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Outsiders Thoughts About OA
(06-27-2017, 03:52 AM)Rynn Wrote: I think this is key. And if because of this OA is difficult-impossible to make an RPG about then "oh well". It's a worldbuilding group, there's plenty of things that it wouldn't be good at or appropriate for.

True - and not saying OA needs to be all things to all people. But I think it's good to occasionally look in on these kind of things because they can lead to new ways of presenting OA and possibly broadening its appeal (while still maintaining its core elements of course).

I'd actually be more excited if we could see more stories being written in the setting - but I'm a big reader and not a gamer, so that could just be me.

There's no hero to identify with. And OA goes to great ends to make sure everyone understands that. It's our most talked about subject - intertoposophic conflict. To be fair, we're kind of smug about it. We lampoon the basic idea as - well - stupid and childish. We make fun of the square-jawed manly hero character.

Now - in our defense, our take on the thing is reasonable. But that's not what the wider audience is wanting. They don't want "reasonable". Reasonable is CSPAN. They want entertainment.

They want the greek hero to stand in defiance of the gods of Olympus and win - not because he's stronger or smarter, but because he's a good and honorable man.

Yeah - old and tired trope is old and tired. But it's what makes the wider audience happy.

There's a reason Star Trek is popular and other, "hard sci-fi" material isn't. And the important question is this: Do you want this worldbuilding project to be a soft sci-fi space opera setting that allows for such? Or do you want this place to remain Orion's Arm?

I'm pretty certain I know everyone's answer - and that leads to the conclusion that we're just not going to please this wider audience and should focus on what we do, not what they want. New people that like what OA is will find us - as they always have - and they'll hang around and enrich the project. People who want something else...well...they can start their own. Good luck to them - and I might even pop in and assist if I'm welcome.
I see where you (and 'the wider audience') is coming from on this, but at the same time I would disagree (or at least say the situation is more complicated than that).

A lot of this is probably informed from my years of reading Analog magazine, starting from a young age. The stories in Analog were occasionally about some jut jawed hero type saving/changing the universe in defiance of the 'powers that be' and in an epic battle at the end. But far more often they were/are about an individual or small group struggling against nature, or circumstance, or making an important (or potentially important) discovery or the like. Sometimes they were equipped with near magic technology, other times they were just an average nobody going about their life. But very rarely were they the current take on a 'hero' as depicted in TV/Film/Video games.

It should also be noted that OA mainly operates as a sort of backdrop or canvas on which to paint characters (including heroes) rather than handing them to the audience already ready made.

Put another way - I think there is a lot of scope for SF adventures in OA, maybe even some epic ones, but creating them requires 'the audience' to create the hero in the first place. And most of the time that hero is going to be heroic on a scale much smaller than the entire universe, or even the entire planet. And it may often be a team effort - which is often how real life works, actually. Consider the RL heroes that dot history - relatively few of them acted alone and virtually none of them had superpowers or only had to deal with foes who 'couldn't shoot straight' either metaphorically or literally - yet they persisted and either won or set the stage for later people to win (whatever that means). I think OA has a lot of scope for that kind of thing.

Even if we consider some of the more common SF adventure tropes, I think OA could accommodate them - but it would take work to create them. Consider:

To Boldly Go...Exploration of the Unknown is a constant in the OA universe, although we don't talk about it much. TOE originated this and did it quite a lot, although later Star Trek franchises seemed to move away from that a good bit. The Enterprise D seemed to spend nearly as many episodes hosting conferences or helping out at known locations as ever did going new places - which seemed to be intended to signal a greater maturity on the part of the Federation or the like.

War - Adam has already demonstrated that armed conflict can work in the setting in at least one mode. Probably there are other options as well, if someone wanted to play with them.

Overcoming Adversity - this can seem a tough one at first given OA tech, but the ongoing graphic novel discussion is showing that this option can likely work quite well with the right set up.

Band of Adventurers - I think you could do stuff like this in parts of the setting. A 'Guardians of the Galaxy' sort of team of misfits could probably work - at least up to a point.


The upshot is that I think a lot of SF tropes, even 'the hero' can work in OA - but we aren't just handing them pre-made to people (maybe we should do more of that?) and they are unlikely to be as universally wide ranging (or as immune to the laws of physics or common sense) as a lot of modern entertainment likely to depict things.

My 2c worth,


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