Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

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Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by miniwargaming » Thu May 14, 2009 11:44 am

This is still a work in progress, but I wanted to post what I have written so far.

Enjoy!

--------------------------------

Primal Horizon Main Storyline
By Matthew Glanfield

Copyright (C) 2009 Glanfield Marketing Solutions Inc. No part of this story may be reproduced anywhere else without written permission of the author.

Technology has always been the factor that has set our civilizations apart. In the beginning those who went to war with bows beat those who had only clubs. Those who had horses would beat those on foot. Although guns later replaced bows, and tanks replaced horses, the concept has always remained the same. The nation with the best technology ruled the world, whether directly or not.

There is no better proof of this than in the 21st and 22nd century. Mankind couldn’t have been more proud. Although the 19th and 20th centuries saw such wonders as electricity, modern medicine, the microchip, and even space travel, it almost looked like the dark ages compared to the technological advancement that occurred in the century and a half after the new millennium was ushered in.

The Golden Age of Technology

New inventions came in at such a great pace that schools had to come out with new textbooks mid-way through the year. Teachers struggled as the material they taught in the first semester of school would have to be unlearned and taught again as old theories were quickly disproved.

The world of medicine was even more spectacular. Doctors were forced to spend almost half of the year in school as the advances were so rapid that they would not be able to keep up otherwise. Cures for diseases thought incurable were discovered, and by the year 2050 cancer, aids, and many other world epidemics were not only vaccinated, but actually cured altogether.

It wasn’t just in medicine that many breakthroughs occurred. Areas such as robotics, genetics, artificial intelligence, weapon technology, energy production, and almost everywhere else saw rapid advancement, much to the amazement of the human race in general. We were set to out evolve what we ever thought imaginable, and we thought we were invincible.

The only area of difficulty was in space travel. We could cure cancer, create weapons more powerful than the old fashioned “nukes,” and even modify our DNA to make us smarter, faster, and stronger, but for some reason we couldn’t get beyond the moon.

Every time a breakthrough in faster than light (FTL) travel was made, that breakthrough was disproved when something would go wrong. It looked like we were stuck here, but that didn’t matter, as we could live forever.

Even the supply of food and energy was no longer a problem. With new developments in horticulture, genetic modification of food, and in farming the world could actually solve all of its hunger problems (if we actually chose to do so, unfortunately we are selfish by nature, so the fat got fatter and the hungry stayed hungry).

As for energy, the wars over oil fields quickly changed into wars over the highly sought over technology of cold fusion. Scientists in all nations were almost simultaneously making breakthroughs in cold fusion, ranging from those that discovered how to create vast amount s of energy (that could power entire small countries) to those that figured out how to bottle it into a small cell that could last for months, some even years (powering entire facilities).

Probably the most interesting technology to be invented was something only thought possible in science fiction – teleportation. Well, really it was more “short-range” teleportation, but teleportation none the less.

Interestingly enough the discoveries in cold fusion led to the discovery of mass-energy conversions. Within a space of only 15 years we went from transforming small inanimate objects into energy and sending them over a meter away to be turned back into their matter form, to sending people hundreds of miles away. If only this wasn’t one of the latter technologies before the Event, it probably would have come to full fruition, replacing most airports with teleports (only a few major ones were replaced, and only for intra-continental travel.

Artificial intelligence also saw great advances. Manfred Haussmann, a German computer programmer / scientist developed what he called the “Haussmann Gene.” It was a computer program that emulated human intelligence and behavior. This program never worked on its own, but was instead coupled with another program that it would then control.

For example, the Haussmann Gene would be added to a science program so that scientists could interact with the program as an intelligent human being. The program could then learn from the input it received and come up with solutions much faster than if human beings analyzed the same data.

What was most peculiar in the Haussmann Gene was how it was programmed to act as if it were self-aware. This would often lead to interesting conversations between the users of the programs with the programs themselves. Some people thought that these programs would take over the world, but these foolish ideas that obviously came from literature and entertainment never happened. Humans are enough of a threat to themselves.

The New Cold War

It is amazing that with all of the wonderful developments that were happening, the one that mankind found most interest in (and governments of course funded the most) was in the development of war tech. Nations struggled to get ahead of each other in the ultimate arms race. Nuclear weaponry was no longer a threat as more sophisticated weapons could easily detect, hunt, and destroy any nuke within a minute of it being launched.

This is probably what created the most instability in world affairs. In the 20th and early 21st century, nations such as the United States of America and the European nations could simply exert their technologically advanced bulk onto any nation they saw fit. However, when the Americans and Europeans were no longer the only ones discovering incredible technology, they quickly realized that they were being beaten in the arms race.

Hostilities constantly broke out as spies were found stealing blueprints, research, and even scientists to aid in “protecting” the country of those who sent them. The New Cold War quickly turned into open war as smaller nations started “testing” their newfound weaponry on nearby (and not so nearby) nations.

It was the middle of the 22nd century, and mankind was on the brink of entering World War 3. However, this war would make the other two World Wars seem small and insignificant. This war could have easily seen the end of humanity.

The Event

Interestingly enough, the saviour of mankind would come not from mankind, but from our Mother Nature.

It is as if the earth could no longer stand supporting the life form that would eventually lead to its destruction. It could tolerate pollutions, wars, wasted resources, and even radical changes in politics, but it could not tolerate the chance of being utterly annihilated by advanced weaponry that would threatened to literally tear the planet apart.

There are no perfect records as to when The Event started. Some records indicate it started in the year 2252, others say as late as 2255. All records have The Event dated somewhere between 2249 and 2257. The general consensus has it held at 2251, as any surviving computers seem to be lacking any information after that date, which would lead us to believe that is when they were no longer being used.

Whenever The Event was, it changed everything.

It started small. Reports of earthquakes started to surface all over the world. What was strange was not the magnitude, but the length of the earthquakes. Instead of the normal 30-45 seconds, earthquakes were lasting 3-5 minutes, causing devastating effects even at small magnitudes.

As if that didn’t get our attention enough, it only got worse. After about a week of the reports of the world-wide earthquakes, The Event truly started, on a scale that the earth hasn’t seen since perhaps the destruction of the dinosaurs.

What started with small earthquakes soon turned into catastrophically large earthquakes, not only of a high magnitude but lasting 10-20 minutes at a time. Entire cities were shaken to the ground. Only the most structurally sound buildings remained standing.

At the same time as the earthquakes came almost every other natural disaster known to man, along with some that weren’t discovered until The Event. Terrific lightning storms burned smaller cities to the ground. Volcanoes in places never thought to be able to support volcanoes erupted, some burying entire cities, others just sending out ash over thousands of square miles.

Massive hurricanes accompanied terrible tsunamis, actually drowning entire coastal countries (some remain under water to this day).

No nation was unaffected. So great and terrible were the disasters that over 95% of the world’s population were completely eradicated.

No government survived. Civilization as we knew it ceased to exist.

Nobody knows how long The Event lasted. Some say hours, some say days. All we know now is that everything that we had built in the thousands of years that we existed was gone. We reverted back to surviving, and what a game of survival it was.

The Remnants and the Era of Survival

The real tragedy lies in what happened next.

Even though over 500 million people survived the event (more than enough to band together and ensure mankind’s survival), that number quickly dwindled.

With no form of government in any part of the world, most people formed the ideal of “every man for himself.” What is most tragic is that within the first 20 years after The Event the world population dropped from around 500 million to less than 50 million due to starvation, murder (usually over survival resources), and disease.

However, mankind is not so easily defeated. Luckily there were enough people who banded together for mutual protection against bandits, disease, and starvation. These small civilizations were the root of what has grown into the pockets of civilization that we now have on the earth today, only 60 years after The Event.

This time period has come to be known as the Era of Survival, and it has not yet come to an end.

Old World Technology

Second only to mankind’s near extinction in tragedy was the loss of almost all of our technology. In the 20 years during the beginning of the Era of Survival most of the world’s technology that was not destroyed during The Event was stripped down by those who survived.

Any technology that now exists is simply a rediscovery of what we had before, a shadow of our former glory. Not many people still live that understand how to reverse engineer what is left. We are resigned to simply using everything we find as a “black box” (in other words, we can use it, but we don’t know how to make it, or even usually how to repair it).

In some civilizations technology has been preserved more than in others. Those fortunate enough to have had surviving scientists are able, to some degree, to repair what they have, and even occasionally rebuild what they have lost.

However, we must accept the fact that we have lost most of what we had, and it will take us hundreds (if not thousands) of years to become what we once were. Whether this is a bad thing is yet to be determined.

Life in the New World

The world looks nothing like it once did. Not only did most of humanity die because of The Event and the Era of Survival, but the earth itself did not fully survive, at least not as it once did. Many species of animals were killed. Parts of continents now existed underwater, and new small continents and islands have emerged.

Some countries did not exist at all. Canada is an example of this. A large chain of volcanoes erupted across 65% of Canada’s land, killing most life and altering the environment to such a degree that very few can survive there.

What is left of humanity is grouped together into micro-civilizations. Between these pockets of civilization are wild lands, which are extremely dangerous to anybody who dares to venture between cities.

Threats to Humanity

The biggest threat lies in bandits – people who don’t want to be bound to civilizations, but would rather steal their way to survival. As most civilizations lack a military strong enough to combat anything but those that attack them directly, bandits are still to this day one of the biggest threats.

Another unusual threat that one can come across every so often is broken machinery. This doesn’t sound like too much of a problem, but when you take a robot built to aid in the war efforts and then damage its processor, you basically get mobile weapons that attack whatever they see.

Biostorms are also a new threat that was “invented” by The Event. Nobody really knows what started them, but some theorize that the genetic laboratories that housed so many biological chemicals, as well as factories that were creating chemical weaponry were exposed to the environment, releasing their toxic compounds into the air.

These Biostorms appear as lightning storms, but are easily distinguished by the red lightning that comes down, and the dark colorful clouds that accompany them. It is wise to stay out of the precipitation that falls from these clouds, as it has caused major disease that has been the end of many micro-civilizations.

Another side effect of the Biostorms is the creation (or evolution) of animal species. Some predator animals such as dogs, tigers, lions, or panthers have mutated into stranger, sometimes stronger, animal species who roam the land attacking whomever they come across.

Luckily these are not too common, as most animals suffer the same fate as humans when the Biostorms hit (in other words, they die).

The Haussmann Race

One interesting side effect of The Event was with the programs that had been given the Haussmann Gene.

Before The Event the “self-aware” programs never had to worry about survival. They were always interconnected by the hundreds of satellites that orbited the earth. They essentially were immortal, so the issue of survival never really came up.

However, one result of The Event was the destruction of almost every satellite that orbited the earth, mainly from the electromagnetic pulses that came from some of the “natural” disasters (it should be noted that no natural disaster has ever caused EMP radiation, but also no natural disaster has ever been recorded at this scale).

Left with the knowledge that once the local power ran out in the few surviving laboratories, factories, or any other locations they happened to be in would be followed by their “death,” those programmed with the Haussmann Gene started to exhibit “unusual” behaviors.

Some had access to robotic production facilities. These learned how to create crude shells for their programs that they could then copy themselves into and leave the confines of where they were.

Others weren’t so lucky, and were trapped in their computer systems until the power ran out. Some people even claim that they found “insane” computer programs desperately trying to learn a solution to what had happened in hopes that they could escape their doom.

Unlike what was told in science fiction stories and movies in the Old World, no huge race of machines evolved to conquer the world and enslave mankind. In fact the Haussmann program was limited in the fact that the program was bound to the software that it was attached to.

What has evolved from this are the robots that live amongst us, or even have formed their own micro-civilizations.

Yes, it is true that some have attacked humans, but they are no more a threat to us than other humans. Their programming seems to emulate the need to survive, which is why they are able to “coexist” with us if we prove to them that they will survive by doing so.

It is an interesting irony that those whom we depended on so much for survival before The Event are now, in part, dependant on us for their own. It is comforting to know that we have some control in this uncontrollable world.

--------------------------------------------

EDIT - added later today:

Just a few points to clarify:

1. I wrote this initial story up in about an hour, mostly today when I posted it. It hasn't been edited for grammar or anything like that. I wanted to start getting what is in my head onto paper so that it really started coming alive.

2. The story says that it was "as if" the earth revolted. Once again I will reiterate that it wasn't fully "natural." More of that later.

3. The idea of this storyline is to create tabletop games (note the plural) as well as an RPG, and then hopefully eventually branch out into computer games (long long term).

4. We do plan on making our own miniature line for this.

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by DigitalNinja » Thu May 14, 2009 12:03 pm

It looks good so far. Will need more detail as you develop it. But right now, its great :D
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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by DavicusPrime » Thu May 14, 2009 12:32 pm

I like the basic gist...

Some concepts you could include...

-A potential cause of the mega-earthquakes and the resulting tsunami and volcanic activity could be driven by a radical shift in the existing tectonic plate system. Entire plates shifting, sliding or rotating in the space of hours what would have taken centuries or millenia to happen at their previous slow creep. Other plates fracturing to create new fault lines and/or fusing along old fault lines, completely changing the face of the earth.

-Magnetic poles shifting. It's been determined that the magnetic field of the Earth has shifted drasticly in the past... Having it shift suddenly during the Event could be one of the causes of the EMP disruption of the satellite system. It would also make pre-event compasses and rudimentary guidance systems dependent on the magnetic field to either become useless or work very differently... Magnetic North ain't North no more.

-Biostorms... Not sure I'm fully bought into that bit of it. But the idea of biological hazards left over from the disaster causing effects on the ecosystem is cool. It opens up the possibilty of a new evolutionary trend in both critters and humans. It kills most, changes some and hardens the rest opens up lots of potential ideas.

-The AI's. Being that the AI acts as an interface for a specific program or set of programs, it makes sense that they wouldn't be able to become super-machines lording it over their former masters. But it would be cool to have them form collectives: Multiple AI's and their attendent programs joining to create gestalt entities. Like a super computer becoming it's own city state bearing hundreds of AI's each providing it's own functionality to the whole. Tie that super computer to enough peripheral systems (power plants, factories, utility networks, automated material processing plants, etc.) and it could be a literal city state run entirly by machines and the AI controlled programs that drive them.

The concept multiple AI's bickering with themselves in control of a starship was in the star wars novels (The Millenium Falcon has three droid brains wired into the systems which explains some of it's excentricities). Now magnify that by a hundred and the chaos inside the supercomputer citystate described above could make for some interesting plot lines similar to any other complicated political storyline.

And you also create the comedic potential of the Paranoia RPG (A senile computer trying to protect and maintain the civilization it's been charged with).

Carry on Grand Inquisitor Matticus.

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by miniwargaming » Thu May 14, 2009 1:14 pm

Great feedback.

I actually already know what causes The Event, but that is to remain secret until a later edition of the game. However, the magnetic pole shifting idea is a great one that I will most likely include as it would explain the EMP problems (and could do some extra fun stuff to the AI race).

I like all the other ideas though, especially programs merging, thus merging their abilities and limitations as well.

To be honest, the AI thing has me most excited right now, so you'll probably see that race / faction developed first.

Matthew

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by DigitalNinja » Thu May 14, 2009 1:22 pm

Are there any plans for liek a mutant animal type race. Almost like Skaven but maybe a merger of all these animals that gained intelligence or something like that?
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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by Apa1994 » Thu May 14, 2009 2:15 pm

The Dragon wrote:Who knew that you had a talent for writing Matt, very good read. I throughly enjoyed it.

I can't wait until you post some of the cities/factions for more flavor.

Overall really good read.
Cant say I dont agree.

When names and stuff comes, I will by the fluff even if it doesn´t get to a game. You can realy write Matt.

And now for some sugestions (I´m dont expect you to take them, but anyway, who knows?):
The robots, I realy like how they started "living". But, as mankind has always done, many would try to destroy them.
Imagine it like apartheid. Some would accept the robots and learn to live with them, treating them as equals, while some some will start "wars" against them.

And the second suggestion (I know you will get lots of people saying things simular to this), could you save Sweden on the world map, or at least part of northern europe. I mean, Vikings, who would but us survive the event!?

Third suggestion, IF, you will save northern europe. You might want some name suggestions, and then there´s just to ask.

And the last suggestion, DONT STOP WITH THIS, IT IS REALY AWESOME WORK ALREADY!!!

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by lotrlord666 » Thu May 14, 2009 3:06 pm

wow cant wait for that

keep going and is it a game for the PC?
death to the living!!!

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by DigitalNinja » Thu May 14, 2009 3:12 pm

No it's a table top.
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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by LeGrandStefan » Thu May 14, 2009 3:13 pm

Wow! It took some time but this is really a great story! You really created a fantastic scenario

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by rob0362 » Thu May 14, 2009 3:25 pm

seems a lil trite as the concept of Enviromental disator has been used in several games, Gamma World, Dunes are the only I can think of right now.

I would change the micro civ.'s to City-states

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by Epic Duck Mike » Thu May 14, 2009 3:25 pm

I'm of a Norse Ancestry myself... I'll keep an eye on the fluff ;)
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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by rob0362 » Thu May 14, 2009 3:34 pm

Plus wasn't "the Event" what they called Mother Nature Attacking mankind in the movie The Happening?

Yes it was

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by Pulltruck » Thu May 14, 2009 3:39 pm

Sounds pretty good so far.

Poor Canada :cry: I don't want to go out like that!

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by Maelick » Thu May 14, 2009 3:40 pm

Very well written! I can't wait to see how you are going to develope the races / factions.

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Re: Primal Horizon Main Story (work in progress)

Post by miniwargaming » Thu May 14, 2009 3:40 pm

rob0362 wrote:Plus wasn't "the Event" what they called Mother Nature Attacking mankind in the movie The Happening?

Yes it was
Thanks for the feedback. I never actually saw that movie, but now that you mention it I will change what I call it.

Matthew

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