Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Refrigerator

So a few years ago Zak Sabbath had this idea for a Gigacrawler, which was based on the premise that the entire universe is a dungeon. Earth's cities grew and grew and spread to the moon and to other planets until eventually everything is connected by metal and glass tubes and everyone is struggling for survival.

The concept is sound. Two of the things that really interested me from the posts on the Gigacrawl were these gaps in the foundation.

-Lacuna: These are small gaps--the size of a planet or less--of open space in the Gigastructure. It can take months to find a way around them but many are home to shuttlemen who will ferry travellers across the lacuna in battered starships for trade.


-Star Chambers - Massive cavities in the gigastructure built around stars. In most cases the surrounding structure is dedicated to cyclopean power conversion infrastructure. These serve as the main source of energy within the whole of the GS. Most star chambers are strictly controlled by a group or organisation, with various levels of understanding regarding their operation/maintenance, and are often the nexus of power struggles and military operations.

These really got me thinking about location, which can be hard when told "the universe is a dungeon". It creates this blanket of grey. Boring steel corridor after boring steel corridor, with the occasional glass that allows the players to see into the emptiness of space. This creates an atmosphere of oppressing hollowness in a universe that is PACKED with things, as if the world just kept shoving things into its gullet but it never satiated its hunger.

Push this concept further with the idea of survival. Even with all these corridors and planets and stars connected, there is little food (I'll use food as a blanket word for "supplies", which include but isn't limited to gas, water, bullets, arrows, compassion, real human connection...). Food is gold in this world. The dragon hoards cheese, the baron of that floating husk of a destroyer-class battle cruiser keeps his treasured ice cream in the freezer, under lock and key.

There are no treasure chests that hold a wealth of gold. Gold is the first thing to go when the bio-suit gets heavy, or when the war-dog gets tired. Gold gets you nothing. When the psychopaths have you cornered in the bathroom of some abandoned apartment complex that wraps around the wrings of Saturn, they won't give two fucks about the sack of gold you toss them. If you don't give them your food (or, since you probably don't have food either, your leg) they'll just kill you and eat you.

The real treasure is finding an unopened fridge. Refrigerators, like most random electronic items in the Crawl, are still powered by the star chambers. Factions that control star chambers often hire adventurers to check out "spikes" or little drains of power that are just beyond the safety of their large numbers. Most of the time these spikes are refrigerators, or ice boxes, or vending machines.

Getting a sack full of unopened pop cans, or a well preserved ham and bringing it back to the powers-that-be ensures both in game rewards (consistent food for a period of time, survival) and meta rewards (XP). But that's if you're lucky enough to find work at the star chambers. With all the psychopaths wandering the corridors, most people kill on sight.

With the extinction of treasure chests a few dangers have adapted to this new world. Mimics. Nothing worse than opening a fridge looking for food, only to become food. Same with iceboxes, vending machines (the worst kind), kiosks, lunch boxes, old sack lunches, and coolers.

Not only that, but food still molds, rots, and decays. And even though some refrigerators are still powered, most are not. This creates mold. The yellow kind. Hazardous and life threatening.

This world is forgotten and a husk of civility.

That's all I got juice for right now.

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