Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why do the aliens invade?

Any number of MacGuffins or standard scifi tropes would likely do, to serve as impetus from otherworldly conquerers. But this story gave me a pretty good idea as to why aliens in GWW might have reason to take over our planet--and not care if the surface was scorched clean by death rays. As it turns out, the Earth may hold up to three times more water reserves than previously thought--deep underground.

The V mini-series from the 80s was right all along!
From The Guardian:
The water is locked up in a mineral called ringwoodite about 660km (400 miles) beneath the crust of the Earth, [emphasis mine] researchers say. Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University in the US co-authored the study published in the journal Science and said the discovery suggested Earth’s water may have come from within, driven to the surface by geological activity, rather than being deposited by icy comets hitting the forming planet as held by the prevailing theories.

“Geological processes on the Earth’s surface, such as earthquakes or erupting volcanoes, are an expression of what is going on inside the Earth, out of our sight,” Jacobsen said.
So the Earth is, in fact, an even bigger source for water in the solar system. Not to mention the fact that the reserves could be inspiration for the "great cataclysm" itself. It makes sense, from a narrative standpoint why the subterranean-dwelling valids would want to jealously protect the Earth's remaining, untouched resources.

What more can I say, science is cool!

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REVISION: Cybornas vs. Mechloks

When I'd first written about robotic races in GWW, I'd called the overarching race/class (we'll get into that in a second) "Mechloks". One of the subraces--a group of anatomically altered beings, usually sporting crude mechanical components--was classified "cybornas".

But I've had a while to think on it, and that term is more appropriate to the parent group, since all are, in some fashion "cybernetic" in nature. Plus, the earlier cyborna race was more inclined to be mechanical in nature. The term actually derives from "morlock," the subhuman savages featured in H. G. Wells' The Time Machine. Mechlok sounds more in line with the Mad Max feel of that group.

Henceforth, Cyborna shall refer to the entire group of cybernetic beings, which now includes Mechloks (mechanized cyborgs), Syndrones (genetic androids), and Golthans (mute giants).

As for that earlier point on races as a class--yes, I intend to make the different races operate more like classes in the game. The intention is to create loose factions, based along racial cultures and characteristics. More on that later. For now, here's the revised entry...


Cybornas are artificial or artificially-enhanced humanoid beings of which three are three distinct types: Mechloks (half biological, half  electromechanical), Syndrones (organically grown  androids), and Golthans (manufactured, giant androids).

Mechlok clans roam the ruins of fallen cities and industrial sites in search of tools, fuel, or tech to enhance their motley features. They can range from highly-sophisticated composites to hack-n-slash monstrosities (in the wilds, the latter are usually more prominent). About half of all mechloks have some sort of enhanced, if not totally, mechanical means of locomotion.

They are largely nomadic raiders, attacking small- to medium-sized settlements for food, fuel, and spare parts. Just about every clan is lead by a chieftain that's chosen by right of challenge, crewed by mechlok "claners" (junkers who cherry pick spare parts, and accompanied by some sort of ground-based war machine or juggernaught. They don't like outsiders, which can include rival clans.

Syndrones are grown from genetically spliced pods that act as spawning plants. After the cataclysm, their mental development seemed to accelerate, allowing them to form highly-advanced colonies. They're descendants of ancient androids that--in the quest for self perfection--began modifying their own manufacturing. The result is something akin to a humanoid made from organic-based polymers, filled with a densely-woven positronic network.

Syndrones typically live in agricultural communes, spending the bulk of their resources on cutivating new crops of young and acting as healers for all forms of cybernetic life. Some factions have been known to associate with Valids, providing intelligence in return for certain, hard-to-find resources found only underground. They appear as exceptionally graceful beings with an enlightened sensibility. Make no mistake though, they will do anything to acquire the resources needed to keep their birth/sleep pods in peak performance.

Golthans are giant, mute androids that range in size between 3 and 10 meters and appear in a variety of humanoid forms. They were built as artificially intelligent combat units by Goliath Robotics International in the late 21st century, but an attack by a radical sect of hackers turned Goliath's best-selling products into an army of curious, robot children.

The hackers uploaded a virus into a GRI server that provided realtime updates to all model types located throughout the world. The virus included an algorithm that would allow their positronic brains to develop highly-emotive personalities (originally intended by the virus authors to be passive).

Around the time of the cataclysm they all simultaneously lost the ability to speak. Whether by misunderstanding or the simple fact of their unusual size, Golthans are usually loners, living for centuries at a time in the wilds, where they can observe nature away from the rest of mutant society. As they tend not to comprehend their own size and strength compared with lesser beings, those that encounter them should exercise extreme caution.

Cyborna races are intended for use as player characters, NPCs, and as templates for monsters.