Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Inhuman Future

I've been kicking around an idea for my next Mutant Future campaign: humans as an endangered species.  The folks that do all the important stuff in the campaign would be plants, animals and robots.  In some areas of the world humans would be considered mythical while in other places they might be second class citizens or treated as animals like in Planet of the Apes.  Other communities might never have heard of humanity.  The PCs might care about the fate of humanity and the campaign could even be about that, but humans (mutant or otherwise) are not what the milieu itself is about.  The world of 2525 (or whatever) just doesn't give a crap about humanity anymore than the world today cares much about any of a hojillion extinct species.  They're dead and we've moved on.  Later we're dead and they've moved on.

There'd still be morlocks somewhere, of course.
Would this set-up annoy you as a player?  I'd certainly be open to letting folks play PCs who were some sort of the last remnant of humanity, whether that means mutants slumming about radioactive ruins or cryogenically preserved pure strain humans.  But I wonder if this sort of heavy-handedness might make the game ungrokkable to some players, especially the neebie types.

Illo courtesy Dresdan Codak.

22 comments:

  1. It wouldn't bother me any, and I tend to almost exclusively play humans. In this case, I'd be tempted to play a mutant raccoon who really wouldn't care, one way or the other, after the novelty wore off. ;)

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  2. I've often been bored with the anthropocentric settings of rpgs, so I wouldn't mind it at all.

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  3. Just make sure the non-humans pronounce human as "who-man". Oh - and put in a tribe of carnivorous white apes who raise the tiny descendants of humans as food the way humans now raise chickens for food - that would be awesome.

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  4. It'd be cool and probably easy to grok in such a setting. Plus, it could spawn adventure hooks as the party looks for human retinas to gain access to certain facilities, or human fingerprints to activate certain devices.

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  5. I think as long as you're up front about it then it's fine. It would be different in play depending on whether humans were considered just another species among many (indifference) or some kind of known rarity/delicacy (hunted). If the party is going to be handed some baggage because one of the players plays a human then I'd want to know beforehand.

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  6. I think the ability for the setting to be groked, at least for me, would depend on what was humans were replaced with. If the rest of the world was filled with the kind of crazy mutants you see as mutant future PCs, with no discernible species like Moks then I'd be thrown off a little.

    It sounds sort of like Geoffery McKiney's interpretation of Gamma World:

    http://odd74.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=metaalpha&action=display&thread=792

    I'd imagine yours will be sillier.

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  7. Not at all. I wish I lived closer to 'Armored Gopher Games' so I could play!

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  8. I agree with what Blacksteel said:

    If the party is going to be handed some baggage because one of the players plays a human then I'd want to know beforehand.

    I think this is really the main consideration.

    From personal experience, I had a somewhat similar situation in my D&D campaign where the players started out in a Spanish-type country ruled by an Inquisition that hunted down non-believers which included dwarves, orcs, and any kind of wizard/sorcerer/bard/witch/whatever. I told the players this straight up from the beginning that they would be hassled if they played one of these characters. So, they weren't surprised when they got thrown in prison and tortured and stuff.

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  9. I've been on a Gamma tear myself for the last 6 months, and I like this idea a lot actually.

    I can't imagine the PCS wouldn't know about it--it's their world after all. I could see however if they came from a society where humans were second class and went to one where they were mythical a really great twist where their companion went from peon to legendary!

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  10. Anonymous2:27 PM

    I like this idea plenty, but I do think you are making a lot of work for yourself in respect to world building. What does a post-human culture look like? What kind of constraints do you put on mutation? A lot of the foundations of more primitive cultures are body-oriented. What kind of culture do you have when no one looks or, say, even respirates the same way?

    Cool idea though. I'd be interested in that sort of world, for sure.

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  11. Sounds like Kamandi - The Last Boy on Earth is goin' on your reading list in the near future, if it isn't already there.

    When I've delved into Gamma World, my players tend to gravitate toward the mutant critters anyhow, since I tend to house rule they get more physical mutations and fewer mental ones.

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  12. I wouldn't mind. but then, my group plays TMNT, so, I suppose, any group willing to play TMNT wouldn't mind.

    Verification word:

    Aersub (noun) Waht you fly across the inverted world with.

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  13. Awesome! I'd just make sure that the players have enough "human" classes to choose from.

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  14. I run a post-apoc game called 'Tempora Mutantur' that involves humans as an endangered species. The PCs are from a pure-strain enclave, and there is not much in the way of civilization at all.

    Geoffrey's interpretation was mentioned in a previous comment - this campaign is consistent with that approach.

    The gameblog is at:

    http://tempora-mutantur-rpg.blogspot.com/

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  15. It would totally work for me. I think it would be really interesting actually. Plus I like the idea of "who-man"

    Have fun with it!

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  16. the amazing thing about humanity is that we have survived as long as we have . . .
    power to the mutants ! !

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  17. Anonymous8:59 PM

    I wouldn't have any interest in such a campaign, I like humans way too much and have problems when there are more than a few token non-humans. I just can't relate. That said, go for it... I'm sure you could run a fun game like that, and I'd happily read your reports after the fact.

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  18. Why the Hell not?

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  19. Anonymous1:57 AM

    I'd be intrigued, but I agree that you then have heavy lifting to do with world creation and most of all communicating what the goals and limitations are.

    Also, I'd want it to be recognisably different from a humans game in the way it played out: why would it matter that you weren't all humans?

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  20. Have you seen the Savage Worlds setting book Low Life. It uses a very similar idea; humans are long gone, and their last remnant, the Boduls (Beings of Dubious Lineage) are barely distinguishable from the Tiznts (Tzint this, Tiznt that) the mixed up leftovers of the animal kingdom. Some people have a religion based on the old Hoomanrace (as they are called), others hate their leagacy with a passion, and everywhere is filled with their indestructible rubbish and crap.

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  21. As a player I could handle this. As a GM not so much. My Gamma World campaign ended last night on a TPK. In this game everyone was an animal, (except one guy who was a plant)and their mission was to form an all animal society. While the sessions were a blast,I disliked the campaign intellectually. I found that my interest in post apocalyptic gaming is how humans have adapted to the new world. Humanity is the lens through which I view a post apocalyptic setting. This leads back to my first point in that as a player I would play one of those hunted humans and probably get off on it. In the Kamandi series, Kamandi is that lens through which the reader sees this brave new world. But GM to GM let me warn you that the others are right about the extra work involved, it requires a lot of mental gymnastics. As a side note the whole campaign had a kind of a furries vibe which worked for some people and not for others..

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  22. Sounds cool! I wouldn't see why it'd be a problem, I'd love a setting like this that I HADN'T devised myself. But then, I never bought 'humanocentrism' in fantasy worlds anyhow; especially ones that contained species that were obviously more adaptable/powerful than humanity. The limitations placed on them to 'handicap' them in many settings seemed more artificial than the notion of the alien beings themselves.... Look forward to seeing this one!

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