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World Building Around the Tall Tower

Public Group active 5 years, 1 month ago

A group dedicated to world-building the universe of Neal Stephenson’s Atmosphæra Incognita.

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    Bob Beard

    Thanks to all of you for your willingness to join this project.

    After reading Atmosphæra Incognita my mind was filled with questions about the world around Stephenson’s creation. What’s happening on the other levels of the tower? What social structures developed on the various levels? What is life like for those who live in the literal shadow of the tower? What’s happening in different countries that is a result of the tower?

    There are of course many possibilities here and with your backgrounds in storytelling and gaming, I hoped that we might all collaborate to fill in some of the details of this ambitious idea. Not only will this be an interesting exercise in its own right, but we might even use these ideas as prompts for future education and outreach efforts around the mission of Project Hieroglyph.

    Feel free to organize as you see fit. Perhaps a different threads related to infrastructure, religions, agriculture, etc.

    I look forward to this experiment in collaboration!

    James L. Cambias

    Were you thinking of focusing on the “Stephensonian” era of the story about building the tower, or the “Sterlingian” era long after it’s completed? The second offers much more variety and conflict, the first provides more Heroic Engineering.

    Bob Beard

    Great question, James. I thought this would be interesting somewhere in between. Maybe a period of time in which the tower is completed, but not so far in the future that the citizenry is unable to imagine a time without it.

    In Stephenson’s story, the construction of the tower spanned decades, so society would have become accustomed to the spectacle of the tower itself- but I think it’s interesting to consider the life that grew up shortly (50 -100 years) after the tower was occupied. How did the world reconcile this new technology before the tower became as mythic as the Great Pyramid is to us?

    That was my thought – but I’m open to suggestions.

    James L. Cambias

    I like putting it between the two published stories, as that gives us some room to make up new stuff.

    Since this is specifically a game setting, we should make sure that there’s plenty of unknown territory — people may know there are weird cults and subcultures living on the Tower, but that’s all they know. That way players can drop in (er, climb up) without having to master a lot of background info. “You’re climbing a bigass tower, and at the 5-kilometer mark you find . . . ” should be all the introduction they need.

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