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2300AD & 2320 Discussion of the original 2300AD from GDW, the revised 2300 from Mongoose Publishing, or QLI's 2320AD.

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  #1  
Old May 17th, 2008, 08:16 PM
rfmcdpei rfmcdpei is offline
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Default A grim irony about the Kafers

Re-reading my copy of Mission Arcturus, I came across Claire Laval's report to Nicolas Ruffin on Kafer psychology and her suggested explanations as to the unprovoked and unmerciful Kafer attacks on humanity. She suggested that the Kafers recognized that other alien species could possess long-term intelligence and sought to use this threat to permanently raise the intelligence of the Kafers. Her first suggestion, however, was that the Kafers feared humanity because of our long-term intelligence: If the Kafers' short-term intelligence was increased by violent encounters, how much more violent would a species with permanent intelligence be? As Laval put it, "[t]hey believe then that they are fighting for their existence against a foe who outmatched them in both cunning and in potential for violence."

If this last was a motive of the various Kafer suzerains, it backfired spectacularly by inspiring the very spectacular human ultra-violence that the Kafers so feared. Between the nuclear winters visited on Triumphant Destiny's worlds, whatever happened to Lambda Serpentis, Lutke's perhaps excessive bombardment of Gamma Serpentis IV, and the deployment of a virus on Gamma Serpentis III that arguably made the Kafers sub-sentient, the Kafers have come perilously close to experiencing an extinction event. Perhaps as many as two billion Kafers died in total, by far most of the survivors living on the Kafer homeworld. Only a half-billion Kafers lie beyond Gamma Serpentis, living in organized and technological societies.

I'm a bit hard-pressed to come up with a way that this can be made into an adventure seed, although I suppose that it's probably quite true that the Kafer suzerainties beyond Gamma Serpentis are frantically trying to innovate (how?), especially with the human presence in Ylii space. I just thought it might be interesting to share this note on Kafer self-destructiveness. Long-term intelligence could have helped them quite a bit ...
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Old May 17th, 2008, 11:05 PM
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Adventure Seed:

A sympathetic scientist wants help the Kafers.

1) He wants to take and shoot "extreme gladiators" with kafers. The kafers to be chosen are to be the best and brightest, and while the combats are to be non-lethal, but spaced just far enough to buld long term intelligence in the individuals.

2) As number one, but he's going to be covering up a few kafer-vs-human lethals for the snuff-flick market.

3) as number 1, but he's covering up xenoporn smuggling.

4) He plans on kidnapping kafer leaders, and implanting Direct Neural Interface Pain Stimulators in them. By triggering repeatedly he hopes to make them smarter.

5) as 4, but it is to allow him to sell them on 1, 2, or 3

6) as 4 or five, but includes a cortex bomb.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 07:10 AM
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I wrote this little vignette for no particular reason a while back. I think that having human researchers observing the kafers closely is going to bring up a lot of uncomfortable stuff like this:
"The most unsettling discovery we have made on Gamma Serpenti that is that Kafers care for each other.

Intellectually it is not hard to see: any social species needs cooperation, and it will evolve forms of altruism that enable members to rely on each other even when they are short-sighted and driven by selfish genes.

But when we humans see Kafers we just see the violence. They constantly beat each other. They appear criminally insane. But they are not sociopaths. I have seen a Kafer parent beat its children in a way that in humans would have been child abuse; yet struggle at great risk to provide food and shelter for them. The beatings were after all to help them, to make them smarter. Wounded Kafers are not killed outright, but tended (in their usual fairly heavy-handed way) by others.

Kafers likely have analogues to friendship, honour, loyalty and perhaps even love. We have found these behaviours in other intelligent species (with a few exceptions like the Pentapods and Xiang, whose mode of existence is too dissimilar to ours). They are not a band of sociopaths held together by fear and coldly calculating ambition (although that is a component – as in humans), but a strange social species not too dissimilar from Homo sapiens. There, but for the grace of evolution, go I. "

-- Rudolph K. Zimmerman, Life Foundation Xenosociologist
Such sentiments may not be very popular among the millions hit by the Kafer war on the French arm, but imagine when they start spreading in the Core... about the time the news of the Pentapod's Revenge become public. I think the anti-militarists will have a heyday using such information to show that mankind has been led astray by powerful nationalist/military complexes. There is potential for some big political upheavals there.
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Old May 18th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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It is a very good seed, also because it might cause a "over- humanization" of the Kafers in some groups, remember the troubles of the female PAX researcher in the adventure Kafer Dawn and the Coyfederacy would most likely want to benefit from such a development

Last edited by Waldemar; May 19th, 2008 at 03:53 AM..
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Old May 18th, 2008, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
3) as number 1, but he's covering up xenoporn smuggling.
Dear. God. No.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 01:32 AM
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:twitch: Xenoporn? Kafers are functional hermaphrodites...

Great. Now I need some brain-bleach. I think that, in the future, every supplement I write will have a character named Aramis, who dies in a spectacular, messy, improbable and utterly pointless fashion. It's not writing, it's therapy.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 02:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin View Post
:twitch: Xenoporn? Kafers are functional hermaphrodites...
If I'd meant Kafer-on-kafer I'd have said kafer-porn...

Which said, that means the gender of the human cast with the kafer is less relevant. Now, imagine, your characters are sent to the lab to figure out how to get a kafer to bother with a human....

And if he was sane, he'd probably not be wanting to help the Kafers... investigate, sure... Help?

Anyway, I'm thinking of expanding the table...

7) he really doesn't want to help, but to exterminate. He'll use the characters to transmit a new virus to the kafers in hopes of further reducing their numbers.

8) He is using the players to introduce an airborne bacterium that triggers the pain-to-brain process in kafers, so as to make them smarter by near constant migraine type symptoms.

9) as 7, but it works like 8 by accident.

10) he is in league with the kafers for his own deranged purposes. He intends touse the PCs to teach the smarter kafers how to interrogate humans. The PC's will be his "pet" kafer's learning lab victims.
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Last edited by aramis; May 19th, 2008 at 02:38 AM..
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Old May 19th, 2008, 04:29 AM
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Another take on the whole thing would be trying to make a bioweapon that made the intelligence increase occur due to sex and pleasure rather than violence. A literal "make love not war" virus.

As for other species-sex I can't imagine some humans not trying to get Sung into bed. In the case of the pentapods humans have probably had sex without understanding what it was:
"Greenshell, why is Sender behaving this way? It tickles!"
"Mr Gonzalez, the pentapod conzerned with information dizemination iz communicating with you."
As for Ebers, no human have successfully gone through the hoops of Eber dating.

Overall, I think humans are the most sex-obsessed of the known species (maybe with the exception of the Little Guys). We are mammals reproducing all year around, unlike the egg-laying Sung and Xiang. I seem to remember that Kafers also have periodic sexuality (Bang! "Not today, darling.") The Pentapods see it as engineering/dinner/politics. Maybe the Xiang can match us in love poetry:
"Your carapace shines in the sun with the polarization of Home of the Mother
how I wish to make the corrugations on it audible with my tarsus
let your pedipalps speak to my arolium
let your setae whisper love"

Last edited by Anders; May 19th, 2008 at 07:18 AM..
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Old May 19th, 2008, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
7) he really doesn't want to help, but to exterminate. He'll use the characters to transmit a new virus to the kafers in hopes of further reducing their numbers.
This leads me to an interesting question about the Pentapod's Revenge: Why does it act so quickly? According to the main book, the virus overtook most of the Kafer homeworld within a month of the first landings. That sort of epidemic certainly provides a very shocking example to the other Kafers, and suggests some sort of airborne contagion, but it makes the Pentapod's Revenge a poor weapon to use against a species spread out on multiple planet.

Long periods of latency would have allowed the virus to spread unnoticed throughout the entirety of Kafer interstellar civilization, not just their home planetary system. If the Pentapod's Revenge spread as quickly but took longer to manifest, it could have become pandemic throughout the Kafer sphere by the time that the Kafers noticed that something strange was going on. ("And then," the sanitized news commentaries begin, "that's when the brave forces of the United States and Australia were able to retake the lost Ylii worlds in the face of feeble resistance.") As things stand, quarantine measures seem adequate to protect the remaining free Kafer worlds.

Was the virus deployed prematurely by the human fleets, dropped on Gamma Serpentis III (and IV?) before there could be any infiltration beyond GS into the Kafer Sphere proper? Did the Pentapods intentionally create a virus that wouldn't let one civilized species destroy another? With humanity's biotechnology steadily advancing (retroviruses have been used commercially to radically rework human bodies since the 2190s) might at least some of the outposts on the Kafer homeworld be concerned with making the Revenge a better anti-Kafer weapon?
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Old May 20th, 2008, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rfmcdpei View Post
This leads me to an interesting question about the Pentapod's Revenge: Why does it act so quickly? According to the main book, the virus overtook most of the Kafer homeworld within a month of the first landings. That sort of epidemic certainly provides a very shocking example to the other Kafers, and suggests some sort of airborne contagion, but it makes the Pentapod's Revenge a poor weapon to use against a species spread out on multiple planet.
Indeed. If that were it's purpose. Recall what a pentapod Warrior is...

Quote:
Long periods of latency would have allowed the virus to spread unnoticed throughout the entirety of Kafer interstellar civilization, not just their home planetary system. If the Pentapod's Revenge spread as quickly but took longer to manifest, it could have become pandemic throughout the Kafer sphere by the time that the Kafers noticed that something strange was going on. ("And then," the sanitized news commentaries begin, "that's when the brave forces of the United States and Australia were able to retake the lost Ylii worlds in the face of feeble resistance.") As things stand, quarantine measures seem adequate to protect the remaining free Kafer worlds.
Again, indeed.

Quote:
Was the virus deployed prematurely by the human fleets, dropped on Gamma Serpentis III (and IV?) before there could be any infiltration beyond GS into the Kafer Sphere proper? Did the Pentapods intentionally create a virus that wouldn't let one civilized species destroy another? With humanity's biotechnology steadily advancing (retroviruses have been used commercially to radically rework human bodies since the 2190s) might at least some of the outposts on the Kafer homeworld be concerned with making the Revenge a better anti-Kafer weapon?
The Revenge was used exactly how the Pentapods instructed...
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