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NewOriginalSchwann

Schwann Strikes Forth! - A Human Lore Developer Application

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Ckey/BYOND Username: neworiginalschwann

Position Being Applied For: Human Lore Deputy

Past Experiences/Knowledge: None in terms of the server, but I am a current graduate student pursuing a master of the arts degree. Therefore, I am able to write at an advanced level. I am, additionally, a native speaker of English.

Examples of Past Work: The prime example of this is Himeo, which is currently up for canonization. From start to finish Himeo took roughly five days to write and two days to edit.

 

Additional Comments: THE ESSAY

            The Frontier Alliance, and the frontier more generally, is easily the most interesting area of our lore. However, it is an underdeveloped one: the entire Frontier Alliance has one named planet, Xanu Prime, which means that every other named faction has more planets. This is an entity described as “[…] possibly the most populous entity in the Orion Spur,” by our wiki. As a result, most characters avoid the frontier and, if they are from it, are generally from a planet that they made up on their own time. There is more lore on the tajaran military than the Frontier Alliance, by sheer volume. New Hai Phong, a singular planet in the Sol Alliance, has more lore than the Frontier Alliance. There seem to be more stories about unathi pirates beating frontier dwellers silly then there are about the frontier itself. This is not what the current state of affairs should be regarding the Frontier Alliance – something needs to change. In this critique I will lay out my plan to expand upon the lore of the Frontier Alliance, and enhance the frontier’s lore more generally.

            The areas of expansion that, in my eyes, will benefit the frontier and the Frontier Alliance are listed below, in a bullet point fashion for ease of reference. Following this list, I will discuss my points in greater depth.

1.      Expansion of existing frontier and Frontier Alliance lore.

2.      More planets on the frontier that have a good amount of lore.

3.      A further expansion of frontier and Frontier Alliance culture.

The present lore of the frontier and Frontier Alliance is, as mentioned above, lacking. There is more lore on New Hai Phong, a singular planet in the Sol Alliance, than on the entire Frontier Alliance. This needs to change, but in a specific manner: to expand instead of rework. In order to do so I intend to start with the Frontier Alliance page itself: I will expand upon its history, linking in the Coalition of Colonies and the Interstellar War – showing how the Sol Alliance has engendered a mistrust between the frontier and itself that led to the largest war in human history. Society will also be expanded, and I intend to work with Borya in order to expand upon the “shared culture” of the frontier – i.e. holidays. Politics is, as it stands, barely a few paragraphs that leaves a variety of questions. How do these parties get their power, anyways? With is a party of Max Stirner anarchists one of the largest political parties in the Frontier Alliance? I don’t know, as it has not been explained at all. The sky is the limit with the Frontier Alliance, and we need to reach towards that sky rather than simply remaining where we are presently.

But what of lore expansions? The Frontier Alliance (and the entire frontier, as an extension) has one planet with 194 words describing it. Here are some things with more lore, by word count, than Xanu: S’Mara (when combined with photograph caption), the Idris family, the environment of New Hai Phong (over twice as long), Hma-trra Zivr (Adhomaian Glacial Worm), the Firebrand Summit, etc. I could go on, but the point has been made thoroughly enough. The first step of expanding the origin points for the frontier and Frontier Alliance will be an expansion of Xanu, then the addition of more origin points. The gold standard for new planets should be New Hai Phong, and I have met this standard through my work on Himeo. I intend to keep this standard, if not this pace, throughout my work on the frontier. Having one planet of origin on the entire frontier is not only a lore issue, it deprives our players of options.

      Frontier culture is somewhat hard to define, due to not much being written on it and the size of the frontier itself. I intent to work with my fellow lore developers to create more of a culture, but not to create a definitive culture that supersedes player freedom. The great part of the frontier is that you can do whatever you desire with it, and that should be left alone. However, we should have more to work off of as developers and as players. Holidays are great for this as it would be a concept that frontier characters can unite on, but not an overbearing thing that every frontier character must adhere to.

Finally, I would like to answer a question that will likely come up: do you intend to do anything other than write about the frontier? I do, and I am particularly interested in Eridanian and Dominian lore, as well as Elyra – all three are excellently designed factions so far, and should be expanded upon. All in all, the frontier and Frontier Alliance can only benefit from being expanded upon, and I eagerly look forward to writing on these factions.

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Okay so, everyone knows that FT, Elyra, Mars etc. are factions that have been kinda left in the dust to make space to complaint about Sol for nearly two years, and you know I like that people in the new applications seem to be focusing on those and really giving it a big think.
But
I think there is too much human lore right now. Overall humanity is split into 6 factions with each factions having at least 1 or 2 sub-factions and Sol having a whopping 8 unique cultural factions. (Mictlan, Venus, Mars etc.)

What do you think about this? Aren't you a bit worried that adding culture to FT is just going to go un-addressed by the playerbase simply because there is such a giant plethora to pick from? Do you think this should ever be addressed or that certain sub-factions should be cut out to make information flow easier? What's your overall opinion on this b...b.....bloat?

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The frontier was sectioned off by me (when I was Loremaster) as a place of player freeform creativity. The frontier alliance is a relatively recent faction, really padding out the numbers. Do you think that by solidifying the frontier further and further, that you will sacrifice player creativity? Currently the frontier is where players can put all of their factions and backstories that loredevs dont want to put on the wiki.

How will your developments of the frontier alliance tie back to the station?
And do you consider Mars part of the frontier, with its rugged, individualist, practically anarchist spirit?
What is the point of the frontier alliance to you? What energy does it carry? Can you describe its themes that you want to see? Elyra is an optimistic islamic republic, dominia sure is something, Biesel is the shining city on a hill, etc...

Edited by Marlon Phoenix

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Alright! Hi, Schwann, was waiting for you to apply. I would love to hear your answers to the questions already posed, and also add some of mine.

I know you wanna write for the frontier and I know you'd do great, but you gotta understand that we can't make Frontier Alliance the deepest faction in the lore(and keep in mind that we want it to still remain THE faction for freeform creativity). I appreciate your writing but you also have to consider that not everyone is willing to read 100 pages of lore for a single faction. Don't take this as me being apprehensive, I just want you to keep this in mind so me and Pegasus don't have to stand like a wall in front of whatever you wanna submit to the wiki.

Now, the questions:
Is there anything else you would like to work on in human lore? There has been a lack of corporate lore lately, and I, admittedly, don't have a lot of ideas as to what to do with it, so I hope you do.
What you find to be the most troublesome, illogical, or any other adjective of the sort, piece of human lore?

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Thank you for your application. A question related to what Coalf has said - where can human lore be consolidated or simplified to make it more accessible? Is it worth doing so at the cost of detail in order to form a more coherent narrative for these factions and human lore as a whole?

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These are all excellent questions, so thank you for taking the time to respond. My answers are below, in order of posting.

 

Coalf:

1). On Human Bloat

Humans are the most populous and most played species on our server. To me, it makes a lot of sense for them to have a multitude of options and I personally appreciate how diverse they can be within the same species. Somebody from Venus is completely different than somebody from New Hai Phong, or the frontier. In what lore I have written, I have attempted to counter human bloat to an extent by bringing in other races, such as the tajara on Himeo.

2). Worries on Choice

This is a concern I have, but I will not let it stop me from writing lore. If there are a multitude of choices, you simply need to ensure that yours is unique compared to the others. In my eyes, adding more lore to the Frontier Alliance will make more people choose it as a point of origin.

3). Addressing Bloat

While removing sub-factions is, in my eyes, an entirely valid option it is one I would like to avoid if at all possible. Removing factions removes player options, which is something I want to avoid as a lore developer, and tends to make people mad at the end of the day. Instead, I intend to follow the example of Kyres by better-organizing sub-factions on the wiki and lore as a whole. During his tenure as synthetic deputy, Kyres managed to turn an absolute tangle of wiki pages into a cohesive narrative - it is an example to be followed. As it stands, attempting to learn the politics of the Sol Alliance is an exercise in frustration. There is no reason we should not merge the pages together into one, like what Kyres did with synthetic factions.

4). Bloat Overall

To an extent, bloat is an inevitable result of lore development. Some bloat is good, such as materials that flush out the world but have no impact in-game. This bloat has a purpose, it means something even if it's secondary. Nobody ever talks about the weird native animals of New Hai Phong, but they're there to give us a greater image of the planet. Some bloat is not so good, such as information that just seems to exist without a purpose. If I write a bunch about the election campaign of the current leader of the Sol Alliance it's neat, but ultimately serves no purpose.

 

Jackboot:

1). How will your developments of the frontier alliance tie back to the station?

Through the creation of new points of origin for players that are seen in characters on the station. In my eyes, there is no better way to bring lore onto the station than characters themselves. I can personally attest to this: I managed to get several players interested in Dominian lore through the creation of a certain character, and several characters from the Frontier Alliance were the original reason I turned my eye towards FA lore.

2). And do you consider Mars part of the frontier, with its rugged, individualist, practically anarchist spirit?

Absolutely, positively not. The frontier is the frontier for a reason, its distance from the Alliance, and Mars is right next to Earth - the only place you could get further from the frontier is the Moon. There are, however, some shared traits between the two such as the individualist spirit, ruggedness, and opposition to the Sol Alliance.

3). What is the Frontier Alliance and its point?

To me, the primary point of the Frontier Alliance is to provide an origin point with freedom for players, and to give us as lore developers a place to create interesting and unusual systems. Anything (within reason) is possible on the frontier. Planets built entirely underground, planets dotted in megacities, the off-world human fleets, totally alien environments, bizarre systems of government, and so on. I want to see the Frontier Alliance as a place where people have a solid base in lore in order to allow their creativity to run wild - to establish the Alliance as a more solid thing, but allow players to be as creative as ever on the frontier of humanity. A theme of the unknown, and the possibilities that can originate from said unknown. 

 

Comrade Vlad Borya

1). Other Interests?

I am interested in Eridani and Dominia as factions, though those are both very well-developed (as are the other human factions). Corporate lore is something I am additionally interested in touching, though I would like to see more behind the scenes of lore development before doing anything with the established megacorporations. Particularly, I'd like to see something done with Einstein Engines instead of having it in a limbo of "maybe it's defunct" or "it's a Heph subsidiary now."

2). Most Irritating Thing

ATLAS Apologies to Pegasus, but I have always found the timescale of Dominia to be a little short. I love Dominia and Dominian lore - it's a completely alien human faction and there's nothing like it - but the time scale doesn't really make sense to me when I think about it very hard. In 2437 these people were under the control of three different human governments, one of them a democracy, and now twenty-four years later they're an entirely different culture. I still love Dominian lore, but this keeps me up at night. It haunts me!

 

Pegasus:

1). Where can we simplify human lore?

As mentioned above, I think we can combine a lot of wiki pages on human lore, particularly the Sol Alliance. Furthermore, I'd like to see a page that lays out the relations between human factions (and non-human factions) in plain language. When I first joined the server a few months ago after reading a beginner's guide and some of the lore, I still had legitimately no idea why a frontier character was furious at me for mentioning I was from Sol. As such, I'd like to see an introductory page to lore designed, and the timeline of humanity page made more easily accessible as it is currently hidden beneath the human racial blurb on a totally unrelated page to the rest of human lore.

2). Is it worth it?

If your lore is detailed but incoherent, it is not good lore. Lore should, even when it is a nightmarish 5,000 word essay about one planet, always be laid out in a very coherent narrative. As such I am always willing to sacrifice lore in depth for lore that is understood, though it is my belief that I can write both.

Edited by NewOriginalSchwann
whoops I forgot a spacing issue

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Hi! Thanks for the answers to the questions. I'll ask you regarding the Frontier Alliance-- do you have ideas as to what you plan to do? I have to ask this because me and Pegasus are currently working on expanding Frontier lore already. I want to hear your thoughts on this to understand that our ideas won't clash should you be accepted.

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7 hours ago, BoryaTheSlayer said:

Hi! Thanks for the answers to the questions. I'll ask you regarding the Frontier Alliance-- do you have ideas as to what you plan to do? I have to ask this because me and Pegasus are currently working on expanding Frontier lore already. I want to hear your thoughts on this to understand that our ideas won't clash should you be accepted.

I do have some solid ideas, yes. Initially I'd like to expand upon Xanu before working my way outwards, so to speak. I intend to further emphasize the major cities of Xanu and add preserved battlefields to it as a reminder of the Interstellar War. Beyond that, I have a few vague ideas for planets in the frontier.

I have, additionally, realized that I did not quote a singular person during my first post. As a result, I will be pinging everyone in this one, aside from Borya: @Coalf @Marlon Phoenix @Pegasus

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Schwann's comprehension and grasp of the current lore feels absolutely exemplary to the point of interesting me in other factions I would usually simply skim by, especially the way you  show it that feels absolutely enlightening to witness. And I do heavily agree with your response regarding the simplification of the human lore, since coherence is what most often breaks it or makes it.

Although I do have some questions of my own, if you don't mind! I am particularly interested in Eridanian lore, and hearing your interest in expanding them has caught my ears.

1) What would your angle be regarding the Frontier Alliance's relationship with other human factions, not just the Sol Alliance, but also perhaps even Dominia considering its Space Pirate history?

2) Could we have some examples as to what you have in mind for the Corporate side of the Eridanian lore?

3) Something that feels conflicting about Eridanian lore is their Beautiful, Terraformed planets and their Heavily Polluted and Exploitation of Resources, since there's a lot more mentions of the former than the latter. How would you tweak that detail, or even at all?

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23 minutes ago, VisVirific said:

Schwann's comprehension and grasp of the current lore feels absolutely exemplary to the point of interesting me in other factions I would usually simply skim by, especially the way you  show it that feels absolutely enlightening to witness. And I do heavily agree with your response regarding the simplification of the human lore, since coherence is what most often breaks it or makes it.

Although I do have some questions of my own, if you don't mind! I am particularly interested in Eridanian lore, and hearing your interest in expanding them has caught my ears.

1) What would your angle be regarding the Frontier Alliance's relationship with other human factions, not just the Sol Alliance, but also perhaps even Dominia considering its Space Pirate history?

2) Could we have some examples as to what you have in mind for the Corporate side of the Eridanian lore?

3) Something that feels conflicting about Eridanian lore is their Beautiful, Terraformed planets and their Heavily Polluted and Exploitation of Resources, since there's a lot more mentions of the former than the latter. How would you tweak that detail, or even at all?

1). I want to expand the relationship between the Frontier Alliance and Dominia, particularly one is an expansionist imperialist faction of space pirates and the other is a target of expansion. Frontier worlds along the border of Dominia are an area I wish to explore, particularly the fact that these worlds have had to rapidly heavily militarize themselves over the past thirty or so year or be overtaken by Dominia. My preexisting work with Himeo kind of fits into this with its standing fleet, but I'd like to go closer to the proper Dominian Empire.

2). Certainly! I plan to make the Eridani contractor faction seen in-game into an actual organization that subcontracts from other PMCs, so you can be an Eridani Private Military Company contractor from N4NL Industries. I'll also echo every other lore developer by saying I'd love to see Eridanian augments fully ported into the game, and believe this would add to both suits and dregs. Finally, I'd like to add more Corporate slang and name a few cities on the surface of Oran.

3). I would tweak it along class lines between suits/corporates and dregs - suits have beautiful terraformed environments they live in that are kept secure by the military and police, while dregs wallow in pollution and immobility. This would both resolve this conflicting lore issue and make suits/dregs feel more different. This would also be a good chance to re-add tunnel runners as the individuals brave, or foolish, enough to live in the hyper-polluted areas.

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I am fully and very much looking forward to your changes if you do get the application greenlit! Especially for more lore regarding the Epsilon Eridani sectors and their cities, as well as the tweaking that could make it full use of what's already established in terms of suits and dregs. Good luck, and you have my full support for this!

1+

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I usually just ask questions and let applicants answer them, as I believe that is wholeheartedly enough for a developer to judge a person. However, reading over these I have to say that I will actually give a +1, as I am genuinly interested to see how Schwann will handle these factions.

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The Frontier really needs much more representation than it currently gets, in addition to a more noticeable standing on the Ceti stage. I support this application on the basis that I know your writing is solid from the lore you've submitted and that I know you're a good teamplayer and probably won't get in any slapfights in lore.

+1

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Schwann is a pleasure to role-play with and each of their characters are equally unique as they are fascinating. I am certain they are creative and a skilled writer. I have no questions but I wanted to offer my support! I am eager to see the Frontier expanded upon.

+1

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