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State Of The Lore - And The Loremaster (Do U Like Me Y/N)

Guest Marlon Phoenix

<t>What do you think of the current state of the lore?</t>  

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

It's been about 5 months since I was appointed as the Loremaster - Lore Emperor title pending. I think it's time I had a reflection on how we've progressed, and give my manifest for my policy since I was appointed. Think of this as a manifesto of sorts. I give it now, rather than when I was immediately appointed, because now we all have actual incidents, events, changes, and general progress to use as a base of criticism or praise. I prefer meaty substance over speculation - and we haven't had an angry thread on the lore in weeks, so I think it's safe to have a public feedback.

Here are the most important facets of my Loremaster policy for the lore.


  • Accessibility

The lore has to be accessible for both new players and regulars. Skimming the lore, obsessively digesting the lore, or barely paying attention to the lore are all an equally valid amount of caring. I've worked with my team to instill KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid - while at the same time opening possibilities to be in-depth where we need/want. It's why I toned down the development of lore for every single planetary body and system in the galaxy. People were being yelled at for misnaming some system somewhere, or not being up to date on planet lore. And that, to me, is not okay.


  • Balance

A continuation of the above. When I was first appointed, I was faced with two competing dominant choices as the philosophy of lore development: "More is More!" and "Less is more!" A chunk of people wanted as much IRL science as possible, making our background, fluff, and general lore as grounded in 21st century reality as possible. This was combined with IRL scientific knowledge, formulas, and general information that I'll be hasty enough to call an information overload.

I opted against either extreme. I've tried to strike a balance between realism and fun. This is pushed by my biggest philosophy for this area: The lore justifies mechanics. It is not my place, nor the lore team's place, to disregard entire game modes or antagonists just because they aren't realistic. Cult, wizard, and vampire rounds are all as equally valid as game modes as extended or nuke ops, and they will receive work and development to flesh them out and make them as interesting for those involved as possible, from a lore perspective. We are here to explain what we have mechanically, and how it can make enough sense for us to believe that this is a consistent universe.

Because, to me, realism in science fiction isn't about IRL science. It's about consistency, and that means the rules, laws, and physics all have to make sense for that universe. In our SS13 reality, space carp exists. Giant, carnivorous fish exist in a vacuum and try to eat us. Sometimes when we kill them, we turn them into poisonous hamburgers. No one bats an eye.


  • Cooperation - Work With, Not Against

Lore canonization, whitelists, events, backstories; all of these I operate with a cooperative and lenient mindset. I absolutely hate saying "no" to someone without providing alternatives, adjustments, or opportunities. If someone pitches a unique idea, whether it be a unathi with something special or unique about it, a player-faction with some interesting concepts, or just a question about a player backstory: "Let's talk about how to make this work." is as far as I want to get to a "no" if the person shows that they have investment in what they've created.

In the end, I like to give people a chance. I can be disappointed, or firm, but these are a consequence and not how I approach someone.


  • Focus Back on NT

Did you know that, before I rebooted the timelines, the Sol Alliance had three civil wars? The Earth was devastated, and it was all very sad. I asked around about this because I thought about redoing it, and wanted opinions. Out of about ~17 people I got direct answers from, only 4 correctly guessed right on how many civil wars we had. Everyone thought it was 1, 2, or even 4.

There were also serious discussions about removing NT from the equation entirely and making the Aurora a government research station for the Sol Alliance. I was originally for this proposal before I suddenly realized that something was horribly, horribly wrong here.

I will preface this with an acknowledgement that the previous philosophy and creative work was a legitimate and interesting one. All types of writing and lore have their place, and in another setting, it would work wonderfully. But I didn't want a Sol-dominant lore for SS13; it didn't fit the spirit of the game, to me. A staple of the kind of scifi we're all roleplaying in is the almost 19th century reversion to mega-corporations dominating life. It's the core of SS13 (when it's not totally converted into something else) and I didn't want to see it go, anymore. So I shifted focus, made Biesel independent, gave Sol some economic troubles making it dependent on mega-corps, and moved the Sol Alliance timeline to a different area while making the main timeline on our wiki's front page a condensed history of Nanotrasen.


  • Player Involvement

We're not writing for ourselves. We're writing to justify mechanics in a way that keeps people interested. And most people are interested in a universe that breaths - it has to feel alive. That's why I've been making the news threads, and several IC threads that decided on major dynamics or shifts in our universe. The Sol Alliance elections, AI 'human rights', were both decided through semi-IC means on this forum. And when I confront something heavily ingrained in the lore that I find needs gutting and reorganizing - unathi lore, Sol Alliance lore, the 'morality' of NT/the syndicate, I bring it to the community and host public discussions on it.

They get rather feisty, but I've adjusted and reversed policies many times because of reasonable and thoughtful objections, or suggestions for alternatives. I mean, originally, I was going to have Nanotrasen just up and be sovereign and own Biesel outright. Now they just own it like wal-mart does us IRL. They technically don't, but if they left we'd all die in the streets. I will say that this methodology has had the delightful result of players being actively involved in direct ways - our new IPC/shell lore, the current ruling governments of the Sol Alliance, and even a mega-corporation were all created by players like Xanderdox, Jackfractual, Jamini, Tytos, Crescentise, Bokaza, and others I don't remember immediately off the top of my head because I don't like saving drafts to re-read later. These guys are supes awesome.

But I swear to god if any of you try to supplant me, I'll fight you IRL. (ง ͠° ͟ل͜ ͡°)ง



With that said, and my positions given, I would appreciate feedback for the current state of things, my philosophy, and general mindset about the lore and how you feel it's progressing. It's not currently done, but we're working to get closer to our goal of finally completing everything else and putting aside time for the lore that truly matters: Clownplanet.

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Okay. Wish I could remember what bothered me about Lore, but I honestly can't. Generally speaking, the lore was always pretty nice. Relevant and interesting, for the most part. My primary concerns about the lore team were about lack of transparency, as there was a period that it seemed like no lore was being worked on. This got people passionate about it all worked up and hostile, thinking they could do better on a whim, as anything beats nothing.

But, at the current state, I see no large issues with the lore and work is being done, so, I'll give the max grade. Also, I always liked the Mars lore here. My most well known character is influanced by its lore.

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I've never really been a stickler for the lore, nor a giant fan of it.

I've mostly been in the middle with it and I like to think that some of my ideas/opinions still already exist in the lore because I pitched them in the past and said, "Hey, guys, this is cool, right? It'd make sense in this universe", and that was that.

With anything else that the lore doesn't cover, well. I just improvise. Make up my own stuff. Make sure it doesn't conflict horridly with the current lore or is, in my point of view, too snowflakey.

As far as I've seen however since the Era of Tablespork ended, I've seen more work get done on the side of the lore team and more (fun, not frequent) events be coordinated than ever.

I appreciate the work you put in as a loremaster as well as whoopin' the other nerds into shape to write stuff, sometimes. I also appreciate the work you do as a Duty Officer, I enjoy working with you.

Regarding the state of the lore, though, I'll be pretty honest. I've been here long enough not to care so much about it unless I can get some n33t roleplay out of it. You're doing good work, don't get me wrong here, I just. It's 'meh' to me. It doesn't matter an awful lot anymore.

It might just me attempting to work on 'not getting mad cuz bad', but, eh. That's just me.

I'm pretty neutral on it in terms of the state of the lore, but it's not so much with the positive and negatives weighing into that decision. It's more like, I don't consider either.

Still, yeah, you know. 10/10, as bokaza said. My characters are still affected by your work nonetheless, I appreciate it

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