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Podcast | Radio Free Deimos
57 minutes | 11 days ago
Radio Free Deimos E69 – Blueskies
Blueskies! Those tiny drifting city-stations that just don’t get enough press! We start on these, with an author interview from Emmi and a generous helping of chatter from the hosts. If you haven’t yet gone to the HSD Kickstarter, don’t miss your chance! We’ll be leaning much more heavily on fan content for the next several episodes as we go in some new directions for the podcast. We name-dropped Maya Glass, the unofficial head of Marsco’s unofficial Bluesky subdivision. This will probably be expanded a fair bit as we start exploring the solar system. This month, Corbeau thought it would be a good idea to sublet Voltaire Station, we were short on cash after dumping way too much money on the kickstarter. We leased out levels 2-5 of the station to Parallax, Sol’s travel agency. As it turns out, there is no level 3, 4, or 5 in Voltaire Station. So we’re making do with Asaph Hall studio and the break room. Along with this change in venue, or at least venue paint job, we have some new theme music from furry musician Leme. You can listen to the full piece, “Mars“, on Furaffinity. Thank you Leme!! News this week: we chatter a bit about the somewhat new Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, which is apparently no longer associated with the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s still pretty neat.
63 minutes | 4 months ago
Radio Free Deimos E68 – PC Corporations
Let’s talk about how PCs can start their own corporations, and maybe what that minicorp might look like. A fair bit of today’s episode references a 2016 article “Exotic Options,” which goes into a bit more game detail on some of the corporate builds we discuss. We also mention “Cynosure,” a large-but-not-quite Mega, which might be fun to play around in. This was written up for a setting piece, “Arc Bay,” which you may want to flip through. Too-late callout to the kickstarter TRPG “The Well,” full of fun necromantic nonsense, and to Furry Migration’s New Years party. If you’re there, look for Khaladog and Whiyena! Thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
90 minutes | 4 months ago
Radio Free Deimos E67 – Author Kickstarter interview!
A little gift for the holidays, Emmi joins us on Voltaire Station to chat about her upcoming Kickstarter, the resource and option guide! Lots of good previews this week, we’re very happy that she could join us! With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
90 minutes | 4 months ago
Radio Free Deimos E66 -TTI Town/Author Interview!
Following up on our “Welcome to TTI” episode, two very special guests – first, HSD author Emmi joins us to clear up some confusion we were creating in #65, drop some previews, and talk a little bit about some TTI lore that may not have gotten airtime before. Then Tygon comes to visit Voltaire Station – Tygon is a TTI fan and has perhaps a more upbeat attitude toward TTI in particular and HSD on the whole than the usual hosts do, and we love it when he can be a part of things. Thank you both! Emmi’s interview runs for the first 34 minutes of this quite long episode, so you can pause it there to get a cup of space coffee or whatever… With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
45 minutes | 5 months ago
Radio Free Deimos E65 – Welcome to TTI
After close to 20 episodes, we’re wrapping up our series on the megacorps with a pair of episodes on TTI! With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
52 minutes | 6 months ago
Radio Free Deimos E64 – IRPF Town
Woo! A second episode for 2020 And we’re back on a twice-a-month thing! The second episode on the magical world of IRPF… With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
53 minutes | 7 months ago
Radio Free Deimos E63 – Welcome to IRPF
After quite a hiatus, we return to our corp deep dives with IRPF! More footnotes and such coming soon… With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
58 minutes | a year ago
Radio Free Deimos E62 – Christmas Grab Bag
A really fun episode to record, this one’s a bunch of short bits and features from around the HSD community, centered on some common themes of Christmas and the holidays. Hope you enjoy! Episode #62 – a Christmas Grab Bag Show Notes ♃ Lots of bumpers from the “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” comic and record. I never quite get tired of this. ♃ 0.01.42 – Ally, a playtester for HSD 2.0, opens the episode with some thoughts on Christmas analogues in Sol. She talks about the massive cultural drift of 700 years, evolution of holidays, the creation of new, more commercial holidays, and how local conditions on planets and stations might approach a winter gifty holiday…or just a gifty holiday. Happy lateral feline day! And merry Flexalia! ♃ 0.06.44 – Sammi joins us to talk not so much about specifically Christmas, but a sort of homecoming holiday season, drawn from corporate shaping of social and family practices. I really like how plastic Sammi sees vector life. It’s nice to hear Sammi again, it’s been a while!♃ 0.14.02 – Tygon elaborates on a conversation from the Discord channel about Black Friday, and what that sort of consumer feeding frenzy might look like in the buyspot shopping world of Sol, with some adventure seed ideas for weaponizing a product-obsessed mob. It’s a humorous approach from a player/guide who’s known for favoring a utopian view of the setting.♃ 0.23.32 – Corbeau adapts his article of Frostival, an HSD spin on the MMORPG faux holiday of Frostivus. This playful gift-giving holiday was created in 21st century Terra by game users, using the virtual world for a nice little bit of tribalism. After the end of life on Terra, the holiday continued to survive, in ways both strange and mundane. ♃ 0.29.22 – The Radio Free Deimos hosts waste six minutes of your life cheerfully working over the idea of a Christmas corporation. ♃ 0.37.22 – Ashtaar shares a gently horrific vision of what cultural drift and transcendence might do to Santa/Krampus. ♃ 0.40.22 – Whines talks about the more physical elements of coming home for the holidays, and what that might mean. ♃ 0.46.49 – Navymongoose wrote “Voices in the Wilderness,” an exploration of Catholicism in Sol, a nicely grounded essay responding to my own “Tidings of Great Buy.” He returns to discuss holding on to faith in a secular, posthuman world. ♃ 0.51.32 – Corbeau’s poem “A Candle for Marsco” is centered on the semi-canon Vector holiday “Unification Day,” a somewhat solemn recognition of another cycle of Terra around the sun and a notch in Sol’s calendar. With thanks to my sister for her walk-on role. This one jumps all over Vector history. I’ll probably return to Aidie Lewellyn at some point in the past. This does rhyme but I’m way out of practice on reading poetry aloud, stumbled a bit. Oh well. It’s still sweet. Oh…and I’m not actually abusing my puppy for those sound effects, I left a recorder by the front door and took his sister for a walk. TORTURE. With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
78 minutes | a year ago
Radio Free Deimos E61 – Do They Know It’s Christmas
Merry Post-Christmas, Pre-12th-Night, or some such wintery event! There’s six or eight different celestial bodies we could be referencing and 700 years of cultural drift, maybe we’re not late for Christmas? Anyway, HSD Author Pierce Fraser joins me to talk about some of the more prominent characters in the HSD world… Episode #61 – Do They Know It’s Christmas? Show Notes My recipe for Wassail follows below this spoiler, one of my favorite recipes… Traditional WassailTraditional Wassail 10 very small apples 1 large orange stuck with whole cloves 10 teaspoons brown sugar 2 bottles dry red wine or dry sherry 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground ginger 3 cloves (or more) 3 allspice berries (or more) 4-5 black peppercorns (optional) 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks 2 cups extra fine sugar (pulverize in blender) (Optional, pretty sweet already!) 12 to 20 pints of cider according to the number of guests 1 cup (or as much as you like) brandy Core the apples and fill each with a teaspoon of brown sugar. Place in a baking pan and cover the bottom with 1/8-inch of water. Insert cloves into the orange about 1/2″ apart. Bake the orange with the apples in a 350° oven. After about 30 minutes, remove from oven–save the water!–and puncture the orange in several places with a fork or an ice pick Combine the red wine, cider, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon, sugar, and juice from the baked fruit, in a large, heavy saucepan and heat slowly without letting the mixture come to a boil. Simmer on very low heat for 15 minutes. Strain the wine mixture and add the brandy. (Note: I typically just throw everything into a huge crock pot or steel cauldron on a burner, and ignore the straining step and metal punch bowl, but it depends on how festive you want to be.) Pour into a metal punch bowl, float the apples and orange on top and ladle hot into punch cups. Makes enough for 15-20 people. For basically being hot apple juice, there’s a huge amount of tradition associated with wassail. Go figure! More about the large 3D printer “on Mars,” which was perhaps less exciting as a news article than as a headline. Bored and in Austin on New Years? Join Whines and me at Stubb’s Barbeque for a night of furry crazy drag stuff This is a fundraiser/awareness boost for Austin Furry Burlesque, a convention we’re launching in January 2021! Show notes Coming soon… With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
44 minutes | a year ago
Radio Free Deimos E60 – Progenitus Town
Week two of Progenitus, a little walk through Progenitus town, and some of the folks you’ll meet there…Moreso than usual, this one is pretty heavily “host opinion,” more than canon. Be warned. Episode #60 – Progenitus Town! Show Notes News article referenced at the end, “Scientists create bone-inspired structure for stronger 3D Printing,” ExtremeTech Coming soon… With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
57 minutes | a year ago
Radio Free Deimos E59 – Welcome to PRogenitus!
Back to the corporations, we start unpacking Progenitus! Episode #59 – Progenitus! Show Notes Coming soon… With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
47 minutes | a year ago
Radio Free Deimos E58 – Blight Spots
Let’s talk industrial and biological horror! Whines and Corbeau are trapped in a lonely cabin, Ashtaar and YT separated by a thunderstorm. But it’s okay, we have our podcasting equipment. Episode #58 – Blight Spots! Audio improved significantly! But both hosts have a cold, so you really can’t tell. Show Notes I won’t find a link to the article Whines references, but if you want to know more, if not MUCH more, about the aurora-like phenomemonmeon STEVE, you can read up on it here. Show Notes ♃ 0.01.45— What’s a blight zone? It’s what happens when Corbeau forgets words, it’s actually blight spots. These are places where transcendent energy forces its way into Sol in a self-perpetuating biological horror. Sometimes this happens in an industrial accident. Other times, the Power Cosmic blasts through some unsuspecting vector and turns them into a quarter mile of corrupt terrain. Either way, depends on what edition you’re reading. ♃ 0.04.19— Early HSD didn’t really have the cosmic horror elements that show up later in Sound and Silence and beyond. Earlier in HSD’s lore the blight spot concept is really more of a distant future echo of the nuclear accident. It takes forever to clean up, has a strange but generally subtle effect on the world around it. Blight Spots are caused by sabotage and industrial accidents, but don’t portend any great threat. That changes a bit in 2.0, when they become rather more whisper-like, manifestations of weird energies from beyond. Fundamentally mindless, but the universe itself is more malign. ♃ 0.04.19— I can’t remember what the name of the movie about the evil fetus monster. There are a lot of evil fetus movies, which may or may not be a surprise. Any attempt to google “abortion horror” will not go good places. ♃ 0.07.12— Did HSD get a lot darker in Sound and Silence? Or was it always that dark, and the author just opened that part of it up? That may make a good subject for an interview some day. Hmm. ♃ 0.09.10— 2.0 Blight Spots are much more arbitrary, more like Lovecraftian horror (or possibly “The Ring” style Japanese horror). They are a thing that happens, an event that occurs outside of anyone’s direct control, with the arbitrary randomness of a dispassionate giant crushing a small bug. Someone exposed to too much transcendent power and cuil simply explodes into a horror zone. ♃ 0.13.05— We talk briefly about the movie “Annihilation“, pretty solid biological horror intruding into this reality and solidly on topic for the Blight Spot concept. At some point we drop a reference to “Creepshow” and to the Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill, can’t find much in the way of the film itself but the graphic novel is floating around online. And both of these are loosely based on Lovecraft’s “The Color Out of Space.” Say what you will about HP, he did so much for short horror. ♃ 0.17.41— I talk more about this later, and I do feel like I’m reaching a bit on this comparison point: the idea of a blight spot seems intrinsically bound to buildings and structures, in either edition. However, very little of the world of Hc Svnt Dracones isn’t indoors. But at least a little bit of transcendent technology is bound up in the idea of resonant frequencies and alien geometries, so it’s not a huge stretch. ♃ 0.19.15— “The Loc Nar from Heavy Metal”…(sigh) we just rewatched “Heavy Metal” last week. It’s an anthology film, a series of wish-fulfillment shorts, with a glowing green orb of pure evil, the “Loc Nar,” as its narrative frame. Now you know. ♃ 0.19.30— Is there a connection between the FOEA (Europa’s native life forms) and blight spots? They share similar traits…mostly in that they can exist off transcendent radiation, but the hints of empathic/telepathic communication. The connection was stronger in 1.0 when a blight spot was by definition a bioprobe-related disaster. ♃ 0.21.08— As a way to expand on the idea of blight spots, I spend the next 20 minutes or so with some incoherent thoughts on flavoring blight spots with elements from the six or eight near realms that are introduced at the end of Sound and Silence. Some of these work better than others. The near realms are a handful of predefined alternate realities that are easy enough to understand that vectors can comprehend them at all (and some of them are still pretty alien!) If you have a campaign with a TTI-oriented “ghostbusters” vibe, or want more world-hopping without necessarily investing in TTI implants, these flavored blight spots might be useful to add some texture and variety to an idea that hasn’t really been fleshed out much in canon. Along with this idea I’m steering a bit away from the monstrous biohazard of 1.0 and looking more at haunted house tropes and the more lightly populated world of Annihilation, mentioned earlier. Less overwhelming horror, more mysterious environment. A lot more “original content” here than we usually put into an episode… ♃ 0.29.28— Had a hard time expressing this one without dipping into game stats: in Fractal, there are no weapon attacks. Instead you use the Focus ability, which manifests as weapons. Does that help? ♃ 0.35.35— “House of Leaves” is a heavily metatextual book, something like a haunted house novel told in like eight different styles woven together. I’m not sure the idea could have even been floated before hypertext was a thing. This review is pretty thorough look at what uniquifies House of Leaves. After a long, challenging ride, I found the ending of the book profoundly terrible, but perhaps it’s not really a horror novel? I don’t know. Anyway, maybe you should just read XKCD’s “House of Pancakes” instead. It’s cheaper and much shorter. ♃ 0.36.49— Rob Ager’s methodical discussion of the impossible spatial structure of The Shining here. ♃ 0.37.54— Okay, I had trouble with this one, the world of “Writhe” is social allegory in the form of an alternate world. You kind of have to read this one. ♃ 0.40.43— Some closing thoughts. Blight Spots might not be an intentional, malevolent thing, they may not even necessarily be a part of Hydra proper. ♃ 0.42.10— Circling back to the idea of blight spots bound to structure, and some talk about hydra as a highly science fictional threat in that it may be strongly bound to technology and structure created by sentient creatures. This is may be a limitation on Hydra? It’s certainly not one that’s mentioned in the text. Hydra grows by “illumination,” it learns more about a concept until it can metaphorically own it. Right now, it’s learning about biology, but the way it understands and has illuminated architecture and geometry may be worth exploring. ♃ 0.44.37— I won’t find a link to the article Whines references, but if you want to know more, if not MUCH more, about the aurora-like phenomemonmeon STEVE, you can read up on it here. With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
42 minutes | a year ago
Radio Free Deimos E57 – Megastructures and Architecture
We take a break from Spyglass to talk about very, very large buildings. Episode #57 – Megastructures! Audio seems to be better. Corbeau is an english major and really “Better” shouldn’t be expected of him. ♃ 0.01.45— This week’s topic is HSD architecture, which really ended up being a discussion about megastructures, with a very brief aside on ship construction.♃ 0.02.19— NUMBERS. I had a career in sales forecasting for a while, it may show. Assuming that each megastructure can hold about 500,000 people on average (sort of canon), an average corptown is 23 square miles (canon, they’re “the size of manhattan”), megastructures are roughly as population-dense as Terra’s biggest apartment blocks, Mars’s population is 5 billion (canon), 90% of the population lives in corptowns and of those, 80% live in megastructures (based more or less on population distribution in Japan), that there’s about 200 corptowns on Mars (my biggest unfounded assumption), we end up with about 50 megastructures per corptown. Math!♃ 0.09.00— Megastructures are towers the size of cities, but they’re not just that. They’re really self-contained worlds. Vectors don’t tend to travel much, MarsCo and ASR both seem to discourage it (either by subtle societal control or by making technology that brings the world closer to you. A given megastructure should have as much personality and self-identity as a small town. My home town of Austin prides itself on being weird and quirky as hell, with a strong music scene, hike and bike/greenery, and a great party district. It’s a tech hub, but a community too. At a population of 900,000, it would fill two megastructures. How much of that town’s identity would reasonably be packed into the megastructure, as opposed to the remaining, say, 3/4 of the corptown? We could certainly have two levels dominated by a party district, a research/liberal arts college made of a slender stack of linked levels on the north side of the building (along with its support structure), a rooftop auditorium that broadcasts live music once a week. Maybe the city’s rich green backdrop would be better suited to the landscape around the towers, but there might be an intentional effort to include a green core in the building, each residential level built around a central park five stories high, each centered around a well-groomed tree that provides climbing and perching opportunities and an abundance of picnic sites. There’s a large number of ASR-linked tech companies scattered throughout, but they’ve been encouraged to build in a way that matches the local natural vibe, their levels have elements of parks and greenery incorporated as well. And all of them are patched into a community round table ongoing discussion through something like a local access TV channel/dedicated social media channel, and there’s a stronger sense of “the corps are listening” here than in other areas. They’ve also learned that supporting the local artists and weirdos is good publicity, and artists and eccentrics…even outright lunatics…are subsidized as local mascots, as long as it tells a good story. Could all that fit into a 1.5-mile-high building?♃ 0.13.15— On Skybridges: This idea is carried over in 2.0 from 1.0. In 1.0 it’s something like a penthouse level, luxurious but terrifying in its height, lost in the clouds. I’d argue that the “cloud” angle probably isn’t that terrible, as the Martian atmosphere is about twice the height and scale of Terra’s because of Mars’s low gravity. This zone seems like it may be used for high-class corporate HQs with their own dedicated air shuttles, celebrities and CEOs, and the handful of avians that can afford to live there. The feeling from 1.0 is that this zone is expensive and status-priced, but not that popular as a residential zone because of the height and vertigo, which makes it a better status symbol than actual home level. The fantastic view can be duplicated with holos and screens, and likely is not worth the pricetag.♃ 0.23.45— Another way to distinguish a particular megastructure: who owns it? A single mid-sized corporation and its subsidiaries could easily own half or all of a megastructure, that city being its headquarters, workforce, and expression of its brand. What kind of world would a high-end clothing manufacturer or Starbarks create for itself? Smaller corps have more freedom to specialize than larger ones, so this might add a lot of character to the local terrain.♃ 0.26.38— The hosts briefly reflect on having a few levels of your megastructure set aside for micros and laterals, and that this would be extremely cute. We also talk about how the way the megacorps flavor their buildings.♃ 0.31.02— I know we’re going to talk about this next month when we discuss Progenitus, but the description of Progenitus’s architecture in Sound and Silence alludes to something that isn’t officially recognized anywhere else: a real slum. Apparently a lot of people fall between the cracks in Progenitus’s weirdly communist world, and they have to live somewhere…More on that in a few weeks.♃ 0.32.30— A brief aside on ship architecture, I thought this would be more rich.♃ 0.35.05— News clips! Wendy’s “Feast of Legends” maybe doesn’t need any more trumpeting, it’s saturated the RPG news scene now, but it is pretty cute, a tabletop RPG based on a fictional fantasy fast food world, with solid art and jokes.♃ 0.35.05— Fake meat goes meta with “Meat Plus“♃ 0.38.12— A long review with videos of “I Love You Colonel Sanders” is over here, it’s a nicely comprehensive review if quite negative. I thought it was pretty cute, but it’s a deep review so I’ll link there. There’s a corgie in there somewhere too. Edit – in late December Pierce shared a couple of work-in-progress images of a megastructure, this one’s a smaller one, a half-mile tall. Yay visual references! With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
60 minutes | 2 years ago
Radio Free Deimos E56 – Spyglass Town
Welcome to Spyglass! Not as bad as reports from THEM would have you believe. Episode #56 – Spyglass Town! Levels…still a problem. The fourth mike and second dog are both giving us trouble. Solutions may be happening. Show Notes ♃ 0.03.07 — Something something rules-light character generation for HSD something. Sev mentioned this in Discord but I didn’t get the fine details… ♃ 0.08.50 — Spyglass unsuccessfully compared to french pastry. I think we were hungry this episode. It’s decentralized and layered, and nothing at all is labelled. Much like french pastry. ♃ 0.11.36 — Subsidiaries and Spyglass. Is this still a part of their business plan? ♃ 0.13.00 — We’ve never been very pro-spyglass at our gaming table. Ashtaar speculates that it’s because they lack the raw power of organization that the other corporations share. ♃ 0.17.35 — Overlap in Pulse and Spyglass…similar values, structurally. Both value exploration, Pulse individually and Spyglass cooperatively. ♃ 0.19.34 — Spyglass towns and surveillance, and Corbeau goes off in a random direction ♃ 0.22.17 — Sing, social currency, and justice in Spyglass. Sing is the social glue that helps Spyglass actually work. I still don’t know if you can actually buy a big mac with sing though. Is it tracked? It almost has to be. Somehow. YT takes an aside on China’s social credit system. ♃ 0.28.18 — Corbeau compares Spyglass to medieval European justice systems, which had incredibly harsh laws, but were enforced only on the right or wrong sort of people. Strict rules mediated by social norms. Generally, even if the rules say “death penalty for sodomy,” in practice, there weren’t that many death penalties, even in the blue district. ♃ 0.34.20 — Spyglass is unusual in that they actually work with democratic governments and other governmental structures, like social tinkertoys. Huh. Variety may be the only way to protect an organization from Hydra. ♃ 0.38.25 — Spyglass citizens describe themselves as “confidently paranoid.” We break that open here for a while: how do you deal with a society of liars? Also, I try to remember “House of Stairs” from 25 years ago. ♃ 0.00.00 — ♃ 0.00.00 — ♃ 0.00.00 — ♃ 0.00.00 — With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
56 minutes | 2 years ago
Radio Free Deimos E55 – Welcome to Spyglass
Welcome to Spyglass! The friendliest little group of we-promise-we’re-not-assassins you’d ever care to meet! Episode #55 – Welcome to Spyglass! STill having a whole round of new problems with levels. Really sorry… Show Notes coming soon! With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
74 minutes | 2 years ago
Radio Free Deimos E54 – Scifi Sports
This week the hosts threaten to jump immediately into the topic of SPORTS IN SPACE but instead bicker about definitions for like 10 minutes…feel free to jump in around 13 minutes in, save yourself the grief… Episode #54 – Sci-Fi Sports! The volume is a bit off this episode, tried to compensate but we’ve been working around levels problems for the last few episodes. There must be a pattern. Maybe it’s soft-spoken lizards. Show Notes ♃ 01.54 – What is a sport? We have no answers. It seems ultimately like a sport is something that your culture defines as a sport. But generally, some combination of “it has rules,” “it requires skill,” “it is athletic,” “it is fun,” “it is competitive” is at work. Corbeau postulates a continuum from ping-pong to tiddlywinks, and somehere along there it stops being sport, for some people…Is hunting a sport? The hosts are on the fence. Around here three of the four hosts decide to play devil’s advocate for five exciting minutes. Why isn’t competitive lawnkeeping a sport? This particular bit of trial by minutia is an extension of much of a full week of devil’s advocate. Sci-fi sports more often than not seem to be created by adding “in space or low gravity,” “with wheels,” and “to the death” to any existing sport. There’s your template. Go. Most of the sports write-ups can be found over on this extensive blog post about the various games. Pop that one open while the soothing voices chatter. ♃ 11.42 – Corbeau hates quidditch. ♃ 13.15 – getting into HSD, and away from devil’s advocate, we talk about the four or five canon sporting events from Sound and Silence. Proving Grounds, The Drop, Linerunning, hook, maybe arena battles ♃ 19.10 – Creating new Sol sports. We talk about what fits the various corporations for a long while. YT really wants to include Artificial Intelligences in Spyglass. Corbeau disagrees. ♃ 28.43 – A brief aside about including sports in your game. The hosts generally are against playing a game within a game, except in a stylized sort of way. ♃ 29.56 – what, we actually get to the topic? Sci-fi games from literature… ♃ 30.22 – Microhunting from “Winthrop was Stubburn,” big game hunting for the smallest life forms. ♃ 31.25 – Wu Liu, hybrid kung-fu and figure skating. ♃ 32.22 – Wallrunning – mountain/wall climbing but with arbitrary gravity obstacles ♃ 33.16 – The Minerva Sierra Challenge, a day-long cyborg trek across the Sierra Madres ♃ 34.20 – Brokian Ultra-Cricket, a Douglas Adams parody ♃ 34.58 – a few anti-sports from Brave New World, and a brief aside about how Brave New World may be on the same timetable as HSD. Brave New World sports emphasize consumerism over playability. ♃ 36.40 – Anime, beginning with Rugball from Space Adventure Cobra, Lifting from Eureka Seven, Flying Circus from…a series with quite a long name…Megaloboxing, Tank Girls… ♃ 39.02 – Television, starting with Pyramid from Battlestar Galactica, then Parises Squares ♃ 41.08 – Kosho from The Prisoner (it’s kind of like trampoline-jousting), and a staff-fighting game from Star Trek ♃ 43.04 – Games from movies, starting with Jugger (post-apocalypse basketball), Arena Football from Starship Troopers, Motorball from Alita Battle Angel. ♃ 44.34 – some random games from other RPGs, beginning with a few from the Warhammer series. ♃ 45.10 – a long bit on Shadowrun’s “Urban Brawl,” an urban blight-based destructive soccer game which may have a few applications for your Shadowrun game ♃ 48.00 – XCrawl, the tongue-in-cheek, pay-per-view dungeon crawl game. ♃ 49.44 – a few “historical” games, Chessboxing and Fox-Tossing. Do with these what you will. ♃ 52.54 – back to Sol, going through some homebrew ideas for Sol sports, begining with The Big Game from Pulse. ♃ 54.44 – Whines unveils his vision of Giant Robot Ball. ♃ 56.48 – “Rebound,” with thanks to Tygon, and Joiner at 58.14, ball-and-hoop games possibly from Marsco and IRPF, respectively. ♃ 1.00.06 – Pnepjyit, it’s like falconry with cuddly empathic space octopi ♃ 1.03.14 – Platformer, a joint ASR/Pulse project, half traditional ball-and-hoop, half spontaneously programmed platform game. ♃ 1.04.31 – A sort of fascist flag corps/martial arts “game” for Progenitus, a corp which gave me a lot of trouble in this project… ♃ 1.06.19 – Deka, a concealed-rules version of soccer for Spyglass and almost no-one else. This one is based heavily on the granddaddy of concealed rules games, “Mao.” ♃ 1.09.15 – Ashtaar plugs his bio-pokemon concept from our recent Sunday game. ♃ 1.11.30 – This week, all hosts agree on the recent “aerogel on Mars” story as being the hot pick for the week. With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
68 minutes | 2 years ago
Radio Free Deimos E53 – Pulsetown
This week’s episode is brought to you by sustained arguing forever. This week we talk about life in Pulse, and some of the folks you’ll meet there. Episode #53 – Pulsetown! Newest info from the world of HSD: the new Kickstarter expanding the minis line, and a relaunch of the same on the new HSD store on Shapeways! This one focuses mostly on signature NPCs and antagonists. There’s some really pretty stuff being thrown around on the HSD Discord channel, this expansion is looking really pretty! Show Notes ♃ 1.53 – Other anthro mini sites, since we rambled through them: Dark Sword Miniatures “Visions in Fantasy Critters”, Burrows and Badgers, Song of the Splintered Lands. And proof that there at least WAS an Ironclaw miniatures line. ♃ 5.00 – Questions and Opinions, a throwback to last week where we forgot to mention the shadow president of Pulse, the White Queen. She’s an interesting one, a non-anthro fox who won her title but cares absolutely nothing for the corporation, or for vector society in general, except as an end to the means. She seems to be the main force steering vectors toward the strike on the Ruby Spire, which makes her one of the key forces in the game’s metaplot. ♃ 9.08 – On to the episode topic: Pulse Town, and the people therein. ♃ 9.20 – on arenas, the center of every Pulse community, or at least the hub. Pulse towns radiate outward from and inward to the arenas, one of the centers of Pulse life. ♃ 10.31 – Here’s the beginning of the article on Elysium, a non-canon seat of power for the Pulse empire and home of the nine linked city/arenas. It’s a stub right now, I’ll be adding to it over the course of the week. ♃ 11.45 another dropped reference to the 1948 Olympics and their nonstandard events, like poetry, statistics, and urban planning. You can make ANYTHING competitive if you try hard enough. ♃ 11.50 Pulse and competition: in many ways a Pulse corptown is one big scoreboard. Metrics for everyone’s performance are out there for the finding…school grades, presumably salaries, et cetera. If there’s a yardstick you can judge yourself and others by, it’s easy to find. Life becomes one big contest…YT compares it to Spyglass, which feels like almost the opposite. In Spyglass your SECRETS are open, but your life may not be quite as much an open book. ♃ 13.22 – a brief aside about popup businesses, flash sales, and forced scarcity. We talk a bit about the “Supreme” brand of hip hop merchandise, most of my very limited knowledge of which came from the Patriot Act show on Netflix. Hype and consumer frenzy used to drive up prices and a secondary market. ♃ 14.55 – how big is Pulse? We know that so far as the megacorps go, it’s one of the smallest, larger than TTI but TTI is more a megacorp by dint of the power of their product than their raw size. This likely means they have fewer spinoffs…they simply aren’t an empire. This is partly due to the intense and possibly insane mindset of a true Pulse employee. They’re also quite hands-off in their management..In #52 we talk briefly about the likelihood that Pulse has the fewest true employees, but the most contractors? This may be a way of managing large events so that there’s still surprise and chaos. We talk a bit here about how to break up a Pulse town to accommodate the small citizenry and the hypercompetitive tribalism. A recurring theme, though we may not have said everything we wanted to say, the ideas were a bit subtexted…they tended to involve small pockets of Pulse lunacy influencing the neighbors. One thing I thought of after the recording session and added later, the thought that Pulse might have an unusual corptown structure where they manage from on high but don’t have the feudal relationship of “citizen=employee=chattel.” There’s nothing to directly support this, but Pulse has a hands-off style that might make this arrangement, or something similar, more likely in a Pulse Town. ♃ 16.42 – on the community hub: Arenas, pubs. Pulse is bound by little community spots that bind people together. There was a connection to the World Cup Death Count that was either non-intuitive, or simply a non-sequitor. ♃ 18.31 – Pulse, kids, and perfection of the self. Ashtaar asks if Pulse creates more blips than other corporations. The hosts go back and forth on what competition and exploration means in this context. Parent competition, child pageants, kids as a vehicle for self-expression. Idiocracy and Natural Selection here: ♃ 24.20 – Endless Space 2 and the Horatio, a community of clones, and some parallel ideas from science fiction. I’m surprised we didn’t mention the Venture Bros and the endless cloning of Dr. Venture’s kids. ♃ 28.12 Ashtaar speculates on family life in Pulse, competition in the home. ♃ 30.44 Pulse and species extremism? Corbeau wonders if “be the best goat you can be” is a Pulse thing. ♃ 32.16 – the ongoing pulse social experiment. Stage hands and catalysts and random public mutations. Beacons and the League of Justice approach to community building. ♃ 38.24 – Pulse architecture. One big dangerous playscape. ♃ 44.50 – who are the people in your neighborhood? Scouts, Beacons, etc. Scouts at 45.04. One angle that would be a little different for scouts would be “Miracle in 34th Street” style, a loving push into the spotlight. ♃ 46.14 – A bit more on beacons and what they do. ♃ 46.42 – Kindling – the people that bump the mob forward, the button-pushers. The more subtle background forces pushing Pulse society around. ♃ 47.30 Catalysts and stagehands – the ones with the weird chemicals to twist society into weird shapes. Is this Pulse or TTI? Stagehands can turn anything into a combat zone. In a good way. ♃ 48.50 – “Mephistopheles” from Faust may be a good model for a Pulse catalyst type, tempting and baiting but more of a constant presence. By default they seem to move in and move on. Ashtaar seems to see them as a main actor type as much as support cast, but I feel like both Catalysts and Stagehands build the stage, set the stage, but don’t necessarily walk the stage. Ashtaar compares the role of Catalyst and Kindling to a mentor figure, more of a long-term change, not someone who dumps powder into the water supply and runs off. This discussion goes on for a while… ♃ 53.14 – Subsidiaries. Unfortunately there’s only four or five canon subsidiaries mentioned, mostly for MarsCo. YT speculates that there’s probably an oversight organizations for Scouts, Catalysts, etc. The year-end parties for Catalysts are fantastic. Don’t drink the spiked punch. Ashtaar suggests that most of the major sports leagues have their own major support structure. Later I bring up three home brew: Parallax, a travel-focused subsidiary; Mode, a youth culture/teen group; Titan Film Cooperative, a low-budget grindhouse. Really, I think every subsidiary I’ve sketched out has Pulse somewhere in it. ♃ 55.36 – the ongoing discussion on how big is Pulse’s media/marketing division..it seemed bigger in first edition, but over time MarsCo turned into the big media corp. ♃ 59.32 – YT asks about the intellectual side of Pulse. They DO represent non-martial arts, but in the same general way they handle sports… ♃ 1.01.03 – Working on a setting in the Elysium mountain range on Mars, three massive volcano caldera arenas with a basin packed with nine corptowns. More here. The reason I went down this road was to talk about competitive sports commentary, as a response to YT’s question. ♃ 1.04.01 – What’s new and fun this week? Neil Gaimen’s “Sandman” picked up by Netflix for a high-budget series, that’s exciting. I fell in like with the song “In the Martian Sunrise” by Nerd Rock Band Kraken Not Stirred, after hearing it on a recent episode of nerdcore podcast Radio Free Hipster. The album it’s from, “Songs from a Pale Blue Dot,” is a scifi concept album about space flight. YT mentions as a related article NASA’s return to the moon in 2024. With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
54 minutes | 2 years ago
Radio Free Deimos E52 – Welcome to Pulse
This week’s episode is brought to you by being punched in the face and told you’re not good enough. Episode #52 – Welcome to Pulse! Now on Drive Thru RPG: the new Pulse contract “Vigilance!” This week we gushed over the movie “Red Line,” for what is probably the third time, an amazingly stylish and violent space-race anime. And a brief nod to the in-progress movie adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s “The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.” With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
74 minutes | 2 years ago
Radio Free Deimos E51 – Year 100
Historical episode – running a game set in the year 100! And a lengthy aside about restrooms in Sol. Episode #51 With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer.
62 minutes | 2 years ago
Radio Free Deimos E50 – Cogdogs
ASR month goes into sudden death as guest host Plushie joins us for a chat about either lateral cogs, or cog laterals. Happy #50, many many returns! Episode #50- Cogdogs! So many audio glitches this time around. The episode may be unlistenable past about 45 minutes, our local recordings all crapped out and the last 1/4 of the recording is from the skype-chat backup. Regrets abound. With thanks to Sirius Beat for our intro music, “Future Club,” and outro music, “Tronicles.” Our fun, modular header art is by Absyfield , (Thank you Ashley!) and Whines is our audio engineer. Show Notes ♃ 01.45 — “Blips” (custom-created life forms) were an open-ended idea in 1.0, which were originally intended to be “anything that wasn’t in the main book.” Over the course of 1.0 they evolved, so to speak, to be more “unique custom creatures,” as the assumption that any critter could have been vectorized (except bugs, great white sharks, and owls), they just didn’t make the cover art. ♃ 05.25 — Topic this episode: cog laterals. They aren’t really supported by the text, so…we spend an hour or so talking about why/why not… ♃ 08.25 — I know we’ve mentioned Diamond Dogs several times now, a transhuman short story by Alaistair Reynolds about a malevolent “Blood Spire” (hmm, rather HSD name there) that lures explorers into giving up their humanity. Below, the Absolut Vodka commercial, “Absolut Greyhound.” ♃ 10.00 — Since the other hosts never read the show notes, I’ll just say here: yes, Cogs don’t like to be tools, because of the cultural baggage and risk of being seen as a machine. That doesn’t mean they value being useless or aspire to be anti-tools… ♃ 12.00 — A little aside about Progenitus, which of all the corporations seems to be the only one that has a place for laterals in its corp culture (they make great combat medics). ♃ 12.40 — Cogs and species: Each cog is programmed to identify as one species or another (more or less, “programmed” is a hard term here. We’re not sure exactly what this means or how it manifests, but we talk through it for a time. ♃ 17.00 — I’ll just put this here. ♃ 19.08 — The ASR Cog program gives each cog a default chassis, one that they’re born into as a tiny little coglet. Over the course of the first 10 years or so Cogs experiment with tweaks and adjustments but don’t tend to make radical changes…it throws away their cultural inheritance (like changing your religion or race, for example), and there may be deep-coded reasons as well that they choose not to adapt as freely as vectors. But at this point it’s entirely speculative… ♃ 17.00 — Westworld has a complex personality matrix for determining how characters respond in their data-driven RPG world. the earlier version, or possibly the simpler interface, is a 20-point chart, see illustration at right. Howard Chai goes into great detail on the extended 120-point grid which includes bulk apperception, rhythm, fragility, bluntness, whimsy, lugubriousness (!), and a huge range of other traits. ♃ 21.21 — Cart pulling the apple here. We know that Cogs are very conservative when it comes to body modification; that a lot of the elements of their personality, preferences, and anatomy are coded in a way that resembles heredity; that significant changes to a cog’s body can change who they are on some level…but it’s hard to know which way that flows, or how it reflects the next generation. If a cog gets a red corvette chassis during a mid-life crisis, and has a child, what color is that child’s exterior? #unanswerables ♃ 22.55 — Corbeau’s unsubstantiated theory #1: At the core of a cog’s “self” is a matrix of personality/physical traits, much like the Westworld chart. Most of these traits can be modified, but the original settings for most of these are part of their long-term self. Modifying these is like modifying a file in Adobe, corrections and edits are overlayed over the original, but the original is still there. Some traits may be more influential over time than others, some traits may be more easy to completely rewrite, but the core is still there and in many cases it echoes through the character’s life. ♃ 27.02 — Corbeau’s unsubstantiated theory #2: Cogs are programmed to be physically conservative on a very base level, intentionally. In about the year 50 or so, maybe 60-70 years before the silent war truly began, a lot of stuff happened at Marsco. Three corporations were spun off in a very short period of time (Pulse, ASR, Genotype). Marsco was likely dominated by humans at the time (it was a human corporation after all.) In a tight cluster around this time, a few major events occurred: Marsco’s guiding AI SenTri/Sentry went offline for a time, likely around 50-60 AE. Well, it either went offline or went into hiding. ASR was able to surprise Sol with the launch of Cogs…at least that’s the impression we have from the biased narrator of HSD1.0. Pulse launched and then scuttled a “social unification project.” Maybe Genotype launched the initiative to purify the rat race and consolidated itself as a single-species corporation, and created a secret genetic archive on Phobos. My theory here is that there was an explosion of corporate liberty when the lights were temporarily shut off at MarsCo. ASR, the only corporation that appears to have been intentionally spun off…and the first of the three breakaway corporations…breaks away from MarsCo and uses its most powerful tools (it’s own AI, which may or may not be the true face of SenTri) to launch a crippling strike against MarsCo’s information technology and finances. MarsCo’s lights go off for 10 or 20 years, and much of its power is distributed to the Big Three Spinoffs. Gradually, its lights are restored, but as a housekeeper instead of a control rod: remember, Sentri’s original purpose was specifically to control the growth rate of Vector civilization (see Sound and Silence, Shadow Presidents). Getting to Cogs: each of the Big Three had its own projects during this time that grew to define them. ASR’s was the development of the Cog. Genotype’s was likely preserving and then consolidating under the Rat species. Pulse’s was some sort of “social unification through sports” (I’m calling it Project Limitless): the core philosophy was “vectors can be anything through genetics, their strength is their flexibility.” Cogs are unusually rigid. They don’t change their bodies much. They don’t want to be tools, which throws away a lot of their potential talents. Why? My theory is that they were created to merge with Vectors, not compete with them, and knowing Pulse’s vision for society, ASR intentionally muted the Cogs’ desire to physically improve and change themselves. That’s for Vectors, Cogs get all this other cool stuff. Anyway, it’s a theory. ♃ 27.02 — Cogs and teenage rebellion — the text suggests that most major structural changes are made by a cog deciding who s/he is occur by age 6-8 or so, and after that it’s fine tuning. It feels like serious rebuilds are a cultural taboo, as deep as a sexual hangup or a disgust reflex. ♃ 27.44 — I’ll almost certainly go on a much deeper dive on this theory when we do the upcoming “year 100” campaign. ♃ 42.07 — It’s hard to make a “scarcity based on cost” argument for/against custom cog chassis. We don’t really know if there’s a market for art-chassis, it seems like there aren’t, but the main experience we have of cogs is in ASR contexts, and outside of that, we don’t really know what they are. Pulse cogs may be way out there. The “be all you can be” competitiveness of Pulse could clash with the ASR desire to NOT be all you can be…physically…vs. the ability to shape yourself to be whatever you can be. Hard to say. ♃ 44.57 — it occurs to me that the only religious character we meet in all of HSD canon is a dying cog wearing a religious symbol in the color text of Extended. ♃ 44.57 — Off microphone we’ve had a few conversations about licensing of creative product, particularly cog chassis. It seems like ASR would have a strong interest in not allowing people to make ongoing licensing revenue off the bodies of their biggest customer base, but not all chassis are made by ASR, so that’s an open question. ♃ 46.05 — Aaaaand here’s where the audio breaks down, our local recording software runs out of memory and we’re left with just the audio Skype captured Sorry, all! I’ll be a little more detailed with notes from here after ♃ 46.32 — if you CAN repossess a cog body, it seems likely that you wouldn’t be able to do it when someone’s still in that body…Corbeau likes the idea of putting them in a loaner body, specifically the K9 unit from Dr Who. Ashtaar notes the “owned” background in 2.0 fits that mold. ♃ 47.45 — Designer bodies and custom chassis may be more available in the elite super-rich world. Or not? HSD seems to be written for the 10 percent, but not the 1%, of society’s wealthiest… ♃ 48.30 — Used/hereditary Chassis? Corbeau doesn’t like the idea because of the new-new-new nature of Sol commerce. Whines thinks it’s a fun idea. ♃ 49.31 — Mechanics for a lateral? Most of us are in agreement that just whitewashing the mechanics and moving on is the best approach, HSD at heart is more a rules-light style of game. Whines suggests that since “lateral” and “cog” are both zero-sum builds (assuming HSD is points-balanced, which isn’t really a valid assumption, it’s got a lot of “Gentleman’s Game” ideas) you should be able to simply add the two together without a character point cost/deficit. Corbeau is uncertain: restriction and limiting options/allowing options is its own advantage, and picking from two sets is powerful. ♃ 53.13 — Similarly, some surgeries were built for vectors, like Shapechanging. Is it more in game-balance to give Cogs access to that surgery, or to restrict it? ♃ 54.56 — News articles this week: the “sea monster” Sollasina cthulhu, Growing Grapes on Mars, and the New York Times waxes extremely poetic on the recent photo of a black hole. And Flayrah talks about Elon Musk’s “furry curiosity” bit. Tech Times article on fish fossils, iridum, and the asteroid that may have killed the dinosaurs.
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