The Fate of Earth in Starfinder [reign of winter spoilers]


General Discussion


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Long story about what I'm probably going to make happen to Earth in my Starfinder setting. This is making a lot of assumptions about Starfinder's canon, but since were any of us bound of "official" canon?

The party has found some rather interesting information, recovered in of Absalom Station's deepest data crypts. Long ago, on the legendary world of Golarion, the nation of Irrisen was ruled by Anastasia I, who was the nation's first truly benevolent and loved queen. She had made peace with Irrisen's neighbors, both by diplomacy and by war. Irrisen's eternal winter ended, and the realm was propelled forward into a golden age.

Curiously, Anastasia did not come from Golarion at all, but was a native of another, distant world. The legend says that this was the same homeworld of Baba Yaga, the Queen of All Witches, who had seemingly disappeared a long time ago.

The party decides to investigate this world. Surely the homeplanet of both Baba Yaga and one of Golarion's most legendary rulers would be an interesting discovery?

The Mystic communes with his mysterious patron, a cosmic entity he calls the Tachyon King. After some time and some mental negotiation, the mystic receives the coordinates to this planet. He also receives something else: a cryptic message from his patron:

beware. the grave does not contain the dead. nor undeath. something else.

The coordinates are punched into the ship's navcom. The ship spools up its FTL drive and disappears, hurtled halfway across the galaxy, farther than anyone has ever gone from Absalom Station.

Their ship exits warp, on the edge of the star system. The world they're looking for is the 2nd planet from the Sun. Mercury has vanished.

Immediately, the ship receives very strange readings from Earth. There are signs of life...on 97.4% of the surface. Very, very large signs of life. There is so much life the planet must be thriving

And it is thriving, as the party soon discovers.

---
There are no continents. No oceans. Why would you have those, when building magnificent, miles-wide cathedrals dedicated to flesh-science? Nation-facilities are required, to manufacture servitors and . Cordon arteries, for the thought-slaves to breed and die and breed and die and work and breed and die. Cyst fields, for the nurturing of ship parts and the gestation of the minds that pilot such ships.

Oh what a investment this harvest was! This planet was not only rich in biomass, but also contained a chained entity that was positively thrumming with purpose and life, even as it fitfully slept in its tomb-city under the ocean. It put up quite the fight when we designated it as a prime candidate for phenotype integration. Much more of a fight than the humans. But in the end, the Drowned God worships us. It is put to much better use now.

Much better use than the humans. Such a fragile and remarkably uninteresting organism. Most of them were given over to the [intellect devourers]. The more genetically interesting specimens were shipped off-world for gestalt re-assignment, converted into servitors, or became decorations here on their homeworld. I daresay that once humans shed their humanoid form, they have a lot more uses!
---

The party discovers that Earth has been converted into something terrible: a fleshfarm for some unknown power. They discover that Cthulhu has been enslaved by this planet's new masters. They discover that no living human exists anywhere in the solar system outside of their ship.

They flee. And try to forget what they saw, and pray that they were not detected or followed.

Unfortunately, their prayer was not enough. And as they'll soon discover, the entities that rule Earth remember everything. They know exactly what happened to Golarion. And they want their property back.


Bio Apocalypse?


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Look, if they'd just told me where my hat had gotten to, this needn't have happened.

But noooooooo, it's all "what the hell are you?!" and "why would a little monster like that even need a hat?" and "I have no idea what you're raving about," and "please, stop BREAKING things..."

Hrmph. Serves 'em right.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Bio Apocalypse?

Pretty much. While I'm not a fan of completely 100% grimdark settings where nothing you do matters, I also like cosmic horror, and this being Earth's fate in my Starfinder game hammers home the fact that, in the grand scheme of things, Earth never stood a chance against the Dominion of the Black. Oh and they can enslave what we consider to be Eldritch Abominations. Cthulhu with biomechanical augmentations is way more terrifying than just the big squid himself.


Neongelion wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Bio Apocalypse?
Pretty much. While I'm not a fan of completely 100% grimdark settings where nothing you do matters, I also like cosmic horror, and this being Earth's fate in my Starfinder game hammers home the fact that, in the grand scheme of things, Earth never stood a chance against the Dominion of the Black. Oh and they can enslave what we consider to be Eldritch Abominations. Cthulhu with biomechanical augmentations is way more terrifying than just the big squid himself.

To be honest, that's like saying a nuke launcher with laser sight is more terrifying than a nuke launcher.

Once you are dead, extra damage is pointless, and Cthulhu is kind of deadly as is.


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YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED, AND YOUR DIVERSITY ADDED TO OUR OWN. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Neongelion wrote:
Umbral Reaver wrote:
Bio Apocalypse?
Pretty much. While I'm not a fan of completely 100% grimdark settings where nothing you do matters, I also like cosmic horror, and this being Earth's fate in my Starfinder game hammers home the fact that, in the grand scheme of things, Earth never stood a chance against the Dominion of the Black. Oh and they can enslave what we consider to be Eldritch Abominations. Cthulhu with biomechanical augmentations is way more terrifying than just the big squid himself.

To be honest, that's like saying a nuke launcher with laser sight is more terrifying than a nuke launcher.

Once you are dead, extra damage is pointless, and Cthulhu is kind of deadly as is.

I don't think I'd ever throw Cthluhu towards the party as a thing to fight, whether he's converted by the Dominion or not. It's more the horrific idea that the iconic Great Old One was simply turned into a tool by something that weren't gods themselves. Plus it reinforces the fact that the Dominion and the forces of the Mythos are not friends, which is a mistake way too many people make in the setting.

That being said, I completely support the idea that adding dangerous things onto already dangerous beings is bloody awesome. A balor demon? Horrifying. A balor demon with cybernetics and a rocket launcher attached to it? Well now...


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Hey, Neongelion, have you seen the trailer for the upcoming video game Scorn?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKTkCa5nB_8

Cause from what you've described, if think this is probably close to what a fleshfarm would look like.


Neongelion wrote:

Long story about what I'm probably going to make happen to Earth in my Starfinder setting. This is making a lot of assumptions about Starfinder's canon, but since were any of us bound of "official" canon?

Most likely it won't be mentioned at all. If you're familiar with the notion of 4-dimensional space-time, the setting of Starfinder, or for that even of "present-day" Golarion can be connected to any Earth time, past or future. Just because one adventure connects to a specific time in Earth history, does not prevent another adventure in Starfinder or Pathfinder, from being set in Earth's present, far future, or remote past... perhaps even to some prehuman Lovecraftian civilization more advanced than our own.


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I was actually referring to Bio Apocalypse, a story wherein Earth is (accidentally) converted into a flesh monstrosity.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:


Most likely it won't be mentioned at all. If you're familiar with the notion of 4-dimensional space-time, the setting of Starfinder, or for that even of "present-day" Golarion can be connected to any Earth time, past or future. Just because one adventure connects to a specific time in Earth history, does not prevent another adventure in Starfinder or Pathfinder, from being set in Earth's present, far future, or remote past... perhaps even to some prehuman Lovecraftian civilization more advanced than our own.

The way I see it, FTL tech in Starfinder should enable travel at the far reaches of the universe without risking considerable relativistic problems. Maybe in order to cross the universe, ships travel in time as well as space, or they negative this aspect of physical reality, or they do something even stranger. So for gameplay purposes, if you jump to Earth, barely escape the shattered remains of the Sol system with your lives, and jump back to Absalom Station hundreds of thousands of parsecs away, time shouldn't pass at significantly different rates for them in comparison to their friends and family back home.

Basically, a healthy dose of handwavium.

TheMountain wrote:

Hey, Neongelion, have you seen the trailer for the upcoming video game Scorn?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKTkCa5nB_8

Cause from what you've described, if think this is probably close to what a fleshfarm would look like.

I most definitely have, and I can't wait to dig into this. The Giger feels from this game makes me super excited.

Umbral Reaver wrote:
I was actually referring to Bio Apocalypse, a story wherein Earth is (accidentally) converted into a flesh monstrosity.

Yeah, I know. I remember that comic very, very fondly back in the day! That's the general idea of what happened, except it wasn't an accident; it was a very deliberate attack by an alien hegemony (i.e. Dominion of the Black) that Earth and its nascent empire had very little chance of resisting.

That's basically what most of the Earth looks like, except more organized, and more biomechanical aspects rather than pure flesh fields everywhere.


Neongelion wrote:
The way I see it, FTL tech in Starfinder should enable travel at the far reaches of the universe without risking considerable relativistic problems. Maybe in order to cross the universe, ships travel in time as well as space, or they negative this aspect of physical reality, or they do something even stranger. So for gameplay purposes, if you jump to Earth, barely escape the shattered remains of the Sol system with your lives, and jump back to Absalom Station hundreds of thousands of parsecs away, time shouldn't pass at significantly different rates for them in comparison to their friends and family back home.

Space and time aren't separate. FTL travel literally means that you can travel to any point in space or time, as FTL pretty much tells casuality go to go sit in a corner. FTL literally means that events can be observed before their cause.

Think of space/time as a huge breadloaf, that can be cut in any direction you see fit.


I know they're not separate, but I was mistakenly mixing up sublight travel vs. FTL travel. Yes, you're right.

Although I don't think FTL travel is typically used in fiction (intentionally) to witness events before they're even supposed to happen, even if that were to be the case.

That being said I am curious on what kinda FTL travel is gonna be in Starfinder. Jumpgates, where you open up a wormhole and shoot through it? Hyperdrives, where you go into an alternate space where dimensions, distance and time work differently? Or a method that just ignores special or general relativity (or assumes they're incorrect as we understand them) and you can just accelerate at constant gravity until you go faster than light.


Neongelion wrote:

I know they're not separate, but I was mistakenly mixing up sublight travel vs. FTL travel. Yes, you're right.

Although I don't think FTL travel is typically used in fiction (intentionally) to witness events before they're even supposed to happen, even if that were to be the case.

That being said I am curious on what kinda FTL travel is gonna be in Starfinder. Jumpgates, where you open up a wormhole and shoot through it? Hyperdrives, where you go into an alternate space where dimensions, distance and time work differently? Or a method that just ignores special or general relativity (or assumes they're incorrect as we understand them) and you can just accelerate at constant gravity until you go faster than light.

We know that the first type already exists in Pathfinder's background. There's no reason to assume that only one type will exist. But most likely what will be used will be something a bit less advanced than what powered Destiny.

You might also have travel that uses pre-existing Gates, left behind by some civilization whose technology can't be duplicated.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
You might also have travel that uses pre-existing Gates, left behind by some civilization whose technology can't be duplicated.

A gate... that leads across the stars? That's a brilliant idea. We could call them... Spacedoors.


Neongelion wrote:
They flee.

These are PC's though, right? I'd want to try and release the poor enslaved deity.


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Supperman wrote:
Neongelion wrote:
They flee.
These are PC's though, right? I'd want to try and release the poor enslaved deity.

They would, if they were high enough level.

Unfortunately, the game breaks up before they reach level 10 due to scheduling conflicts, and the game is never played again.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

Space and time aren't separate. FTL travel literally means that you can travel to any point in space or time, as FTL pretty much tells casuality go to go sit in a corner. FTL literally means that events can be observed before their cause.

Think of space/time as a huge breadloaf, that can be cut in any direction you see fit.

Not necessarily. If a preferred frame of reference (for instance, the average frame of reference of massive objects in the area in question) exists, it could prevent FTL from enabling travel back in time, or at least make it so difficult as to be a non-risk without very special conditions (for instance, cruise around FTL while hanging out near a rotating black hole or neutron star).

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Also, there's lots of methods of FTL that don't in any way involve temporal relativity. Star Trek like warp speed doesn't actually send you faster than light, but warps space to be smaller as you travel. It sounds like in Starfinder they're going with "hyperspace" which is a separate plane/dimension or whatever which could have different rules of physics, and not have to worry about that either.


^Which is not that far off from the theoretical Alcubierre warp drive . . . .


JoelF847 wrote:
Also, there's lots of methods of FTL that don't in any way involve temporal relativity.

Just moving from one point in space/time to another involves temporal relativity.

There isn't such a thing as a universal calendar, or absolute time, as the passage of events is limited by the speed of light. When you look at Alpha Centauri from Earth, you can only see it as it was 4.3 years ago.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Which is not that far off from the theoretical Alcubierre warp drive . . . .

Which while built on General Relativity, does not take into account quantum mechanics. Note that said warp drive would allow for backwards time travel.

Although at least the energy requirement has now been reduced to something "manageable". Although manageable in this case as been described as converting the entire planet Jupiter into energy.. as opposed to the entire universe.


^Problem with your first statement is that General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics each are unable to take the other into account. This is one of the big frustrations of current thinking in theoretical physics.

Speaking of Starfinder, I wonder if people in the Starfinder Campaign Setting will actually understand how their star drives work, or if they will just know that if they put together certain things in a certain way, it works . . . .

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:

or if they will just know that if they put together certain things in a certain way, it works . . . .

Textbook definition of Magic IMO ;-)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
Also, there's lots of methods of FTL that don't in any way involve temporal relativity.

Just moving from one point in space/time to another involves temporal relativity.

There isn't such a thing as a universal calendar, or absolute time, as the passage of events is limited by the speed of light. When you look at Alpha Centauri from Earth, you can only see it as it was 4.3 years ago.

FTL travel without temporal paradox would require some kind of absolute universal time, which I call the Time Barrier

I think it is pretty much a given in a universe with a common history and shared physical reality


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In regards to FTL and time travel, I'm going to say it's all resolved by A Wizard Did It.


No.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
JoelF847 wrote:
Also, there's lots of methods of FTL that don't in any way involve temporal relativity.

Just moving from one point in space/time to another involves temporal relativity.

There isn't such a thing as a universal calendar, or absolute time, as the passage of events is limited by the speed of light. When you look at Alpha Centauri from Earth, you can only see it as it was 4.3 years ago.

And yet the vast majority of science fiction ignores any argument that FTL must cause time travel. Admitting that when we look at Alpha Centauri from Earth you see it as it was 4.3 years ago, doesn't mean that when you hop in your fast FTL starship you can get there at some arbitrary point in Alpha Centauri's timeline.

It's possible that science fiction is ignoring the "reality" of faster than light travel by doing this. So what? It's even more likely that science fiction is ignoring the reality that faster than light travel isn't possible, but we do that because we want to have stories about travelling to the stars in something other than generation ships.

Similarly, even if FTL should make space/time "a huge breadloaf, that can be cut in any direction you see fit", you don't have to do that in your particular story.

If I have a way to teleport to Alpha Centauri that takes no perceptible time to me, it's perfectly reasonable with no violation of temporal causality for it to put me at Alpha Centauri at a time that will be observed from my starting location 4.3 years from when I left. It's also reasonable that if I immediately return the same way, I'll only have been gone for moments and 4.3 years later I'll see myself arrive at Alpha Centauri. (Assuming I've got really strong telescopes and a really big ship or make a really big explosion when I get there.)
There's no travel to the past involved. No backwards time travel. No violations of causality.


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In the Eschaton series, faster than light travel makes time travel possible. However, a godlike force strictly forbids it and will go so far as to detonate stars to prevent causality problems.


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What TheJeff said. So much.

Of all the things SciFi tramples on (dissipating the massive heat radiation any starship would create, placement of decks on a ship relative to the ships direction of travel, square cubed law for inertia and ship movement, assumption of massive if not infinite amounts of free energy, amount of life in the universe, etc, etc), picking on FTL as unrealistic is just silly.

But, most importantly:

Quote:

If I have a way to teleport to Alpha Centauri that takes no perceptible time to me, it's perfectly reasonable with no violation of temporal causality for it to put me at Alpha Centauri at a time that will be observed from my starting location 4.3 years from when I left. It's also reasonable that if I immediately return the same way, I'll only have been gone for moments and 4.3 years later I'll see myself arrive at Alpha Centauri. (Assuming I've got really strong telescopes and a really big ship or make a really big explosion when I get there.)

There's no travel to the past involved. No backwards time travel. No violations of causality.

This. All the 'time travel from FTL' complaints conveniently neglect the fact that the time travel can only happen in one direction. Some of the sillier examples ignore the speed entirely by throwing in another section involving absolutely instantaneous travel, the decry the non-instant FTL as violating causality.

---

As for the Dominion of the Black VS Cthulhu, my bets on Cthulhu. While it's nice to just say "He's now a slave somewhow", I think it would be much more interesting if they were trying to keep him asleep. Like a sizeable portion of humanity is put into a Matrix-machine (as it was intended, using brains as processing power, not how it was edited for the movies, using bodies as batteries) whose sole purpose is to generate a dreamlike 'fake world' to keep him distracted and sleeping while the rest of the place is turned into one of the Dominion's flesh farms.

Turning him into a simple tool doesn't really make the Dominion look all that super awesome. It looks more like a cheap shot to boost one mythos as the expense of another. Bit like when Batman fans write a Batman VS Superman story, and require the latter to be relentlessly stupid so the former can win.


Arturius Fischer wrote:


As for the Dominion of the Black VS Cthulhu, my bets on Cthulhu. While it's nice to just say "He's now a slave somewhow", I think it would be much more interesting if they were trying to keep him asleep. Like a sizeable portion of humanity is put into a Matrix-machine (as it was intended, using brains as processing power, not how it was edited for the movies, using bodies as batteries) whose sole purpose is to generate a dreamlike 'fake world' to keep him distracted and sleeping while the rest of the place is turned into one of the Dominion's flesh farms.
Turning him into a...

Duly noted, although I really don't like the idea of just doing nothing with Cthulhu, i.e. he sleeps and nothing else. I'd say that the Dominion probably nabbed him mostly by a stroke of luck, and probably something that they can't replicate again unless under extraordinary circumstances.

But then, I much prefer Giger over Lovecraft in horror and themes, so this is a shameless biased decision of mine.


Arturius Fischer wrote:

{. . .}

As for the Dominion of the Black VS Cthulhu, my bets on Cthulhu. While it's nice to just say "He's now a slave somewhow", I think it would be much more interesting if they were trying to keep him asleep. Like a sizeable portion of humanity is put into a Matrix-machine (as it was intended, using brains as processing power, not how it was edited for the movies, using bodies as batteries) whose sole purpose is to generate a dreamlike 'fake world' to keep him distracted and sleeping while the rest of the place is turned into one of the Dominion's flesh farms.

Turning him into a simple tool doesn't really make the Dominion look all that super awesome. It looks more like a cheap shot to boost one mythos as the expense of another. Bit like when Batman fans write a Batman VS Superman story, and require the latter to be relentlessly stupid so the former can win.

Well, that depends upon HOW they turn him into a tool. Suppose they set up the Matrix to keep him asleep, but then realizing that they were barely breaking even on this, they succumbed to the temptation to start extracting power from CTHULHU . . . .

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