Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

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Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby Alicorn » Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:18 pm

Here are True Facts about the BDSM AU and the magic I attached to it with twigs and baling wire.

BDSM AUs: A Primer

The "BDSM AU" is a fanfic worldbuilding trope that can be applied to any setting and which I find interesting foR SOCIOLOGICAL and WORLDBUILDING REASONS. There is a fanlore article. The general idea tends to be that Everyone Is Bi (warning, TV Tropes), but also Everyone Is Kinky - specifically, everyone identifies as a dom or a sub and this replaces/complicates/etc. the concept of gender. One refers to "my sub" and not "my boyfriend", sexism is basically not a going concern but the oppression of subs may be, it's a complete nonissue for people to bang members of the same sex but weird as fuck if they are attracted to members of the same role, etc. The settings also turn cultural openness about sex in general way up; I haven't encountered any fics in which it was common to outright engage in carnal relations in the street, but on the other hand characters never shut up about fucking, may open-carry implements of corporal punishment, do a lot of fucking in conditions of reasonable privacy typically with little leadup from "hello", and are likely to have greater-than-real-life access to things like sex clubs and permission to use some of their spaceship cargo weight allowance for sex toys. Fics vary in the extent to which the roles are reified as slightly or very magical and stuff like that.

BDSM AU: Just This One In Particular

Eclipse is an Earth and it parallels real Earth history. In order for that not to be in tension with the whole dom supremacy thing, and in order to not have to genderswap half of the significant historical figures, I have decreed that it has been historically customary in most cultures for the overwhelming assumption to be that women are subs and men are doms. This is not, you know, true, but there is enough gender skew that it muddled along without it being necessary to explain why 42 consecutive presidents have been dudes in a world where being a dude is taking a backseat in importance compared to being a dom. The actual statistic as derived from enlightened modern subcultures where your teenagers can announce themselves however they like seems to be sixty/thirty/ten, with the ten being switches and the sixty being the gender's stereotypical role. Most people have caught on now and are letting their boys be subs and their girls be doms, although people old enough to be elected President are still typically acting out whatever they cobbled together for an identity when they were young; otherwise this shift occurs without much ado - it's the subs' rights movement that's roughly paralleling feminism in timing and efficacy. Switches get roughly the same reaction as real life bisexuals, turned up to eleven (and it's not "hot" if your "sub" has been with "another" sub).

The setting contains magic but none of it is attached to role; you just have to figure out what you are all by yourself, no soul bond or psychically compelling Dom Voice. You usually get the idea sometime between the ages of eleven and sixteen. (You can have "undeclared" on a learner's permit but not on a driver's license.) There is some room for deciding you were mistaken, especially before you're in your mid-twenties, and getting all your paperwork changed. A lot of the culture's remaining use for the concept of gender comes from the fact that kids don't tend to know their roles and you have to sort them into boxes, right, you can't just not do that. It also matters if you want to have kids, although various forms of nonmonogamy have a higher level of broad social acceptance - significantly for this purpose - than in the real world. One may share, or be shared, or collect, or be part of a collection. Or you hire a surrogate or get a sperm donor, whatevs.

Courtship is typically dom-initiated but one should not underestimate the seductive power of a sub batting their eyelashes and saying "sir" or whatever. It is cute, although impractical with some foods, for doms to hand-feed their kneeling dates; this is more expected at fancier restaurants, but it just doesn't work if you're eating soup, so it's never absolutely required by etiquette. Kneeling (and telling somebody to do it) is on roughly a holding-hands or hair-petting level of intimacy/PDA. Collars are a symbol of commitment, typically a long-term possession of the dom with the dom's name on them, bestowed upon the sub for full-time wear when they don't intend on breaking up for the foreseeable future but well before you'd have any sense if you got engaged, and returned/reclaimed when the relationship ends or supplemented with wedding rings if it continues into marriage. It is not customary to wear a leash in public but it would only be a little weird if you did it anyway. One also signals one's role with hairstyle (short means dom, long means sub), various fashion cues this margin is too small to contain, linguistic habits (doms are more likely to be found speaking unsoftened imperatives - to any audience; subs more likely to be deferent and self-effacing), and indescribable tendencies of body language.

Eclipses

On the total lunar eclipse closest to your twelfth birthday (if your birthday falls exactly between two lunar eclipses, the earlier takes precedence) you may (.1% chance) turn out to have one, but never both, of the kinds of magical power. This is immediately obvious to the eclipsed. It's also incredibly dangerous. A freshly eclipsed kid has absolutely no control over their power, which is considerable, and absent precautionary measures is likely to have a body count in short order. Precautionary measures include precogs to catch the worst fallout, and kids who are approaching "their" eclipse not eating anything for a couple of days beforehand - being underfed cuts your power to nearly safe levels. It also helps if you aren't near a population center. So every year a couple thousand kids in the United States (for it is in America that our scene lies) turn out to be potentially magic, and most of them immediately opt to have a friendly neighborhood psion shut their magic down so it can't hurt anybody or do anything, because the alternative is going to magic boot camp, I mean control training.

Magic Boot Camp, I Mean Control Training

So, it takes a couple years from "cannot safely be around people or things without highly trained eclipsed supervision and even then it's dicey" to "not gonna kill anybody". Historically you would spend this period of time STARVING IN THE WILDERNESS. Like, somebody leaves some food in a box for you once a week or so, you go find it after they're safely gone, you ration it verrrrry carefully, you otherwise live on berries and water and DETERMINATION, you set a lot of trees on fire or anyone who wanders by your campsite runs the risk of mindwipe (depending), and after a couple of years you notice you haven't done any accidental magic for a while and you wander out of the woods. Super appealing, right? That's why there are so very many fully safe unlocked mages and psions in the world, because that sounds like so much fun. But the number's growing; These Days there's psion-boosted virtual reality tech that can fool magic senses into acting on the virtuality and not on the real world. This is more fun and less isolated and better for your general education (if not your wilderness survival acumen), and also you can be fed, although it's not the best thing for your health to spend the first while of puberty zonked out in a pod with a VR helmet on having Ensure dribbled down your throat. Occasionally they stop feeding you for two days and wake you up and make you run laps so you don't atrophy. Your care and feeding and the pay of the psions boosting your VR so it works properly are provided at public expense because it's useful to have qualified eclipsed around (like, psions are the only people who can lock down new eclipsed, that sort of thing). By and large you don't emerge from control training with the ability to do much purposeful magic, but you are likely to pick up one or two small tricks, like lucid dreaming (popular among psions) or levitating yourself a li'l bit or warming/cooling things some (mages). You can and many do drop out during control training if it sucks too much, but then you get locked down.

Mages and Psions

Mages perform magic which has physical effects on things other than brains and psionic technology. (I mean, they could melt a brain or a VR processor, too, but only physically.) They can do elementalist stuff, fly, shapeshift, heal, fuck around with plants and animals, transmute things, do teekay, etc. There is no such thing in Eclipse as a persistently magical object which magics all by itself, so they can't enchant/ward/permafloat/etc. things, only act on them while they have their attention on them. Psions perform magic which does not have physical effects on things (other than brains and psionic technology). This includes optimizing their own minds, mental communication/infiltration, pre- and post-cognition (avertable), remote viewing, illusions, tech interfacing, and Cool Psychic Combat Shit. There is again no such thing as a persistently magical object; but psions do benefit from building and messing with a personal mindscape. (You don't start with a mindscape; it's a constructed representation and can help you evaluate whether you can do a thing without having to actually try it on a live subject.)

Unfortunately for eclipsed fresh out of boot camp I mean control training, magic is... completely individual and unteachable. You can learn to do something that someone else can do, but even if they're a psion and just download their entire knowledge of how to thing into your head, it won't do you any good. You have to spend years and years poking at it until you can do some of it and then can do some more of it and so on. Practice helps. By the time you are mid-twenties, assuming you got through boot camp in a standard amount of time beginning nearish age twelve and then sustained a strong interest in magic without having to hold down a job or anything since then, you can be quite good at one thing or okay at two things or technically sorta capable of three things, for a loose value of "thing". Learning continues at this pace indefinitely. (Mages can de-age people.) Many eclipsed skills are in high demand, although if all you learn is eidetic memory or how to fly you're slightly less employable than if you learn to shoot lightning into the power grid or lock down dangerous new eclipsed. It's therefore pretty easy to get "student loans" to live off while you're learning your thing, whether or not you're enrolled at one of the small handful of magnet schools for eclipsed.
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby Ezra » Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:13 am

When mages de-age people, does that extend lifespan? Because that could wreck your history a lot worse than gender swaps.
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby pedromvilar » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:42 am

.05% of people are mages.

Of those, possibly not 1 in 100 want to continue doing magic. Historically, probably much less than that, maybe 1 in 10000 if that.

Historically, eclipsed were probably mistrusted due to the occasional mass murder or worse caused upon activation.

Then magic is incredibly difficult. Sadde spent five years doing it and can genderswap and heal their own minor injuries. Not all mages go on to become healers and such, if we assume even half of them do with a 2002 population we're looking at 150 people worldwide who can heal.

Of those healers, most are probably not good enough to de-age, and they are in fact human, who in the real world could be doing stuff like donating to the AMF and do not in fact do that. There are other forms of death than old age, and I don't doubt many - maybe most - people mean it when they say they'd have immortality ennui, depression with the lost of loved ones, etc.

I think what this adds up to is a handful of misanthropic immortals, extra longevity on the whole, plus a steep growth in quality of life starting when the first psion invented the VR stuff.
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby DanielH » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:06 am

I would still imagine some king somewhere would have become immortal, but I guess all that means is there is a slight history change until they die of something else.
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby pedromvilar » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:49 am

That something else likely being "another royal," since that seems to be a very common cause of death for kings.
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby Ezra » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:31 am

I'm thinking, like, a Roman or Chinese Emperor getting a good mage and holding on for centuries.
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby Alicorn » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:40 am

All somebody has to do is kill the mage in their sleep. (Psions can do without sleep - mages can't.)
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby Nemo » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:55 am

How do pronouns work in Eclipse? Do they track gender even though gender doesn't matter, or role instead?
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby Alicorn » Sat Mar 12, 2016 10:58 am

Pronouns are gendered as standard; one starts out with pronouns and most typically keeps them into adulthood.
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Re: Eclipse Worldbuilding Info

Postby pedromvilar » Sat Mar 12, 2016 11:11 am

Alicorn wrote:All somebody has to do is kill the mage in their sleep. (Psions can do without sleep - mages can't.)


Why can't they? Can a psion make a mage not need sleep?
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