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About the Long Night, help needed please

Posted: Sun 20 Oct 2019, 05:47
by jerichojeudy
Hello everyone,

Seeking your good counsel here.

I've read the background and history of the Third Horizon multiple times, and have tried to get a clear picture of events and of the Second and First horizons, and of the actual role of the Darkness between the stars in the power struggles depicted.

Since the material is pretty summed up and thin, you really need to read between the lines, extrapolate from short sentences etc.

I don't want to talk about the whole background here, but specifically about the long night. It is said that after the Portal Wars, the Third Horizon was isolated and fell into a major economic downturn and technological regression, and that the Firstcome basically lost their History and became planet bound local cultures with all previous history becoming vague myths and legends. Or something to that effect.

I can't rationalize that at all at the moment. In a world where the info net exists, and databases etc, how can one "lose" their History. Also, how can the Zenith arrive and be the technological leader when it is a 1000 years old? It just makes no sense to me.

So I'm toying with using paranormal explanations for the current state of things. Maybe a kind of Darkness between the stars induced black out of the mind, that the Firstcome had to fight using the Icons as the last bastion of their identity, religion as a shield against DbtS induced insanity? This Darkness would probably have been unleashed by the First Horizon as a weapon to subjugate, a sequel of the Portal Wars, as such.

How do you play the historical part of the game in your campaigns? Does any of my ramblings connect with challenges you had to deal with story wise?

Re: About the Long Night, help needed please

Posted: Mon 21 Oct 2019, 23:41
by Kristupas
It is said that after the Portal Wars, the Third Horizon was isolated and fell into a major economic downturn and technological regression, and that the Firstcome basically lost their History and became planet bound local cultures with all previous history becoming vague myths and legends. Or something to that effect.

I can't rationalize that at all at the moment. In a world where the info net exists, and databases etc, how can one "lose" their History. Also, how can the Zenith arrive and be the technological leader when it is a 1000 years old? It just makes no sense to me.
Well, it's hard to rationalize not just for you. This topic was brought up many times here on this forum (here, here and here), and outside the forum. As far as I can tell two methods are dominant:
1) It is what it is, don't overthink it.
2) The timeline is hard to believe, so you should extend time of Portal Wars or the Long Night or both.

I and my players are going with the first method, at least for now. It's beacause that historical aspect isn't so important in our game. 
Of course we attempted to rationalize:
We have assumed that twenty-something years of war in galactic scale can be so destructive that databases, info nets etc. were practically destroyed or they outlast in vestigial form. The Long Night is the century of isolation not only from other Horizonts but within Third Horizon too, so it didn't favor reconstruction or development of new ones. These are the times of "famine, plague and despair" (Core Rulebook p. 181). Probably there were more wars, but on planetary/system scale. It makes the decay more plausible. In my games I treat Astrodiarium as databese created by Foundation from parts of the "local" databases, but mostly from Foundation own research, that means from scratches.
Moreover, after reading "History of the Horizon" chapter in "Atlas Compendium", one can imply that the remains of knowledge about other Horizonts were systematically eradicated (of course it can be my overinterpretation).
As for Zenithians, I don't see them as technological leaders, at least not in the moment of Zenith arrival. Their power was that they were more pragmatic, innovative, open for trade, exchange of informations, knowledge. Technological development of Third Horizon since they arrived is not an effect of their superior technology but their actions to reconnect people living in Horizon and to rediscover Horizon. Also, Zenith was 1000 years old but, I suppose that on its board there was some technological advancement all this time - limited by conditions but nevertheless. There were laboratories, workshops etc.


So I'm toying with using paranormal explanations for the current state of things. Maybe a kind of Darkness between the stars induced black out of the mind, that the Firstcome had to fight using the Icons as the last bastion of their identity, religion as a shield against DbtS induced insanity? This Darkness would probably have been unleashed by the First Horizon as a weapon to subjugate, a sequel of the Portal Wars, as such.

Personally I don't like the idea of waeponization of Darkness, but neverthless it's interesting concept. 

Re: About the Long Night, help needed please

Posted: Wed 23 Oct 2019, 03:55
by jerichojeudy
 Thanks for the very good input!

Regarding the weaponization of the Darkness, I'm not thinking of using Darkness as a fuel or ammo or whatnot, but more that the FH leaders in particular have gone over to a kind of worshipping of all products of the Darkness and use its powers to nefarious ends, a bit like Emperor Palpatine doen't build Dark side TIE fighters, but uses the Dark side to corrupt powerful individuals, cause fear and generally mine the will to fight of any who oppose him.

P.325 or the core says: In the First Horizon, man- kind has tamed the Dark between the Stars and uses it to create energy and to sculpt life. This practice has in turn warped parts of the First Horizon, especially its rulers.
"In the First Horizon, mankind has tamed the Dark between the Stars and uses it to create energy and to sculpt life. This practice has in turn warped parts of the First Horizon, especially its rulers."

Also, in the Darkbound description:
"Perhaps they have been turned bad by djinn or efrites, been exposed to corrupting dark forces or formed horrible pacts with cadaver clocks or dark cybernetics."
So dark cybernetics do exist, the unholy alliance of tech and Darkness is a thing.

But my main idea is to tie the piousness of FC cultures to the metaplot. What I mean is that during the Portal Wars, the FC will have fought to horrible creatures created by the FH leaders, and will have seen first hand the corruption and evil of the Darkness. From that experience has hatched a fanatic hate or fear of anything that comes close to the Darkness. If you look up the effects of Darkness in the core, as soon as you are in space for a prolonged period of time, you are affected. Portal jumps also affect you.

So I like your idea that localized wars for ressources were happening all the time during the Long Night, but also, the FC basically stopped using the Portals and even avoided space altogether as much as possible. Portals to the FH were destroyed (seen as gateways to Hell, literally), and the Cult of the Icons was developed with a very anti-darkness dogma.

Then the Zenith arrived, and with it the Zenithians, a large community of pragmatic spacefarers that have no fear of the Big Dark. This advantage gave them the possibility of reopening the space routes and to seize the bulk trade market rapidly.

Now the Zenithians have pieced together what happened on the TH, and of the possible existence of an unknown energy, Darkness, and so they have pragmatically started to seek the blessing of the Icons to protect their endeavors. But they remain scientific, sceptical and much less superstitious than the FC, as is canon.

What do you think?

Re: About the Long Night, help needed please

Posted: Fri 01 Nov 2019, 03:05
by Kristupas
P.325 or the core says: In the First Horizon, man- kind has tamed the Dark between the Stars and uses it to create energy and to sculpt life. This practice has in turn warped parts of the First Horizon, especially its rulers.
"In the First Horizon, mankind has tamed the Dark between the Stars and uses it to create energy and to sculpt life. This practice has in turn warped parts of the First Horizon, especially its rulers."
Thanks for pointing this out. It had completely slipped my mind. In that case I really like your idea about piousness of FC. I am still thinking that it was strong long before Portal Wars, but it's plausible that these events could make it even stronger, and give it new, more "scotophobic", angle.
On a side note I think it's interesting that this piousness is really conected to ritual side of religion and it is opposing its mystical side and mysticism (at least officialy). So we would have First Horizon with Darkness, Second with Symmetry's mysticism, and Third with cult of Icons.