Clock Planet

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Clock Planet

Postby RaharuAharu » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:55 pm

I found this over on 4chan today in the /tg (traditional games) section.

I call it ClockPLanet

Below are some of the best posts from the thread.

http://zip.4chan.org/tg/res/4812621.html

The year 1933, Sir Robert Thornton found the passageway to the center of the Earth. Despite the scientific community's protests that it was quite frankly impossible and downright suicidal, Thornton managed to gather an expedition and set out to find out what was actually at the center of the planet. What he found was nothing like what he had expected.

The core of the planet was all just one gigantic machine. A machine larger than the entire American continent. Grinding gears, pounding pistons, steam engines the size of countries and dials with strange symbols nobody on Earth understood as far as the eye could see. It was all magnificent, but what did it all mean?

Naturally, the machinery attracted scientists from every part of the world, brilliant minds just aching to solve the riddle of what all of these mechanics were for. Unfortunately for them, it just seemed impossible.

1965, 30 full years after the initial discovery of the machine, we are still no closer to discovering its purpose than we were back then. It is simply too vast, too alien, and according to most scientists, too impossible to be understood. We realized this after the first ten years, since we hadn't even managed to map out 1% of the machine, much less gotten anywhere with understanding how or why it worked. A machine this large was simply against the laws of physics. Since we realized we would never be able to understand it on our own, someone came up with the obvious solution. We'd find the blueprints.

There had to be some kind of schematics somewhere, and if we could just find them, maybe we could better understand what all of this was about. Governments all across the world declared that they would pay good money for any information regarding the origins or mechanics of the machine, a system for clearance was developed, and so the great rush to the center of the Earth started.

The year is now 2008 and we're still not much closer to figuring the machine out. We know how parts of it work, but it's the barest of fractions of knowledge. Still, the exploration continues. Every now and then, some adventurer finds an arcane piece of machinery of one of those weird folding cubes with that squiggly writing that gives you a migraine all over them, and gets handsomely rewarded. Sure, you have to look out so you don't end up crushed between two giant gears, and sure, if you get too close to some parts of the machine, those clockwork engineers will rip you to pieces, but come on, did you see what they're payinf for one of those electric rods? And my buddy Tom says that he's found a place with hundreds of them! All we have to do is somehow shut down the generator momentarily, get in, grab the rods, look out for the mecha-dragons and get back out.

Well, what do you say?

---

It's pretty much identical to our world. The machine wasn't discovered until the 30's, so the only thing that's changed are past 75 years.

Essentially what happened was the following:
Machine is discovered. People go "Whoa, dude, that's fucking insane".
People fight like they always do. Who has the rights to what, and so on. Eventually they decide on some kind of mutual right, where the major world powers share access to the machine.
Eventually, this becomes a full-blown union, where most of the world's countries work together to try to understand the machine, since it's quite obviously an important part of human existence.

So yeah, no WWII, no Cold War, but otherwise, things are pretty much the same. Nations bicker over discoveries, try to screw each other over and generally act like they always do, but still get along pretty well, since they really, really want to find out just what the fuck is going on.

---

The machine is, well, a machine. Parts of it are clockwork, others are steam powered and some would best be described as Nikola Tesla and HR Geiger's bastard lovechild. It's large enough that there's a lot of diversity.

There doesn't appear to be any structures apart from those made by humans who have ventured down there. It all just appears to be one gigantic machine, and just that. Of course there are what appears to be maintenance tunnels and what appears to be control rooms, but it really doesn't seem like the ones who built it had any intention of sticking around.

As for how it works, nobody knows. Most scientists maintain that the machine actually is physically impossible, and by all means should have broken down long ago, but it exists and is whole as far as we know. It might be magic, it might be SCIENCE! and it might be something completely different. All we know for certain is that it is more advanced than every single piece of technology we've ever invented.

-------

As for where it is and what it contains, both answers are similar. The machine is pretty much everywhere and contains pretty much everything. It's too large to imagine without having actually seen it. There are three major obstacles most explorers will encounter sooner or later. First come the Engineers. They're some kind of mechanical automatons who take care of the machine. They mostly don't even care about anything but the machine, but if you end up in the wrong place, they'll tear you to pieces. It's generally assumed this is to protect vital parts of the machine from damage. The main problem with the Engineers is that their unpredictability makes them dangerous, but their position as caretakers of the machine means most governments are reluctant to let people actually destroy them out of fear of the machine breaking down. Next are other people. There's a lot of competition for the next big discovery, and there are always people willing to lie, cheat, steal and even kill for artifacts. Last are the mecha-dragons. These are giant clockwork monstrosities who are as enigmatic as the rest of the machine. They're ferocious, though, and seem to work like the white blood cells of the machine. Entering dragon territory is pretty much suicide.

Of course, that's not all, but these are the three most common threats. There are rumors of intelligent electrical fields, bizarre machines that hook their wires up directly to your head and things far stranger still. With the machine, it's kind of hard to tell if these are stories by half insane explorers or if there's actually some substance to them.

-----

The main difficulty of exploring the Machine is that the structure changes over time. Rooms and hallways move, shift, and rearrange themselves. This process is usually slow but can be very swift as what seemed to be a safe tunnel suddenly opens to let burning steam vent. Some of the more superstitious people are convinced that the Great Machine itself is trying to impede their progress.

-----

As far as we know, there's just the one entrance in South America. At the moment, a Union military base is placed right on top of it. To get a license, you'll need to apply for evaluation and then go through a 6 month training program. It's very similar to military service, actually. The conditions for getting a license are fairly simple. Any artifacts you find belong to the Union, in exchange you will receive compensation. By no means are you allowed to cause harm to the machine. Don't get in the way of the Engineers.

----

A big thing to consider is what kind of global technology would we have? If there was no WWII or Cold War then our war-time exploits have probably been nil. Jet aircraft, computers, and nuclear research are probably far behind, as well as computers.

More importantly, I doubt we'd ever do something as petty as dick around with space travel or go to the moon with this thing below ground. Space exploration is probably limited to token satellites, at best, and everything that came from it probably doesn't exist either.

tl;dr what kind of equipment can an explorer expect to have access to?
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Re: Clock Planet

Postby Ashes » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:20 pm

No WWII? The Nazi party seized power in the first month of 1933, the same year the clockwork underground was discovered. I don't think the discovery would have stopped the war, although it may have altered the course of war.

The Nazis may have decided they needed to seize control of the entrance to the clockwork underground, and focused their attacks more strongly on South America. Or perhaps they would have tried building up political strength there first.

I don't think tech would be quite so stunted as Anonymous suggests. Perhaps set back 20 years. No space race.

Also, this is pretty much just Project Long Stair with a clockwork/steampunk theme.
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Re: Clock Planet

Postby RaharuAharu » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:24 pm

Ashes wrote:.

Also, this is pretty much just Project Long Stair with a clockwork/steampunk theme.


To much magic, needs more clock punk.

EDIT: But also a neat setting...

hehe Gygaxland lol ^_^
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Re: Clock Planet

Postby draque » Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:30 am

I typically just instantly associate 4Chan with /b/, but that is amazingly cool, Raharu. Are there any stories set in that world, or is it all still just in its story construction phase? If nothing else, it really seems like it would make for an exciting RP universe, both in terms of the players experiencing it, and the DM getting a lot of freedom (most of the Machine is unexplored and mysterious...) to create.
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Re: Clock Planet

Postby strange_person » Tue Jun 09, 2009 11:17 am

Is there a standard procedure for initiating such projects? I have an idea of my own, an alternate history that branches off when the emperor Constantine finds no support from Christian priests and as a result, centuries later, the Roman Mithraic Church is the cornerstone of an oppressive matriarchy.
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Re: Clock Planet

Postby Ashes » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:43 pm

strange_person wrote:Is there a standard procedure for initiating such projects?

No. Just go to /tg/ and make a thread about your idea. If people like it they'll add to it.

Just beware that cool ideas on /tg/ take on a life of their own. It will no longer by your idea. As it grows, it will be twisted and mutated by alien minds.
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Re: Clock Planet

Postby RaharuAharu » Tue Jun 09, 2009 2:52 pm

Mutated by aliens minds huh?


http://zip.4chan.org/tg/res/4823788.html#4823788 here is the link to the 3rd thread on clock planet.
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