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What was Earth like Pre-Fall?

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NimbleJack3 NimbleJack3's picture
What was Earth like Pre-Fall?
I'm in the process of writing up an introductory set of adventures for groups new to EP, bringing the players up to speed on post-Fall transhumanity by having them live through the Fall itself - they'll be playing people stranded at a spaceport when the TITANS decide to start doing their thing, complete with running screaming from flocks of Buzzsaws and watching the Ecuador space elevator come crashing down across Latin America. Unfortunately, I don't have much to go on about what life on pre-fall Earth was like. The sourcebooks offer confusing and blurred implications of when various technologies and power blocs became widespread. Would almost everyone at the spaceport have a cortical stack? How many would have been splicers born in exowombs and genetically screened at birth? Were endos or ectos more common? etc. etc. etc. tl;dr: what was life like for most people on pre-fall Earth?
mwazaumoja mwazaumoja's picture
I'd imagine earth was quite a
I'd imagine earth was quite a bit like the version of earth presented in the RPG Transhuman Space (where by an large Earth remained fairly stable) mixed with the book Altered Carbon (a world where nearly everyone had cortical stacks). I'd also imagine that the majority of the population on Earth hadn't really embraced Transhumanism in the same way people in orbit would have. Sure you'd have some of the less radical biomorphs (Exalts, Sylphs and Mentons) walking around, but it seems doubtful that people would willingly sleeve into synthmorphs. I'd imagine AI use would be fairly widespread but they would rarely be viewed as transhumans. Finally, I think Ecuador (and much of Latin America) would exist in a weirdly unbalanced cultural union with the USA (or similar country) but I'm largely getting that from Transhuman Space where the USA had an interest in the Quito Metroplex where one of Earth's major spaceports were located.
boomzilla boomzilla's picture
Transhuman Space
I like THS, but I don't get the idea that pre-Fall Earth was too much like THS: with THS, the impression I get is "the status quo has mostly worked", whereas with EP, the impression is "the status quo has failed". I do realize there are some improverished/oppressive/otherwise unpleasant hellholes in THS Earth, but with EP, I get the idea that the majority of people are in situations like that (or just one misstep from falling into situations like that).
boomzilla boomzilla's picture
mwazaumoja wrote:Finally, I
mwazaumoja wrote:
Finally, I think Ecuador (and much of Latin America) would exist in a weirdly unbalanced cultural union with the USA (or similar country) but I'm largely getting that from Transhuman Space where the USA had an interest in the Quito Metroplex where one of Earth's major spaceports were located.
That part definitely *is* implied by EP: the Jovian Republic is basically the remnents of the US and various Latin American countries. There was a trans-Americas alliance (though through a not particularly cynical lens, it was more of a US hegemony over Latin America (with possible CIA-sponsored coups, etc)) which had established a presence on Jupiter. In "Rimward" chapter on the Jovians, the Americans fought, and defeated, rivalrous Chinese and Russian space fleets during the Fall. (It is unclear whether the Chinese and Russians were allied, or whether it was a three-way battle). If you are setting a campaign in Quito/Ecuador, a few things off the top of my head: *Catholicism I expect would be big, and probably not the sorta social justice-y Catholicism of the present Pope so much as the sorta patriachal, "Work, Family, Fatherland" sorta Catholicism of, e.g., Franco's Spain. *gated communities, but on steroids (maybe a bit like Snow Crash), with armed guards, etc. *everywhere outside the gated communities tends to look like the bad parts of "The Wire" or "City of God" *it will, indeed, have a strong space launch presence by virtue of being on the equator: not just an elevator, but the equator is a good place to launch rockets also
UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Boomzilla is, I believe,
Boomzilla is, I believe, fairly correct, on both counts. Much like our current times, a majority of the population of the immediately Pre-Fall Earth live in relatively high economic disparity. They might be doing better on some levels than modern times due to diffusion of technology, but are definitely not doing as good as some people. Earth has faced a couple resource wars and probably is building to another in the immediate area prior to the Fall (this is presumably why the TITANs are up and ticking before they hit full singularity, they're crunching numbers for the oncoming World War), and due to how AB and other hab-domes are supposed to work, the climate on Earth is probably not kind. Unless your country or city is very well off, you'll have to deal with probably some nasty extreme weather and probably a decent amount of air pollution. It's also going to be colder, but that probably won't make it really suck for anybody in the Equator. The way I see it, people probably live a lot like what you might think for the major Martian city domes, only people are mostly Flats and Splicers (Assuming I'm not really screwing up the Math from Transhumans tables, it's about 45% Splicer, 35% Flats, and the remainder are Exalts, Sylphs or others). In major population centers, you have various hab domes and other contained urban environments which form the Enclaves, who are your rough middle class. At this point prior to the Fall, in a particularly well-off country (which any country host to a Space Elevator should be) would be employing AI-driven pods to handle services such as Security, rote labor, etc, and have have access to small scale nanofabrication, but probably have similar DRM schemes on the blueprints. The Hyperelite also live in these domes or would have completely private residences, filled with AI or AGI pod servants, and access to full blown nanofab tech and basically anything else imaginable. Outside the Enclaves, you have the lower classes of Earth, with shitty, tightly packed slum housing, and no access to personal nanotech or many other advanced technologies, other than what Charity is running. They probably still have internet in some form though, meshed networks have been around since BF ~40-20. These Underclass will either be working as they can in their districts, in criminal gangs, or be trying to get into queues up into space for indenture work with the Hypercorps in Orbit, or in the colonies of Luna and Mars. The Panamerican forces are also probably picking up plenty of people to work heavy industry around Jupiter. Your Enclavers are going to be equipped with stacks, basic mesh inserts, etc. Think of them as your urban middle class. They have jobs, moderate education, and some disposable income. When the Fall hits, some of these people are going to manage to evacuate and probably diaspora to Mars and Jupiter. The Underclass are poor, but aren't completely useless. They're working class, they probably have all have Ectos and Muses because AR is really wide-spread, and Ectos are cheap. Those who make it out, and they easily might by virtue of sheer numbers and proximity to escape, are going to become the refus filling the Orbital, Mars and Jupiter. Given their strength in the Jovian Republic, the Catholic church is undoubtedly going to be strong, but I suspect they're probably a little more relaxed than in the Jovian times, that's a conservative hardline you take when something bad happens. Uploading is relatively recent, but is probably being discouraged, as are stacks, and what limited Body Bank/Egocast facilities there are inside the Enclaves will probably see the occasional protest. Assuming the church is doing anything like they're supposed to do, expect a lot of missionaries and aid workers in the slums providing food, shelter and more advanced medical aid than can normally be expected. The Hypercorps will have a presence as well, but this is not the Planetary Consortium, and there is not quite any sort of typical Cyberpunk "Megacorp is government" going on.That's why the Hypercorps pushed out into space in the first place. Spaceport and Elevator functions will be heavily influenced, but openly control of them will probably lie with the coalition of Governments who come to form the Jovian Republic, primarily led by United States and Argentina. Since terrorism is a known quantity, and this is world on the horizon of War, so expect military troops for security, backed by private contractors, all of whom are filled with as much combat augs as the government(s) can afford.
H-Rep: An EP Homebrew Blog http://ephrep.blogspot.com/
klaatu klaatu's picture
In a word: Dystopian
If you read carefully, the Fall was inevitable with or without the TITANs (at least, according to some of the Firewall and/or anarchist commentators "quoted" in the flavor text). The environment was damaged, failing, and overstressed by population. Nation-states were hardening their positions and fighting their neighbors for resources. Power brokers everywhere were trying to hold back nanofabrication as a threat to their power, while simultaneously relying on it to deal with the lack of basic necessities like food and clean water. So few people were benefiting from backups, resleeving, and other nanotech that they were functionally nonexistant - except for the elite. (As a side note, think about the effect this had on the ego-only part of the evacuation of Earth - flats take forever on ego bridges to be farcast. Once the select few were quickly evacuated via sending from their cortical stacks, things slowed w-a-y down.) In the war of all against all that resulted from overpopulation and failing resources, idiots looking for every advantage for their sides (whatever they were) pulled out all the stops including, eventually, turning on or taking the leashes off untested intelligence and cyberwarfare systems (i.e., the TITANs). Then the exsurgent virus got involved, and what was already total war turned into something more horrible than anyone could have imagined. I'm picturing something between 80s cyberpunk and any apocalypse you care to name - and then the wars started, then got worse, and the icing on the cake was the infected TITANs. As an interesting exercise, try figuring out how in that scenario you even figure out when your attack AIs have turned into horrors that have targeted your entire species. At least, that's my take on it based on the flavor text and the fact that I find the Fall being 90% humanity at work far more horrifying than an inscrutible and alien virus turning military AIs into killers (uh...), a lot of people into uzumaki and/or goo and a few people into psychics. But your milage may vary. (As a side note, I'm toying with the notion as "canon" for my setting that the TITANs were either infected late or were still working in some twisted version of humanity's best interest, and decided that the only way to save the species was to force humans out into the solar system, reduce the population to a sustainable level, and force a kind of evolution. In other words, the worst, most brutal extermination of humanity ever, which took our homeworld from us, was the AIs helping.)
If you see something, say nothing, and drink to forget. - Welcome to Night Vale http://commonplacebooks.com
boomzilla boomzilla's picture
power blocs and nation states
You were also asking about power blocs, NimbleJack. Skimming through the books, and recalling from memory: [list] [*]The American bloc, including the US (but not Canada), Argentina, Chile, and probably most of Latin America, colonizing the Jovian system [*]North Atlantic Consortium: Scandinavia and Canada, [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutdown_of_thermohaline_circulation]hit hard by collapse of Gulf Stream[/url], colonizing Titan [*]other EU countires, many also hit hard by Gulf Stream collapse. Colonization of Venus. [*]China, colonizing Mars and Jupiter. People talk about globalization making China more democratic, but there is also a competing model (which fits EP) where Western govs become more Chinese, in the sense they grow more authoritarian, more devoted to businesses as government, etc. So, e.g., the "Great Firewall" becomes the norm for the Internet, justified by "fighting terrorism" or "enforcing copyright" or whatever. [*]Russia, colonizing Jovian system, maybe allied with China, maybe rivilrous a la the Cold War during the 1970s. [*]India, colonizing Luna. Said to suffer from famines from climate change/other upheaval (chapter on the Ulimates in "Rimward" said founder, Manu, was a Desi person). [/list] there are a bunch of other references to nation states on pre-Fall Earth. I might try to collect them all, put them annotated. I'll let you know if I do. [b]edit[/b]: re: the Ulimates founder, from the section of Xiphos in "Rimward",
Small wars over resources—primarily water—were common throughout the equatorial regions. The strong survived and the weak died of deprivation. The ultimates’ founder, Manu Bhattacharya, began as a mercenary leader in the Indian subcontinent.
NimbleJack3 NimbleJack3's picture
Thanks for all the help,
Thanks for all the help, everyone. You've given me a really good picture of prefall earth to work with, and now I can include conservative gated-community catholics alongside high-power augmented execs and second-class local technicians. The players are will be stuck at the airport because the US has just entered total war with other superpowers over natural resources, cancelling conventional flights because their drone squadrons like to shoot down anything with a radar. Can anyone suggest pre-fall professions for the characters that could convert over to post-fall society?
UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Anything off the Profession
Anything off the Profession random chart in Transhuman? Though I suppose more broadly you're talking about skill-sets, not just the professional knowledge. Pilots and technicians are pretty easy, as are any security personnel (either private, police or military). Medics or Doctors would also be very useful. Just about anything which can be done pre-Fall can also be done Post-Fall. Again, Transhuman's really helpful. Look at the "Focus" skill packages and see what kind of skillsets commonly exist in the setting. If you're generating the characters for them (either completely, or they tell you kind of what they want to play and you build it) I'd even recommend just making them with Packages, just translate some of the backgrounds appropriately. I/E a Re-Instantiated: Military Casualty has yet to actually die in the Fall, they just have the same skills as those people are soon to die in the Fall.
H-Rep: An EP Homebrew Blog http://ephrep.blogspot.com/
Scottbert Scottbert's picture
Dealing with just-before-the
Dealing with just-before-the-fall PCs is much easier than dealing with modern-times PCs who've been cryogenically frozen. Unless you're, like, a farmer, there's probably a place for you after the fall (even then, at least some knowledge might translate over to space farming.) Transhuman suggests that, compared to the Fighter, Mage, Cleric and Rogue of a fantasy game, in Eclipse Phase the roles you need to cover are Techie, Face, Transporter, and Combat. That is, you need hardware, interfacing and infosec, social skills, sneaking, movement and pilot skills, and someone who actually knows his way around 22nd century combat. These don't necessarily have to be combined in that order, but a Firewall team should have all the skills covered. This could easily be convered by, say, an information security specialist, a salesman, a zero-G worker/pilot, and a soldier, for instance.