Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Worldbuilding: A Cosmology of Servers

Salutations, my Curious Congregation! I'm in a gaming place at the moment and was bitten by a renegade idea the other night that I want to talk about a little bit and develop and I'm hoping it will give you ideas as well.

This one is mainly for my tabletoppers, but if you're writing science fiction and like fantasy or vice versa you might still find this interesting, so writers in the audience feel free to stick around. Tapletoppers, feel free to use this at your table; feel even more free to hit me up and tell me how it goes.

Content Warnings: A healthy dose of irreverence, probably some swearing and the potential to be infested by a colony of world-building ants.

Still with me? Alright, let's crack into this.

Your standard cosmology is going to involve a prime material plane, planes where you get your fiends, celestials and elementals, planes where the gods live, and planes for the afterlife. It's the fiends, celestials and elementals I'm zeroing in on here.

Imagine virtual reality and sophisticated AI. For every sane AI working on human rules, there are enough humans out there running on insane troll logic that some AI are going to be programmed to standards that don't make any sense at all, and it's impossible to tell exactly what you're dealing with right away.

So the basic virtual world is the prime material plane. Things have a basic way of working here. The code is stable. Magic isn't part of it. NPCs are programmed to know their world based on the context of living in it, but they are intelligent enough to come up with their own quests and cause their own problems so sometimes rogue quests will crop up that aren't repeatable and that was meant to be part of the charm.

The trouble is, some of the other servers have been hijacked by the AI.

One of them was basically broken down and rebuilt in the strange alien image of the AI that took it over, and that became the feywild. The shadowfell is partially corrupted, not safe to be in and things are more likely to glitch out there.

Spellcasting is fucking with the programming to alter reality to your own benefit and there are safe ways to do it (any wizard, clerics and paladins with mod privileges), and not so safe ways to do it  (wild magic sorcerer, some warlocks) and sometimes there are consequences.

Geas is basically putting a quest in someone's quest log that they can't delete until they finish it, and some of the more powerful AI know how to do that.

The lawful planes haven't been donked with because the AI, programmed by sane people, is strong enough to keep the order.

Anyway, I just have a burning desire to run this for some of my players. Not isekai them into it because that's everywhere right now. I know the reason people do that is to make the stakes real, but think about your online communities.

Do you have anywhere online with people that you know well and care about? Who know your name and care when you're having a rough time of it? I know I for one get up in arms when I feel like my online haunts are being threatened. Some places on the web feel more like home to me than any physical place ever could.

Those are real stakes.

So anyway, this is what I'm jazzed about right now, might get into it more at a later date but for the time being please do feel free to use this as a springboard.

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

P.S. Torchlighters is still available and only 99 cents <3 It would mean a lot to me if you'd pop over there and buy a copy if you don't have one already. If you do a read and review would be appreciated.

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