Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Micro-Settings

I've been trying to move away from writing tables, because I've gotten so comfortable with doing them, but also because I feel so comfortable doing them, I want to keep doing them! At the same time, I've been trying to write micro-settings, and I just keep finding mental blocks, or being unsatisfied with what I've written and how it's conveying the setting. So I decided, why not just make a table of settings! Some of these settings are intended as full-blown settings, others could be fit into larger settings (and in fact some of these are intended to fit into each other). It's the most micro way to do micro-settings, but it'll include settings I've already talked about in depth such as Phantasmos. Having to train myself to reduce a setting to a few sentences or less should be a good exercise if nothing else.

Also, depending on the feedback I get for these settings, that may influence which ones I decide to focus on next for my full post write-ups!




SettingDescription
Antikythera NovaA non-Anglocentric scifi future. A gritty space opera. Eldritch trans-humans. Psionic signal processing aliens manipulating quantum uncertainty. A dash of speculative science.
Aquarian DawnA low fantasy feudal world, several hundreds or thousands of years after a high fantasy / science fantasy post-apocalypse. The typical fantasy races have mostly receded or taken on niche roles in this world, while humanity desperately clings to the Middle Realm. However, with the arrival from the seas of the peaceful, socialist, androgynous aqua-colored humanoids known as the Aquarians, humanity must face the fact that their age is coming to an end. Some wish to take this transition with grace, as many of the other races have, while others wish to fight and struggle against the (literally and figuratively) rising tide to the last.
CarnopolisAn ever-expanding city, like a slimy, protoplasmic meat or fungus. A living shoggoth city. The shoggoth matter are like nanomachines, able to rearrange the structure of the city or encode information, creating a hybrid virtual/augmented reality where there is no meaningful distinction between the physical and virtual. Generations of survivors living in a world of never-ending hostility. A city that can be anything. A city designed to kill.
Cold War Under a Rising SunAn alternate history where the atomic bomb was never dropped on Japan. In a prolonged second world war, the victorious allies carve Japan, the Soviet Union creating North Japan, and the western allies creating South Japan. Both Japans become cultural, technological, and economic powerhouses. Given the prosperity of the Russo-Ainu North Japan, this is a 1960's Cold War-era where the people in the communist world actually thrive. It's a world as much pulp as noir, with gadget-toting superspies, secret nazi revival sects, and world-threatening super-terrorists.
Dark and Misty RemainsA world of The Darkness Lagash and The Nameless Mist, the space in between the shell and spine of a world-sized dragon turtle. Albino underdeinos and platypus people who sense the electrical activity of muscle contractions and weird creatures made of dark matter and harnessing dark energy. A subway train system made of bone and the electrical activity of massive nerve tissue and muscle fibers. Houses the remains of Thalarion, the city of a thousand wonders, the undead shamanic Skadamutc and their necrotic god Lathi.
Frost and the Final FrontierA near future semi-hard scifi setting where Antarctica has been colonized, and is in the early stages of urbanization. A modern-day New World / Wild West. Heavily reliant on technology, but with early-20th century-esque access to resources. As much if not more so Chinese and Russian as American or Western European. A sprawling Denver-like city. A utopian military-science industrial complex, like a precursor to the Federation in Star Trek or Heinlein if he were less crazy.
I-ConsA near future cyberpunk world where electromagnetism has somehow fundamentally changed. While limited radio and television transmission is still possible, the internet is gone and nearly all electronic or electroconductive devices are connected to the Noö-Net. Humans can observe this realm, but can only interact with it through their Individual Constructs (I-Con), a Noö-Net artificial lifeform, trained like a neural network from the consciousness of their operator.
Kwik & KantankerousA near future cyberpunk world with a 90's-00's LA street racing aesthetic. A world populated by fungal, plant, and animal humanoids across socioeconomic strata race weaponized kwik karts in the streets. A world of gangwars, heists, social justice, and family.
Monsters and MadmenThe big war; the cities bombed and nations EM-pulsed; civilization as we know it is on the way out, but adults still cling to the old world from only a few years ago. On the other hand, the children wish only to leave their homes, to travel the empty, broken roads, and to collect and battle the monsters that have surfaced (or, perhaps, resurfaced) in the wake of humanity's decline. The world is in anarchy. Some of the magical creatures the children geas are intelligent, some infinitely more so than humans. They bide their time as anarchy ensues and humanity dissolves under its own weight.
OverlightDeep-dream qualia elves, golden carp-dragons, rainbow thunderbirds, baku devas. A realm of soft thunderous clouds like the action potentials of neurons. The air is vaporized alcohol, the clouds are novocain, the lakes and rivers are liquid mercury rising into semi-solid structures, the mountains are lithium salts, and there's a rainbow space elevator to the moon.
PhantasmosHeavy Metal gonzo weird Lovecraftian BDSM post-post-apocalyptic science fantasy. Lovecraft, Gygax, Dick, Morrison, and Asimov filtered through my own personal lens.
QuantumverseAn emergent microverse that exists "between particles"; a compressed computational world formed from the distribution of sub-atomic particles in physical space. A world of varying densities of compressed and encrypted pixels, voxels, and polygons. A fantasy world on a circuit board; a kingdom of baking-yeast people and the nefarious Rat King; A silk road Arabian Disco.
Second ExodusIn a near future, several decades after narrowly surviving the eldritch kaiju Nephilim, a new breed of monster, the Qlippoth, have forced humanity off the planet and onto orbiting space colonies. The Ein Sof have developed psychokinetic mecha, which must be piloted by children, to take back the planet.
Silicon SurvivorsA world of trans-human cyborg hunter-gatherers in a naturalistic world of silicon, plastic, and the most advanced technologies conceived in 1980's science fiction. They ride their white, plastic-skinned, CRT monitor-headed beasts across fields of flayed cables, hunting blocky robots for their nutritious floppy disk innards. They are led by an ancient and wise computer like a knockoff Max Headroom, although some suspect the computer may have ulterior motives.
Starcrossed SentaiIn a small rural town in an anachronistic, mid to late-20th century "golden age" Japan analogue, a group of preteen children are granted superpowers and must save the world from alien invaders, while still passing their exams! Their costumes may look like they were made in a middle school home-ec class (because they were), but when their powers activate, they become the greatest superteam the world has ever known! If the videogame Earthbound is a weird Japanese person's take on Golden Age Americana, this is a weird American's take on Golden Age Japan.
Starflower VoyagersA utopian post-singularity scifi setting. A trans-human entity, the starflower, a pure and child-like, god-like being, leads bands of loosely affiliated, 1960's-70's mod/hippie anarchic troupes known collectively as the Flower Power, to search the stars for intelligent lifeforms on the verge of their own singularity and assist them in the transition. They generally try to do good elsewhere in the cosmos along the way, not so much like police or judges, but like neighbors or good Samaritans. They are, of course, concerned with the greater philosophical implications of their actions, but generally hold a light heart and take a light touch wherever they go.
Stonepunk JourneyWhen the first Native Americans crossed the Bering Strait, they were not alone. They encountered monsters and spirits which went on to inspire the mythologies of the First Peoples, but also other intelligent species from sword and sorcery and medieval fantasy such as serpent-men and elves. This is a stonepunk world of chaotic primal magics, of anachronistic stone technologies, and perhaps other hidden, weird secrets.
VortekkaA world surrounded by a shimmering vortex. 17th century-esque pirates and privateers with a dash of steampunk mechs and flying machines. Competing centripedal and centrifugal forces where humans reside on floating plates and other species reside on the islands and oceans along the inner surface of the shimmering, iridescent vortex.
Weird WarsA science fantasy trench war... in SPACE. Warp-speed weaponry tear the fabric of reality into pocket dimensions, across which inter-dimensional trench warfare is fought. The heavy, deadly gases allow humans to take flight, but only the mutated Weirders, with their weird-metal bayonets and warp-blades, can maneuver gracefully in the harsh environments of the tears.
World of WondersA significantly alternate-history superhero setting where orgodynamics and entropy are opposite but equal physical forces of nature. Many ancient civilizations never fell and social constructs around things like religion, race, and ethnicity operate totally differently than they do in the world as we know it.

2 comments:

  1. Silicon Survivors is the most interesting (at least to me).

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    1. Thanks for letting me know! It's funny, because I'll actually admit, that one I came up with totally on the spot! Sometimes the best ideas are the ones that just come naturally like that. My roommate was working on a scifi / science fantasy civilization generator tool, and we randomly rolled on it and then the whole concept built around the few descriptors I rolled, almost automatically. I don't think anyone else would have come up with that exact idea from those descriptors, so I think I can safely call it my own setting haha. In my head, it looks a bit like the comic book series East of West with a heavy heaping of 1980's techno/scifi.

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