Fantasy Life (Cytherea)

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Fantasy Life (Cytherea)

Postby Kappa » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:04 pm

This world is based on the Slut Life cyoa. I liked it enough to want to play it, but the organization, worldbuilding, and options were all a bit of a mess, so I found myself rebuilding it from the ground up in an effort to create a version that made sense to me.

Our story begins... well, it technically begins tens of thousands of years ago, with an alien civilization worshipping a mysterious energy node that feeds on sexual energy and turns it into magic. For reasons totally unrelated to any other part of this story, and which I have consequently been too lazy to invent, the alien civilization died out, leaving behind a lot of interesting ruins, some magical artifacts that gradually lost function over the years, and a mysterious energy node that spent the ensuing interval starved of its accustomed treats and building up magical power into a huge seething tangle of incipient disaster ready to go off at the slightest touch.

Then the planet was discovered by human explorers, who settled tentatively on its surface and started doing archaeology to it. Everyone was very excited about the opportunity to study this long-dead civilization of alien beings.

A couple of grad students were excited enough to sneak out of their camp and go have sex in the largest mostly-intact temple on the planet.

The mysterious energy node rewarded them with magic, as was its purpose. It rewarded them so hard that they both died instantly and the ensuing earthquake collapsed the temple on top of them, destroyed most of the remaining intact ruins in the vicinity, and killed several more people in the xenoarchaeologists' encampment a hundred miles away. In the process, it also created an entire magic system and then sent mystic visions to an assortment of other humans who held the potential to create more magic systems if they came to its planet and had sex at it.

Oneiric magic is the magic of psychic powers and things in the eldritch horror genre. It was created by that initial release of energy. But at first, nobody even knew that magic had been involved; they just thought there had been a huge earthquake for no reason. Quietly, all across the galaxy's handful of inhabited planets, people began turning up with powers like telepathy and dreamweaving... but lots of people claimed to be psychic before this happened, and there was no immediate reason to take these new claims any more seriously.

Primal magic is the magic of shapeshifting, dragons, and the true self. It was created by the first vision-quester to successfully arrive on the planet and have sex amid the rubble of the temple. The aftereffects of this one were rather more obvious - when a furry learns to shapeshift, it's hard to dismiss the results as imaginary - but before the public consciousness really had a chance to properly adjust to the new status quo, another quester showed up and made things even more obvious than that.

Infernal magic is the magic of demons, souls, and Hell. It - and demons, souls, and Hell - came about in the completion of the second successful vision quest. This was kind of a low point in the shaping of the foundations of magic, because when the demons showed up on the alien planet demanding sex and souls, someone panicked and tried shipping in hundreds of unwilling victims to appease them, and unfortunately for everyone involved it was still a very bad idea to have sex on that planet, so all involved parties exploded and infernal magic got a permanent boost to the amount of power achievable by sacrificing the un- or dubiously willing.

Essential magic is the magic of, well, magical girls. The third quester was really into that sort of thing. After the enormous fiasco that was the introduction of infernal magic, the discovery of magical girls came as a breath of fresh air and a much-needed vision of hope, and a lot of the early magical girls got famous fighting off rampaging demonic rapists - or died failing to.

Academic magic is the magic of alchemy and mad science. Its introduction brought some much-needed stability and universality to the system; it was the first form of magic that you could do without having to be, and it was flexible and powerful but also predictable and repeatable. This is the point at which significant numbers of people started exploring magic without being prompted by a personal connection to another magic user.

Celestial magic is the magic of angels. The fifth quester was pretty deliberately trying to provide a counterbalance to demons, and it worked like a charm. Angels have the same focus on souls that demons do, and although they have less raw power most of the time, they're very good at healing and defending and safeguarding and other things that are really nice to have around when demons are causing trouble, as demons often do.

The introduction of angels successfully situated consent and compassion as strong stabilizing forces: any form of magic is much, much less likely to go disastrously wrong if it's being done benignly and with the more-or-less-informed consent of all involved parties.

Occult magic is the oddball leftover kludgey bits-and-pieces dash-of-this pinch-of-that improvisational magic. Its practitioners are called witches, wizards, or occasionally just occultists, and it fills in a lot of the gaps between the other systems; if you're not sure how to synthesize a complex multidisciplinary working, a bit of quick witchcraft will often set you right.

The originators of these various magic systems usually died in the process or aftermath of creating them, but some of them made it through. The primal quester ended up in a sort of intense magical hibernation for a couple of centuries, from which he emerged with unfair amounts of magical power, because he was a Serg and this is how Sergs do. The infernal quester became the first demon, and promptly died in the human sacrifice fiasco. The essential quester died, the academic quester spent a couple of months as a comatose brain in a jar and then died, the celestial quester survived but then ascended to godhood, and the occult quester survived and retired to a quiet life of teaching magic.

Throughout this whole entire long complicated disastrous mess, almost no one actually succeeded in figuring out that the reason people kept discovering new magic systems was because a parade of complete randos were creating them by fucking on the alien planet. The first people who successfully put all the pieces together immediately concluded that controlling the alien planet and who got to fuck on it was the single most important point of leverage in the history of the universe, about which they really weren't wrong, and they got a lot of money together and bought the place from its disorganized, demoralized, demon-plagued curators.

They proceeded to do very, very careful experiments, leaning heavily on informed consent and angelic assistance, to try to figure out exactly how to make this thing work. This was in the period of time between the fifth and sixth quests; celestial magic had just been established, and they were eager to see if they could control the creation of the next subsystem. Instead, the occult quester managed to infiltrate their operation by pretending to be totally ignorant of what was going on, because they didn't yet realize that the questers had been drawn to the planet by mystic visions instead of just happening to show up and have sex as humans are known to do. She and her wife fucked in the temple and got away clean before anyone had a chance to review the security tapes.

After that, they tightened security considerably, but also got a little less cautious with their experiments, since the establishment of occult magic hadn't involved any earthquakes or explosions or fire or flood or general mayhem whatsoever. What they eventually determined was that the source of magic had calmed down enough over the course of those seven incidents that it was now functioning more as a personal empowerment vehicle than as a creator of new generally-applicable magic systems. Still massively valuable, but no longer quite so cosmically important as they had originally hoped.

And of course, to maximize its value as a personal empowerment vehicle, they had to feed it. With sex. As much sex as they could safely gather on one planet. Without letting anyone else figure out the secret that having sex on this planet was what caused magic to happen.

So that's how they ended up establishing a pornographic reality TV show.

It was actually really easy to sell the story that they were a gaggle of sketchy porn entrepreneurs who bought this planet under a vague pretense of wanting to study the remaining alien ruins but then revealed that all along what they had wanted was a jurisdiction under their complete control, a Disneyland of debauchery where they could offer people unfair contracts and dubious working conditions and no one could come after them for it because interplanetary law was still new and tender and short on precedents. In many respects it was even sort of true. No one entertained the idea that the true source of all the magic in the universe was a particular spot on the surface of this planet that would give you supernatural powers in exchange for your delicious orgasms, because that's kind of a ridiculous idea and it stood well outside most people's hypothesis space.

Over the coming centuries, they expanded their planet's population and refined their craft. The primal quester woke up from his five-hundred-year nap and decided that these were interesting people and he was happy to hang around. As of the "modern" era, uploading technology has been available for about fifty years and anti-aging solutions that combine technology with magic have only just reached the point where you can buy immortality at the price of a decent car.

Fantasy Life Inc. is outrageously rich, outrageously powerful, and continuing to amass more wealth and power as time goes on. They can't get too exploitative, because they need their system to have a strong foundation in consent so they can take advantage of the magical stability that goes along with that, but they're definitely building a porn planet and not a paradise. On the other hand, they offer their contracts pretty freely these days, and a lot of people's lives have benefited immensely from a stint as a Fantasy Life contestant.

My latest map of the Fantasy Life planet is here. (The small gibberish labels are capital cities provided by the map generator and I couldn't figure out how to get rid of them.)

The nine regions are arranged into three "time zones", although in fact the entire planet runs on a single clock. The Fantasy Life day lasts 32 hours, conventionally divided into four blocks: Night runs from Midnight at 00:00 to Dawn at 08:00, Morning runs from Dawn to Noon at 16:00, Afternoon runs from Noon to Dusk at 24:00, and Evening runs from Dusk back around to Midnight. The time is the same everywhere, but in the western zone Midnight is defined at 04:00, and in the eastern zone it's defined at 28:00, with appropriate adjustments to the rest of the blocks and their turning points.

The year is 360 local days long, divided into twelve 30-day months each consisting of five 6-day weeks. Local New Year's Day is the first day of spring in the central region.

Way back when humans originally discovered this planet, it wasn't nearly so regular; but it was really really close to having a perfect 32-hour day and a nice tidy 360-day year to go with it, so early on in their ownership of the planet, the Fantasy Life people embarked on an orbital optimization project. Now the Fantasy Life calendar is beautifully regular, and interstellar authorities and standards committees are engaged in a centuries-long argument about whether to adopt the Fantasy Life calendar universally, tweak Earth's orbit and rotation to make the Terran calendar equally tidy and then standardize on that, or just keep yelling about it for another few hundred years. The last option has been pretty conclusively winning.

I really, really need to figure out the name of this fucking planet. (Update: Tentatively Cytherea.)

The spreadsheet where you can play the current version of my Fantasy Life cyoa is here. But I keep toying with the idea of replacing the spreadsheet with something made in Javascript, because a spreadsheet is really not an ideal medium for this sort of thing and it's honestly a huge mess even though I'm very proud of all the spreadsheet wizardry I accomplished with it. Anyway there's a bunch more information available in the spreadsheet about things like the details of available contract options and how magical girls work.
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