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[Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Phrozen » Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:14 pm

Charles, it seems that most of the leaders of the Conspiracy actually don't want the conspiracy to exist anymore.

Killroy, Sophia, and Schienburg certainly do not.

Bourbon, Scorpion, and Minos do but are at odds with one another.

Wilson would probably just go with the strongest horse.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Charles Phipps » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:39 pm

Phrozen wrote:Charles, it seems that most of the leaders of the Conspiracy actually don't want the conspiracy to exist anymore.

Killroy, Sophia, and Schienburg certainly do not.

Bourbon, Scorpion, and Minos do but are at odds with one another.

Wilson would probably just go with the strongest horse.


One of the sections of the original supplement would be "Conspiracy: Good, Evil, or Necessarily Evil?" where it talks about the organization in terms of the way the player characters want it to be. A major theme of the Conspiracy would be whether or not the player characters envision the organization existing for the purposes of protecting humanity, enlightening it, or to accumulate power and wealth.

The protectors generally view it as necessary forever or in perpetuity with Schienberg definitely being a liberal at odds with the majority of the faction. The enlightenment types, ironically, see the the Conspiracy are a necessary evil until all of humanity is good enough that it no longer needs it. Bourbon and other conservatives generally are at odds with this as they see mankind as always needing a shepherd.

Others just don't honestly care.

The Conspiracy is a mess and quite deliberately so in canon.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Charles Phipps » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:04 pm

Doctor Elizabeth Tasker
King of the Natural Philosophers

Doctor Elizabeth Tasker is a fairly typical member of the Conspiracy's leadership as opposed to the extreme liberals (Killroy, Sophia, and Schienberg) versus the extreme hardliners (Minos and the Scorpion). She is the undistinguished but accomplished High Master Scientist of the Natural Philosophers.

A Swedish born scientist who was born to a pair of Natural Philosophers in the 1930s, she achieved seven Doctorate equivalents by the time she was twenty-one. Elizabeth Tasker never had to suffer the indignities of maintaining a normal life and instead made associations with the Balance that came in handy when she decided she wanted to maintain a public life.

The "false" Doctor Elizabeth Tasker more or less came into existence in the early 90s as a woman in her apparent forties founding one of the world's largest research companies. Atlas Corp is a corporation based on Randian principles of compensating scientists and inventors to the level of their genius and skill.

Doctor Tasker is not a strict Objectivist but maintains a strong admiration for the idealogy. Ironically, while possessing an incredible genius across a variety of subjects, she's better at supervising scientiffic research than she is at actually conducting it herself.


Doctor Tasker has a strong belief in the necessity of the Conspiracy even if, like virtually all members, she'd jetison a large portion of those with conflicting idealogies. Elizabeth Tasker believes the Conspiracy should be composed of the world's greatest intellectuals who should have unlimited authority to carry out research and development on humanity's behalf.

She is not a believer in democracy and considers the idea that humanity will eventually become a collection of perfectly rationale actors painfully naive. In her mind, the Conspiracy will always be necessary and should expand its power whenever possible. This is best to be done by maintaining a strict control over the development of technology and the invitation of the world's greatest minds into the Conspiracy.

Doctor Tasker considers inducting the world's criminals and anarchists to be the biggest mistake her fellow conspirators ever made.


Doctor Tasker has been criticized for essentially allowing a large number of sub-Factions more or less a free-hand in her Faction. While she is not a monster, she has a somewhat loose sense of ethics when it comes to the belief that the advancement of science should be pursued at all costs. Too often, she believes it's held back by morons and while she possess a sense of morals as to what the limits can be pursued by this, she also believes the ends justify the means.

To be fair, she has a point that a number of moral objections to many developing technologies, particularly in genetics, are just nonsense.


Doctor Tasker is unusual amongst the Kings in that she's also a family woman, possessing no less than seven children and numerous grandchildren. Doctor Tasker has done her best to see they have received every possible mental and physical advantage but has a somewhat distant relationship to them. This is due to her worry about coddling them and thus weakening them as a whole. Surprisingly, this philosophy has worked in the Conspiracy since all of them have risen to fairly high positions in the Conspiracy or look like they have the potential to.

Doctor Tasker is a canny politician and uses her vote as part of the Council of the Thirteen to achieve the highest benefit for her Faction.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Voltron64 » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:14 pm

The two things that drive her life? A pessimistic view on human stupidly and the love of her family.
Power doesn't corrupt. Power appeals to the corrupt. - Charles Phipps

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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Charles Phipps » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:37 pm

Tolliver
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Mr. Weaver, The Architect, The Seer of Seers

It's occasionally reassuring for the Conspiracy's leadership to include people who are just plain evil. Raymond Tolliver claims that he is gifted with the ability to see the future to a level most people could not possibly comprehend. The truth, he isn't a diviner or blessed with even the mildest psychic abilities. What he is gifted with is a massive network of spies, informers, genuine psychics he keeps tied up to machines, and a powerful network of superhumanly gifted assassins.

A Minnesota born con man, Augustus Tolliver managed to lie his way to the advisory of several important United States senators by successfully predicting scandals that might affect them. To this end, he was not adverse to arranging them ahead of time. Politicians, it should be noted, are notoriously vulnerable to the perks of leadership.

Tolliver caught the attention of the One World Order when he arranged for the death of a prominent politician's mistress by seeming drug overdose due to a book she was writing. Tolliver ended up getting kicked off the man's staff due to the suspicious nature of this and arranged for the man's assassination.

These rather audacious acts should have gotten him killed but he was assumed to be a puppet for the Factions opposed to the One World Order. Playing on the arrogance of the men, Tolliver managed to "defect" from the Labyrinth when he had no idea what his recruiters were talking about when they invited him to join. Tolliver's ability to read people worked for him well and he got several Labyrinth agents killed when he fed them what they wanted to hear.

Tolliver soon found that the One World Order was too much of an Old Boy's Network for him to properly rise to the top. Also, it's politicians were not unused to sociopaths who recognized chaos was an opportunity to rise in power.

Noting that the Fate Faction was weakening, Tolliver jumped ship and joined the "Frauds" sub-faction before subtly taking over. Tolliver revitalized much of their relevance by creating secular "risk analysis" and intelligence analysis branches which were expected to provide perfect visions of the future. Kidnapping, force breeding, and experimenting on children identified as psychics by the Agency's tests in the 1950s also gave them a new crop of psychics.

Tolliver eventually murdered the 103rd Pythia of the organization, replacing her with a cadre of his followers who were provided every conceivable luxury in exchange for their gratitude. Fate has never been more respected under Tolliver's command...or more corrupt.

Fate prior to the Kingship of Mister Tolliver was primarily concerned with manipulating events in accordance with "destiny" as the Pythias believed that this was the best path for humanity to take. In a way, they were a more mystical branch of the Enlightenment.

Under Mister Tolliver, Fate throws destiny to the wind and simply attempts to manipulate the future to whatever events are most favorable to them.


What are Tolliver's ambitions? To continue to be considered king maker and relevant to all major discussions of policy. He lives a disgustingly rich and excessive life from his home in Las Vegas but this is all dross to his desire to be respected. It's ironic that he's now on a Council where everyone knows he's a parasite but one too useful to cast aside. Tolliver, himself, would get upset if he knew this.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Libra » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:38 pm

To make the obvious joke - you have to wonder if Pythia saw this one coming (to make the only slightly less obvious rejoinder; they did and Tolliver has yet to even find out about all the goodies they tucked away for this particular rainy day or any of the other ones, including those that haven't happened yet and those that now never will).

While reading about Has to be Done, it is interesting to note the correlations between the Factions and several of the somewhat less- or just-as-covert organisations on Winterwier (Heroic and Villainous) who in effect occupy much the same niches - such as the Fellowship of the Divine Spark or the Pretax or the Crimson Dawn (amongst others).

I suspect that the congruences are not entirely accidental (although I would suggest calling the faith-based Faction of the Conspiracy 'The Religion'* instead of the Divine Order to make the association a little less obvious, as well as provide a somewhat-innocuous title in keeping with those of the other Factions).

*The fact that what might well the most philosophy-divided Faction (seriously, they're so blasted sincere that they can barely tolerate anyone who disagrees with them) should bear one of the most monolithic titles is just one of the little ironies that make working for The Conspiracy tolerable - a little shot of black humour coffee style.


As a note, I'm quite fond of the idea that - contrary to all expectations, I know - The Catholic Church actually ISN'T a splinter of the Divine Order (I imagine 'The Religion' tends to recruit from what one might call the more esoteric fringes of Faith - organised religion not exactly being prone to instill the habits of independent-mindedness and extreme secrecy associated with the Conspiracy), but is instead one of the oldest independent players still left on the board.

Given that they've been around for a long, long time and been a power player for almost as long - although a slightly lesser one these days - just about every Faction of the Conspiracy has infiltrated, bribed (or tried to bribe), intimidated (or tried to intimidate), and played (or tried to play) the Church as a pawn at one point or the other over the course of it's two millennia of existance - a long and frequently-nasty history which has left the Church with just enough scraps of knowledge of The Conspiracy to be generally worth keeping an eye on, but not QUITE enough to be genuinely dangerous.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Phrozen » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:28 pm

Are you sure you never played Alpha Centauri because the factions of the Conspiracy line up pretty well to the factions in that games.

Natural Philosophers -> University of Planet
The Enlightenment -> Peacekeeping Forces
The Balance -> Morgan Industries
Swords of Mars -> Spartan Federation
Divine Order -> Lords Believers
Eris -> Data Angels
Leviathan -> Nautilus Pirates

They match up pretty easy. Not so much with the other factions like One World Order, Lawgivers, Labyrinth, Fate, and the Agency for Has to Be Done and Cybernetic Consciousness, Gaias Stepdaughters, Cult of Planet, Human Hive, and Free Drones which represent transhumanism, enviromentalism, eco-terrorism, communism, and socialism respectively.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Charles Phipps » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:36 pm

My idea behind Has to be Done was oddly influenced by Planescape.

Each faction would represent a philosophy of the world.

These would all be tentatively allied together but all mutually exclusive.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Libra » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:16 am

So the Factions effectively represent the diverse constituent parts of the Human Race, placed on a kind of elemental scale then? (albeit with somewhat better toys and bigger secrets).
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Charles Phipps » Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:48 am

Libra wrote:So the Factions effectively represent the diverse constituent parts of the Human Race, placed on a kind of elemental scale then? (albeit with somewhat better toys and bigger secrets).


All of the Conspiracies are basically groups which have been given unlimited authority, resources, and technology. The thing is, this is actually harder than it looks and people as intelligent and driven as the kind to be recruited into the Conspiracy need SOMETHING to justify themselves.

(Obviously, Tolliver and a few others don't)

Thus, these people become DEEPLY devoted to their philosophies, whatever they are. The thing is, the Conspiracy is specifically made to be flexible enough that any philosophy can be absorbed. So, at various times you've had Factions that support Feudalism, Divine Right, Byzantine Christianity, Republicanism, Druidic Tree Worship, and so on.

It wouldn't be nearly as powerful if its philosophies weren't born from the bottom up rather than the top down.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Voltron64 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:54 pm

You know, we' still haven't seen the rest of the Conspiracy, Charles. :wink:
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Charles Phipps » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:36 pm

I was hoping you'd show up at my OTHER project, Voltron.
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Libra » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:09 pm

You know you want to join Charles' dream team, go on, go on, will you not go on and sign up? :wink:
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole thread

Postby Voltron64 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:43 am

Bumped

Charles Phipps wrote:
Voltron64 wrote:Personally, I'd go for "You know what? Let's go into space." :wink:


The typical PC party heads into space

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfbsZRbwbJ4



Funny, I'd have preferred this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJPGd16_Wm8 :wink:
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Re: [Fantasy and Sci-Fi] The Winterwier and Black Hole threa

Postby dwellerofthedeep » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:53 am

Wow, this thread is really impressive, guys! I look forward to many hours of catching up on it in the near future.
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