Propellers in the Dawn

Razorwing
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Propellers in the Dawn

Post by Razorwing » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:46 pm

With Underneath the Lamplight finally being shipped, it is time to turn our attention to the next sourcebook, Propellers in the Dawn which focuses on the Skyloft and Skyfolk. Unfortunately there has been no word at all on how far along this book is... or who is even working on it. There is also a distinct lack of teasers about the book too.

So... with a lack of any information as to what will be in it (other than it focusing on the Skyloft) I say we throw open the doors to speculation, conjecture and good old fashioned wishful thinking of what we think and hope will be in this book.

Here are some of the things I'm hoping to see.

1) New optional rules for character generation. Much like the Neovictorians got new stuff to help off-set their lack-luster portayal in the Core Book, I'm hoping for some interesting options to make a Skyloft character a little more unique. I see no reason why a City benifit like what the Neovictorians have couldn't be used... to help show that there is a difference between a character from Isla Aether and one from High Tortuga (or any other Skyloft city for that matter). While class differences won't be as distinct as it is in the Neovictorian cities, I am sure there are different castes within a lot of Skyloft cities too. Some talents and complications that are more common to Skyloft cities would also be interesting... as would some more background options too (maybe even mention which of the new backgrounds in Underneath the Lamplight might be found in a Skyloft city).

2) New Airships. This covers everything from new airship designs as well as new options for Airships to have and possibly expanded (and optional) rules for ship to ship combat. Since the Skyloft is where one is likely to find the greatest variety of Airships, we should actually have a variety of ships to choose from... and maybe even some rules that would allow players to start with a bigger (or smaller) ship... with some sort of balancing cost for dong so.

3) More Skyloft cities discribed. Much like how Underneath the Lamplight gave us a more detailed look at Desolation and a fair bit of information on the other 16 Change Cage cities, I'm hoping to see more information on not just Isla Aether, High Tortuga (and possibly Helium City), but also information on other Skyloft cities in North America... especially near Everglades and Old Borealis. It would also be interesting to see how the Skyfolk in the rest of the world has managed to stay aloft without the easy access to Helium that the North Americans have (realatively speaking).

4) Secrets of the Skies. In Underneath the Lamplight we learned some of the secrets of the Change Cage cities and the Empire itself... yet somehow I doubt the Emperor is the only one who has such secrets. While there isn't much in the way of unity among the Skyloft cities (except for the Declaration of Allegiance), I'm willing to bet that most of the Skylofts have their little secrets... and are willing to pay to learn the secrets of the other Skylofts too (what better incentive for adventure?). Maybe a set of rumors of who might be doing what and why would be something to go with.

Anyone else have any ideas of what they hope to see in this new book? Will we ever get any teasers on what to expect? Can we at least get the name(s) of who is working on this book? Something... anything... to divert our attention away from how long it is taking to get this book to our shelves. :lol:
There are three types of people in the world... those who can count and those who can't.

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Garn!
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by Garn! » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:42 pm

That seems like a reasonable set of expectations. I have two additional suggestions, although they might be a bit more relevant to a World Setting expansion:

1) I think distinct flags, heraldry, motifs and coloration for socio-political groups need to be addressed. Each Skyloft city, as well as all airships (piratical, military and commercial, if there are any), are likely to use some type of distinctive mark to differentiate friend and foe at a distance. They might not all have flags or windsocks, but they might utilize other distinctive markings. A certain type of clothing/uniform, use of colors, a certain artistic design or motif, warpaint, tartan plaid, etc.
(Full disclaimer: my opinion here is biased as I worked on creating some flags in the old forums.)

2) Expand on what is happening to life outside the Change Cage cities. The Skyloft cities are closer to nature, so they might see more of the world as it exists at this time. They might have answers to questions like:
  • Are the mega-fauna still out there?
  • Do they still have a penchant for all human flesh?
  • Or is the Emperor lacing the city-folk's food with a chemical attractant?
  • What are the mega-fauna eating when human flesh isn't available?
  • How has this impacted the local ecology and food-chain?
  • What has happened to the normal plants and animals since mankind's withdrawal?
  • Has there been any significant mutations among normal plants and animals?
  • Perhaps their have been changes to weather patterns?
  • Water features might have changed drastically since the Emperor probably removed some damns, draining certain lakes, creating new ones, allowing water to collect into marshy spots, etc (salmon might be thriving again!).

gavken
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by gavken » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:42 pm

I'm hoping to see a load of information about Helium City (that is unless it is going to have a source-book of its own).

Razorwing
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by Razorwing » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:29 pm

I may not be working on this book, but I think I can provide some of the answers to a few of the questions you asked Garn (at least answers that seem to make sense given the setting).

Are the Mega-fauna still out there? Yes... they provided stats for many of these creatures in the Core Book, so it seems likely that they are still out there.

Do they still have a penchant for all human flesh? Again, the answer is most likely yes... they were genetically programed to find humans tasty and since it is also likely they wanted to keep this trait active in future generations born in the wild, it was most likely made a dominant trait that would be passed down to any offspring.

What are the Mega-fauna eating when human flesh isn't available? That would depend on what other animals are in the Mega-fauna's territory, but likely large herd herbivores like most predatory species tend to prey upon. Yes, they may prefer humans over all other prey, but cattle, horses, bison, camelops, giant sloth, indrikkus, mamoth, mastodon, shrub ox, stag-moose or woodland muskox will suffice if available.

How has this impacted the local ecology and food chain? Surprisingly, it has helped to restore a prorper level of balance between predator and prey species that humanity disrupted in earlier eras. Typically, when to many predators are in an area, they tend to deplete their supply of prey which in turn leads to starvation among the predators, allowing the prey to recover their numbers. The only exception is where humans are involved as the predisposition to hunt humans tends to cause these predators to stalk and hunt them longer than they would other prey. This means that they may actually eradicate an entire human population in an area by over hunting (killing without the need to feed on their kills). With the reitroduction of other prey species however, they will not go hungry for long without any humans to eat.

What has happened to the normal plants and animals since mankind's withdrawl? With the reduction of the human populace and much of the world returned to nature, many of the normal plants and animals that survived the previous eras are most likely thriving once more. Yes, there have been new species introduced (the mega-fauna), but this would lead to an eventual balance between predator and prey species. The only species on the planet that seems to be declining at an alarming rate with a good chance of eventual extinction is the Human Race.

Has there been any significant mutations among normal plants and animals? Okay, here's a question I don't think I can really answer well. The chances normal plants and animals would mutate would depend on what sort of enviromental damage was caused to their habitats before the world was returned to nature. Given that many of the Change Cages still produce substances that lead to mutation (i.e. the Misbegotten), it is possible that simillar mutations may be found outside the cities (despite claims that all such substances remain in the cities). Additionally, some Skyloft cities may also produce similar substances, though how well they keep them contained is another question. Finally, there may be stashes of these substances left over from before the Rectification in remote locations as the general attitude to disposal of previeous eras seemed to be "out of sight, out of mind". Still, for the most part it seems like the world has managed to recover quite well in the last 100 years, so the chances of a significant mutation seems remote.

Perhaps there has been changes to weather patterns? Given that the polution of the previous eras started sooner than in our timeline, it stands to reason they started to experience the severe weather changes of climate change that we are begining to see a lot sooner than we are. How exactly this affects them is more for a GM to decide though. There are likely some very severe storms around the world on a more regular basis. Still, with a lot of the damage humanity did being undone in the last 100 years, it is also possible that these superstorms are becoming less frequent too. Like I said, it is more the provice of the GM to decide, depending on the needs of the adventure.

Well, that's my atempt to answer some of the questions you asked Garn, but like I said, I'm not working on the book so I don't know how close these will be to any "official" answers we may get (if we get any). It will be interesting to see if we get any new world information with this book.

Would still be nice to get some sort of official word on this book though.
There are three types of people in the world... those who can count and those who can't.

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Garn!
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by Garn! » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:39 am

Thanks for your perspective on the questions Razorwing, it was interesting to read.

Many of the questions I asked were predicated on the possibility that the Emperor is actively maintaining the mega-fauna as an exterior hunter-killer "police force". This is easily accomplished by lacing both human and mega-fauna foods with a chemical that the mega-fauna can smell. By association, anything that smells of attractant is food. So any human that escapes would immediately be hunted down. Why keep the mega-fauna centered around the Cities? Because that is where they're needed. The Emperor wouldn't want to import any humans from outside - they might have embarrassing info. So the mega-fauna must be kept nearby to kill escaping citizens.

Although similar to your posted responses, their is a larger ripple effect of changes on these ideas. For instance, with the mega-fauna being fed from the cities, ecological balance might stabilize and eventually thrive. Otherwise the mega-fauna might hunt all meat sources to extinction (as they would require huge amounts of meat per mf beast). Genetically modified foodstuffs we're working on today would have been more widespread in the game setting. These changes would force the plant's natural predators to adapt quickly. Producing an "arms race" of rapid evolutionary mutation - or die.

All of the above has the benefit of making the Skyloft cities and the Neobedouin environments less dangerous and more capable of sustaining life. Why is this necessary? Because I found it odd that both groups are theoretically surviving well despite mega-fauna actively seeking them out in a dedicated manner. After all, Lofties and Neos are the only food available out there in the wilderness for mega-fauna.

Razorwing
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by Razorwing » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:47 am

I find the idea that the mega-fauna are only being used as sort of a biological fense to keep the population of the Change Cage cities in line to be a little too narrow a focus. As far as the Emperor is concerned, the people inside his cities are controlled... to the point that very few of them are expelled for any reason and even fewer try to leave on their own. Simply put, the mega-fauna would starve if they had to rely on the number of people expelled from the cities to feed upon.

Of course this would also mean that the greatest threat to the Emperor's plans would remain unchecked... the Neobedouin Tribes and the Skyloft cities. Left unchecked, these free people could recolonize the wilds and place the world back on the road to ruin that the Emperor worked so hard to prevent.

Without the mega-fauna hunting them, the Neobedouin would have no reason to maintain a nomadic lifestyle. They would be able to settle down and farm the food they need. Without the threat of the mega-fauna, the Skyloft cities wouldn't need to remain in the isolated heights they flew to and could resettle to lowlands where it is easier to get the resources they need. This is the last thing the Emperor wants.

I think the problem you are facing is that the book says the mega-fauna predators are predisposed to hunt humans which you think means that they ONLY hunt humans. If that were true, then most would have died out long ago when the number of humans dropped from billions to only a few million world wide. No, the Emperor likely new that he would be hard pressed to erradicate all the humans outside his cities and would need a self-sustaining means to keep any such human population fairly low (ideally too low to present any real danger of a resurgence of human supremacy). So while all the mega-fauna predators will prefer human flesh to any other, they will hunt other beasts if humans are not available.

One also has to remember that most predators are oportunistic killers. They prefer to hunt straglers and individuals rather than packs and herds. Also few will risk being seriously injured for a tasty human snack. Thus while they will stalk and hunt humans for far longer than they would most other animals, if a better opportunity comes along for them to feed, they will take the easier prey, even if it isn't their prefered prey.

Likewise, most predators will stay within a defined territory. This is usually an area they can patrol and defend from rivals and has the resources they need to survive. It can be anywhere from a few square kilometers to hundreds of square miles, depending on the size of the predator, how often it need to eat and how much prey can be found in the area. Usually the predator to prey ration tends to be 1:100+. I admit that this is a bit generalized and assumes that a predator needs only 1 kill every few days to remain well fed; most predatory mamals can go upto a week before begining to starve and tend to hunt every 2 to 4 days (reptile predators need less food). How persistant a predator will be will greatly depend on how hungry it is... the hungrier it is, the more persistant and greater risks it will take.

So by releasing the mega-fauna predators into the wild, they will naturally reach a state of balance within their ecosystems where their numbers will be maintained by the amount of prey they can kill. This is what the Emperor actually wants to happen, nature maintaining a natural balance. Additionally, the genetic predisposition to favoring human flesh will see that these predators will keep any human population they come across under control (more or less at any rate)... all without the need for the Emperor to send in either the IAN or the Chuno Ggun to do the job. Finally, as a final perk, with all the wilds poplulated with these mega-fauna predators, there is no safe place for anyone inside one of the Change Cage cities to escape to even if they tried, thus the original premise you were after is still covered while the range of these predators is greatly increased.
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Dulahan
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by Dulahan » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:34 pm

Should be interesting. I definitely look forward to the cultural information, since Neo-Vics were probably the easiest to guess at.

Though I'm also probably looking more forward to the Neo Bedouin book!

Razorwing
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by Razorwing » Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:03 pm

It really would be nice to get some official word about this book... teasers... hints... something... anything! We've had information on Underneath the Lamplight for almost a year before it made it to press... so why the silent treatment with Propellers in the Dawn?
There are three types of people in the world... those who can count and those who can't.

gavken
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by gavken » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:47 pm

I'd second some information from Cakebread and Walton on the plans for the future books .....

Razorwing
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Re: Propellers in the Dawn

Post by Razorwing » Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:12 am

Well... since there seems to be no information comming from anyone official on this book... there can only be one reason.

Yep... the Emperor has sent the Chuno Ggun to Cubicle 7 to supress any information they may have about the world outside the Change Cage cities. How else can you explain the abundance of information that was released prior to the publication of Underneath the Lamplight (a book about the Neovictorians) and nothing but silence about the Skyloft or Neobedouin books? The Emperor doesn't want us knowing what is going outside the Change Cage cities in the hope that all we will be able to play are Neovictorians. Just one more of his insideous plans to control us.

Don't let him win!

Defy the Emperor and release whatever tidbits of information you have about the world outside his cities!
There are three types of people in the world... those who can count and those who can't.

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