Vir's Archive

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Personality Politics Pt 1 (Content)

Revolution Comes With a Price...
I'm happy to report we are on our way to some art.  I have contracted an artist that can work with my budget and help add form to the swirling chaos that is floating around in my mind.  Hopefully in the near future we can have some original art on the blog -- something to help define the visual style of TDE.

Until then, lets talk about NPCs. For anyone that knows me,it will not be a surprise that I base the planets and the people that populate them on my travels.  Usually, the personalities of TDE are gestalts of various peoples from North America, Africa, and Asia... but sometimes not.  Sometimes they are the creation of people I think should exist - in terms of real world politics and society.  Certain social movements, or political events seem to have an unseen hand behind them.  In many parts of the world, people don't want to accept that policy and major decisions are made through happenstance and mistakes - they prefer seeing connections where there are none.  Its a more interesting and simpler world if its all the fault of some shadowy agency or clique.  South Asia, in particular, loves conspiracy stories.

The said (or maybe not so sad) fact is that the world isn't run by complicated conspiracies.  Its just not.  However, in the world of TDE I can mix real world experiences with real world crazy conspiracies to come up with personalities just plausible enough to be believable.  My gol is to populate TDE with a number of interesting NPCs and personalities to prompt the GM's creativity and campaign design, and the player's desire to explore the setting.

Here are two NPCs that help define TDE's setting for me:

Jacob K Sugiyama (Mars/Venus): The former OCRI Administrator of Mars.  Once considered little more than a tool of the Hegemons, his progressive ideas, fiery personality, and aggressive political tactics brought him fame and popularity - on Mars and throughout the System.  OCRI and the Hegemonic powers lost control of Sugiyama along the way, and Sugiyama morphed into the lead agitator for Martian independence.  His successes brought him even more notoriety and what has now become an inner circle that is more a cult of personality than a loyal set of advisers.  Sugiyama is considered by most of the Solar System as the father of Martian democracy and the current anti-colonial movement.  He is also corrupt as hell, and unexpectedly lost in Mars' first Prime election.  He seethes with anger and resentment privately, but publicly vows to "recapture the heart of the Martian Democratic spirit from the usurper."  Sugiyama lives on an aerostat in Venus, in part because he believes Martian forces loyal to his rival, Jeehan Burt, will assassinate him if they get the chance.

Jeehan Burt (Mars):  Jeehan is the first Martian Government's Prime.  He rose to power as a grassroots organizer, and for a time, worked with Sugiyama's Free Mars movement as a young advocate.  Burt became disgusted with Sugiyama's centralized decision making, and lost faith in the movement.  That Sugiyama's direction turned out to lead Mars towards its freedom, came as a major shock to Burt, who reconsidered his choice to drop out of politics.  When the first Martian elections arrived, Burt came out of retirement  spent a veritable fortune, and traded on his reputation as a successful lawyer for Martian rights to propel him to a shocking victory.  Now, Burt, whose main political experience is organizing protests against the types of leaders whose position he now fills, must struggle with the leadership role demanded of him.  Thus far, Burt has defined himself to the Martian people by claiming he is a fresh break with the autocratic tendencies of Sugiyama.  It remains to be seen if Burt can define his administration on its own merits and accomplishments. Worse, a number of powerful Earth political and economic entities lost significant assets during the Martian war for independence  and the last couple of years as the planet asserted its identity.  Now, those same Earth powers want their stuff back, and see Burt as less decisive than Sugiyama.  The powers of Earth smell blood and the sharks are starting to circle.


I really need to pound out some words on Mars over the next couple days.  If you don't see me tomorrow - its because I am struggling with the marginal protagonist of the setting.