Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paratopian City (Part 2)

"Paratopian." Neither uptopia nor dystopia; something beyond the bounds of what you'd ever see in a "normal" society.

(8:15:22 PM) Dagda: Gotham's not really a representative sample anymore, but I'm still after that interesting "metanormals & normals who've adapted" dynamic.
(8:15:53 PM) Dagda: The city tends to have its own way of doing things, on every level.
(8:15:56 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Yeah, I like the idea of it
(8:16:04 PM) Dagda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGyVZRHZ2ow is another inspiration here
(8:16:44 PM) Dagda: (I have very little interest in actually playing that game, but HNNNGH that concept and aesthetic are amazing)
(8:16:53 PM) Sylvia Viridian: That is very pretty
(8:17:51 PM) Dagda: Final Fantasy, plus Kingdom Hearts, plus modern day upper-class urban society, plus the mafia? V Yes.
(8:17:58 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Oh, yes
(8:18:07 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Very, very shiny
(8:18:32 PM) Dagda: Gonna actually get into the next bit, feel free to keep watching & read later
(8:18:44 PM) Sylvia Viridian: oh, okay
(8:19:15 PM) Dagda: Basically, I'm thinking that for every protagonist/PC who's a paranormal being, there'll be 2 humans.
(8:21:21 PM) Dagda: One of whom is just skilled- skills meaning all the sorts of things we see Jason Bourne get up to. The ability to break in & infiltrate urban environments, fight with guns or martial arts, escape & evasion, taking on & subverting institutions. . .and awesome chase sequences, natch.
(8:22:28 PM) Dagda: The other one? Well, they're human, but honestly it's a stretch to call them "normal"
(8:23:53 PM) Dagda: A paranormal person can't teach a human to use magic. But some humans are. . .sensitive to a particular class of supernatural being.
(8:25:39 PM) Dagda: Sustained exposure can trigger physiological changes, giving someone one of several "conditions" based on which type of beign they're sensitive too. Their paranormal natures rub off on us, but in a more grounded sci-fi way.
(8:25:55 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I see~ Interesting
(8:26:58 PM) Dagda: An inspiration that comes in here is an anime called Canaan, which is pretty amazing for about 2-3 episodes (and then runs out of steam)
(8:27:49 PM) Dagda: It has several characters who have abnormal nervous systems, giving them a sort of savant-esque synesthesia with a side order of bullet time
(8:28:59 PM) Dagda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0o06weVt9j0 <-Best example occurs at about 19 minutes in
(8:29:34 PM) Sylvia Viridian: /watches (8:31:11 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I see, cool
(8:31:39 PM) Dagda: So yeah, ripping that off
(8:33:02 PM) Dagda: Will probably have the reflexes and synesthesia perception be two separate things, but hey
(8:35:14 PM) Dagda: Other options would be someone who's empathic to a degree that's clearly ESP (i.e. they feel what someone else is feeling even though they're in another room or something), or someone who can do adrenaline-fuled, mother-lifts-minivan-off-kid feats of strength almost at will (regardless of the terrible strain it puts on their bodies).
(8:35:54 PM) Dagda: All things you can theoretically imagine as being within the realm of human potential
(8:35:59 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Yeah
(8:36:48 PM) Dagda: So yeah. There's about one other key thing I've figured out that I should mention.
(8:40:36 PM) Dagda: The Gotham Central-inspired police, the ones that "have their own way of doing things", that have their share of corruption and abuse but by & large are made up of decent, pragmatic human beings? The ones who go out and walk/drive their beats, keep the peace, know the guys on the street corner by name? There are limits to their authority.
(8:41:36 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Oh, that sounds ominous
(8:45:10 PM) Dagda: The border guard, the ones in the helicopters and gunboats- originally a PMC that was contracted in the 70s, reports directly to the federal authority? They're active in the city, too. They're the ones in black helmets who do immigration raids, break up protests & riots (& claim they were riots either way), and do their best to hunt down the players (who are either part of the underworld or deal with it enough that they could wind up in serious trouble)
(8:45:21 PM) Dagda: This is that Mirror's Edge influence coming in.
(8:45:30 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Gotcha
(8:45:55 PM) Sylvia Viridian: So the cops are decent guys, but there's also military type forces
(8:46:18 PM) Dagda: More or less.
(8:46:40 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Who are much less nice and understanding about the whole supernatural deal
(8:48:04 PM) Dagda: The peacekeepers are the equivalent of cops who'll go out and ask prostitutes if they recognize a woman who turned up dead. They know this stuff goes on and if someone's being blatant/stupid they'll do something about it, but it's the status quo.
(8:48:51 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Makes sense
(8:48:53 PM) Dagda: The enforcers, they're not exactly military- but they carry guns and will use them, no question on that.
(8:49:03 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Yeah
(8:49:30 PM) Dagda: They're "The Man", not to mention "La Migra".
(8:50:20 PM) Dagda: No engagement with the community, just a force that's not to be reckoned with. (Since if there's any reckoning going on they're the ones who're carrying it out)
(8:50:31 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Of course
(8:51:00 PM) Dagda: Now, 95% of them have no chance of matching the speed of a character with moderate parkour-type skills.
(8:51:17 PM) Dagda: (Which I'm thinking will be a significant portion of them)
(8:51:28 PM) Sylvia Viridian: It'd be a necessary survival skill
(8:51:31 PM) Sylvia Viridian: and also really really cool (8:51:53 PM) Dagda: Exactly!
(8:52:30 PM) Dagda: But they're still a serious threat, for one key reason: Coordination.
(8:52:54 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Right. Outrunning an individual doesn't mean as much when they have comms
(8:56:14 PM) Dagda: When you're being chased by enforcers, somewhere out there is a dispatcher- one of the ones with live access to every security camera in the city. And their career is going to be set back or forwards a good two years based on whether or not you get caught.
(8:56:32 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Aha.
(8:57:14 PM) Dagda: You had better believe they're going to throw everything they possibly can at you, on-duty or no.
(8:57:23 PM) Sylvia Viridian: Yes, indeed
(8:59:00 PM) Dagda: You're able to build up a good lead on your pursuers, cutting down one particular back alley and managing to get up over the edge of the rooftop right before the first of them rounds the corner.
(9:01:46 PM) Dagda: And then the maintenance doors on 3 different neighboring rooftops are kicked down simultaneously, and snipers are dashing out to take aim. The dispatcher's voice yells orders at you from the Public Announcement system, telling you you're dead if you so much as move a muscle.
(9:02:16 PM) Dagda: Looking back, that was the point where things really got interesting :P
(9:02:21 PM) Sylvia Viridian: lol
(9:02:23 PM) Sylvia Viridian: I like it!
(9:05:54 PM) Dagda: Since that delay gave the gang lord's men (the ones you'd been fighting in the first place, until the enforcers took notice) chance to catch up, and everything descended into chaos from there.

Image was done by this artist on pixiv.

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