care system has a plan for scans, evaluation and treatment that has treatment starting within 4 months. Why should the junta manage better than the real world?
Respectfully, Smokeskin, even the lazy text implies that the Jovian leaders care. Moreover, mass death and suffering of their "human" citizens actually goes against many core Jovian ideologies, makes no scientific sense even with their bioconservatism, and is politically unwise as it would lead to revolt of an otherwise loyal and accepting populace.
As I said, there are plenty of real world examples of democraticly elected governments failing to provide properly for their citizens, and here they don't even have to revolt and risk execution, they can just vote them out. So let me trump the question - why should the junta manage better than real world democracies?
branford wrote:
As discussed before, the authors admitted that the Jovians were superficially designed as irredeemable Space Nazis
We've been over this. That's not what the next says. It says "you as the GM can choose to play them as irredeemable Space Nazis, or you can play them as more nuanced people".
branford wrote:
I also find that your purported contemporary examples justifying Jovian behavior not only fail to explain the numerous contextual inconsistencies, but also reveal similar political biases and perspectives that likely affected the authors. If this purported "realism" was also demonstrated in the far more left-leaning and techno-progressive factions like the beloved Titanians or anarchists, I would find your rationale more convincing
There are plenty of problems with the autonomists. All of them resleeve. All of them widely use dangerous technologies. The anarchists are lazy, unproductive, they have security issues, and everyone can freely use drugs and engage in other self-destructive and/or depraved activities. The Titanians have a stiffling social culture with political correctness, Janteloven and little tolerance and incentive for personal achievements and ambitions.
branford wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
Quote:
There are anarchists planting bombs and killing Jovians very permanently, yet Rimward sees the need to tell us that the bomb-throwing anarchists are actually nice people, while the Jovians are actually to blame for the all the casualties.
Could you give a page reference?
The authors very positive and romanticized tone and tenor, no less the explicit text and fiction, concerning anarchists is pervasive in all the books. To suggestive otherwise is truly disingenuous. Even the description of the Jovian anarchists attempt to humanize them by highlighting how they only attack military, state and religious targets and sometimes call in warnings (as if that could make bombings more acceptable). (Rimward, p. 45)
It is a common tactic for political terrorists to give advance warnings. The backlash for killing civilians is harsh and goes counter to such terrorists' goals. The text mentions that this still happened on several occasions, and the usual blame game following such incidents. And as to the tone, what about the final sentence on pg 45: "As a result, the already paltry support the [Jovian Anarchist Cells] enjoyed has been whittled away." Does that seem romanticized?
branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:
As discussed before, the authors admitted that the Jovians were superficially designed as irredeemable Space Nazis
We've been over this. That's not what the next says. It says "you as the GM can choose to play them as irredeemable Space Nazis, or you can play them as more nuanced people".
Yes, we've been over this issue before, and I still confidently assert that your interpretation is incorrect. The authors explicitly stated that the Jovians were actually designed as "Space Nazis," but that you need not choose to play them as such. Rimward, p. 195 (emphasis added),
Quote:
There are many ways to handle the Jovian Republic in a campaign. [u]As superficially presented,[/u] the Jovians are portrayed as bad guys, both for their throwback attitudes towards transhumanity, their militaristic ways, and their fascistic government. It is certainly easy to play this up by highlighting their expansionism and belligerence towards other polities, their slingshot taxation and invasive naval patrols, or the way they repress their own populations and commit civil rights violations. This villainous empire niche is often important for certain scenarios—nobody minds shooting space Nazis, right? [u]On the other hand[/u], you can also present them in a more nuanced fashion . . .
The fact that the Jovians (or any other faction or group) can be played however you want, a rather obvious and banal proposition, would not normally merit any mention in a RPG book. However, since the authors in fact unequivocally admitted that they were presented as virtually one-dimensional "Space Nazis" in order to fill the "villianous empire" niche in the game, and faced justifiable criticism, they correctly believed that some additional information was required to minimize their caricature. Just because the authors later choose to provide a paragraph or two in the GM section of Rimward of possibly more nuanced motivations, it certainly does not change the explicit setting materials or original intent of the writers. Notably, no other faction, including the PC, LLA or even the Ultimates, required a note by the authors that some "nuance" may be appropriate or advisable.
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:
branford wrote:
Yes, we've been over this issue before, and I still confidently assert that your interpretation is incorrect. The authors explicitly stated that the Jovians were actually designed as "Space Nazis," but that you need not choose to play them as such. Rimward, p. 195 (emphasis added),
Quote:
There are many ways to handle the Jovian Republic in a campaign. [u]As superficially presented,[/u] the Jovians are portrayed as bad guys, both for their throwback attitudes towards transhumanity, their militaristic ways, and their fascistic government. It is certainly easy to play this up by highlighting their expansionism and belligerence towards other polities, their slingshot taxation and invasive naval patrols, or the way they repress their own populations and commit civil rights violations. This villainous empire niche is often important for certain scenarios—nobody minds shooting space Nazis, right? [u]On the other hand[/u], you can also present them in a more nuanced fashion . . .
The fact that the Jovians (or any other faction or group) can be played however you want, a rather obvious and banal proposition, would not normally merit any mention in a RPG book. However, since the authors in fact unequivocally admitted that they were presented as virtually one-dimensional "Space Nazis" in order to fill the "villianous empire" niche in the game, and faced justifiable criticism, they correctly believed that some additional information was required to minimize their caricature. Just because the authors later choose to provide a paragraph or two in the GM section of Rimward of possibly more nuanced motivations, it certainly does not change the explicit setting materials or original intent of the writers. Notably, no other faction, including the PC, LLA or even the Ultimates, required a note by the authors that some "nuance" may be appropriate or advisable.
If we look at the entirety of that section:
Quote:
On the other hand, you can also present them in a more nuanced fashion. At its core, the Jovian mission is about saving humanity from extinction — an agenda with which even Firewall can agree. Given the availability of super-empowering technology in Eclipse Phase, and how close transhumanity has already come to being wiped out, their fundamental concerns are widely shared. However, whereas other factions view technology as a tool that can also save transhumanity and even look optimistically toward the future, the Jovians take a more extreme approach to the matter. In their ideology, security is more important than personal liberties and technological progress is a potential danger that must be restricted, no matter that doing so costs human lives. The methods they choose to pursue their mission are designed to provide them with the utmost control over humanity’s precarious situation, yet it also opens the door to potential abuses of power. By presenting the positive and sympathetic elements of the Jovian cause alongside the negative and terrifying, the Jovians become a more complete and multifaceted entity.
It doesn't say "these are things you can make up to make them nicer". It says that these are the core values of the Jovians Republic, and that many agree with these values. The main text of Rimward is in-character descriptions, not the authors' description. For the authors' description, you have the Game Information section where it explains exactly that and how the faction has positive and negative elements. I think PC and the LLA doesn't get such positive mention because there is none. Their system is justified by the greed of the elite. On top, I think the Jovians got a note exactly because of the fact that so many people seem to be oblivious to their nuances.
Lorsa Lorsa's picture
branford wrote:Yes, we've
branford wrote:
Yes, we've been over this issue before, and I still confidently assert that your interpretation is incorrect.
Confidently? A bold statement indeed, especially as in this particular case, I think the other interpretation is equally valid. I read through the very same text earlier this morning but didn't arrive at the interpretation that the authors explocitly stated that the Jovians were actually designed to be "Space Nazis" as you say. Let's look at the same text with somewhat different emphasis. Rimward, p. 195 (emphasis added),
Quote:
There are many ways to handle the Jovian Republic in a campaign. As [u]superficially[/u] presented, the Jovians are portrayed as bad guys, both for their throwback attitudes towards transhumanity, their militaristic ways, and their fascistic government. It is certainly easy to [u]play this up[/u] by highlighting their expansionism and belligerence towards other polities, their slingshot taxation and invasive naval patrols, or the way they repress their own populations and commit civil rights violations. This villainous empire niche is often important for certain scenarios—nobody minds shooting space Nazis, right? [u]On the other hand[/u], you can also present them in a more nuanced fashion . . .
The very first thing the paragraph says, is that you can handle the JR in many ways. It then continues with acknowledging that if you only look on the surface of the presentation, the Jovians can seem as bad guys. This implies that if you look a bit deeper, they [i]aren't[/i] portrayed this way, otherwise it wouldn't be superficially. The paragraph then continues to tell you that if you play this up, that is, increase all the superficially bad qualities, you can play them as Space Nazis. The authors say that [i]this is okay[/i], because some campaigns need such a clear-cut villain. I always thought the Planetary Consortium made a better villain myself, but to each their own. Then we get to the "on the other hand" part. This section is much longer, and a lot more detailed. If the authors didn't feel that this was their preferred or desired interpretation, why would they spend so much time on it? My interpretation of that text is that the authors acknowledge that it may, at first glance, seem to many people that the Jovians are the bad guys. They say that this is okay if you like such a villain. However, I get the impression that they would rather you use the more nuanced portrayal, where the Jovians might actually be on to something, and are taking steps to prevent a new extinction event, unlike the other factions who are mostly pretending it never happened.
branford wrote:
The fact that the Jovians (or any other faction or group) can be played however you want, a rather obvious and banal proposition, would not normally merit any mention in a RPG book. However, since the authors in fact unequivocally admitted that they were presented as virtually one-dimensional "Space Nazis" in order to fill the "villianous empire" niche in the game, and faced justifiable criticism, they correctly believed that some additional information was required to minimize their caricature. Just because the authors later choose to provide a paragraph or two in the GM section of Rimward of possibly more nuanced motivations, it certainly does not change the explicit setting materials or original intent of the writers. Notably, no other faction, including the PC, LLA or even the Ultimates, required a note by the authors that some "nuance" may be appropriate or advisable.
There are plenty of mentions of "play this however you want" in the book. It's always been my feeling that they try to give us different paths and options, rather than telling us directly how to play things. The ETI, Firewall, seed AIs etc have all gotten their "play this as you want" mention. It's true that the other major factions didn't get such explicit mentions, but that doesn't mean that the Jovians were designed to be Space Nazis. All it means is that the authors are clever enough to realise that most of their player base is very pro transhuman, and as such might feel that a bioconservative faction is automatically bad. They proceed to give the green light for this interpratation, but continues with encouraging you to choose another. -------- I am a bit curious what your motivation is branford. Are you so convinced of your interpretation of the author's intentions that you feel a need to convince everyone else that you are right? Is it so impossible to consider that maybe the true interpretation lies elsewhere? We could both be wrong. It seems to me, after reading through your multiple posts, that you bring up "author bias", and "favored faction" a lot. You seem to be working under the assumption that social anarchism is fundamentally flawed, and as such any portrayal of them as something else is wrong. Under this assumption, everything gets interpreted to the authors failing to portray a realistic setting in favor of rationalising their pet polity. I work under a different assumption, which is that the authors want to give us a rich, deep and varied setting. They don't want to tell us which faction is in direct war with one another, or even that any of them is. Rather than giving us a metagame story to follow (like oWoD or FR), they give us material to work with in order to mold our own stories. The Rimward p. 151 text hardly read as "the autonomists are supreme military strategist" to me. It told me that while it is okay to play up hostilities between the PC and the AA, you don't need to have that theme in your games. It then gave us some rationalisations we can use for that (which are quite believable too). As written, the autonomists are very passionate about their way of life (they would be), and as such they are willing to do A LOT to prevent it from being threatened. The p. 151 text mentions that the PC is trying to fight a seize and control war (classic imperialism), whereas the autonomists are using the old and tried Russian defense tactic. That's hardly superior military strategy, it's classic historical warfare, with the two sides having different motivations. The fact is, that it [i]isn't[/i] economically favorable for the PC to take over Rimward space. At least not yet. The resources in the solar system pale in comparison with that accessible through the gates. It's a Race for the Galaxy, and the PC is making sure to use their gate-time much more efficiently than the AA is in order to get ahead. It is also mentioned in the text that the autonomists owe much of their progress and freedom to seed AIs. And there is no way [i]that[/i] will go wrong right? If you tell me that the authors obviously want you to play Prometheans as always friendly, immune to infection, then I think you've misunderstood something. Eclipse Phase is a game of existential horror, and it is up to the GM to decide exactly what the existential threat is and whom it is targeting. Or you can play down the horror and run it as simply a bright transhuman future. Or you can shoot Space Nazis. Or you can run corporate espionage and "shadowrun" like missions in the PC. Yes, it IS obvious that the authors are left-wing social anarchists of one form or another. Otherwise the AA wouldn't have been there at all. It is NOT obvious that you need to treat them as untouchable Mary Sue's. *I* am a social anarchist as well, but in a recent campaign I had a character that realised that the anarchist way of life was completely unsuitable to protect transhumanity from the exurgent virus. Considering that her resources and capabilities were rather... special, her choice to side with the Planetary Consotium, believing them to be the only ones that could offer enough stability and direction to properly protect transhumanity, actually meant something for the future political landscape. I certainly didn't feel as though this choice somehow went against the intentions of the authors. I hope you didn't end up feeling insulted by this post, that was never my intention. In the end, I am honestly curious of your motivation and goal with this discussion, and why you feel that other people's interpretations are obviously wrong.
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branford branford's picture
Lorsa,
Lorsa, First, I am most definitely not insulted by your posts or our differences of opinion. As an attorney in New York, I actually get paid to argue and disagree, sometimes without much of the tact and good faith of these forums. Absent a very few posts by others actually wishing ill on others with whom they disagree, theses discussions are a most pleasant diversion. I was going to respond point-by-point to your post, but decided that it was unnecessarily argumentative, did not add any new ideas to actually playing the Jovians, and my points can be more simply distilled. As you acknowledge, you have a strong personal set of beliefs concerning politics, religion, economics, etc., as well as possess certain cultural mores and points of reference. You consider yourself a "social anarchists" likely quite in-line with the beliefs of the authors. I, too, have certain beliefs and perspectives, being a far more politically moderate and capitalist American and, while somewhat secular, still have religious faith, although my views are nothing like those espoused by the Jovians. Accordingly, when we read and evaluate the text, we view it through our own unique lens and are struck by very different issues. We naturally sympathize with those like our self or repulsed by things which might naturally invokes sensitivities, including possibly giving the authors an undeserved benefit of the doubt. To do so is not mean or wrong, for we are not robots or blank slates, but it doesn't mean that our biases do predominate. To me, it is obvious that the Jovians, PC and LLA are meant as caricature of contemporary America. While I may sometimes have (very large) disagreements with my own government or country, I am basically content, and the obious targeting of people like me (not very, very left-wing Americans), making me the veritable"other" in the game, is a little insulting (and seems contrary to the basic ethos of the authors). I can only imagine how offensive some of the material could be to a truly conservative or religious American, many of who are people of excellent character and good-faith, despite the ridiculous stereotypes. When introducing a caricature of large swaths of your intended audience, it is always wise to be careful lest you disparage people like myself, even though many of my beliefs are ironically congruent to the authors and not my more conservative countrymen. The fact that the more left-wing factions like the Titanian socialists and anarchists are portrayed in such an idealized and optimistic light, only makes the differences more stark and jarring Simply, we have very different backgrounds and beliefs, and they change the very nature of how we approach the material in EP. Diversity does not always lead to mutual understanding, no less agreement. As I repeatedly indicated, I find the game thought-provoking and entertaining, but feel that the authors biases prominently bled through and diminished an otherwise great product. And as we've also discussed, no RPG is perfect, and this is hardly the first time something like this has occurred. c'est la vie. Much of the discussion has been circular and we will not reach any catharsis. I think it far better to focus not on why we may not like or contextually agree with the Jovians in-setting (or our own politics), but rather what changes we can propose to them or anything else to bring more depth and enjoyment to the game.
LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Smokeskin wrote:The books
Smokeskin wrote:
The books could never cover all the actual complexities of the setting. Even current textbooks meant for people who devote a large part of their lives studying a small part of the world we live in are capable of doing that.
[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy#Perfect_solution_fallacy]So... Just because something can't be perfect doesn't mean one shouldn't try to make it good.
Smokeskin wrote:
Why would their habs work properly? All it takes is their leaders to not care, and with little incentive for the leaders they mostly don't care - in the real world we see it all the time, that governments fail in making basic services for the citizens work properly, even in democracies.
Frankly, you're missing the forest for the trees here. My complaint is not and has [i]never been[/i] that the individual flaws of the Jovian Republic are unrealistic or impossible to justify. It's right there at the end of the paragraph you quoted; "The reasons for all of this are always shallow and lacking in nuance. It always comes down to, axiomatically, 'the Jovians are bad guys'." There's a veritable torrent of bad qualities tossed at the Jovians, always selected to make them more evil and pathetic.
Smokeskin wrote:
[b]There are plenty of problems with the autonomists. All of them resleeve. All of them widely use dangerous technologies.[/b] [b]The anarchists are lazy, unproductive, they have security issues, and everyone can freely use drugs and engage in other self-destructive and/or depraved activities.[/b] The Titanians have a stiffling social culture with political correctness, Janteloven and little tolerance and incentive for personal achievements and ambitions.
These "problems" are not really considered problems by anyone except, seemingly, you when you try to argue that the AA and the anarchists are not perfect goody-two-shoes. Based on the general attitudes of people posting on these forums, the tone of the writing in the books, and everyone else I've talked with on the topic of [i]Eclipse Phase[/i]: [list] [*] Resleeving is not a problem. Like, seriously, it's the main cause of fun in the game. [*] Legalization of recreational drug use is largely considered a good thing. [*] "Depravity" implies a value judgement. With the exception of you, nobody I've ever talked to or read the posts by have described the autonomists as "depraved". [*] Saying that people who don't need to work are lazy because they don't is another value judgement, and hardly a universal one. [*] Likewise, given how goody-two-shoes-happy-fun-fun-land the autonomists are described, I find it difficult to characterize them as self-destructive; what are you referring to here? [*] Skimming the chapter on Titan in Rimward, there's no evidence whatsoever of this "stifling social culture with political correctness". [*] The same applies to "little tolerance and incentive for personal achievements and ambitions". [/list] To take things largely considered the best parts of the Autonomists (or that seem to have been fabricated by you...) and portray them as examples of "bad things about the Autonomists" feels to me like you're grasping at straws. It's like that sidebar in the anarchist chapter that has a character complain that the anarchists don't let him torture people's forks; these things are simply not flaws.
Smokeskin wrote:
It is a common tactic for political terrorists to give advance warnings. The backlash for killing civilians is harsh and goes counter to such terrorists' goals.
Given the numerous examples of political terrorists making attacks on civilian populations without warning, I trust you have some rather piercing evidence to back up this claim of commonality and motivation?
Smokeskin wrote:
The text mentions that this still happened on several occasions, and the usual blame game following such incidents. And as to the tone, what about the final sentence on pg 45: "As a result, the already paltry support the [Jovian Anarchist Cells] enjoyed has been whittled away." Does that seem romanticized?
When the narrator describes bomb-throwing terrorists as "freedom fighters" and makes sure to pass the blame for the civilian deaths onto the government, it sure does seem romanticized; the full context of that sentence is even that the support is whittling away because the Jovian Republic refuses to publicize and act on the warnings.
branford wrote:
Just because the authors later choose to provide a paragraph or two in the GM section of Rimward of possibly more nuanced motivations, it certainly does not change the explicit setting materials or original intent of the writers.
Let's not forget that the "nuance" suggested is that the Jovians want to fight the TITANs. The two options presented are "Space-Nazis" and "Space-Nazis who don't want to be eaten by mecha-Cthulhu." Nobody in their right mind wants to be eaten by mecha-Cthulhu! That's hardly [i]nuance[/i]; it's like saying that Stalin was a nuanced person because, while he was a brutal dictator, he did help the Allies fight Nazi Germany after Hitler invaded. (There's also some stuff about security-before-liberty, but given how much corruption, hypocricy, ineptitude, and abuse that's heaped on the Jovians, it's hard to take this seriously; the conclusion to the question of what happens when security is put before liberty is plainly answered for us in the text; a backwards, corrupt, incompetent authoritarian police-state filled with fascists and suffering. That's not great nuance.)
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ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
Lat. In regards to resleeving
Lat. In regards to resleeving and like being a bad thing I think smoke is saying that from the jovian perspective rather than his own. The problem we have is that we want contemporary examples with the factions to find flaws with in a world where things are well beyond contemporary and unfortunately we are looking to identify with a faction in game to give us a foothold and a perspective because we have no fall back. and like i have said 4 times now yes please get back to expositing ideas and less of this circular argument on author intent and whether or not this thread is justified. this thread was never about bashing the JR as written but meant to be a brainstorm on how can i make this faction a bit different. Sorry tiberia if i am overstepping on guessing your motives
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:Smokeskin
LatwPIAT wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
[b]There are plenty of problems with the autonomists. All of them resleeve. All of them widely use dangerous technologies.[/b] [b]The anarchists are lazy, unproductive, they have security issues, and everyone can freely use drugs and engage in other self-destructive and/or depraved activities.[/b] The Titanians have a stiffling social culture with political correctness, Janteloven and little tolerance and incentive for personal achievements and ambitions.
These "problems" are not really considered problems by anyone except, seemingly, you when you try to argue that the AA and the anarchists are not perfect goody-two-shoes. Based on the general attitudes of people posting on these forums, the tone of the writing in the books, and everyone else I've talked with on the topic of [i]Eclipse Phase[/i]: [list] [*] Resleeving is not a problem. Like, seriously, it's the main cause of fun in the game. [*] Legalization of recreational drug use is largely considered a good thing. [*] "Depravity" implies a value judgement. With the exception of you, nobody I've ever talked to or read the posts by have described the autonomists as "depraved". [*] Likewise, given how goody-two-shoes-happy-fun-fun-land the autonomists are described, I find it difficult to characterize them as self-destructive; what are you referring to here? [*] Skimming the chapter on Titan in Rimward, there's no evidence whatsoever of this "stifling social culture with political correctness". [*] The same applies to "little tolerance and incentive for personal achievements and ambitions". [/list] To take things largely considered the best parts of the Autonomists (or that seem to have been fabricated by you...) and portray them as examples of "bad things about the Autonomists" feels to me like you're grasping at straws.
It is quite obvious you agree with the autonomists. I largely do too. But not everyone does. [list] [*] Resleeving is a major problem to many people, for example those who believe in a soul that doesn't follow your ego. [*] Recreational drug use is banned in most countries, and drug dealers and drug users are reviled. [*] "Depravity" does indeed imply a value judgment. Many countries ban for example polygamy and extreme body modification. [*] Many would consider the scum lifestyle as self-destructive, to both their body, mind, moral fibre and dignity. [*] You write Skimming the chapter on Titan in Rimward, there's no evidence whatsoever of this "stifling social culture with political correctness". [*] You write The same applies to "little tolerance and incentive for personal achievements and ambitions". [/list] Regarding the last two points, I just searched for "Janteloven" to find these examples: pg 96: a preference for consensus over conflict, and respect for Janteloven (the old Scandinavian ideal of self-effacing egalitarianism) are all powerful memes. pg 103: This in turn serves to reinforce Janteloven (in short, “don’t think you’re better than us”), pg 105: The constant presence of news, entertainment, and sports figures has led to some of the most conspicuous application of Janteloven in the Commonwealth. Not only do Nyhavners deem it extremely déclassé to acknowledge the presence of a celebrity, the celebrities themselves actively avoid being treated in public as figures of note. One mesh personality, whose popularity had waned, quipped that she didn’t mind so much; she enjoyed being able to joke with her barista without everyone around assuming she was being condescending. Especially that last one I like. Everyone thought she was being condescending when she was making jokes, just because she was famous.
LatwPIAT wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
It is a common tactic for political terrorists to give advance warnings. The backlash for killing civilians is harsh and goes counter to such terrorists' goals.
Given the numerous examples of political terrorists making attacks on civilian populations without warning, I trust you have some rather piercing evidence to back up this claim of commonality and motivation?
For example the IRA frequently gave warnings of bombs. They even had a system where they distributed code words to the security forces so they would know which warnings were real and which were fake. If you’re trying to win local support, it is counterproductive to blow up the very civilians you’re trying to get on your side. If you’re trying to terrorize an opponent’s population to scare them to back out of a conflict, or you just hate them or your goal is to win support at home, that’s a different story.
LatwPIAT wrote:
When the narrator describes bomb-throwing terrorists as "freedom fighters" and makes sure to pass the blame for the civilian deaths onto the government, it sure does seem romanticized; the full context of that sentence is even that the support is whittling away because the Jovian Republic refuses to publicize and act on the warnings.
Again, you’re assuming people want the same as you - the Jovian ideal is far from anarchist freedom. And here’s the sentence on the JAC bombings: the JAC tries to avoid civilian and citizen casualties by sending warnings ahead of bombings. They lost a significant portion of their popular support, however, when some of their bomb attacks resulted in dozens of permanent deaths. The cells claim in two of these instances that they issued warnings that the CDC deliberately did not pass on, and state that the others were false flag operations conducted to further discredit their cause. It clearly says the anarchist terrorists lost popular support because they failed to warn the civilians. I can't see how you can read it any other way. And sure, the anarchists blame the CDC, but who are they kidding? If the area isn’t cleared of civilians and they still detonate the bomb, they can’t claim that they’re nice, can they? Why didn’t they abort the mission? Why didn’t they send out a public warning instead of relying on the CDC?
Surly Surly's picture
Smokeskin wrote:It clearly
Smokeskin wrote:
It clearly says the anarchist terrorists lost popular support because they failed to warn the civilians. I can't see how you can read it any other way.
I barely see how you can read it [i]that[/i] way. It starts by telling us "the JAC tries to avoid civilian and citizen casualties by sending warnings ahead of bombings." Unambiguous. This is what they do. As you said above, "it is counterproductive to blow up the very civilians you’re trying to get on your side. If you’re trying to terrorize an opponent’s population to scare them to back out of a conflict... different story." The discussion of the bombings is [i]immediately[/i] followed by talking about how the anarchists give free maker access to the poor. It is very clear that the anarchists are trying to get the civilians on their side. Between how diabolically Jovians have been portrayed for the preceding pages and how angelically anarchists are portrayed, it is very difficult to expect the reader to believe these "freedom fighters" are bad and the CDC is good.
Quote:
And sure, the anarchists blame the CDC, but who are they kidding? If the area isn’t cleared of civilians and they still detonate the bomb, they can’t claim that they’re nice, can they? Why didn’t they abort the mission?
Could've been on a timer, and they might not have realized that the civilians hadn't been evacuated. It wouldn't be the first time that terrorists aiming only to destroy property unknowingly killed civilians.
Quote:
Why didn’t they send out a public warning instead of relying on the CDC?
Because that's the only way a plot about anarchists killing civilians could make the Jovian government look guilty. Oh, you mean in-character? Because of their misplaced belief that the Jovian government would do the right thing. Oh, those poor naive freedom fighters!
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
ORCACommander wrote:this
ORCACommander wrote:
this thread was never about bashing the JR as written but meant to be a brainstorm on how can i make this faction a bit different.
Running on this train of thought... I grew up at least in part in the UK, and there was something that happened shortly before I moved to where I live now (undisclosed for privacy reasons) that made a big impression on me: I saw police officers in body armour carrying MP5s, strolling about in public. Nothing bad was happening, there didn't seem any reason for it; just a pair of police officers, casually talking and strolling, carrying sub-machine guns, wearing bulletproof vests... That sort of thing makes a big impression on a child. Subsequent visits years later saw the presence of additional security cameras in public squares, a fact that did not go unnoticed. The sensation I felt when I saw those two officers for the first time is what I project onto the Jovian Republic; scared and nervous and afraid, but not of them, but rather of what they were there to protect against. The soldier defines, by his presence, a threat to fight. Thus, if I had to describe life in your average Reagan cylinder, I imagine the central light spar would make the days reasonably hot and bright, mimicking South American climes. There's apartment blocks that rise high into the sky for the poor and estates for the rich and a stretch of industry and the middle-classes in-between. What makes it different from many other habs is the presences. There's cameras everywhere, but very few robots. Most work is done by people. Peace officers in armour and with guns sit or stand by armoured police cars on important street corners. Occasionally, important buildings are guarded by goliaths in power armour, who stand a good meter taller than most people on the street. In the residential neighbourhoods, the police are different. If you see them, they're usually at the entrances and exits to these residential neighbourhoods; the courtyard around apartment blocks typically have high walls. Residents are told it's for their protection but it's no coincidence that it lets the government monitor those coming in and out. If the cops ever do go inside the blocks, it's usually a heavily-armed team, there to bust drug or arms dealers, or anarchists. If someone goes in at night, they're not the cops and no-one mentions them ever again. It's oppressive, and hot... But it's got its upsides. For one, everyone has a job. It might not be glamorous, but everyone has one. For those who can't or won't seek work in the private sector, the Republic provides. Anyone fit and able is put in the military. Anyone not ends up in some bureaucratic job or sweeping hallways. The Republic wants its people's hands busy and their minds tired, because idle hands are the devil's plaything. Jobs with better pay-grades are a treasured commodity but rarely come with too great responsibility unless someone shows sufficient devotion and zeal in service to the Republic. For example, a soldier who is capable but not particularly high-minded or loyal may be promoted to squad leader, but no higher. A low-ranking bureaucrat may become an office manager but never a department head unless they prove their vision aligns with their superiors'. This attitude leads to disdain for those who can't or won't join into the mainstream. No-one has an excuse. There are jobs for everyone! Therefore, anyone who complains about not having work or being unable to rise through the ranks or being made to live in low-income housing is merely a complainer; the path to advancement is open to all and they're simply upset because they aren't willing to put in the effort or aren't good enough to rise any higher. The Republic has its entertainments, too. It's not soulless or humorless. It has its nightclubs, it has its games, its sports, its entertainments... People aren't living in constant misery. They have ways to drown it. They live, they get by, they do their job. Is it corrupt? Oh yes, it is so very corrupt, but it's corrupt to a point. Yes, the sons and daughters of wealth and prestige will be spoiled, pompous children, and they all get the best medical care, best this, best, that... But it's a known commodity; it's blase. People expect it. They'll hear in the news "Oh, Chairman So-And-So's son hit a pedestrian and got off with a fine", roll their eyes, sigh, and move on. It's life. It happens. Nowhere else is any different. The atmosphere of the JR, to me, is oppressive, but not oppressed. People live under a harsh system, but they're all refugees. They all lived harsher existences before. This is familiar to what they know and, to them, it makes sense. They know exsurgents can hide anywhere, they know space and resources are limited, they know nanotech provides an avenue for an enemy they do not really ever wish to fight... And this brings me to my final point: The JR should feel [i]safe[/i]. If you look on a mesh screen at the exterior of the hab, you can see the guns and ships. When you see someone speed, a police car catches them. There's almost no crime in the streets. With so much persistent surveillance and such a tendency towards martial pride, I can easily see the JR inflicting nasty corporal punishment on its officers who abuse the public. With so much military might and mandatory training, everyone has a friend in the bureaucracy somewhere, who can get a little justice for them if need be. In the JR, there should be a sense of community and communities and a great deal of tribalism. There's dicks everywhere, but the JR's not innately more thuggish than anywhere else, I wouldn't say. It needs not to be. Otherwise, everything they stand for comes apart.
branford branford's picture
Axel, that's an interesting
Axel, that's an interesting take on the Jovians that is not entirely inconsistent with the written materials. However, I get a more of a Soviet vibe, than post-apocalyptic fascist. The issue of surveillance is also a red herring. Constant monitoring and the loss of privacy exists everywhere and is a theme of the game. In fact, a entire book, Panopticon, focuses on how in EP that privacy is an illusion. The sections of text in the core and Rimward dealing with Jovian surveillance seemed gratuitous and meant only to demonize them. Also, why would the Jovian leadership maintain their habitats, controlled artificial environments, uncomfortably hot or humid? What purpose would it serve other than be a literary representation of oppressive leadership? It reminds me of how the books claim that their habitats are dirty without any other rationale than Jovians are evil, so of course their habitats are dirty. Lastly, I wonder how you would incorporate the religious belief and observance that is claimed to pervade the Republic?
bblonski bblonski's picture
branford wrote:Smokeskin
branford wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:
As discussed before, the authors admitted that the Jovians were superficially designed as irredeemable Space Nazis
We've been over this. That's not what the next says. It says "you as the GM can choose to play them as irredeemable Space Nazis, or you can play them as more nuanced people".
Yes, we've been over this issue before, and I still confidently assert that your interpretation is incorrect.
I think this is the problem. We've expressed how we've read the text and have come to different conclusions. Most of our differences come from disagreements on author "tone" or "intention" that can't really be proved one way or another. Words can be vague and have multiple interpretations. I'm sure as a lawyer you've often encountered that. The authors have explicitly stated that interpretations as simple Space Nazis or as a more nuanced and sympathetic group are both correct. This is not a courtroom where one interpretation has to be the correct one. They can both be correct.
LatwPIAT wrote:
Nobody in their right mind wants to be eaten by mecha-Cthulhu! That's hardly nuance; it's like saying that Stalin was a nuanced person because, while he was a brutal dictator, he did help the Allies fight Nazi Germany after Hitler invaded.
Are you saying that Stalin fails the same standard of nuance that you expect from the Jovians? If real people and cultures fail, what chance do the Jovians have? I think we've already gone over how the Jovians fit really well as a Soviet Russia type group. Just because we view them unfavorably doesn't mean they aren't nuanced or realistic anymore than Soviet Russia isn't nuanced or realistic. I find a lot of good inspiration for the Jovians come from real world events. Take some of the tensions with modern day Russia, Syria, North Korea, etc and drop them into EP. Like the recent incident with the downed Malaysia Airlines plane.
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Surly wrote:Smokeskin wrote
Surly wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
It clearly says the anarchist terrorists lost popular support because they failed to warn the civilians. I can't see how you can read it any other way.
I barely see how you can read it [i]that[/i] way. It starts by telling us "the JAC tries to avoid civilian and citizen casualties by sending warnings ahead of bombings." Unambiguous. This is what they do.
The text clearly states that the JAC lost popular support when their attacks killed civilians. But yes, they have called in warnings. The reason for doing that is to try to avoid civilian casualties, don't you think?
Quote:
As you said above, "it is counterproductive to blow up the very civilians you’re trying to get on your side. If you’re trying to terrorize an opponent’s population to scare them to back out of a conflict... different story." The discussion of the bombings is [i]immediately[/i] followed by talking about how the anarchists give free maker access to the poor. It is very clear that the anarchists are trying to get the civilians on their side. Between how diabolically Jovians have been portrayed for the preceding pages and how angelically anarchists are portrayed, it is very difficult to expect the reader to believe these "freedom fighters" are bad and the CDC is good.
Yes, the JAC is trying to get the civilians on their side. But the text says they have failed. In part because they killed civilians, in part because the makers they give to people are illegal and using them results in severe punishment.
Quote:
Quote:
And sure, the anarchists blame the CDC, but who are they kidding? If the area isn’t cleared of civilians and they still detonate the bomb, they can’t claim that they’re nice, can they? Why didn’t they abort the mission?
Could've been on a timer, and they might not have realized that the civilians hadn't been evacuated. It wouldn't be the first time that terrorists aiming only to destroy property unknowingly killed civilians.
Quote:
Why didn’t they send out a public warning instead of relying on the CDC?
Because that's the only way a plot about anarchists killing civilians could make the Jovian government look guilty. Oh, you mean in-character? Because of their misplaced belief that the Jovian government would do the right thing. Oh, those poor naive freedom fighters!
Whatever the reason, their bombs killed civilians, permadeath. Who knows if they were incompetent or didn't care about the civilians or actually wanted to kill them, but they killed them. When you're placing bombs, "oops" isn't really an excuse that people buy.
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote: It reminds
branford wrote:
It reminds me of how the books claim that their habitats are dirty without any other rationale than Jovians are evil, so of course their habitats are dirty.
If in the real world a city is dirty or the roads and bridges are in need of repair, do you take that as a sign that the population or their leadership must be evil?
branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:branford
Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:
It reminds me of how the books claim that their habitats are dirty without any other rationale than Jovians are evil, so of course their habitats are dirty.
If in the real world a city is dirty or the roads and bridges are in need of repair, do you take that as a sign that the population or their leadership must be evil?
I would be more convinced of your reasoning if there were mentions in the text that any of the autonomist's major habitats were also dirty. A broom and mop are not advanced transhuman technologies. No one is suggesting that the Jovians should be perfect or cannot have real world flaws, only that such realism should also apply to the authors' favored factions to avoid the current caricature of which many, including myself, have complained. You cannot look at small slices of Jovian life in isolation to the rest of the setting. The problem is context, comparison to the other factions, and overall tone. Apparently, only capitalist or conservative groups repeatedly suffer from any discernible "realism" (as you appear to define it). The authors' strong political, social, religious and economic preferences couldn't be more obvious. I need not support or oppose the underlying contemporary philosophies of the writers or Jovians (or PC, LLA, MC, Ultimates, Scum, etc.) to recognize bias and feel it detracts from the verisimilitude of the setting.
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
branford wrote:Axel, that's
branford wrote:
Axel, that's an interesting take on the Jovians that is not entirely inconsistent with the written materials. However, I get a more of a Soviet vibe, than post-apocalyptic fascist.
Personally, I was going more for China with a hint of post-apocalyptic fascist than anything. The Jovians justify their state of existence through the omnipresent threat of what transhuman tech and the TITANs represent hanging over everyone's heads; it's inescapable as a part of their identity.
branford wrote:
The issue of surveillance is also a red herring. Constant monitoring and the loss of privacy exists everywhere and is a theme of the game. In fact, a entire book, Panopticon, focuses on how in EP that privacy is an illusion. The sections of text in the core and Rimward dealing with Jovian surveillance seemed gratuitous and meant only to demonize them.
Yes and no. I imagine most habs have cameras all over the place, but the Jovians may have government surveillance inside buildings, rather than merely on public streets. That's not including features like checkpoints and other impositions.
branford wrote:
Also, why would the Jovian leadership maintain their habitats, controlled artificial environments, uncomfortably hot or humid? What purpose would it serve other than be a literary representation of oppressive leadership? It reminds me of how the books claim that their habitats are dirty without any other rationale than Jovians are evil, so of course their habitats are dirty.
To be honest, I don't think the Jovian habitats are particularly dirty. Not as clean as other transhuman habs - because they refuse to use the latest and greatest nanotech cleaning scrubber systems - but, even at its worst, I would compare it to, say, Los Angeles on a hot summer's day. Similarly, I would suggest that sealing yourself inside an immense insulating mass of rock and then shining a lot of light at the interior is a recipe for a lot of heat troubles. It's a bit difficult to get all that heat out again. I admit, it's definitely something I included for aesthetic reasons, but it's not unjustified as a notion.
branford wrote:
Lastly, I wonder how you would incorporate the religious belief and observance that is claimed to pervade the Republic?
To be honest? I'm not really sure. Probably akin to how I might portray it in most other games I run; in strongly religious area, it forms a big part of local symbology, a big part of local cant, but it doesn't come up too often unless something actively flying in the face of it is introduced. If I were running a game set there, I might honestly emphasize that it probably feels alien to most transhumans. Where I live, I'm within a five minute walk of four churches, and I do not live in what might be called a particularly religious area. The Jovians probably have places of worship pretty regularly, with all the benefits and harms that might bring. There might be murals painted on the walls of housing blocks, depicting religious figures; perhaps retellings of saintly stories for the modern world or even accounts from the Fall. Saint Michael depicted smiting Lucifer, with the latter in the form of a headhunter; a well-known man or woman of faith who died in the Fall depicted as a martyr; etc. Another feature worth adding is missions. No secret, I know at least one really awesome mission full of really awesome people who do really awesome things, feeding people who desperately need it. Religion helps cement communities, brings people together to do works under a common banner, and helps utilize the tribalist parts of the human brain for a common good; it stands to reason there'd be a ton of religious charities in the JR. And, at the same time, there's also its problems. Religion utilizes tribalism, and tribalism makes people exclude the outsider. Given the Cold War styled state of the JR and the rest of the system, and the significantly more secular trends there, I can see transhumanism being associated with vanity, sinfulness, a fear of Judgement, pride, etc., just as it is today for many religious groups. The immense sexual freedom, the association with machines, the dissociation with "natural" work, the urge to become an immortal by doing what many consider as discarding the soul... I imagine there's a broad spectrum of opinion out there but Jovians spent ten years with this sort of stuff; I imagine many of them are sketchy when it comes to using transhuman tech. Law of Contagion and all that. There's also probably plenty of lip-service to the faithful in politics; even atheists in the JR's upper echelons make an appearance at the Papal Mass on Christmas. There's probably immense remembrance services from time to time, perhaps annually, to remember the dead, especially martyrs. That's about all I can think of off the top of my head.
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:
branford wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
If in the real world a city is dirty or the roads and bridges are in need of repair, do you take that as a sign that the population or their leadership must be evil?
I would be more convinced of your reasoning if there were mentions in the text that any of the autonomist's major habitats were also dirty. A broom and mop are not advanced transhuman technologies.
I searched for "dirty", got one hit about habs in Rimward pg 83, Kronos Cluster, Anarchist/Criminal/Ultimate, listed as "dirty and overcrowded". What do you have on the Jovians? Also, I wasn't reasoning. You said that because the Jovians allegedly has dirty habs, they must be evil. I was asking what you meant by that - do you think a place being dirty means that it must be evil?
branford wrote:
No one is suggesting that the Jovians should be perfect or cannot have real world flaws, only that such realism should also apply to the authors' favored factions to avoid the current caricature of which many, including myself, have complained. You cannot look at small slices of Jovian life in isolation to the rest of the setting. The problem is context, comparison to the other factions, and overall tone. Apparently, only capitalist or conservative groups repeatedly suffer from any discernible "realism" (as you appear to define it). The authors' strong political, social, religious and economic preferences couldn't be more obvious. I need not support or oppose the underlying contemporary philosophies of the writers or Jovians (or PC, LLA, MC, Ultimates, Scum, etc.) to recognize bias and feel it detracts from the verisimilitude of the setting.
Plenty of negative things about that autonomists have been brought up. You've just chosen to ignore them as far as I can tell.
Tiberia Tiberia's picture
there are many things about
there are many things about the jovians you can delve into for more depth. Religion is a great example as seen a couple posts up I think the best aspect to dive into is their bioconservatism. it contrasts so much with the rest of the setting, that it opens up an entire world of opportunities for role playing and exploration of ideas. does immortality cheapen a person's life? Does resleeving cut you off from your soul? Ship of theseus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus) where does the "person" reside? in the body, the brain, or as a concept? Can you treat uplifts and AGI's as members of transhumanity? Can you at least consider them equals deserving of equal respect? Can technology progress too fast? has it progressed too fast? How much can you change before you are no longer human? what is the measure of a man against a Transhuman? How Jovians view the rest of transhumanity and its transhumanism and techno-progressivism can bring a lot to the game. And if the only answer is "they hate and fear them them" then you have missed an opportunity. Do they pity them? Do they envy them? Do they laugh at them? Does transhumanity make them sad in some way? Do they consider them spoiled and decadent? Do they see them as the "upper class" of the solar system? Do they consider them to simply be quirky neighbours? Do transhumans lower property value? Do they consider them all as dead? as ghosts? Are they copies of real people now dead? Do they consider transhumanity a new species separate from humanity? Is transhumanity the "black sheep" of their family? Do they still care for transhumanity, or has transhumanity gone too far to have empathy towards? Do they wish to help Transhumans? on an individual level you will have as many answers as people, so the question is what are the most prevalent feelings? and again if your only answer is hate and fear, then you have missed an opportunity.
Tiberia Tiberia's picture
here is a quote of my
here is a quote of my original post, with a quote of the Reagan Cylinder sidebar.
Tiberia wrote:
... ...
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
... ...
branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:
No one is suggesting that the Jovians should be perfect or cannot have real world flaws, only that such realism should also apply to the authors' favored factions to avoid the current caricature of which many, including myself, have complained. You cannot look at small slices of Jovian life in isolation to the rest of the setting. The problem is context, comparison to the other factions, and overall tone. Apparently, only capitalist or conservative groups repeatedly suffer from any discernible "realism" (as you appear to define it). The authors' strong political, social, religious and economic preferences couldn't be more obvious. I need not support or oppose the underlying contemporary philosophies of the writers or Jovians (or PC, LLA, MC, Ultimates, Scum, etc.) to recognize bias and feel it detracts from the verisimilitude of the setting.
Plenty of negative things about that autonomists have been brought up. You've just chosen to ignore them as far as I can tell.
I think we have very different definitions of what constitutes "negative" as it may concern the autonomists compared to the capitalist or conservative groups. Your recent examples of autonomous negatives include a willingness to change bodies and achieve immortality (resleeving), recreational drug use, liberal sexuality and social mores, body piercing and some laziness. Not only are many of your purported negatives clearly perceived as positives by both the the authors and the vast majority of transhumanity in the setting, they are relatively insignificant and more closely describe issues in a freshman college dorm than major cultural shortcomings. To be fair and give you and the authors the benefit of the doubt, Rimward did mention that the Titanians had a little crime and some technosocialists could be a hypocritical, hardly the impetus for revolution. The lack of demonstrable and significant negatives concerning the anarchists was additionally unbelievable as applied anarchasim has not existed in any contemporary setting except in all but the smallest social experiments, and certainly not with millions of people. With virtually no history to act as a guide, and then established in response to a near apocalypse, the anarchists should more rationally resemble Lord of the Flies just 10 years after the Fall. Their miraculous and continued success, no less in direct competition and conflict with polities like the PC, Jovians, Hypercorps and Ultimates, strains credulity and often appears far more like author wish fulfillment. Comparatively, the list of malfeasance and suffering endured by the inner system and Jovian factions could fill a treatise co-authored by Machiavelli and the Marquis de Sade, and includes everything from needlessly oppressive living conditions, rampant corruption, denial of basic human rights, and artificial shortages to actual slavery.
LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Smokeskin wrote:Plenty of
Smokeskin wrote:
Plenty of negative things about that autonomists have been brought up. You've just chosen to ignore them as far as I can tell.
Those so-called "negative things" you mention are things that people who play EP largely regard as very good to have, or at least unobjectionable. To claim that these are negative just because someone, somewhere might find them negative is a very weak argument. It is hardly ignoring the negative aspects of the autonomists to not consider recreational drug use and short work weeks to be an actual bad thing. That short work weeks, resleeving, and technology is fantastic and fun is the majority belief here, and one that is reflected by EP's fluff and mechanics; as aspects to a fictional entity, it is wholly positive. It doesn't really help your claims any further when some of these "negative things" you've mentioned are things you've made up. There's nothing whatsoever about political correctness in the text, to pick one blatant example.
@-rep +2 C-rep +1
branford branford's picture
Tiberia, I definitely agree
Tiberia, I definitely agree that if you dig deep enough and discard the glaring contradictions and hyperbole, the Jovian ethos is more than understandable in the setting and raises great ethical and moral issues ripe for role-playing. You ask a number of insightful questions that concurrently plague both transhumanism and theology today. Unfortunately, the authors, in sum and substance, already implicitly answered these questions in the setting by their heavy-handed depictions of the various groups. Those with conservative and religious views are dying of radiation in hollow rocks or enslaving their fellow humans for profit, while the liberals are forging ahead with science and progress in their near utopian environments.
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Tiberia wrote:on an
Tiberia wrote:
on an individual level you will have as many answers as people, so the question is what are the most prevalent feelings? and again if your only answer is hate and fear, then you have missed an opportunity.
When I was writing my last reply to this thread, I spent a good chunk of time thinking about how Jovians might react to Uplifts. I find them sitting in my head as the significantly more troublesome for them than AGIs or AIs. With an AGI or AI, people can dismiss it easily; it's not really "real", it doesn't have a soul, it's just a machine, a good imitation, etc. A machine feels categorically different. It's easy to mark it as an "Other". But Uplifts are organic. At first, people may think they've simply learned tricks, but, the moment they hold a conversation with them, that illusion is dispelled. The moment they see an uplifted gorilla on a talk show, sipping tea and discussing the struggles of uplifts in the inner system, is the moment they can't really treat it as just a creature that learned some tricks. This is someone that others give respect to; someone potentially erudite and charming, even. That's hard to ignore. I imagine a common rationalization to that is, amusingly enough, to consider Uplifts human. "Uplifts were modified using human genes and had their brains altered to be more human; ergo, they're effectively just humans with odd faces and manners." This sort of rationalization may actually make many Jovians sympathetic to Uplifts, even if they find the process that makes them itself repulsive and barrier-crossing. As I type this, I find myself considering a rather touching scene of a neo-orangutan taking communion with a Jovian, who has worked to show others in their community that this creature is their friend and brother, a fellow refugee from the same dangers and science and technology run amok that they all are sheltering from. And perhaps, in the tale of Adam and Eve or the suffering of Christ on the Cross, the neo-orangutan sees a metaphor for his own people; for those who were created without knowledge and punished for their natures, and in finding redemption only through making peace with their enemies and a willingness to sacrifice for what they believe in. Perhaps the metaphor gets a little stronger with the addendum that they have a back-up and a cortical stack and medichine blueprints, and they can heal the sick, let the blind see, make the lame walk, and rise from the dead should those who persecute them seek to kill them.
branford branford's picture
Axel, you have some
Axel, you have some interesting ideas for what would be considered a "progressive" Jovian citizen, although I find the extended Christ imagery a little strained. Sadly, as per canon, EP, p. 75
Quote:
Both uplifts and AGIs are strictly forbidden and treated as property without civil rights.
Rimward, p. 36,
Quote:
Uplifts, in any form, are seen as abominations; even when allowed by the government, they can expect overt hostility and prejudice.
See, also, Panopticon, pp. 135-37, Allies and Enemies: Bioconservatives and Religious Groups (uplifts are freaks, Jovian support of violent anti-uplift hate groups)
Tiberia Tiberia's picture
branford wrote:Tiberia, I
branford wrote:
Tiberia, I definitely agree that if you dig deep enough and discard the glaring contradictions and hyperbole, the Jovian ethos is more than understandable in the setting and raises great ethical and moral issues ripe for role-playing. You ask a number of insightful questions that concurrently plague both transhumanism and theology today. Unfortunately, the authors, in sum and substance, already implicitly answered these questions in the setting by their heavy-handed depictions of the various groups. Those with conservative and religious views are dying of radiation in hollow rocks or enslaving their fellow humans for profit, while the liberals are forging ahead with science and progress in their near utopian environments.
Yeah I know. I've moved onto raising the questions myself. At this point I find the most productive discussion is bouncing around ideas of what WE can do in our own games to add nuance, and interest to the Jovians. Whether it be changing aspects of them, toning down aspects, focusing on aspects, etc... I'm not defending the writing of the jovians, just finding ways to fix it to our varied tastes. additional (people posted as I was typing)- And the idea of some jovians being supportive of Uplifts seems very interesting, and I rather like it. the biblical analogs do feel a bit strained as for the books contradicting that I would like to quote The Ultimate rule (p.214 main book)
p.214 wrote:
One rule in Eclipse Phase outweighs all of the others: have fun. This means that you should never let the rules get in the way of the game. If you don’t like a rule, change it...
I think this can apply to setting material as well.
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:Smokeskin
LatwPIAT wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
Plenty of negative things about that autonomists have been brought up. You've just chosen to ignore them as far as I can tell.
Those so-called "negative things" you mention are things that people who play EP largely regard as very good to have, or at least unobjectionable. To claim that these are negative just because someone, somewhere might find them negative is a very weak argument. It is hardly ignoring the negative aspects of the autonomists to not consider recreational drug use and short work weeks to be an actual bad thing. That short work weeks, resleeving, and technology is fantastic and fun is the majority belief here, and one that is reflected by EP's fluff and mechanics; as aspects to a fictional entity, it is wholly positive.
And I'll reiterate - if you and others simply agree with the autonomists, why does that make them unrealistic? As you say, many agree with them, which suggests that many people would indeed want to build such a society. But don't try to pretend that those things don't have negative consequences. An unproductive society like the anarchists, you don't think there is anything negative about that? Their lack of security, that's not a problem (many progressives are typically very in favor of gun regulation for example)? You don't think that drug addiction ever ruined the life of an anarchist or scumborn?
Quote:
It doesn't really help your claims any further when some of these "negative things" you've mentioned are things you've made up. There's nothing whatsoever about political correctness in the text, to pick one blatant example.
I read them that way. There's several mentions of it, of their consensus culture, of how you lose rep if you don't fit in. Maybe it is because that as a Scandinavian I have personal experience with the culture they stem from. But what about the other things? Is Janteloven also something I made up? Lack of gun control? Drug addiction? Why the cherry picking?

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