Where Have All The Clones Gone?

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Gentleman John
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Where Have All The Clones Gone?

Postby Gentleman John » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:58 pm

Here's an idea I had for a Paranoia setting that I thought I would share with people. I admit that it isn't full developed, but I reckon it still has some merit.
Gentleman John
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Postby Gentleman John » Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:59 pm

Where Have All The Clones Gone?

Introduction

This is a “bots only” capsule campaign setting intended for use with Paranoia XP and the Big Book of Bots.

Tone

The intended tone for this setting is Straight or Classic.

Background

Alpha Complex was designed to be a utopia for humanity; their perfect environment. Within Alpha Complex, humans would be protected, nurtured and allowed to flourish. The Computer would oversee their lives, while the bots would carry out their wishes. However, there is one problem with Alpha Complex – there is The Computer, there are bots, but there are no humans.

The bots go about their tasks efficiently and without complaint. The Computer supervises their activities and ensures that Alpha Complex runs smoothly. Of course, bots still malfunction or suffer glitches in their software. Sometimes these problems are obvious, sometimes they are not. Sometimes the bots just get bored and go off and do their own thing just to have something to do other than follow the dictates of routine.

The Big Mystery

The Big Mystery of the setting is obvious: where have all the humans gone? While this does not have to be the central thrust of whatever goes on in the setting, it will be important to the flavour of the campaign.

There are three possible reasons why there are no humans in Alpha Complex.

1. There are no humans and there never were. For some reason, Alpha Complex was constructed but humans were never introduced to the city. Perhaps they were wiped out just before Alpha Complex was finished, or maybe they exist outside the city but they are being kept out for some reason.

Using this option, The Computer is likely to be more stable than it would be in a normal Paranoia game. After all, it hasn’t had 214 years of interference in its core directives by High Programmers. The Computer will therefore be more predictable and closer in temperament to the benevolent guardian it was meant to be.

2. For some reason Alpha Complex has become depopulated. Once there were plenty of humans in Alpha Complex, but now there are none. So, what happened? Are there any records? Are the records available or are they locked away in the secure backups of The Computer?

In this case the stability of The Computer is debatable. Key things to consider would be what state The Computer was in before the humans left and how this affected The Computer. Potentially The Computer may be even more psychotic than it usually is, with appropriate consequences.

3. The bots have had their memories altered and have been placed in an area of Alpha Complex that has been evacuated of all citizens. This may be part of a twisted experiment devised by The Computer or the High Programmers, or it may just be a gigantic cockup.

Of course, given that Alpha Complex exists in all its glory in this case, this is standard Paranoia in all its glory.

Inspiration

The following sources may prove inspirational to flesh out this setting:

The Big Book of Bots
The Cyberiad
Futurama
The Matrix
Robohunter
Wall-E
Gentleman John
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Postby Gentleman John » Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:02 pm

One of the key things I have left out of the above is what the PCs can gt up to. The obvious thing to do is to have a campaign centred around the Big Mystery of the setting. However, this seems a bit heavy-handed to me, and I would rather have the PCs doing something else - to start off with, anyway. Another obvious idea would be to have the PCs acting as bot troubleshooters, but that just seems to lack originality.

So, any thoughts, suggestions or comments?
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Postby Allen Varney » Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:51 pm

Taking a riff from Wall-E, perhaps Alpha Complex has been unihabitable by organic life for many hundreds of years. The Computer has been guiding the bots to cleanse and restore the city to habitability. Now The Computer has decided it is safe to recreate humanity, and so it orders the bot PCs to secure various long-lost genetic samples from Outdoors or the remote reaches of the Underplex. This, of course, triggers rampant infighting among the various bot secret societies....
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Postby Dr Stubbsberg » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:30 pm

or possibly the Computer in some misguided attempt to further humanity's progress, accidently massivly irradiated the entire complex and is now either in a guilt-ridden delusion or is trying to keep up the pretense that there are still humans in Alpha Complex (even to the extent of programming some Bots to believe they are human/commie traitors/mutants). This could allow the 'trobotshooter' team to actually be working against Friend Computer's wishes and working to bring it down and/or initiate contact with other Complexes.
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Postby Gentleman John » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:59 pm

Both of those fit in quite nicely with Option 2 - although I can see the first one could easily become similar to Robohunter: Verdus when the PCs go outside and try to work out exactly what is human anyway.

Still, both leave the question of how to get the PCs into the campaign reasonably logically and (dare I say it?) gently. I suppose the best idea would be to have the PC bots assigned to a work group and take it from there.
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Postby PaulB » Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:28 pm

Couple of ideas for Option 1:

A. Bomb Shelter. Alpha Complex was built to provide a retreat in case of disaster. Unfortunately, the disaster that struck wasn't the one expected and the people due to populate the complex failed to make it inside in time. What really happened? Who was responsble? And have they found their way into the Complex?

B. Training Environment. The government constructed Alpha Complex as a venue for training. Perhaps it was intended to simulate a colony or maybe a replica of an enemy complex for military training purposes. The Computer maintained the environment and the Bots have served a vital purpose in keeping the place ticking over. After a while, The Computer's curiosity led it to dig down into it's programming... finding protocols and scenario outlining unexpected disasters, threats and an insidious (if fictional) enemy.
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Postby Gentleman John » Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:21 pm

Nice to see this is getting some creative juices going. Please keep it up.

Based on idea B above: What if Alpha Complex was a colony? A STL vessel with a robot crew was dispatched to another world in order to create a place ready for humans to colonise. Colonists would have their genotype and memories transmitted by lightspeed communications, to be grown in the clone tanks waiting for them in the colony. Due to the vagaries of fate the human colonists have yet to arrive, and time and entropy have taken their toll on the distant world.
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Postby PaulB » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:40 pm

We're getting dangerously close to re-creating one of the plotlines of 'Metamorphosis Alpha'...
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Postby Gentleman John » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:20 pm

"... But always be careful to call it research!" - Tom Lehrer :lol:
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Postby Facedanser » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:17 pm

Ever read 'To Avenge Man' aka 'Vengence is mine' by ?Lester Del Ray?

It deals with the loss of humanity and how the remaining robots carry on.

I rate it......others maybe not?

Just me 2 credits worth
"I will not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
I will face my fear.
I will let it pass through me."
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Postby Gentleman John » Wed Jan 14, 2009 9:38 pm

Nope. Can't say that I have, although it does sound interesting. Currently, though, I'm waiting for Saturn's Children to come out in paperback, although I might settle for a copy of Wetware (if I can ever find it).

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