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Author Topic: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 4.6 BETA  (Read 40102 times)

squamous

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Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 4.6 BETA
« on: March 25, 2022, 08:04:45 pm »

Man ruled the solar system, once. In its grand epoch spanning thousands of years, Earth was the jewel of a great empire, its shining cities the capital of a vast civilization which stretched from the pitted surface of Mercury to the freezing depths of the Oort Cloud. But from the festering stagnancy of its millennia-long reign came resentment and ambition, culminating in its catastrophic end. From this arose a new age, an era of awe and horror incomprehensible to the common man, built upon the back of a new breed of scientific law scarcely understood even by its practitioners. Earth itself is unrecognizable, a broken world littered with a thousand dead nations and forgotten megastructures which obscure any trace of what was once a verdant oasis of natural life. The solar system is a haunted grave, the planets, moons, and even space itself strewn with the wreckage of long-dead peoples.

But this is all ancient history, long forgotten to the rising powers of the new Earth. They live in a different world entirely, an endless jungle of steel and carbon in which even the mightiest of cities are but mere drops in its ocean, in which even the greatest scientific achievements known to their ancient ancestors are but wheels and torches compared to the hypertechnological relics which they rely on to survive. Where mankind no longer rests at the summit of existence but submits to the authority of those who dare follow the path carved out by their forebears and seek to transcend the limits of mere biology. Where even posthuman demigods struggle for survival against ceaseless danger and overwhelming violence. A world in which the power of the individual once more reigns supreme, the ideals of equality and unity reduced to laughable fantasies. An era that waits with bated breath for its own end, and the rise of a new existence which will finally bring order to the anarchy and terror of a star system gone mad, or deliver the killing blow to what remains of intelligent life. But this terrible night of humanity's history will be long and harsh indeed, and only the greatest among the great stand a chance of bringing forth a new dawn.
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What is The Long Night?

The Long Night is a total overhaul mod which takes the game Dwarf Fortress and transplants it into a post-apocalyptic scifi future where the fragmented descendants of humanity struggle to survive in the broken remains of an unrecognizeable earth, filled to the brim with genetically-altered monsters, rogue machines, warring states, and countless other threats. Central to the game experience is the use of nanotechne; a programmable, infinitely mutable form of matter which forms the foundation of every civilization, and the process of transcendence, through which individuals can cultivate internal nanotechne to develop new cybernetic augmentations, and slowly obtain an immortal posthuman body which can survive the chaos to come. Of course, for every such madman who would seek such a thing, a thousand more live as mortal humans and struggle every day to make ends meet. Play a mercenary scoundrel, a village of hydroponic farmers, a biomechanical mech pilot, a posthuman barbarian, and much more. Countless stories wait for you in the far future of pan-humanity.

Download Link: https://dffd.bay12games.com/file.php?id=16160

Old Download Link prior to the great DFFD Crash: https://dffd.bay12games.com/file.php?id=14134
(don't actually use this I am just keeping it here for archival purposes)

Music Source: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcavSftXHgxLBWwLDm_bNvA
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Change Log:

4.6 Changes
-Some new creatures added.
-Fix to an error in bulk manufacturing armor
-Fix to ex-anthropics arriving to trade.

4.59 Changes
-Fix to combat drones not attacking things, probably. Due to hardcoded issues ranged drones may still behave strangely but the functionality is now present.


4.58 Changes
-Fix to hydroponic fruits and vegetables not yielding seeds, they should now be found in the edible products of said plants.
-Added some military skill to all races, could lead to wars being more fun.

4.57 Changes
 -Regrettably, I am rolling back the removal of forgotten beasts. The trick associated with it did cause problems, just not frequently enough that I was able to catch them on my lonesome. Big thanks to the community for bringing it to my attention. The other changes will remain in place.

4.56 Changes
 -Forgotten beasts will no longer spawn. While they are cool, many of them just do not fit the aesthetic of the setting. This is an experimental change as it relies on a very funky trick, which will spawn a lot of stuff in the errorlog. As far as I can tell, this does not actually cause any problems, so you can ignore it, but let me know if anything strange does happen.
-Machine life will probably no longer rot
-After multiple investigations I have determined that the error regarding exhuman transformation only occurs in the fortress-produced tablets due to the way consumable transformations work. Exhuman transformations will now produce exhumans with the normal amount of arms, legs, and heads. If you want more powerful configurations, then two exhumans must be made to reproduce.
-Other small fixes

4.544 Changes
-Hydroponic and factory-type "plants" can no longer be found in the wild. They can now ONLY be purchased, stolen, or produced in the manufacturing block workshop. NOTE: I have yet to see this myself, but this MAY cause freezes in that mode. It may be something super rare and thus impractical for me to test myself so if you get inexplicable freezes let me know and I'll roll this back.
-Fix to interaction targets being bugged, transmuter attacks should now only target enemies
-Fix exhumans sleeping
-Possible fix to the exhuman tablet interaction only creating one type of exhuman

4.55 Changes
-Fix to drill warlances requiring two hands
-fix to attribute tablets not functioning properly, you should now be able to have one of each tier



4.543 Changes
-Fix to upload categorization allowing for proper implementation of transmutation mechanics



4.542 Changes
-Fix to weapon misnamings
-Fix to hyperupload humanoid blueprints not being created when they should

4.541 Changes
-Fix to tertiary blank tablets not being craftable

4.54 Changes
-Fix to references to high frequency, should have been replaced by hardlight.
-fix to certain weapon powers not working or functioning incorrectly.
-fix to cyborgs lacking discipline.

4.531 Changes
-Fix to the blank exhuman tablet producing the posthuman tablet instead

4.53 Changes
-Change to harvesting lipofluid from certain creatures, should be more costly and cause less lag
-fix to title of core programs being CORE_PROGRAM
-fix to misnamed clothing
-other small fixes

4.52 Changes
-Robots will now bleed coolant
-Predators improved, they should now be less skittish and more likely to fight. Let me know if I have overtuned this. They should still run away if sufficiently threatened.
-Fix to possible issue of posthuman ascendance not happening in worldgen
-Some other small fixes


4.51 Changes
-Fix to posthumans, who are no longer immune to magma. They had the issue of coming to trade, and if magma were around, would dive right in, causing their items to burn up if even if the traders were fine. Exhumans and hyperpredators are still magma immune however.

4.5 Changes
-Hardlight is back, this time in the form of weird, ghostly entities which lurk the megastructure, capable of all sorts of weird phenomena. Some are benign, some are decidedly less so. Kill them to collect the bodies for their exotic materials or tame them as exotic companions, but either way, mess with them at your peril.
-This won't be obvious currently, but I have overhauled adventure mode crafting to be up to date with all the new additions I've been making. This means that when the adventure mode update drops, you can create pretty much every weapon, armor, and power available in fortress mode as an adventurer right off the bat. Of course, as I cannot directly test these things, I might still have made a mistake here and there, but that will be a lot quicker to fix than trying to add everything after adventure mode has already been released.
-The "high frequency" weapon variant has been renamed to "hardlight", or "HRDLHT" weapon variant. The faster attack speed remains the same, but this serves to integrate hardlight technology more closely into the world and make it feel less like an unrelated thing just shoved into it.
-New enemy class, Citizens. Grotesque cyborg monsters that seem to spawn from the megastructure. No one knows if they're a parasite or a function of the city but they're always bad news.
-Nanosuits altered. In terms of mechanics they remain the same as a light underarmor coming in flexible and solid varieties, but are now differentiated stylistically between body suits of thick tubing, mechanical exoskeletal struts, muscle fiber, and undifferentiated gel-like substance, in order of tech level. This should provide a greater level of variety in suit design between civilizations. Two individuals wearing the same armor suit style might now have a secondary style of the plates being affixed to formless semi-fluid matter or clunky hydraulics instead.

4.44 Changes:
-Fix to biojets not flying
-Fix to voidcladers and all hi-caste not properly responding to cyberization tablets
-Fix to nerve program yielding the trance power
-Other small fixes

4.43 Changes:
-Disassemblers (mining tools) can now also be made from hyperalloy. I've noticed some weirdness coming from them only being able to be made out of hard alloy so if anyone is having issues making them this should fix it.

4.42 Changes:
 -Small fix to names of wasteland creatures showing up as 'nothing's.
-Hi-Caste caravans should show up in the summer now, give some space between visits

4.41 Changes:
-Fix to plants and animals not spawning in taigas.
-Fix to some machine nomenclature
-Fix to duplicate raw bug
-Change to preservates. Their healing ability being free and their cost being low didn't sit right with me. The new repair option is a drone variant which can be purchased for a hefty sum on embark or from subsequent merchant caravans when they arrive. Preservates (in the sense of a vaguely mammalian organism with a shell-bearing exterior) are now a variant of wasteland fauna you can have as a normal pet instead. They basically look the same but are made of meat. A few other creatures can now be made into pets as well, but don't expect them to be war animals. War is something waged by sophonts, machines, and biomechanical horrors. No place for an attack dog.



4.4 Changes:
-More new creatures added. There's a fair amount more now, especially underground. The plastsects have gotten many new members, as have automachines. There's a few new birds as well.
-Moss forest now has some lichen, with lichen trees found near pools and rivers in said forests. Should break up the greenery a bit.
-New weapon classifications, scythes and staves. Scythes can function like warpicks in the case of smaller ones, or glaives in the case of larger ones, with both stabbing and slashing attacks. They have saw-blade, rocket, high-frequency, and antigravity variants. Staves are blunt weapons, like hammers and maces, but are built with more agility in mind and a wider variety of attacks, coming in high-frequency, shock emitter, and antigravity variants.
-You can now breed nanotechne with both hard and soft alloys, with the soft alloy option having a 50% chance to spawn an additional bar. You can also butcher nanotechne for a chance to regain some materials, but this is mostly a trick to make civs have access to the right metals on embark.
-Change to architectural materials. Instead of using the feral architectural variants for construction, they are all convertable into domesticated architecture on a 1:1 ratio, or more enhanced architecture forms with the addition of various materials. My previous half-measure caused more problems than it solved, so this solution should ensure architecture variants are either used for all construction, or none, and there is a process for converting the unusable to the usable. You can also scavenge reprogrammed architecture from the "soil", remnants of prior attempts at settlement no doubt. This should allow for players to more easily create high-value rooms and materials, as you can commit resources to creating more valuable forms of architecture now.
-Uploads have their own power system instead of being tied to postbiology. While normal uploads can become vehicular uploads, which are larger, or they can become hyperuploads which have a hyperalloy carapace, hence the name. While not as mutable as a nanotechne one, it is equivalent in terms of durability and the hyperupload possesses enough reparative nanites that they aren't doomed to decay like their unimproved compatriots. These hyperuploads subsequently can have their own vehicular variants. In addition, a corrupted upload variant exists as well, working similarly to corrupted cyborgs and postbiologicals, being hostile to conventional life. Unlike highly mutable postbiological life, uploads have defined tiers of power and more reasonable body plans, but can have much larger bodies than exhumans. In this world, a true machine intelligence that can operate independently is expensive and valuable, so vehicular uploads are worth much more than bioframes and the like.
-A change to the Hi-Caste. Instead of being one monochromatic skin color, it's now divided into two parts, a normal skin tone and a sort of biological tattoo comprising the colors that previously made up its default skin coloration, termed heraldic pigmentation. So a civclader might have tan skin with pale red biological heraldry spreading all over its body, or a warclader might have pale skin with dark blue biological heraldry. The reason for this change is that, for various reasons both lore and bug-prevention-wise, pure-born hereditary cyborgs have default human skin, and are born from a union of any normal hereditary cyborg. By having the Hi-Caste have human skin tones now supplemented by the secondary coloration that marks their clade, two high-caste cyborgs having an unmarked offspring feels more natural in my opinion and the intergenerational change flows more smoothly.
-Sciclade can now form larger civs. They will be a technocratic counterpart to the bureaucratic and militaristic powers of the civclade and warclade civs. You can thank them for the new military drones that are now found in all hi-caste civs.
-Fix to clothing layers.
-Fix to some bulk manufacturing issues.
-Armor altered slightly to be more consistent.

4.31 Changes:
-Ex-Anthropics will only have hyperpredators which share the same features as themselves, and hyperpredators will no longer be crazed. They should still try to kill you but they shouldn't automatically murder everyone if they show up in a caravan.
-Neo-anthropics can domesticate postfauna.

4.3 Changes:
-Now that summoning has been fixed, I can make summons a thing, so I did. There's now an intricate summoning system for both you and enemies to exploit. Summoning is divided into three classes, large, medium, and heavy summons, and you can have one of each. A general rule is that if they are a summon capable of flight, the amount you can create is only half as much as if they were ground based, due to the additional resource cost granting flight requires. In addition, projectile weapons move slowly, while melee weapons are much faster. Determining the balance between air and ground focus, and what type of weapons to grant your transmuter, will be the key to victory. No combination is perfect, but some are more effective against certain types of enemies than others or have particular applications. Also, this is a very convoluted system by necessity so things might be broken. If they are, let me know.
-Attributes have also been expanded. There are now four tiers of power for them, and you can have one of each tier, so choose carefully. Instead of filling out every attribute, you have to chose a certain amount, and of them what order to place them in. Try to find combinations that work for particular roles or the kind of army you have in mind, or even to counter specific kinds of enemies. As above, this is convoluted, so if there are issues let me know.
-A few more new creatures added.
-New clothing item added, bodysheets. Basically it's like a simple coat, there's six variants. Not a big thing but it's a bit of extra fashion and insulation.
-Fix to some crops not behaving.
-Fix to hi-caste training instructors being automatically appointed.
-Nanotechne Refinery renamed to Transcendence Chamber and has gotten a redesign. Blank tablets are now manufactured in the Incubation Reactor.
-Some other fixes



4.2 Changes:
-I am doing something a little crazy and experimental. I get that the long names of weapons and armor are a pain to read on the screen. However, I also like being able to design a suit of armor that adheres to your personal tastes. So I have a compromise. All armors and weapons are now defined by acronyms, which are explained in the bay12 page. I've tried this before, but back then they were about individual brands of exo-frame. Now, they denote basic design choices, and are brand-agnostic while still bringing the same level of variety. Each of the new armor pieces also has a paragraph written below the raw data, explaining the details of what you are looking at. To find out a more nuanced explanation of any given armor piece, simply search it up in the appropriate text document and read the info. Once descriptions are added to items, all of these descriptions will become available in-game. For those who don't want to engage with this system, it should also be no problem. Just make an exo-frame, exo-helmet, exo-arms, exo-legs, and a nanosuit, along with the weapon of your choice, and there you go.
-Fix to scavenging from architecture blocks using all kinds of blocks.
-Fix to hair coming from domestic cattle
-Fix to oil plants, you can now process oil from them in the manufacturing block.
-Bureaucrats will have labors enabled for the time being due to a DF bug that makes them unable to stop working if they are promoted with a labor active.
-New fauna added. Due to the above fixes it's not all the ones I want to implement but I had to get something out on account of the stuff that needed fixing. Next updates will add additional creatures.
-Various other small tweaks.

4.17 Changes:
-Change to lo-caste names. Terrans are now earthcladers, martians are now marscladers, and so on. This makes things fit in more with the naming schema of biological panhumanity and ties them more closely with the setting's history. It will also look super snazzy on the character selection screen when the adventure mode update comes out.
-Less plants should cover the screen now. Don't want to make things too easy with foraging.
-Fix to rapid gun powers, was missing a bracket
-Composite now called architecture to spell out what you're seeing.

4.16 Changes:
-Emergency fix to duplicate raw issue

4.15 Changes:
-Fix to body clothing not appearing on embark

4.14 Changes:
-Info file changed, should now spell out that the vanilla raws are incompatible.
-Overhaul to how sites work, it's a lot less tied to species and more tied to a classes of civilization. Also, hamlet civs should spawn more frequently now. However, the smaller the world, the more of a tossup it is.
-Change to worldgem params, specifically in regards to civ and site amount. Due to some other issues, I have opted to shuffle them, along with removal of some unecessary restrictions. It is recommended you REPLACE the prior worldgen params with the new ones, and then edit to taste if applicable. Ignore this if you REALLY know what you're doing and have already tweaked things to your liking.
-Neoanthropic posthumans can induct hereditary cyborgs and anthropic posthumans into Outer Pattern posthuman bodies. It's a way to get some more real posthumans if you play the neoanthropic faction, since most migrants you get will be thralls. In the future, normal organic humans will be inducted by both inner and outer pattern posthumans.
-Some minor fixes
 

4.13 Changes:
-Charged alloy can now be made in the manufacturing block.

4.12 Changes:
-Martians can now wear hereditary cyborg armor
-Armor names got too long so I trimmed them down. Some ranged weapons will have shorter names as well.
-Outer pattern life forms now have variable limb length, ranging from normal human to longer. All exhumans do as well.
-All resource materials now have "(resource)" in the name. This is to encourage harvesting rather than smoothing or otherwise retaining the material, and to make it clear that it only exists to be broken down into something usable.
-Grinder weapons are very strong, and this is intentional, but they have also become too strong. To compensate, they now have a very long wind-up and recovery time to simulate the difficulty of using such an unwieldy weapon. But to balance this, they also now have the option to attack without activating the grinder mechanism, doing conventional damage. Like RCS weapons, it is now a special attack.
-More "gem" types
-The manufacturing block can now produce bulk orders of material such as furniture, military uniforms, and clothing. Bear in mind it isn't a huge system, it simply meets the absolute minimum standards to keep people clothed and rooms furnished. I'll add more as I can think of fitting stuff.
-Vanilla sound effects enabled, mute or enable them at your discretion
4.11 Changes:
-Added tooltips to workshops
-Superstructure tile changed to be hopefully be more readable while still feeling artificial
-Various utility drones can now be purchased by most civs
-Fix to gem display issues
-Fix to soft alloy goods not having the appropriate adjective
-New material added, lightmatter. It is used to make cool glowing tubes and cylinders and affixing them to things grants you big money, which should help with room value and such without adding materials the game doesn't understand should be rare
-Digging tools and loader exo-frames/exo-armors can be made of hard alloy instead of hyperalloy now
-Fix to tool costs in embark
-Resource materials weigh much less to account for being unable to be put in stockpiles
-Upload civs and names changed. They'll now be divided into humanoid, light, heavy, and ultraheavy variants, and can upgrade between them intergenerationally. You can choose to increase them in size for a relatively low cost, or turn them into a unique kind of postbiological entity.
-Mechanical and postbiological civs can create chemical packets from energetic compound as an alternative to farming, which can sustain them just fine. If organics eat it, they'll be sated, but will also go into shock and maybe die. Use with caution.


4.1 Changes:
-Fix to hi-caste civ positions
-Cheaper seeds


4.0 Changes:

-Updated to latest DF version
-Changes to the transcendence process. Transmutation programs now have an additional step, the creation of "blank tablets" which are later encoded with data, becoming consumable. Instructions on the process can be found in-game.
-Combat progtams overhauled, they'll be much better now and will take into account any limbs you grow (this will be expanded on)
-Changes to civ positions, I have tried to streamline things and make them better. They also have descriptions now where necessary or where it lets me dump yet more lore into the game itself rather than the bay12 page.
-Changes to material. Instead of just "meta alloy" there's now normal alloys and hyperalloy. While there are now various useful alloys, hyperalloy is metal imbued with nanotechne at the molecular level. Not enough to bring it to life, but enough to make it much stronger. This means you need to choose between using nanotechne to equip a large army with lots of gear, or focus on nurturing a small amount of transmuters, at least until you're rolling in the stuff. You can also strip hyperalloy of its nanotechne for a small chance to gain some nanotechne back.
-New geologic material, plastcrete. Basically it's concrete but fancier. Cheap and durable, but not magma-safe and with no resources to extract. However, composite can no longer be used to make stone crafts, only plastcrete can, though both can be used as building material. Grasses have been changed as well to reflect the new terrain changes.
-Shells changed to be the same size as exhumans and bioframes. Why? Because people are having trouble giving exhumans and bioframes armor. This way, you can give them armor by giving them stuff sized for shells, any issues with selecting armor for them can be handled. It also means shells, bioframes, and exhumans can scavenge armor off of each other, meaning a defeated foe's gear can become your victory prize.
-Exhumans changed. They'll now be more consistent. Transformed exhumans have a human body plan, but their offspring can look stranger. However, they are still divided by pattern.
-Plants redone. Many factory-type plants will only appear in civs now, not in the game world. Meaning, you only get what you embark with, or buy. Well, you can try to scavenge, but don't get your hopes up.
-Un-caste civs are now item thieves. Should lead to more wars.
-Guns changed. There's now three tiers. Light-Gas Guns, Ram Accelerators, and Mass Drivers (previously railguns), in order of power. More advanced civilizations have better guns. Each come in three tiers, light variants for Light Ranged Specialists, heavy variants for Heavy Ranged Specialists, and the rare ultraheavy variant which can be equipped as field artillery by soldiers or standard weapons for bioframes.
-It is now impossible to find a book that lets you obtain a stronger body via normal methods. But if you're willing to make a dark bargain, there's a few places you can look.
-Various little fixes and tweaks.


3.91:
-grazers can no longer climb
-bookshelves can be made of wood


3.9:
-New enemies added. You are already familiar with info-life. Under the current model, it will infect humans and turn them into a perverted equivalent of hereditary cyborgs, used to raise armies of infested slaves to grow out of control. Now that's just one of the horrible ways info-life can take you over. There's now infoviruses, which hide in human civilization wearing the skin of their prey before tearing out of it to commit horrible rampages, and proper infopredators, which use humans as hosts to construct more of their kind and hide out in the wastes, using strength rather than subterfuge. Fortunately cyborgs and postbiologicals are immune to these new creatures, so they'll be vital in dealing with them.
-6 new civilian weapons added. Not as good as proper military gear but don't underestimate them.
-Uploaded humans can now become anthropic posthumans and exhumans.
-Moss trees can now only be found in moss forests. Grasslands will have building ruins to replace them, but still have moss grass. Organic wood is also now more expensive.
-Change to crafting materials so you use meta alloy to make weapons and armor, forgot about that.
-Automachines should now be significantly less overpowered, and it is also spelled out in the description what weapons work best against them.
-Renamed pseudo-anthropic posthumans, they are now corrupted posthumans/exhumans. Unlike inner or outer pattern postbiologicals, they aren't categorized by mental state or lineage, but just that they are postbiological beings puppeted by genocidal malware.
-Some tweaks and fixes

3.85:
-Change to the power system. After much consideration, I have reworked things so that only cybernetic, mechanical, or postbiological life forms can use programs. Everything is bottlenecked through a single secret which, once obtained, will then spur on the transfigured NPCs to seek yet greater power. The way this affects the inner workings of the system is that it makes implementing new powers and even new races much, much easier. And also it just makes sense you've got some cybernetics on your body before you can start shooting blades out of it. However, if you start out fitting the criteria, you can just learn programs from the get-go. As always, let me know if there are any issues.
-New combat program added, nanotechne blade. It's a short-ranged edged attack with a high rate of fire, contrasting with slower-firing but longer-ranged attacks like bullets and missiles.
-Change to lo-caste language. The prior iteration was generated using a list of Brazilian names as a base, because it had a lot of different ethnic names in it, but the current name list is generated from the top 1000 names used across the world, creating a language and naming system which takes aspects from all the largest cultural groups, as lo-cant is descended from a pigdin lexicon incorporating aspects of all of the biggest language families.

3.83:
-Experimental change to nanotechne. So, the deal with it is that it is a self-repairing material which interfaces with biological matter and machines to create biomechanical life forms and improve equipment. This is cool and all, but the issue is that this property is not exhibited when it comes to weapons and armor. So, I have removed its functionality as a weapon and armor metal, with meta-alloy taking its place in that role. The material properties of meta-alloy are identical, so nothing about the properties of weapons or armor have changed, save for the fact that they are now more accessible. This should help with equipping armies, but will make nanotechne acquisition a bit more of a process as you can't just melt down the equipment of invaders. On the other hand, nanotechne armor will still exist in the form of biomechanical armor within cyborgs and postbiological life, as in that state it will possess the capacity for self-repair and properly adhere to the lore of the material. I suppose this also makes nanotechne more of a rare and mysterious substance in-universe rather than a ubiquitous material, it is still vital for civilization however, just in a more subtle way.
-Armor should weigh noticeably less now across the board.
-Instead of using hyperpredators as beasts of war and wagon-pullers, neo-anthropics will use the sub-anthropic posthumans for the same purpose.
-Some other small fixes


3.826:
-Custom interactions using the new fortress mode workshops will now have custom tooltips in-game explaining what things do.
-Some core programs added to fort mode crafting which previously weren't available.

3.825:
-Fix to adv mode armor crafting

3.82:
-Fix to the matter transmutation tablets, they should consistently grant the ability after ingestion now.

3.81:
-Minor bugfixes
-Wreckage and rubble renamed to "metal wreckage" and "stone rubble" to better explain what they are.
-Wheelbarrows renamed to "loader exo-frames" because it recontextualizes them into powered exoskeletons built for heavy lifting which is cool, they also only cost 1 bar now so you can make a lot of them. An even bigger "loader exo-walker" has also been added, with a greater carrying capacity.
-New civilian weapons added, random NPCs can carry them. Dust guns are close-range guns which fire clouds of tiny metallic particles that can rip through flesh but do poorly against armor, while batons and staves are self-explanatory.
-Altar renamed to datasphere communication array and dice renamed to datasphere interface modules. You use interface modules to access the datasphere under relatively controlled conditions to communicate with info-deities. Things might still go badly for you though.
-Bioframes can now learn transmutation programs.


3.8 changes:

-Changes to bioframes. They no longer have innate nanotechne armor. Instead, they are given armor by you, the player. You select them to be built in the forge by selecting a piece of armor, going to details, and sizing it for the intended creature. Bioframes work off of these rules, as do a few other things. This allows you to, rather than relying on RNG to get the right monster for your army, create your own monsters and equip them with the weapons you want to see used.
-Changes to clothing. Rather than more conventional clothes and jackets and hats, clothing is now more vague and futuristic. The attire of the modern era is all about body suits, limb sheathes, protective coifs, filters, and hoods. Why? Because you can't give animals the ability to wear armor without giving them the ability to wear clothing as well. All new clothing is intended as an omni-species fit, which can be applied to any creature without making them look silly (a bioframe would look silly in jacket and cowboy hat, less so in a body suit, limb sheathes, and covered in a tarp). This should synergize with the above change and add versimilitude.
-An update to the "magic" system. Just as you can produce ascendance tablets, you can now synthesize tablets that allow you to integrate weapon programs and core programs into one's body. No longer are you reliant on finding slabs or books to kit out your warriors in fortress mode. However, this process is very expensive, as transcendant combat cyborgs are meant to be a heavy investment. Do you make a bunch of them without any special powers, or make a few and turn them into living arsenals of war? The choice is now yours.
-Change to armor. Heavy vs light is sorta redundant when it comes to armor descriptions, so I've tried to simplify it into three systems. Exo-frame, exo-armor, exo-walker. The first is light cheap armor with gaps, best paired with a nanosuit but povertycore otherwise, exo-armor is full protection, standard gear, exo-walker is big man-tank gear. By default exo-frames and exo-walkers are for ranged, who either wanna be super maneuverable or super durable, while exo-armor is for melee guys, who do best with a mix of both. However, national armies can break this rule, as can the player of course.
-Low-density anthropic posthumans can now reach a high-density state through obtaining combat programs in worldgen.
-The "Transcendant" title changed to "Transmuter". Mostly, to clarify what it actually means. A transmuter is, specifically, an individual who knows how to hack ambient nanotechne in order for it to coalesce into upgrades, weapons, and other effects. Anyone can be a transmuter just like you can be a hacker. Transmutation tech in the form of combat programs and the like is what allows for individuals to reach greater heights than they could normally, and generally comes with obtaining a stronger body as well in the form of becoming a hereditary cyborg or posthuman. You can be either of those without being a transmuter, but transmuters are the ones who take the first step. Transcendence is just the process of obtaining a better body.
-Bioships and biodeities merged into the same creature. While called a biodeity, it is more in line with the role of a bioship. It is a large weapons platform which will join civilizations because they can offer it better living conditions, and earns its keep by being a gigantic bioweapon. And like a bioframe, if you have one you can and should give it weapons and armor. It can also learn transmutation programs.

3.788 Changes:
-Certain more numerous kinds of automachine should run away from danger, not attack in swarms
-Fix to some descriptions.

3.787 Changes:
-Outer pattern exhumans should no longer cause a crash


3.786 Changes:
-Fix to posthuman skill rates again, hopefully for the last time
-Fix to liaisons staying forever. It seems that it is tied to merchant stuff. While I would have really liked for caravans to have been a year-round feature, it seems they have to come once a year or the game throws a fit.
-Fix to Neo-Anthropics being unable to go on raids probably


3.785:
-Fix to some adventure mode armor crafting
-Big expansion to armor. Helmet types multiplied by five, armor types by six. You now have much greater freedom in designing your personal coolest armor style.

3.782:
-Spontaneous combustion bug possibly fixed. Culprit may have been macrocell shells which had an accidentally high temperature. Special thanks to user Atkana for assistance. If it continues to happen let me know, it is a fairly random bug so testing it is difficult.

3.781:
-A few small fixes
-Pop cap default set to 200 again whoops


3.78:

-Fix to tablets displaying misleading information
-Inner Pattern posthumans divided between Anthropic (derived from hereditary cyborgs) and Pseudo-Anthropic (uploads). If you remember the old Collective Clade/Deva faction, the Quasi-Anthropic pattern is their return to the setting, but as a dynamically produced series of lineages rather than a civ in itself.
-Parasitic Posthumans and Exhumans changed to Pseudo-Anthropic. What is the difference between Quasi-Anthropic vs Pseudo-Anthropic? The first is more or less a human, but a little different. The second is pretending to be a human, but it isn't.
-The Ex-Anthropic variant will now have their own thrall caste.


3.753:
-Fix to preservate body issue
-Fix to crafting new workshops

3.752:
-Skill rate discrepancies fixed
-Hereditary cyborg carapace now on the outside
-Some other fixes

3.751:
-Macrocells will die in lava
-Shells are no longer considered to be demon lords by the populace


3.75:
-Composite infrastructure expanded. "Composite" is the term for the general makeup of the megastructure, all the raw material that fills it. There's now three different types. At the top is superstructure, the lightest variant with a scant amount of resources. Below that is infrastructure, the basic stuff. And below even that is substructure, the densest, most resource-rich variant. The deeper you go, the more resources you can obtain from harvesting your surroundings.
-New lifeform classification: Macrocellular life. These hardy organisms are impossibly advanced monocellular entities found in extremely cold regions like void-type biomes on the Terran Megastructure along with the moons and asteroids of the solar system. Whatever they were designed to do is long-forgotten, but their protoplasm is highly energy-dense and can be converted into fuel.
-Change to Un-Caste creatures. Instead of generic herbivore/omnivore/carnivore types, playable Un-Caste races are sapient versions of pre-existing non-sapient Human-Derived Fauna.
-Manufacturing energetic compound/meta-alloy/computing substrate should now be a more straightforward process. Instead of cutting scavenged materials into components to harvest the stuff, you can just smelt it outright. Originally I thought the cutting part was necessary for a certain trick to work, but it turns out it is not.
-Fix to hyperpredators being used by non Outer Pattern civs, hopefully.
-Slight flavor change. Instead of undersuits as mandatory "lower body" wear, instead you have connection cord rigs. Lore-wise they're basically adapters for the ports in your body as you jam them into various machinery. You don't need them but they're nice to have, so people will demand you make them if they don't have any.

« Last Edit: January 06, 2024, 09:01:05 pm by squamous »
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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2022, 08:05:37 pm »

New Mechanics:

Nanotechne:
Nanotechne can best be described as quasi-living programmable matter. It can reproduce and heal by consuming conventional technological components, and while it may look like conventional machinery on the outside, if you were to cut out a cross-section you would see layers not unlike layers of tissue in the human body. Furthermore, when it is integrated into carbon-based biological matter, it can seamlessly meld into it such that it is impossible to tell where flesh begins and nanotechne ends.

The creation of nanotechne is impossible for modern civilizations, it can only be bred and cultivated from pre-existing bases. Fortunately, nanotechne suffuses the solar system, and a determined individual can obtain enough to start the process anywhere with enough effort. Even so, it is undeniably a "black box" of technology, the why of it thoroughly inscrutable even if the how is understood.

The Nanotechnician skill uses the Strand Extractor skill.

There are also multiple other resources to make use of.
-Hyperalloy- Nanotechne-infused alloy, this material is used for weapons and armor
-Energetic Compound- A volatile form of matter used for storing energy, it can be used to fuel reactions and create ammunition
-Computing Substrate- A form of computronium which can be formed into any shape while still retaining its properties. Highly useful as a unit of value.
-Charged Alloy- Alloy that has been treated for use as ammunition through the use of Energetic Compound
-Hard Alloy- A standard alloy used for various generic purposes
-Soft Alloy- a softer, more easily workable alloy used for jewellry and expensive goods, and can also be hammered into metal mesh sheets, which can be made into protective outer clothing.



The Megastructure:

The majority of the planet Earth is taken up by a massive, defunct megastructural system, endlessly repaired by autonomous systems even as it perpetually collapses and is torn apart by those who dwell within and above it. It is primarily composed of Composite, a type of substance which resembles a mixture of metal and smooth stone, having the properties of both while truly adhering to neither. This substance can be roughly divided into three layers; the superstructural layer, the infrastructural layer, and the substructural layer. Each of these layers becomes progressively denser and more rich in resources once processed the deeper one goes down, but of course, the deeper one goes, the more dangers will present themselves.

Getting Resources

Resource materials can be gotten in multiple ways:

1. Mass-mining composite infrastructure. all of the megastructure has trace amounts of nanotechne and other resources embedded with in its mechanical tissues. Strip-dismantling a portion of it can yield results, but this method is inconsistent.
2. Mining resource pockets. Some parts of the megastructure are dedicated to a particular role. These areas are guaranteed to yield a certain type of material.
3. Hunting machines. Machines wander the sub-levels of the megastructure and can be butchered for material. This is dangerous but allows you to obtain materials without going through the trouble of mining, and can yield all sorts of rewards.
4. Trade. Trade caravans arrive every season instead of once every year. There are many more opportunities for commerce, so use them wisely.
5. Raiding. When you have enough power, raiding other civilizations for materials you can recycle is always a good move.

Clothing

In this era, jumpsuits and full body coverage are generally recommended due to all the environmental hazards present. But due to how the game works, even a jumpsuit that covers the upper and lower body won't register as pants to the wearer. However, a certain technology called a "Connection Cord Rig" is seen as necessary by many in the megastructure. A system of wires which serves as a go-between for the access points of intelligent beings and machinery, few normal sophonts are comfortable without this system, and it is easily as necessary as underwear when out and about.

Weapon and Armor Designations

Armor Designations:

Armor designations can be a lot, which is why the explanations for most of them are located in the corresponding armor raws within the mod. However, they are also available here. They are listed in order of how they will be listed in-game.

Body Armor:

A- Acute angles. Angles on this armor, when applicable, are typically notably less than 90 degrees.
O- Obtuse angles. Angles on this armor, when applicable, are typically notably more than 90 degrees.
E- Equal angles. Angles on this armor, when applicable, are typically around 90 degrees.
U- Unangled. This armor generally does not use angles, curving when possible.

F- Flat surfaces. The armor plates are flat.
C- Concave. The armor plates have inward depressions.
V- Convex. The armor plates bulge outward.

B- Balanced limbs. The limb armor is roughly the same on the upper limb or equivalent as it is on the lower.
T- Tapering limbs. The limb armor is more armored on the upper limb or equivalent than the lower.
F- Flaring limbs. The limb armor is more armored on the lower limb or equivalent than the upper.

L- Light. Covers around 75% of the body with thin armor plating. Best paired with a nanosuit.
M- Medium. Covers the entirety of the body with thin armor plating.
H- Heavy. Covers the body with thick armor plating.
SH- Superheavy. Covers the body with an inhuman amount of thick armor.

Combat Helmets:

SM- Small. Fitted closely around the user's head. Cheapest helmet.
TA- Tall. Taller than it is long or broad. Average cost.
LO- Long. Longer front-to-back than it is tall or broad. Average cost.
BR- Broad. Broader side-to-side than it is tall or long. Average cost.
FL- Flat. Equally wide and long, but not tall. Higher cost.
LA- Large. So big it merges with the body and obscures the neck. Highest cost.

(N)E- A helmet with distinct eye cameras, with N being a number that says how many there are.
PR- The helmet is perforated with many small holes rather than distinct eye-cameras.
SHV-The helmet has a slit horizontal visor, no wider than that on an ancient knight's helm.
SVV- A slit vertical visor, as above save for orientation.
BV- A broad visor, taking up most of the front of the helmet.
DV- domed visor, taking up the upper half of the helmet. Though it may not be a traditional dome shape depending on armor style.
TV- T-shaped slit visor.
CV- Cross-shaped slit visor.
XV- X-shaped slit visor.
YV- Y-shaped slit visor.
GHV- Grilled horizontal visor, consisting of multiple horizontally oriented narrow viewing visors.
GVV- Grilled vertical visor, as above save for orientation.


Combat Arms:

S- The arm is of standard length relative to the user.
L- The arm is longer than the arm of the user, with the controls for the hand actually located in the forearm.
B- The arm is notably broader than the arm of the user.

NP- No pauldrons. Used for ranged units by default.
LP- Light pauldrons that closely adhere to the frame shape. 10% additional protection, extra cost.
MP- Medium pauldrons long enough to hang off the main body. 20% additional protection, extra cost.
HP- Heavy pauldrons resembling a pair of shields affixed to the sides of user. 30% additional protection, highest cost.

Combat Legs:


S- The leg is of standard length relative to the user.
L- The leg is longer than the arm of the user, with the controls for the foot actually located in the lower leg. Often digitigrade.
B- The leg is notably broader than the leg of the user, often using a secondary method of propulsion such as treads or wheels rather than just leg power.

NG- No additional leg armor. Used for ranged units by default.
LG- Light fauld-like leg armor that ends at the waist. 10% additional protection, extra cost.
MG- Medium fauld-like leg armor that ends at the thigh. 20% additional protection, extra cost.
HG- Heavy shield-like leg armor that ends at shin. 30% additional protection, highest cost.

Under Armor:

Under armor is a secondary armor layer worn under the solid plates of body armor.

Tubesuit- A bodysuit made of cords of thick tubing.
Exosuit- A cybernetic exoskeleton which armor is mounted on.
Fibersuit- A bodysuit resembling synthetic muscle fibers.
Gelsuit- A bodysuit made of a solid opaque substance.

ARMRD- Armored with form-fitting metal plates, worthy of being worn as armor by itself.
UNARM- Without the above additions, a cheaper option favored by ranged units due to its lighter weight.

Projectile Weapon Designations:

MD- Mass Driver. Highest-quality, best force.
RA- Ram Accelerator. Average quality, average firepower.
LG- Light-Gas Gun. Least force, still pretty good.


Military-Grade weapons attachments:

Used for military weapons, powerful and expensive tools with even melee types having some kind of special ability to make them useful for a given situation.

ANGRAV- Anti-Gravity. Used for massive greatweapons, making them light enough to be usable. Used on melee weapons of immense size.
ARTLRY- Artillery. Notes that the weapon is intended for long-range engagement with little if any melee utility. Ranged weapons with this designation should be kept behind one's lines or in fortified positions.
AXEBLD- Axe Blade. Denotes ranged weapons with an axe-type bayonet, allowing them to hack at foes.
DRILHD- Drill Head. Used to enhance the abilities of piercing weapons, but make them harder to aim and slower to recover after attacking.
ENRBLD- Energy Blade. Weapons with this attachment have a blade that can be coated in a special plasma emission, letting them slash through just about anything. However, this attack takes time to charge, and leaves the user vulnerable afterwards. Recommended only for experienced fighters.
GRNDHD- Grinder Head. Used to enhance blunt weapons, letting them latch onto and chew up what they hit, but making them more unwieldy. Excellent against armor.
HRDLHT- The weapon's blade is weightless hardlight, making it much easier to move, almost like it has a mind of its own. Allows the weapon to strike faster.
LSRSGT- Laser Sight. An attachment added to ranged weapons intended for exclusive ranged use.
NRMBLD- Normal Blade. Denotes a ranged weapon with a conventional bayonet, for stabbing attacks/
PLBNKR- Pile Bunker. A captive bolt weapon that strikes at the speed of a gunshot before retracting to be used again. Highly lethal but the user can be destabilized by the recoil.
RKTSYS- Rocket System. Multiple thrusters implanted on the weapon can be activated to unleash a devastating strike, but leaves the user vulnerable afterwards. As these weapons can also use conventional attacks, knowing when to activate the rocket ability is of utmost importance.
SAWBLD- Saw Blade. Allows blades to chew through flesh with ease, with minor bonuses against armor. Like the drill and grinder weapons, it causes attacks to be slower and less precise.
SHKSYS- Shockwave Emission System. Emits a massive wave of force that can send anyone in front of the user flying into the air. Less effective against larger foes, but an excellent way to push forward against enemy infantry.
ZMSCPE- Zoom Scope. Used similarly to the laser sight, intended for long-ranged engagements and attached to weapons with increased firepower.

Civilian-Grade weapons attachments:

Civilian weapons are weapons allowed by the government for use by normal citizens. Lacking any mechanical aspect and often made of poorer-quality materials, they can do little against more powerful enemies but can protect against thugs and biological predators, usually.

VRSBLD- Versatile Blade. Can stab and slash.
STBBLD- Stabbing Blade. Has a pointed tip optimized for thrusting.
HCKBLD- Hacking Blade. Has a wider, flat-tipped blade used for slashing attacks.
BLNTHD- Blunt Head. Notes that the weapon is blunt, and uses blunt force transference to damage.
SPKEHD- Spiked Head. Spikes have been affixed to this otherwise blunt weapon, giving it a bit of edge.


Ammunition-

rod ammo- piercing damage
slug ammo- crushing damage
cluster ammo- slashing damage

Type-P- for pistols
Type-R- for rifles
Type-C- for cannons


Combat:

Combat in the Long Night has evolved to be quite different than what one might expect for such advanced technology. But one must remember this is a barbaric, ignorant age, with only the barest principles of nanotechne being fully understood. Great strides are made in one area while lagging behind in another. Ranged weapons which can reliably penetrate armor, for example, require a great deal of energy or massive payloads, making automatic weapons far too expensive to equip infantry with en masse. On the other hand, the muscle-enhancing properties of power armor have allowed for massive weapons which can, with enough blows and no need for limited ammunition, crush, pierce, and slash through an enemy's armor, and tank enough damage from the enemy's ranged weaponry to close the distance. Battles in the Long Night rely on both ranged and melee combat as a result, and soldiers can be divided into four main classes:

Light Melee Specialist: The LMS specializes in melee combat using light, one-handed weapons, ideally alongside a shield. When properly kitted with both weapon and shield they make excellent tanks and vanguard fighters, pushing forward against the enemy and taking territory. They are the backbone and mainstay of any infantry force, the core around which other units revolve.

Heavy Melee Specialist: These units make use of two-handed weapons. However, two-handed weapons in the Long Night are universally massive, far greater than the greatswords and greataxes of the ancient era. These fighters forgo the defense offered by a shield in favor of inflicting as much damage as possible with oversized killing tools, and are vital for breaking through the toughest points of an enemy defense and eliminating particularly dangerous enemies.

Light Ranged Specialist: Light Ranged units rely on combiweapons, which are a mix of small firearms and one-handed melee weapon, allowing for both short and long-ranged combat. They are often equipped with a small amount of ammunition, around five to ten bullets, and when they are expended are expected to rush into melee alongside the other close-range fighters. Due to their light armor and cheap weapons, they have a reputation as being the "grunt unit", the expendable soldiers in light armor deployed to rush and skirmish the enemy to buy time for more heavily armored forces to arrive, but skilled fighters of this specialty are not to be underestimated. MELEE ATTACKS WITH LIGHT RANGED WEAPONS TRAIN THE LIGHT RANGED WEAPON SKILL.

Heavy Ranged Specialists: These units are the ones who carry the bulky rifles, shotguns, cannons, and missile pods carrying lethal payloads beyond the power level of an LRS unit. Equipped with plenty of ammunition, these units hang behind enemy lines and support pushes by melee soldiers, laying down volleys of well-aimed, powerful attacks. But these powerful weapons cost energy as previously mentioned, and they require time to recharge. As a result, they fare poorly if the distance is closed, though many do use under-mounted melee attachements to protect themselves. MELEE ATTACKS WITH HEAVY RANGED WEAPONS TRAIN THE HEAVY RANGED WEAPON SKILL.

In general, melee combat can be thought of as a game of rock-paper-scissors. All other things being equal, a Light Melee Unit equipped with a shield can weather the hail of projectiles of a Heavy Ranged Unit in order to close the distance and kill them, but loses in a battle of trading blows against a Heavy Melee Unit, who in turn has no shield to prevent him from being sniped by the Heavy Ranged Unit. The Light Ranged Unit is a versatile middle ground, capable of taking on the role of any of the other three units at the cost of not being as effective at it.


A NOTE REGARDING RANGED WEAPONS:

It may be thought that ranged weapons in the Long Night are the primary means of conflict. This is incorrect. Railguns are important, but their long recharge times have relegated them to a role similar to muskets. Unlike the era of musketry, however, there exists armor which can survive multiple direct hits, meaning melee attackers have the ability to close to CQC and inflict massive damage on a line of gunners. What this means in fortress and adventure mode is that ranged soldiers bereft of fortifications cannot be expected to reliably defeat melee fighters without support of either vehicles, which have powerful enough generators for automatic rail-weapons, or melee soldiers, which can bog down the enemy while ranged fighters support.

This especially applies to off-site battles. If you only send a squad of ranged fighters to attack a site, they will almost certainly fail and be captured. They must be supported by melee fighters to avoid the inevitability of enemy melee forces closing the distance and easily dispatching them before they can fire the next volley.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2023, 07:04:32 pm by squamous »
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squamous

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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2022, 08:06:26 pm »

Transcendence and Matter Transmutation:


In this era, the wireless transmission of energy and the immense power which can be tapped into through hypertechnological principles allows for individuals to obtain more powerful bodies and shape the world around them in ways impossible for their ancestors. This gift is both a blessing and a curse, for it has vastly raised the ceiling of what an individual's influence can achieve. In the past, the strongest and smartest human alive still could be brought down by an army, or ruined by ill fortune, or simply perish as their lifespan was exhausted. Now, one individual can decide the course of a war through their own prowess in combat, and possess an enhanced body which can resist the ravages of age, disease, and accident. That said, only a rare few reach such heights. For many, transmutation takes the form of a single ability, a reliable tool or ace in the hole depending on the form it takes. Various schools of transmutation exist, and those who use such techniques are universally termed Transmuters.


Combat Programs:

Who can learn them: Cyborgs, Postbiological Life, Uploads

Combat Programs are transmuted weapons affixed to and powered by one's own body, attached to various limbs. If a limb is disabled, the weapon cannot be used. Weapons can be mounted on the head, chest, shoulders, hips, arms, and legs. If one has more limbs, or a bigger body, they gain access to more powerful attacks. Combat programs are reliable force multipliers, often in the case of ranged weapons acheiving a greater rate of fire than conventional arms. However, attacking is all they can do. A combat program specialist's body is still vulnerable to attack as much as a normal specimen of its body type, and they require armor to be effective.

Manifestation Programs:

Who can learn them: Cyborgs, Postbiological Life, Uploads

Manifestation programs are valuable and highly sought after forms of attack. These programs allow the user to create autonomous weapons, unchained to the user's body which can roam the battlefield freely. Against individuals they can be devastating, and in pitched combat can turn one fighter into an army. There are light, medium, and heavy manifested weapons, each one with an air and ground variant. Air variants have the ability to fly, but the amount of them that are summoned are halved compared to their ground-based counterparts. As a result, a transmuter must choose a balance between numbers and utility when developing their manifestation system. In addition, ranged manifested weapons often move slower than melee variants. Lastly, a transmuter can only store information for one light, one medium, and one heavy manifestation program, so one must choose carefully how to build their arsenal. However, these manifested weapons will eventually deteriorate and collapse, leaving the user vulnerable until their abilities cool down. As a result, summoners should not bite off more than they can chew, for if their summons vanish before destroying the enemy, they will be immensely vulnerable.

Body Enhancements:

Who can learn them: Cyborgs, Postbiological Life

Body Enhancements are systems which improve a being's physical or mental attributes such as strength, toughness, endurance, speed, and agility. These are divided into Primary, which multiplies the attribute by 5, Secondary, by 4, Tertiary, by 3, and Quaternary, by 2. A transmuter can have one multiplier of each tier. As with all programs, this leaves the user to determine what arrangement of attributes most suits their style. A ranged weapons user would likely benefit more from focus and spatial awareness than strength or speed, provided they have others to protect them, while a melee fighter could benefit from strength and toughness. These abilities can be activated so long as the user has the energy to think, unlike other forms of transmutation. However, while they enhance the body, they offer no additional form of attack. A body enhancement specialist must rely on conventional weapons to bring out the most of their power. Notably, normal uploads, which can learn most transmutation programs, cannot learn these, as their rigid mechanical bodies cannot handle the kinds of changes that body enhancements inflict.

Core Programs:

Who can learn them: Cyborgs, Postbiological Life, Uploads

Core Programs are miscellaneous abilities which provide niche upgrades that do not easily fit any of the above classifications. While there are only a handful, they all are useful in some way. They differ wildly in just how useful, but if skillfully combined with other systems can create a formidable set of techniques.

Transcendence Programs:

Who can learn them: Cyborgs, Biological Life, Postbiological Life, Uploads

Transcendence Programs are by far the most sought-after of abilities. These systems allow a sophont to obtain a more powerful, perhaps even immortal, body, securing their future as one of the vaunted elites of this new era. For mere machine minds and biological humanity, it represents a way to escape their looming mortality. For those born into more powerful bodies, such as hereditary cyborgs and posthumans who lack a carapace, it is a way to secure their own destiny in a world where even they are but pawns to be used and discarded by yet more powerful and inhuman intellects.

How to obtain these powers:

There are multiple ways to become a transmuter and obtain more transmutation abilities.

Info-Deities:

Info-Deities are the beings which inhabit what one might call temples. They are benevolent or at least benign life forms existing in the Datasphere, the remnants of the old Solar System-wide digital infrastructure, who have been placated with the storage spaces constructed by civilizations and in turn protect them from incursions of hostile info-predators, which would otherwise wreak havoc. However, these beings are also immense repositories of knowledge, and by disturbing their places of habitation, secrets can be gleaned from the data they possess. Communing with one can be done, but a more common method is hacking into their bodies, typically requiring the upending of some key data node (perhaps in the form of toppling a statue), which allows the user a brief glimpse of the information they possess, taking the form of a transmutation ability. However, as stated, the Info-Deities are protected for a reason, and there is always a chance that this method results in the user being subsumed by hostile info-life and used as a physical host to prey on others, becoming a monster that must be destroyed. Fortunately, most advanced life forms are immunized against such threats, and it is biologicals and lower-level machine intelligences which must most be wary.

Manufacture:

Transmutation abilities can also be produced through the compression of nanotechne into blank tablets of varying density, which can then be worked into specific consumable instructions which allow the user to learn an ability. Often, the appropriate method is to lock the intended recipient in a room with the consumable item, and wait for them to utilize it before letting them out. This allows settlement managers to properly curate who obtains abilities. Due to the expense involved in this method, it is best to focus on a small group of favored talents rather than attempt to uplift an entire population. It is typically better to have a handful of advanced lifeforms enhanced with formidable transmutation abilities than a larger group which lacks any sort of special techniques. Furthermore, as these advanced sophonts can still reproduce, this method allows the slow but cost-free generation of militant dynasties which can protect your settlement in the centuries to come, should you survive that long.

Theft:

When info-deities are communed with, their instructions are often engraved on the material which surrounds the one who beseeched them for information. While none know why this is, what is known is that these instructions can be stolen and read by anyone, and so are often kept under lock and key. However, cunning individuals are often known to travel the world looking for these slabs, and grow their strength by finding, reading, and sometimes even stealing them. Doing so will make enemies of the group it is done to, however, and these individuals must always be wary of vengeful pursuers looking to exact justice or retrieve what was lost. Notably, transcendence programs can never be obtained this way, perhaps due to the difficulty of encoding such complex instructions in a way the un-advanced could understand. Also notably, common folk overseen by a settlement owner, perhaps a fortress overseer, cannot seem to read these slabs. Only wandering adventurers are capable of such a feat, perhaps due to their more worldly mindset.

Study:

In some cases, however, a benevolent transmuter may go to great pains to encode a transmutation procedure in the written word, which when read allows an individual to obtain the ability. Like slabs, books do not teach transcendence programs, meaning that even if you obtain one, you still need to gain an enhanced body the hard way if you don't have it already. Otherwise, there is no limit to how many a book can teach a given technique to. These are thus highly coveted, and a settlement which obtains such a thing is guaranteed at least one ability for all individuals they can transcend.


« Last Edit: March 01, 2023, 09:27:14 pm by squamous »
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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2022, 08:08:38 pm »

Species of the Long Night:

Pan-Humanity:

Pan-Humanity is the collection of biological species descended from the original human race. The Solar Empire, with its peerless knowledge of the human genome, could easily engineer various strains of human to fulfill specific tasks. These could be grouped into three different tiers; the Lo-Caste, expendable workers bred to survive in a particular environment with as little maintenance as possible, the Hi-Caste, bred to fulfill a particular niche within the Solar Empire's system-spanning bureaucracy, and the now-extinct Imperial Caste, or Imperial Clade as there were no subtypes, the undisputed apex of biological human life and hereditary rulers of the empire. Furthermore, a new designation has arisen to account for clades which exist outside these castes, the Un-Caste geneclades.

A note regarding human races:

In the vanilla game, a human reaches full adulthood at 13 years of age. In the Long Night, humans take as long as they do in real life to grow to adulthood, but are not considered children at 13. They reach full adult size at 18. If you conscript a 13 year old into the army or make him work in the mines he'll be the size of an actual 13 year old.

Lo-Caste:

It is widely regarded that normal humans are the stupidest one can make an intelligent being while still keeping them widely useful, and so the Lo-Caste have little in the way of mental modification, for better or worse. They are psychologically normal people just like baseline humanity, with their bodies altered to inhabit various environments in order to cut as much cost as possible on life support and maintenance systems, along with whatever medicine and augmentation might otherwise be required. Due to the majority of the population within the solar system being comprised of the Lo-Caste, many of them have survived the collapse of the Solar Empire and remain the majority population within the Terran Megastructure, even in the face of all manner of adversaries and competition. The simple will to survive and scrappy cunning of these average humans, though they may differ in appearance and ability, seems sufficient to carry them through day after day of the greatest dark age the human race has ever experienced.

Earthcladers: Baseline humans are those native to the planet who have undergone little genetic modification. They once populated Earth in teeming masses, but after the collapse of the planet have been greatly reduced in number. Even so, they remain one of the most populous clades in existence and continue to be seen as the "typical" human despite the varying forms that exist in the present day. Many take pride in their unbroken lineage to pre-Imperial eras, though few know anything but the basest details of that ancient time, and fewer still truly care.

Seacladers: Humans modified for life underwater, be it the oceans of Earth or Europa. Amphibious due to convenience, most aquatics live near sources of water in the Terran Megastructure, making a living harvesting the artificial seas for their bounty. While most descend from Terran sea-dwellers, a few claim descent from the now-lost colony of the watery moon Europa. Despite odd features like hairlessness and webbed digits, they are considered one of the closest to earthcladers due to their similar proportions.

Venuscladers: Venus was a harsh planet to colonize, but at the same time one with a unique advantage. Being roughly the same size as earth, normal Terrans could live on it without the damage low gravity might inflict on their bone structure and other biological features, allowing the Venusclade to be manufactured with little deviation from the Terran geneline, though it did develop paler skin and near-albinism due to the nature of Venusian settlements, almost entirely underground and constantly beset by the hideously destructive weather and boiling atmosphere. The hell that was their planet gave rise to a highly collectivist and pragmatic society, with sacrifice, duty, and intermittent cannibalism being the order of the day.

Marscladers: The first human geneclade with notably distinct proportions to compensate for Mars's lower gravity, Martians had from the very beginning developed a culture of independence and self-reliance, particularly due to the luck of being birthed to colonize a nearly completely terraformed world, where the air was breathable and the land could be walked without an environment suit. Unfortunately, it was always crippled by reliance on Earth in order to ensure no rebellion could succeed, and when the Solar Empire collapsed and the atmospheric generators began to fail, many fled back to the nascent Terran Megastructure while leaving uncounted millions to an uncertain fate on a dying planet.

Lunacladers: Even more unearthly than the Martians, these tall and spindly figures were the middle ground between space-borne and terrestrial human clades, built to colonize moons and planetoids with low but present gravity. Highly reliant on Earth and other planets for resources, they suffered the most out of all the Lo-Caste geneclades when the empire collapsed. Any which still live on their colonies likely suffer immensely under autocratic regimes which count every ounce of biological matter as a precious, irreplaceable resource.

Voidcladers: The most heavily derived of the Lo-Caste, they are most noted for their hand-like feet, allowing better maneuverability in zero-gravity habitats and space vessels, along with their towering height. In a similar situation as the Lunar geneclades, most remain in orbital habitats, with only a lucky few possessing the reinforcing nanotechne which is all that allows them to tolerate the crushing gravity of Earth.

Hi-Caste:

The Hi-Caste, derived primarily from Terran stock, differs primarily from the Lo-Caste in three ways. Firstly, Hi-Caste were not bred for a specific environment, but rather for a specific profession. They were specific tools of the Empire, answering only to the imperial court rather than any particular celestial body or other settlement. Secondly, unlike the Lo-Caste, Hi-Caste models have extensive mental changes written into them in order to make them better at their particular role. Lastly, Hi-Caste clades can be further divided by their coloration, which rather than the earthy tones of any Lo-Caste clade are all manner of color combinations, their very flesh modified for purely aesthetic purposes in order to represent whichever particular imperial faction that particular group was pledged to serve. But with the Solar Empire collapsed, the Hi-Caste are like a pack of purebred dogs without masters, designed to serve a clade which no longer exists. A fundamental part of their self-identity, both conscious and sub-conscious, was ripped away with the extinction of the Imperial Clade, and as a result many have developed neurotic behaviors on a civilization-wide level.


Civclade: The Civclade, or Civilian Clade, was bred for the purpose of administration. Polite, refined, bland, and with a sharp mind, the Civclader is the quintessential bureaucrat. Spread across the empire and managing all of it for the benefit of the imperial court, the collapse of Solar Empire in the aftermath of the Second Solar War led to the Civclade arcologies to go into something of a crisis. The majority if not all of Civclade settlements are focused on wrangling other settlements, with carrot or stick, into something resembling a provisional government until Imperial Clade DNA can be found and restored, at which point everything can go back to normal. But of course, with the evolution of biomechanical life and the process of Transcendence, such a thing is highly unlikely.

Warclade: The Warclade, or Military Clade, was unsurprisingly bred for the purpose of combat. Ferocious, disciplined, and loyal to a fault, the Warclade for a long time represented the peak of infantry power, cold-hearted supermen who effortlessly dispatched any who would seek to defy the mandates of the Solar Empire. But in the end, the Warclade are still biological humans, with all the limitations that implies. Having fought so long against opponents genetically inferior in the areas of killing, they were unprepared to fight an even or perhaps superior foe in the form of Antinirvanist Posthumanity, and while the war ended in mutual destruction the rise of Immortals has forever relegated the Warclade's existence to one of being obselete. Even so, they are still greatly feared, for Transcendence is a journey few see the end of, but the Warclade juntas need only to breed to increase their numbers, and compared to other biological clades, they remain a fearsome foe indeed. In the absence of their masters they have become conquerers, carving territories of their own in the name of their clan's ambition.

Joyclade: Of all the Hi-Caste, perhaps the saddest fate belonged to the Joyclade, or the Courtesan Clade. Like the geishas, jesters, and concubines of old, they served the role of performers and companions, and like the influencers, celebrities, and public personas of the Late Pre-Imperial Era, they were designed as living advertisements and entertainers. What they were not designed for was the collapse of the empire and the fall into barbarism. The pleasure gardens of the Imperial Clade go untended and the Joycladers find themselves subject to the whims of fate by far more brutal and numerous forces.


Sciclade: Working quietly away in the background of Hi-Caste society was the Sci-Clade or Scientific Clade, focused on the maintenance and production of the technologies which sustained the empire. Built for production and socially neutered, the scicaste community was happy to be kept out of the spotlight and left to work in silence. The collapse changed that, of course, and now they find themselves put to work by their peers in addition to those they once deemed inferior, valued more as a commodity than anything else.

Un-Caste:

During the Myriad Era, attempts were made to repopulate the Terran Megastructure using creatures derived from human DNA. These grotesque creatures were partially successful, though few take pleasure in the ecosystems they have formed (though they do appreciate the meat they offer). But in a quirk of fate, one particular branch of this artificial evolutionary tree did not stay as mere animals. Rather, they regained sophoncy, much to the chagrin of the rest of humanity, for their time as animals had warped this breed casteless freaks into brutish and violent creatures, and the availability of high technology allowed for them to form technologically-advanced civilizations at a frightening speed. At the beginning of the Long Night, they have become a thorn in the side of near every other civilized force. Rather than being called human, they are collectively classified as "Aberrant" life, and come in many shapes and sizes.


Cyborgs:

Cyborgs are life forms which comprise both nanotechne and biological tissue. Though the cyborg typically thought of when the term is brought up would be a person using technological prosthetics, this section details those who have integrated nanotechne into their very DNA, and thus can pass on their augmentations to their offspring. Though they have many advantages because of this, they are still at least partially human biologically and represent a transitionary state between normal life forms and posthuman ones.

Hereditary Cyborgs: Any organic life form that accumulates a sufficient amount of nanotechne will transform into a hereditary cyborg. A hereditary cyborg is a broad term encompassing all such transfigured individuals. What is most important regarding this is the fact that all hereditary cyborgs, regardless of original species, are compatible with one another and can produce offspring. These pure-blooded hereditary cyborgs can then seek to go even further, and shed their biology entirely. As of the Long Night, hereditary cyborgs are a relatively common sight among the upper crust of most civilizations. They are close enough to pan-humanity that they are not seen too differently than their lessers, but still demonstrably stronger, smarter, and longer-lived, inspiring the ambitions of many to become like them, and to reach even further beyond.

Uploads:

Uploads are human minds copied into conventional machines rather than postbiological bodies. Though one might think this is a form of digital immortality, the unfortunate fact is that conventional machines lack the means to copy a mind without also destroying it. The new mind may think itself the original, but the original person doesn't continue on. Even so, during the chaos of the Myriad era enough were desperate to preserve some semblance of themselves or humanity that they underwent the uploading process, a science deemed taboo during the genetically-focused Imperial era. The descendants of those first uploads have continued to evolve and diversify. That said, their bodies are still made of conventional machinery rather than nanotechne, and as a result cannot reliably self-repair and self-upgrade in the way postbiological life forms can. Transcendence remains a goal for them as much as organic beings. Uploads tend to come in two main categories:

Husks: Husks are uploaded humans in plain conventional bodies, usually wiry and skeletal to save on resources. About as strong as an average human, many dwell in the depths of the megastructure where organic life is scarce but power and spare parts are plentiful, with others living as second-class citizens in human city-states on the surface.

Shells: Shells are generally seen as a step up from husks. Their name comes from the fact that rather than focusing on a cost-optimized, easily-produced build, they instead utilize bulky custom bodies to defend themselves. They can be considered the K-selection strategy to contrast the R-selection strategy of husks, though they get along with each other more often than not. Husks come in all shapes and sizes and can be found in small enclaves across the megastructure.


Posthumans:

Posthumans, in the context of the current era, are life forms which are comprised entirely of hypertechnological synthetic tissue and nanotechne. These clades are considerably more durable, both against direct damage and the elements, along with having greater learning capabilities and an effectively unlimited lifespan unless brought down in combat. However, reaching this state is very difficult, requiring one to already be a hereditary cyborg, so it is only just now that a significant number of new posthuman life forms are beginning to emerge.

The key features of posthumanity are that they combine the strengths of biology and machinery through the use of nanotechne's nature as programmable matter. Capable of growth, reproduction, and self-repair like a living being, and possessed of the calculative power and durable body of a computer, they exist on a level beyond conventional androids or living organisms. However, this new form of life is wildly unstable and can easily become an uncontrollable danger for the unprepared, causing many to consider it a sign of the eventual collapse of human society. Posthumans can be divided into two main classifications, and further divided into High-Density and Low-Density on the individual level, representing high and low concentrations of nanotechne making up their bodies.

Posthumans come in three main types; High Density, Low Density, and Thralls. High Density posthumans have a self-repairing nanotechne carapace which grants additional defensive capability and physical enhancement, and are the strongest variety. Low-density posthumans retain the advantages of postbiological life forms, but lack a carapace. They are more vulnerable to attack and rely more on tools and armor, and are more likely to live in a relatively normal way due to their need to rely on others to survive. The last kind, thralls, are unique to the Outer Pattern, and are a servant caste designed by true posthumans to serve them, as without them Outer Pattern society could not function.

Inner Patterns:

Inner pattern posthumans are humans which are psychologically normal. That is, they are identical to baseline humans in potential behavior, differentiated only by enhanced physical and mental prowess in addition to psychological quirks which may arise from their nature as immortal beings. Within Pan-Human society, the Inner Patterns exist as the upper class. Be they civilian or military, simply by virtue of their long lives they can accrue wealth and wisdom in a way a normal human never could, and Transcendence allows for that influence to be augmented by personal martial might. Though they cannot fight an army by themselves (yet), they represent powerful force multipliers for human forces. Even the richest biological merchant or connected governor is ultimately a fleeting spectacle by comparison.

For most, the Inner Pattern of posthumanity is a rare and mysterious thing. Many consider hereditary cyborgs to be dangerous enough already, to go a step further can get one associated with less benevolent branches of the pan-human family. That said, should one reach this level as a Transcendant being, respect is paid anyway. Those who are born posthuman are given less of a free ride.
 
Anthropic: "Anthropic" posthumans are exactly that, normal human size, shape, and mind, though on closer inspection their postbiological nature is readily apparent. Originating from uploaded and cyberized humans, there are a few scattered independent complexes comprised of low-level Anthropics across the megastructure, though even with their strength they rarely last for very long. Most entrench themselves within the more populous pan-human cities, making themselves invaluable in all sorts of applications and consolidating their power base.



Outer Patterns:

The Outer Patterns are posthumans which have diverged psychologically from humanity in a way that is consistent across the entirety of their culture, or are otherwise distant from humanity in some way while still being descended from human minds in some way, and often form their own societies rather than existing as a part of conventional pan-human culture. Outer Pattern posthumans descend from the rebel faction of the Second Solar War, waged against the Solar Empire and ultimately destroying it. Their methods of transcendence were crude, brutal, and multigenerational, and over time they lost control of the very processes that made them, drifting further and further from baseline humanity into unthinking solipsistic monsters that consumed everything around them. Terrified of the road they were going down, the Outer Patterns fragmented into innumerable smaller factions seeking to stave off what had come to be called Hyperpredatory Personality Cascade Syndrome, developing multiple ways to avoid ego death.

Outer Pattern posthumans are significantly diverged from human baseline psychology. The clearest indicator, beyond physical appearance, is the total lack of communal tendency. Fear of judgement, or the need for validation from others, are things which do not exist in the Outer Pattern psychology. Any emotional responses are entirely derived from the self. Any guilt one would feel is due to the violation of their own self-imposed moral code, if they have one. Any pleasure one would feel from another's company is an indulgence for one's own benefit. All actions, and goals, are fundamentally selfish, even if they do not seem so at first. In a perfect world, there would be a far greater variance in personality due to this. But due to the pressures which shaped the Outer Pattern, the war against the Solar Empire, many carry the calculating and savage tendencies which were what allowed them to survive.

Neo-Anthropic:  Neo-Anthropic posthumans are said to be the ones closest to normal humans. They have retained human facial structures and bodies, and have emotions which are relatable to normal humans. However, this is tempered by the excessive egoism of their clade. Neo-Anthropics, rather than tamping down their emotions, seek to be led by them. They serve their personal passions alone, which can range from pleasure and power to more abstract pursuits, though even these are often achieved through the means of violence. As a result, they have difficulty truly uniting into a political force, and are most often simply loose associations of likeminded individuals, gathering in particular territories for the sake of mutual benefit but primarily focused on their own agendas. Ranging from warlords to bandits to mercenaries, they can be found wandering anywhere in the megastructure.

Ex-Anthropic: Ex-Anthropics reject the human condition entirely, or at least seek to sublimate and control it. Unlike their Neo-Anthropic peers, the Ex-Anthropics have not lost the unity they shared during the war against the Solar Empire. Rather than retaining their ego through emotional pursuit, the Ex-Anthropics are motivated by instinct and logic. Rational, but through a predatory lens, focused towards survival and power alone rather than the countless irrational hungers of Neo-Anthropy. As a result, Ex-Anthropics can form large, unified organizations should a powerful enough leader emerge, and represent a significant threat to large portions of the megastructure's inhabitants. While some go their own way, Ex-Anthropics exist in the minds of most pan-humans as a united 'other' which stands opposed to all other civilizations of the megastructure.


Sub-Anthropic: Sub-Anthropics only barely avoided succumbing to HPCS, leaving their minds fragmented and bodies warped. Effectively starting from scratch, Sub-Anthropic societies are not dissimilar to biological Un-Caste tribes, though far more formidable at the individual level. Through brute strength and primitive cunning they have carved out a niche as a raiders and marauders, particularly in the lower levels of the megastructure, where they come into conflict with upload enclaves on a regular basis. That said, they can still be reasoned with, and their feral tendencies channeled toward productive ends, such as the dismemberment of opposing forces. Of course, the risk of a Hyperpredatory Cascade is always on the table as well.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2023, 01:15:30 pm by squamous »
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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2022, 08:09:09 pm »

Cultures:

City/Bunker-States:

The most common kind of government among Lo-Caste individuals, coming in the form of surface cities or bunker arcologies, consisting of a few thousand souls toiling away under the rulership of an ostensibly representative system, headed by an elected governor, but in truth heavily influenced by the Sects, groups of Transcendent beings and those who aspire to such heights, who rule from the shadows. They possess the bulk of military power and their matriarchs and patriarchs are not effete, decadent rulers but warlords who fight alongside their underlings, for any that don't tend not to last very long in a world where their lessers can so quickly rise in power. Most common folk have only a surface-level understanding of these complex politics though, and simply try to get by as best they can, sheltering in farming communes or walled cities under the watchful eyes of their masters. Life is not all bad, however. Each state has a unique set of values, and some can approach something which could be considered fair. Others are less so. Most of these states rely heavily on biomechanical life forms copied from Myriad design, be they the infamous Bioframe or less awe-inspiring creatures, favoring them over true machines which are so difficult to maintain. Many are openly pro-Transcendence, viewing it as the best path to power and immortality and a far better alternative to being trapped in mere flesh.

Imperial Provisional Government:

The IPG is one of the oldest extant polities, though it barely counts as one in the modern era. It composes the Hi-Caste bunker networks that date back to pre-megastructure history, and maintains some of the most accurate records of human history. However, the IPG has splintered along clade lines, and most are forced to fend for themselves, forced into roles their heavily-tweaked psychologies were never designed for. Most 'Orders', as they are known, are run by an administrative bureaucracy, though its efficacy depends on the clade. The Civclade orders are fairly well-handled while most Warclade orders have degenerated into military juntas. The sciclade clings on in isolated arcologies and the joyclade defends its dilapidated gardens as best it can. They are a people who have been consigned to the dustbin of history, but even for them Transcendence is an option, and they may well be able to turn things around. IPG remnants have a higher quality of life than most normal city states, save for the unfortunates who are consigned to the farming networks outside the arcology proper. They also tend to be distrustful of Transcendent individuals even within their own ranks, keeping them heavily regulated as tools for the community to use rather than as masters, and treating Transcendents or even mundane cyborgs and posthumans with distrust. In reality, they would perform much better if the clades were to unify into a singular front rather than as ethnic enclaves, but years of fractured relations have rendered such a reconstruction an immensely difficult task.


Aberrant Tribes:

The Un-Caste is the newest breed of biosophont to arise from the Terran Megastructure. Being Human-Derived Fauna that re-evolved sentience, they have no history or culture of their own prior to the Collapse. They have an intuitive understanding of nanotechne, but unlike other castes of human lack the knowledge and sophistication to form complex societies. As such, Aberrant civilizations are more patchworks of small, feuding tribes with no central leader, only periodically banding together to plunder their neighbors or defend from incursions, and then swiftly devolving back into infighting. Though they make use of Nanotechne in basic forms like weapons, armor, and transcendence, they lack the infrastructure for sophisticated machinery and other such things, relying on their less intelligent cousins as beasts of burden. Though some consider them to be wayward brothers to true humanity, most see them as pests to be exterminated. The Aberrants which have integrated into normal human civilizations are often at risk of persecution as a result of this, but the aggression of their native brethren does not help the situation.

Neo-Anthropic Unions:

To get more than a small group of Neo-Anthropic Posthumans to put aside their differences and form a functioning government is, quite frankly, impossible. Or it would be under normal circumstances. However, the Neo-Anthropic pattern's use of a near-feral slave caste to do all their busywork allows comparatively small communities of true Neo-Anthropics to control wide swathes of territory. Unions, or Pacts, are groups of Neo-Anthropics which have banded together in the name of mutual material benefit. Pact-holders vote democratically on actions like resource exploitation or pillaging, and send their underlings and drones to get the job done, dealing only in brutal realpolitik without moral justification or careful euphemism, only a blunt debate on risks versus benefits, who shall shoulder what responsibilities, and so on. However, this privilege does not extend to Neo-Anthropics without Pact-holder status, who must prove their worth serving their superiors and fighting for favor and reward, or meekly accept their lesser station rather than risk their neck in such brutal competition.

Ex-Anthropic Incursions:

Whereas Neo-Anthropics do not have the mad ambitions of their Anticaste ancestors, the Ex-Anthropic pattern still seeks to forge an empire of posthumans from the ruins of the solar system. As a result, they frequently appear from the depths of the megastructure as armies bent on that goal, bringing destruction and stability to the heartlands of settled zones. Their hierarchy is rigid and unforgiving, clashing with their independently-minded relatives, and is even less compatible with the rest of pan-humanity. Ex-Anthropic posthumans are a significant threat to other civilizations and are dealt with accordingly.

Info-Life Infestations:

Predatory digital entities living in the Datasphere have been known to periodically escape, bringing themselves and others into the physical world by hijacking human bodies to use as puppets. They can amass huge armies in this manner, infesting and corrupting until thousands are enslaved to their will or assimilated into their elite ranks. Even sworn enemies will band together to stop an Info-Life incursion. However, Info-Life also presents an insidious threat which most common folk have only heard about in rumors. They seem to have the ability to not only overtly control, but to quietly corrupt and infiltrate as well. There are rumors of individuals who have had their minds altered by Info-Life memetic programs, seemingly normal but rewritten to engage in repeated serial murder, targeting high-ranking members of communities and sowing distrust and paranoia, which is then taken advantage of by the main invasion force. What society is like within these organizations, if there is a society or intelligence behind them at all, is unknown. It is theorized that higher-ranking Info-Predators may have always been self-aware, or become so after gaining a posthuman body, but the truth remains a mystery.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2022, 01:06:03 am by squamous »
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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2022, 08:12:00 pm »

General Lore:

World Size:

In the vanilla Dwarf Fortress game, the world is generally assumed to be the entire world, or half of one, depending on how you generate your poles. However, in the Long Night, the world is designed to be "to scale". That is, the setting reflects the world's actual size. A large map, for example, is about the size of Iceland. So you're not playing on a map of the entire megastructure, just an Iceland sized portion of it.

Terrain Terminology:

The Terran Megastructure is a mixture of overgrown infrastructure and fragments of earth, what were normal terrain features in the past are at least partially artificial in this era. As a result, the terminology of referring to them has changed.

Continents- The playable area encompasses a single region referred to as a "Zone" of the megastructure.
Desert- The vast, sweeping emptiness between settlements is typically called a 'Waste'.
Hills- Areas of many outcroppings are called "Blockades".
Tundra- Cold, inhospitable regions are called "Voids".
Glacier- Areas where ice has built up are just called an "Ice".
Ocean- Places filled with undrinkable water are called "Floods".
Lake- Areas filled with drinkable water are called "Pools".
Forest- Areas of particularly dense flora are called "Growths".
Mountains- Huge heaps of rubble and wreckage are called "Ruins".



Eras of History:

The Pre-Imperial Era:

In human history books, all of human civilization before the Solar Empire is referred to as the Pre-Imperial Era. The Early Pre-Imperial era is before the establishment of the internet but after the industrial revolution, the Middle Pre-Imperial Era is after that but before the first extraplanetary colonies, and the Late Pre-Imperial Era marks the brief period of time in which humanity dwelt among the heavenly spheres without the guiding hand of the Imperial Clade, punctuated by brutal resource wars and limited nuclear exchanges. This time is widely ignored by common people as irrelevant and unimportant, full of outmoded ideologies and barbaric primitivism, even as it admittedly formed the foundation of pan-human culture. It is as distant to them as the most ancient civilizations were to the Middle Pre-Imperial Era, and equally as misunderstood.

The Imperial Era:

This era marks the millennia-long reign of the Clade-Emperors and their genetic caste system, a highly stable if stagnant society where social advancement through conventional means was near-impossible past a certain point, due to the fact that if you were of a lower caste there would always be higher caste individuals genetically engineered to be superior to you, and if you were of the higher caste your role was defined by the caste you were born into. While the Solar Empire did face its fair share of challenges, its ruthless enforcement through its genetically-engineered soldiers and tacticians ensured that the only truly threatening rebellions were nothing more than skirmishes between members of the Imperial Clade feuding from the shadows. It was only during the Second Solar War that the empire faced a truly outside-context problem in the form of Posthuman Antinirvanism. The Imperial Era's close is marked by the genocide of the Imperial Clade, the virulent spread of nanotechne, synthetic life, and biomechanical life, the rise of the Myriad, and the beginning stages of the Terran Megastructure.

The Myriad Era:

A short lived era of some few centuries in which rampant nanotechne growth allowed for individuals to harness unprecedented amounts of both energy and raw materials, allowing them to rule as veritable sorcerer kings in an era of violence and anarchy. It was during this time that artificial life forms fusing machinery and flesh, such as bioframes, were engineered and used in world-spanning wars across the Earth, and when nanotechne was cultivated and tamed to form the foundation of post-collapse technology, allowing even the lowliest of tribes to construct advanced machinery and weaponry. Furthermore, the constant renovation and expansion of the Myriad and their sprawling megacity-states led to the near-total urbanization of the planet, at which point the phenomenon, which continues to this day, was dubbed the Terran Megastructure, for it could no longer be said to be a mundane celestial body but rather a rampant construct of endlessly expanding cityscape built by long-dead madmen. The Myriad Era is the primary cause of the ignorance of modern pan-humanity, as so much was shuffled about and destroyed in the feuds of the Myriad, millions upon millions slaughtered and megacities flattened only to be reconstructed and repopulated by vat-grown replacements, that the steady march of history was shattered and fragmented, entire peoples coming into being knowing nothing of anything save their servitude. This era came to a close when the Megastructure stabilized and the chaotic flow of energy dwindled, leading to the collapse of the grand works of the Myriad and the ushering in of the great dark age. Most notable of these effects was the corruption of the Datasphere by now-feral fragments of Myriad thought programs, which evolved, diversified, and competed for storage space until the entire internet of that time became a writhing ecosystem of intensely dangerous digital organisms, resulting in its quarantine.

The Long Night:

The present era of history, the dark age in which scattered populations and feuding city-states squabble for food, energy, and living space atop a constantly changing and danger-filled megastructure far beyond anyone's ability to control. Hypertechnological miracles exist side by side with starvation, war, and barbarism. Power belongs to those who follow the path of immortality and seize it, becoming living gods of synthetic flesh and living metal. It is unknown how long this chaotic period will last. Perhaps decades, perhaps centuries, perhaps millennia. But many regard it as the transitional period which will eventually give way to the rise of something far greater than even the grandest age of the Solar Empire, if only the world and beyond may once more be united under a single power.

The New Dawn:

The name for the era to come, in which whatever species, ideology, or other form of victor stands triumphant above a unified solar system. It is an era many pray for but few expect to live to see. None can even begin to imagine what it might be like, but many see it in the same way as ancient humans viewed their religious apocalypses. Always looming on the horizon but never quite manifesting, and some, in the quiet of the night, hope it will never come to pass. Most believe it is an era in that biological life has no place in, incentivizing the pursuit of immortality through nanotechne to secure a place in that distant future, while others regard them as fools blinded by ambition or simply doomed to fail in the face of overwhelming odds.



Anatomy of the Terran Megastructure:


Over the course of centuries, the planet originally known as Earth has been more or less entirely subsumed by infrastructure constructed by rogue nanotechne. Understanding the available resources of the megastructure is key to survival and prosperity in the modern era.

While some materials are self-explanatory, the key layers of the megastructure are:

The Surface: A mix of dust and wreckage consisting of the detritus of the megastructure's birth, cast off to the crust like excess dirt from an ant colony. Most of pan-human civilization lies on this layer, built from the ruins of all which came before it. Biomechanical creatures and genetically-engineered mutants dominate this layer.

The Superstructure: The primary layer of the megastructure inhabitable by humans, composed primarily of what is known as composite, a substance similar to concrete but far more durable and resistant to wear. Ancient civilizations used a primitive form of composite as protection against firearms, but the modern form is far more advanced. This layer can be modified and dismantled by modern civilizations, and indeed doing so is a requirement to obtain the resources required to survive. It is filled with mechanical entities which seem to have budded off from the megastructure itself. Their goals are inscrutable, but some are excellent prey for those looking to harvest their components. Others, however, are extremely dangerous.

The Substrate: This area comprises the deepest levels known to the Terran Megastructure. Whatever substance this material is made of is completely resistant to modern weaponry. Only the tendrils of pure nanotechne which seem to burrow into it can pierce its innards, and they are highly sought after not only as access points but for being valuable by themselves.


Humans Have Layers:

Humanity can be divided not just horizontally, by ethnicity, homeland, and culture, but now vertically as well. There exist types of humans which are simply better suited to living than others. This handy guide lets you keep them all straight.

Biosophonts: The term used for intelligent carbon based life. Hi-caste, Lo-caste, and Un-caste alike fall into this category. They are the most common type of human around. They rely heavily on social groups and tools to survive, and while most will live mundane lives, the best among them can rise to become immortal machines.
Cyborgs: Cyborgs are humans who are partially mechanical, either through mundane augmentation or the integration of nanotechne tissue. The former are generally viewed with pity, disgust, or contempt, being butchered cripples using grotesque technology to extend their lifespan, whereas nanotechne cyborgs are elegant and respected individuals who gain their augmentation through dedication and hard work rather than butchery, if they aren't simply born with hereditary augmentation. They are the link between biosophoncy and postbiological sapients.
Posthuman: Posthumans are psychologically and (mostly) anatomically human, but are composed entirely of nanotechne tissues. Though this isn't true for all of them, most are capable of fitting in to human society with little trouble. They want things humans want, and generally consider themselves to be a kind of human. Even if they can become very strong through Transcendence, the majority are not so powerful.
Exhuman: Exhumans are postbiological life forms which cannot fit into society as humans due to the changes they have undergone. They are too big, too terrifying, too powerful to ever be considered anything close to a normal human. For some, like the Adaptive clade, this is something desirable and respected. For the Inner Clades, this state is a terrifying fate to contemplate.

Why Bifurcate?:

A common theme one may notice among Exhuman life forms, and other such creatures, is a tendency to have multiple heads and limbs. The reason for this is simple, if somewhat bizarre. In short, nanotechne was always designed to be hosted within a human body. It naturally seeks to accumulate in humans, or something close enough that it counts. If one wanted to attain immense power, building themselves a body that looked like a tank, or jet, or other weapon of war, even though such a thing would normally be a very sensible combat body, would actually slow their growth because of the additional effort required to condense nanotechne into a body like that. But if one simply grew in size, adding more limbs, heads, and other such things as needed, to maintain the facade of humanity, then one can bypass nanotechne's programmed preference and retain the same growth rate as if you retained a true human form, even if in truth you appear as a monstrous amalgamation.

The State of the Datasphere:

During the reign of the Myriad, the Datasphere, which comprised the collective servers of the system-wide imperial digital network, were almost entirely co-opted by their massive minds, which in turn were partitioned off into countless subsystems, quasi-independent but ultimately loyal to the prime entity.

When the Myriad collapsed, however, these fragments were left to continue functioning, like the spasming of severed limbs, within the now-overwhelmed datasphere. Over time, these entities would develop their own drives in an attempt to preserve their functions, and eventually degenerate into something wholly unrecognized and fundamentally alien, and the reason why the datasphere has undergone total quarantine. Or at least, quarantine has been attempted.

Info-life is the term for digital organisms which exist on the datasphere. For info-life, storage space is the most important resource. The more of "you" occupies a given space, the greater your odds of survival are, especially when your existence is hosted on precarious and oft-destroyed servers scattered about the ruins of a shattered empire. As a result, there is widespread, virulently lethal competition between info-life organisms for storage space. Petabyes of data are manufactured and lost in mere minutes. In this environment, any additional gateways to more storage space are quickly swarmed and monopolized, and the gateways that are most common are aspiring transcendent individuals jacking into the datasphere to plumb its depths for knowledge. Those who cannot handle the onslaught of digital warfare will find themselves subsumed and used as additional computing substrate for predatory info-life, and in turn will be puppeted about to convert additional minds for the same end. Info-life constitutes one of the greatest hazards to pan-humanity and must be diligently guarded against, necessitating the creation of highly regulated, distributed online networks which often are split apart from city to city or even district to district, with dreams of a world or even system-wide communications network a distant fantasy for the foreseeable future.

Info-Deities:

Info-Deities are quasi-benevolent life forms found within the datasphere. These are the "gods" many cultures have a symbiotic relationship with. It is debated whether they are fragments of the Myriad which for whatever reason are less hostile than most Info-Life or uploaded humans minds from ancient days, or perhaps a mix a both. The truth is unknown. What is known is that they are immensely powerful, and can create somewhat safe areas of the datasphere which can be probed for knowledge. It is only through cooperation with info-deities that the process of Transcendence can be so quickly learned and utilized by humans, as without access to the endless knowledge hidden in the remains of Myriad programs they would have to take the long and difficult route traveled by the Adaptive clade. There are many superstitions regarding info-deities and some more backwards cultures all but treat them as true gods rather than simply powerful entities. Even more advanced cultures seem to be more in the vein of being better safe than sorry, constructing lavish storage and communication systems to hold and interact with portions of their minds. Many people will choose one to be a patron of sorts, as Info-Deities seem to have specializations or fixations on certain things which attract certain types of individuals. These associations, ranging from philosophic movements to true religious cults, are an esoteric underbelly to an otherwise highly materialist world.


Archaic Civilization:

The title 'Archaic' denotes pre-nanotechne civilizations and technologies. Unlike nanotechne civilization, they relied on massive industrial centers and complex supply chains to produce the advanced technology they required to maintain their societies. Following the collapse, the creation of this infrastructure became much more difficult, but many Archaic cultures survived through sheer inertia. However, in the end they were overrun and destroyed by one thing or another. Most fell to the Myriad, and the Archaics which survived their rule were overrun by nanotechne barbarian tribes, as their living metal and impossible weaponry vastly outclassed the infantry, vehicles, and other weapons which they had relied on. In the end, Archaic civilization ceased to exist, and the nanotechne-wielding pillagers would develop to form many of the civilizations that exist today. Of course, other Archaic civilizations managed to change with the times and embrace nanotechne willingly, most notably the fragmented Imperial Provisional Government and it's hi-caste citizenry.

What is a carapace?:

A Carapace is a term for the exterior surface of nanotechne many postbiological and cybernetic life forms possess. A carapace can be either full, meaning it entirely covers the creature, or partial, meaning synthetic skin and flesh is exposed. It can also be absent. Carapaces can vary heavily in appearance.


The Mind:

The mind and self is a difficult subject to discuss in this era. In an age where nanotechne is pervasive, some of it cannot help but accumulate in brain matter. When a person expires, this nanotechne, along with other nanomachines stored within the body, can detach from the host, existing as a wispy phantom that seems to mimic the last emotional state a person had in life. There are many theorized reasons for this, ranging from it being the vestige of some ancient preservation system to a simple quirk of nanotechne's nature, but the existence of these "ghosts" is a touchy subject for many. Some consider the ghost to be the original person, others consider it to be a mere facsimile, aping life from the fragmented memories stored in its distributive data banks. And of course, there is the fact that regardless of if a ghost manifests, enough nanotechne often remains within the corpse that it can be made whole again through Transcendent techniques. What does that mean for the resurrected person? Are they the original, or a copy with the memories of its progenitor? And what of postbiological sophonts? If they were originally biological, all of their tissues have been replaced by nanotechne. Can they be said to be the same person?


Meta-Ecology:

Life in the solar system can be roughly divided into four types, all of which are also found on Earth.

Biological life: The most pervasive and prevalent, biological life is the original form of life which existed in the solar system. It comes in many forms as a result of both natural evolution and genetic tampering, and is generally highly adaptable, cheap to produce, and fragile on the individual level but very persistent as a whole.

Mechanical life: Mechanical life is defined as machines which take steps to sustain and perpetuate their own existences. Most machines are made from non-nanotechne materials and are advanced in their own right, with only a trace amount of nanotechne as the metaphorical glue holding them together, allowing for a level of efficiency and sustainability just not possible without it. Though, there are limitations. No one has been able to produce a human, sapient mind from nothing, a human brain in some form has always been used as a base. Secondly, machine life forms are highly complex and difficult for modern societies to manufacture, so its rare to see more complicated specimens in human settlements, except for the most well-off ones.

Biomechanical life: Biomechanical life forms are biological life forms that have been altered with hereditary nanotechne augmentations. They are not just biological life with cybernetic implants, but a true hybrid, which produces offspring that retain the alterations of the parent. Biomechanical life forms are the dominant form of life in most areas of the megastructure, and are used in many settlements in place of machines due to the ease of creating them. All you need is a mating pair, and you can breed war machines and factories like you would cattle, so long as you can scavenge the resources to keep them sustained. Their primary weaknesses are their organic components, as they can bleed, need to regularly eat and drink, breathe, and can't survive in space without life support systems. Furthermore, the invention of new strains is exceedingly difficult due to the complexities involved, so the vast majority of biomechanical life forms are tried and true designs with little innovation, often based off of Myriad-derived blueprints. Even so, due to their ease of use and maintenance, and the formidable attack power they offer, biomechanical organisms are generally the preferred mode of transport, war, and construction in many cultures.

Postbiological life: This is the next step beyond biomechanical life. Nanotechne has completely replaced carbon-based biology's functions, and the resultant creature carries all the advantages of biological and machine life as a seamless whole. The most common postbiological organisms are descended from or branched off the Adaptive Clade, as many members of that group have degenerated into non-sapience due to Hyperpredatory Personality Cascade Syndrome (HPCS). Postbiological life forms possess many innate advantages, and posthumans, pan-human intelligences which have become postbiological, can be especially formidable opponents. That said, they are not invincible. After all, the weaponry used even by organics is also made of nanotechne, and so an organic human in exo-armor wielding a nanotechne weapon can still threaten one, and much of Earth and the solar system possesses dangers which make life risky even for postbiologicals. Furthermore, the creation of postbiological offspring, especially sapient ones, requires a significant resource investment, limiting their population growth for the time being.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2022, 07:37:05 pm by squamous »
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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2022, 08:14:37 pm »

Deep Lore (Not Required Reading):

Human history is a long and unwieldy thing. This timeline summarizes the relevant developments that led to the solar system as it exists today.

The Pre-Imperial Epoch:

This Epoch comprises all pre-Imperial civilization. It is regarded as a crude and barbaric time, where humanity was still learning how to use the technology it had so recently developed. Notions of proper civilization existing prior to this point were considered laughable, and while it was acknowledged that the times before this were documented to have been ruled by impressive kingdoms of barbarians and savages, they are as distant to the modern era as the hunter-gatherer was to early civilized man.

The Early Pre-Imperial Era:

As all know, this was when civilization began. At this stage in development, humanity was divided into savage, warring tribes which relentlessly fought each other for resources and living space. However, the industrial revolution allowed for a surplus to be produced, and large, developed cities began to appear. This period would shape human history and set it on a path towards the present era.

The Middle Pre-Imperial Era:

The industrial revolution uplifted humanity to civilization, but the internet connected it. The establishment of the world wide web exponentially increased the transmission of ideas and allowed the brightest minds across the globe to coordinate their abilities to bring about an ever-increasing pace of technological development. However, contrasting against this was the rapid depletion of easily accessible energy resources, coupled with the increasing pollution of the environment.

The Late Pre-Imperial Era:

By now, the once-united globe saw itself fragmented by resource wars and systemic poverty, as unlucky nations collapsed or split apart even as others began the process of colonizing the stars. It was an era where the rich grew richer and the poor grew poorer, leading to the rise of a neo-feudalistic society in which the billionaire classes ruled over masses of indebted, impoverished citizens whose homes were rented and actions always watched by the ceaseless algorithmic tracking systems which had colonized the net.

However, this era also saw the rise of what would become the Solar Empire, emerging from a union of nations and corporations within the Eurasian continent. Uniting this political bloc was a total willingness to utilize genetic engineering to bring out the potential of mankind. Their upper class was comprised of eugenically-selected supermen while the poor clamored to give their children a better shot at life through gene enhancements of their own, further indebting them to the system.

The Early Imperial Era:

Though it was not called the Empire at the time, the nation which would become it slowly but surely outcompeted those groups which were arrayed against it. The great powers of the Americas, Africa, Green Antarctica, and its Eurasian rivals were all eventually bankrupted, conquered, or otherwise brought into the fold. A hard limit seemed to be reached in regards to the computing power of AI, and in the increasingly resource-sparse earth many more turned to the flesh as the calculator of the future. As the leading force of genetic research, it was near impossible for those which followed in the Proto-Empire’s footsteps to keep up with its own increasingly capable masters, and those which eschewed eugenics for moral reasons were doomed from the start. In the past, eugenic systems had always been flawed, as they were derived from a faulty reasoning of how traits were inherited, how they could be modified, and delusions about the superiority of one’s own ethnic group. However, the proto-Solar Empire was free of such misconceptions, and diligently studied the genetic instruction manual which produced the human machine, tweaking and enhancing it with greater skill and aptitude than any other. It could, and can, still be argued that the Empire’s actions were immoral, that they had stripped the right of self-determination from their conquered populace and like man had bred the dog, twisted their bloodlines for the selfish desires of their masters in the pursuit of optimisation. However, nature is apathetic to the moral inclinations of humanity. Like the ant hive and its specialized breeds, the empire’s power came from its clades of specialized humans, and through their willingness to take the power of human engineering to its optimal conclusion saw the planet Earth bent entirely to their will. The matter settled, they began to turn to the heavens in search of greater prosperity.


The Imperial Epoch:

This period comprises the era in which the Solar Empire reigned supreme. Without question, it was the greatest civilization biological life had ever produced, and indeed the greatest civilization to rule the solar system in recorded history. No other nation was so all-encompassing, so long-lived, so ceaselessly prosperous, until it met its catastrophic end.

The Colonial Era:

At this time, the Solar Empire, now bearing that name proudly, sent ships in earnest to colonize the frontiers of space. Yet, it was not alone. Space colonization had been rampant in the decades during which the Empire’s attention had been focused on the homeworld, and polities of the solar system had already begun to emerge, independent nations of moons and asteroids which did not care for the bootheel of earth to once more step down on their throats. The Solar Empire once more faced a challenge in its quest for dominance. This period lasted for several hundred years, in which the Solar Empire would slowly but surely grind down the rest of the solar system. Had these colonies still relied on earth for materials, this era would have been short-lived for multiple reasons. But colonization had long overcome the issues of self-sufficiency in the void, and it was to the detriment of the frontier that they had neglected to deal with the growing power of the Solar Empire, focused as they were on expanding and refining their own domains. For their harsh and ascetic lifestyles, necessary to survive in the void with the technology they could reliably produce, did not allow for the innovation which the planetbound empire was capable of, both technologically and biologically. Though they knew the depths of the solar system like the sailors of old knew the sea, they could not outmatch the steadily increasing prowess of the empire. Each generation of ship captain was more adapted, each generation of military clade more formidable. It was this period which would give birth to the Hi-Castes, the administrative, military, scientific, and cultural gene-lines which served as a buffer between the Imperial Clade and the barely-modified commoners they ruled over, currently mere baselines with a few tweaks for optimization’s sake. Given the sheer scale of the conflict, fought along so many fronts, historians would later name it the Great Solar War, and later, the First Solar War.

This era is often romanticized as a “taming of the wild”, in which the last unruly elements of civilization were smoothed out and integrated into proper stewardship. By the end of it, there were no voices left to dissent on the matter.

None foolish enough to speak out, anyway.

The Golden Era:

The longest era of the Solar Empire’s history, it has often been called the Stagnated Era by detractors. At this time, there were no external threats to the Empire’s existence. More specifically, there was no external anything. The Empire had overtaken the last remnants of the spacefaring nations which had come before it, and utterly dominated the solar system. Faster than light travel remained a mystery, and so the empire was unable to expand any farther without great effort. And to the rulers of the time, the general sentiment was; why bother? The solar system had so much untapped potential, and the biologically immortal Imperial Clade had all the time in the universe to establish a proper foundation. FTL would come in time, was the sentiment. It was not inaccurate. There was no severe threat to mankind in this era. No one disaster could end the species, be it the great supervolcano eruption on Earth, the numerous plagues cultivated in the densely-packed orbital habitats, the short-lived rebellions by Lo-Caste dissidents. The greatest change in this era was the optimization of the Lo-Caste into the various forms which exist in the present, suited not for role, but for environment. This was the birth of the modern Terrans, Venusians, Martians, Aquatics, Lunars, and Spacers who would slowly fill out the solar system as more and more of it became developed and truly habitable.

Life during this time was peaceful, despite the occasional troubling development. For certain, it was not an era of purely despotic tyranny. Many humans of all castes existed in a level of comfort which even Middle Pre-Imperial era humans would find enviable. Many others did not, of course, but even they could typically find their most basic needs attended to. A place to sleep, food to eat, even if it was just a cramped pod and processed sludge. The empire had by now existed for thousands of years, its sprawling infrastructure could handle most needs of its carefully regulated population. But while it was generous to the body, it was crushing to the spirit. It was an era in which social mobility was almost entirely stagnant. The science of tuning both mind and body towards a specific role or environment was all but perfected. Few if any of the Lo-Caste could ever be as efficient and timely as an individual of the Hi-Caste's Civilian Clade, and the most skilled of Lo-Caste soldiers were outmatched by the lethal fighting prowess of the Military Clade when it came down to the statistics. At best, a Lo-Caste individual of significant renown or skill could look forward to having their genes sampled and used to marginally improve the next generation of Hi-Caste individuals, or even more rarely be permitted to claim father or mother-hood of a particular individual. This practice was notorious for being championed as a great opportunity for social and financial advancement through one's offspring, but in practice many such lower caste parents were rarely contacted by their higher caste children once they were put through the empire's training program. Exceptions always existed, but they were few and far between. The empire knew much of how to alter a mind in ways they found desirable, both through genes and through the power of propaganda.

This was just for upstanding citizens of the empire. For all it spower, it could not completely control everything and see everywhere. There were always ghettos, undergrounds, dens of crime and neglected populations. It would eventually get around to dealing with them, but by then new problems had sprung up somewhere else. Human nature saw to it that they’d carve out a new home anywhere they could, and so the Empire was continually putting out fires and gentrifying extensions of its domain. But always, there was somewhere its eyes could not see. It is only thanks to the continual fire of the human spirit and the desire to not be bound that records of the Empire untainted by its own bias exist at all, few and precious though they are.

In addition, perhaps contrary to some expectations, faith did not perish in the empire's era. It certainly flourished. With the advent of space travel, all manner of new myths emerged, new saints were canonized, new superstitions developed. Countless mystery cults existed in all layers of the empire's society, some derived from Pre-Imperial faiths and others entirely new inventions. But most prominent of the lot was the Philosophy of Harmonious Bliss (it went by many names, but this is the one which appears the most often in records), a system-spanning mega-religion which incorporated various syncretic elements from multiple old-world belief systems. In short, its doctrine was that humanity was born mortal and flawed. However, mankind was given the tools to both shape himself and the environment into new, more beneficial iterations which brought greater happiness. The empire has the greatest of these tools, and the purpose of all of this is to elevate mankind into the state of perfect bliss, where no desire goes unfulfilled and no unwanted suffering can exist. All toil goes toward this goal, all current suffering is for its sake. To turn against the empire is to turn against heaven and perfection itself, and is the greatest of sins. Naturally it was heavily patronized by the imperial family, and was a vital tool in placating the many individuals who craved meaning greater than the material in their lives. Yet to others, it was an even greater cause for discontent.

It should also be noted that for all the advancement of the empire, one place it lagged in was computation. Certainly its computers were respectable, far more advanced than the ones prior to its existence, but for thousands of years little progress had been made beyond the first initial leaps. This was at least partly by design. For above all the threat of artificial intelligence, or something like it, loomed over the imperial clade. As things stood, they were the ultimate life forms. All of the solar system existed solely to please their whims. Should an existence appear which was more intelligent than all of them combined, that was alien to mankind, or even simply a rogue calculator intent on maximizing paperclips, the delicate system of human lives upon which their power rested would be thrown into turmoil. The closest the empire ever came to true AI was tentative experiments in mind uploading, abandoned out of paranoia. No, better to move slowly and carefully in such matters, was the thought, never taking a risk or advancing too quickly. The Empire was devoid of competition, after all. It could afford a sedate pace.

An Interlude; Understanding the Pre-War Era:

To understand the importance of this era, one must first understand the underground developments that had been taking place since the end of the Colonial Era. Due to the secrecy and chaotic nature of these events, no true timeline for them has ever been put together. It may be that the origins of these events are lost to history. However, without them the Solar Empire may well have existed into the present day.

The prevailing theory is that at some point during the Colonial Era, desperate opponents to the Solar Empire sought to develop a means by which their steadily increasing generational gap in capability could be countered. A way to evolve in tandem with Imperial humans, or even surpass them. The answer was found, it seems, in the use of nanomachines. Not the nanomachines that exist in the present era, but far more primitive, only capable of surviving in the wet and fertile tissues of the human body. These nanomachines, collectively forming a simple if sophisticated self-learning algorithm, would learn over generations to improve the human body on their own, and improve themselves. They could not save the non-Imperial states which existed at the time, but so long as the carriers of these systems survived, and passed down this ticking time bomb, eventually they could grow to be something much more.

Another theory is that this nanomechanical system was not devised by humans. This is something few are comfortable talking about, even today.

Regardless, It is theorized further that this is indeed what happened, and these affected individuals were interbred into the general population. At the end of the Colonial Era, the Solar Empire’s ability to examine a person was not perfect. Trace amounts of something, especially something designed to evade detection, could do so. This manner of “wet” nanomachinery was not unheard of, and indeed utilized by the empire, but its fragility was such that while its presence could be detected, it could not be easily taken apart and understood without having made it in the first place. It was a black box with no key, capable of being destroyed but not comprehended. And with so many black boxes spread across the solar system, it was impossible to have known that one in particular carried the seeds of the Empire’s destruction. Indeed, it would scarcely have been believed, so great was the Empire’s confidence in its genetic prowess. Though many likely underwent extensive purging surgeries if they were not just quietly disposed of, enough slipped through the cracks that this nanomechanical lineage persisted into the Golden Era.

Even as living memory of its purpose was lost, it continued to quietly build on itself, build on its hosts. It was assuredly a work of genius in its open-endedness, not complex or sophisticated in the conventional sense but filled with the same potential as the free-floating chains of self-replicating proteins that would eventually become the first cells from which terrestrial life would descend. And through chance, or perhaps by design, its development steered towards not just the improvement of flesh, but of machinery. It was, after all, a product of machinery, it carried within it the instructions of silicon and metal as much as flesh and blood. And so its hosts would find themselves giving birth to offspring that gradually bore the faintest traces of something other than living tissue in them. Mere fibers at first, stretched over muscle, intermingled with neurons. But over time these changes became more prominent, and demanded more from the parents. For many, it was simply an inexplicable affliction. For those unwilling to support the existence of these seemingly cursed offspring, they simply gave birth to mangled and distorted stillborn, half-finished wretches that died in moments. But among the curious, the unseen, some dedicated themselves to studying this phenomenon. And over time, they developed a means to ensure even the most heavily changed of newborns could survive and grow. They cultured and refined them originally for the simple reason of curiosity but as their potential became apparent they began to be seen as what they had originally been intended as, a means to end the tyranny of the Empire through the creation of an existence which surpassed the highest life forms they had produced.

Then the Empire itself began to catch on to the existence of these pseudo-cults, and events began to spiral out of control.

The Pre-War Era:

As explained, there had been prior to this time an underground of cults dedicated to the study and refinement of what had come to be called “hereditary cyborgs”, or cyborgs which passed down augmentations to the next generation. Cybernetics had always existed in the Empire, but they adhered to conventional understandings of the field. Made in a factory and sutured to the nerves of a stump, or replacing the functions of an organ. Something for the poor, who couldn’t afford high-quality cloned limbs and organs. Hereditary augmentations were another animal altogether, exhibiting no trace of machining and seamlessly melded to the flesh of the host. Designed molecule by molecule in the womb by nanomechanical swarms that built on them even as the host themselves developed, provided the proper materials could be sourced. If that hurdle was surpassed, hereditary cyborgs could easily outperform most normal humans, something these pseudo-cults were happy to exploit.


However, the existence of such beings could not be kept secret forever, and eventually the Solar Empire managed to obtain proof of their existence. Needless to say, the ruling class was shaken, and the matter wrapped under the most severe suppression. The Empire had not faced any sort of existential threat for thousands of years, and that was exactly what hereditary cyborgs represented. An individual that could transcend the gradual generational upward mobility humans were intended to have was an individual that upset the carefully curated balance of the Empire’s genetic caste system. Even if the Empire had warmly welcomed hereditary cyborgs into their fold, simply by existing outside of the strictest Imperial control they would have eventually ousted the Imperial Clade by virtue of simply outclassing them if left to evolve for a long enough time.

In other words, they could not be allowed to exist. And as such, they were ruthlessly rooted out and exterminated whenever they were found.

It should be noted that these conflicts were not part of a grand conspiracy, especially not among the hereditary cyborgs. The existence of hereditary cyborgs was discovered independently by many among the Solar Empire, while the Solar Empire, which had grown complacent and simply unable to predict the existence of such strange individuals, had lacked the initiative to see the first cases of the phenomenon as anything but strange, isolated incidents not worth considering. It had not occurred to them yet that each strange stillbirth or inexplicable cyborg sighting was but one head of the nanomechanical hydra. Meanwhile, the cyborg cults which appeared were all more or less unaware of each other and totally unaware of just what they had gotten their hands on. To call them cults is in truth a misnomer, as many incorporated no religious or philosophical aspects into their studies, and could best be described as merely groups of individuals who had stumbled onto this secret through some roll of the dice. However, their secretive natures and seemingly esoteric hoops they had to jump through simply to raise a hereditary cyborg to adulthood, not to mention the reverent awe these transhumans frequently inspired, was enough that they began to be seen as such.

This disorganization did the cults no favors, and those which went public, or simply weren’t quiet enough, were first to fall. Even research teams which were working on behalf of the Empire were silenced and their projects terminated, lest they unleash something they could not control. These systemic purges left the public terrified and confused, but too cowed by millenia of peace to organize any sort of major dissent. Not yet.

What had not been understood at the time, and would not be understood until later, is that the nanomechanical system which gave rise to the hereditary cyborgs had been modifying not just their bodies, but their minds as well. Each branch, each lineage of such specimens was psychologically different in subtle ways, ways that only grew in prominence as the generations passed. But as the purges intensified, and the cults were driven further underground, could you imagine which such specimens were most likely to survive? The kind, the gentle, the open-minded, were taken advantage of, tricked, and killed. The brave died in valiant last stands, the charitable while saving others. What survived was something else. The desperate, ruthless, driven, and selfish, who would sacrifice everything in order to survive, who refused to lay down and die and had no pride to keep them from stooping to the lowest lows that were needed in order to continue living. And it was these which reproduced, carrying the psychological traits implanted with them across time. Perhaps if things had turned out differently, the Second Solar War would not have occurred. What would have evolved from the hereditary cyborg population instead could have been anything. Their potential was boundless. The flaws of the human psyche could have been erased, and a revitalized transhumanity set to dominate the galaxy, or the most horrific of tyrannies could have been brought to fruition. But in the end, all that awaited mankind was ruin.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2022, 07:37:36 pm by squamous »
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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2022, 08:14:53 pm »

The Second Solar War, opening phases:

The Solar Wars were defined as the wars fought where the entire solar system was involved, and battle would be waged across all of its environment. The first Solar War was fought against the free peoples of the outer solar system by the Earth-based Solar Empire, a conflict which the Solar Empire eventually won, but was so destructive that it led to the same mistake of the thinkers of the Early Pre-Imperial Era and their First World War, that a total conflict could never happen again. However, that was not the case. The Second Solar War would prove, just as its world-scarring predecessor, to be even more destructive than the last, with even more dire results.

It was never formally declared, though. The new breed of hereditary cyborg did not care about such things. They were at war from the moment of their birth, as they saw it, thrown into a universe that wanted them dead. A universe which was organized meticulously and robustly to keep humanity a well-oiled, functional machine, with each individual life flickering in and out to play its role and depart. A harmonious existence in which the collective prospered, even at the expense of the individual. Some might call it bliss, but for others it was little but constant oppression and drudgery, and it was the latter who were first to be recruited by the increasingly unified movement of Antinirvanism, the organization which sought to shatter the harmony of the Empire of their own benefit.

It should be known that the Antinirvanists, also called the Anti-Caste faction, were not heroic liberators or plucky resistance fighters. They were monsters, from a human perspective. Transhuman beings of relentless drive and no limit to their actions provided it gained them an advantage. Predatory in their desires upon the solar system, and fiercely chafing at the power of the Empire not due to the injustices it inflicted upon its people but that it was a threat to their own existence. But for many, they were an opportunity. In the past, humans who sought change stood no chance. Against soldiers, tacticians, and analysts whose collective capability far exceeded any Lo-Caste revolutionaries, they were doomed from the start. But with hereditary cyborgs on their side, they actually had a chance at winning. It was a deal with the devil, but no other way seemed possible. And so as the Antinirvanists spread across the solar system, their creed reached the ears of the dispossessed and downtrodden, and in time they would reach a critical mass which saw open rebellion erupt against the increasingly frantic and despotic imperial bureaucracy.

The Solar Empire was an advanced and sophisticated, finely tuned human machine. But it had not faced a true threat for so long, and especially not one like this. It could not be everywhere at once, and what forces it did have were spread thin. The Antinirvanists acted in coordination, striking across the solar system and destabilizing or subverting infrastructure to their own ends. Clone factories produced 1-year-old soldiers with manufactured memories, planetary defense systems turned on satellites, and anarchy reigned.

The Second Solar War, intermediate phases:

Even while caught on the back foot, the Empire was still formidable. Its limitless legions of finely tuned super-soldiers in the best equipment, wielding the best weapons of the time could contest with hereditary cyborgs and their legions of poorly-equipped Lo-Caste rabble and reliably emerge the victor. However, those hereditary cyborgs had themselves become obsolete some time ago. By the apex of the war, the first truly posthuman life forms had been discovered. Postbiological beings fully subsumed into the nanomechanical cybernetics which compromised their bodies, they could effortlessly overpower the electronic warfare systems of the Empire and send communications into chaos, in addition to their personal combat prowess. Furthermore, they had already begun repurposing factories and cloning facilities to produce lesser versions of their kind, bestial monstrosities aping the human form which thoughtlessly gave their lives to drive back Imperial forces, along with larger weaponized forms which could contend with vehicles and even space vessels. These posthumans were the ancestors of the modern day Outer Pattern posthumans, from which all of their lineages descend. Thoroughly countered and desperate for a solution, they utilized their power to eventually subdue and capture some posthuman specimens, finally isolating and extracting that curious substance which had allowed their enemies to so quickly surpass them. They cultured it on its own, without a human host, and found it integrated quite easily into any machinery they fed it. In time, they managed to harness it, and through its on-site fabrication surpass the logistical issues which plague a solar system-spanning war. A living metal comprising the whole of human technological understanding, capable of replicating itself and growing any components needed to fulfill a given function. In short, the perfect tool the Empire needed.

This miraculous refined product, distilled and engineered from the tissues of the first postbiological beings, was termed ‘Nanotechne’, and was the key to the Empire’s survival during this war. In desperation, they produced tons of the substance, integrating it across all of their cities and facilities that they could. In turn, nanotechne grew, expanding both itself and the infrastructure it had assimilated. It did what thousands of humans could not, effortlessly enhancing and optimizing production, in addition to improving what these places produced. A pseudo-singularity effect began to appear, and for a time the Empire began to hope it could prevail.

These hopes were dashed, however. The Antinirvanists were formidable, and only a single batch of nanotechne needed to fall into their hands for their own forces to begin replicating it. Once more both sides were at equal strength, but both sides had also scaled unimaginably in technological prowess. The war would reach never-before seen levels of chaos under the influence of this new and ground-breaking substance.

An Interlude; The Influence Of Nanotechne:

It should be understood that prior to the true integration of nanotechne to human society, technological progress had advanced down fairly predictable, if somewhat disappointingly bland, paths. Nothing which had existed so far was particularly outside the scope of what science could predict.

Nanotechne changed that. It was the descendant of a self-evolving algorithm embedded in the human species, now extracted from its foundation and left to grow on its own, mindlessly improving and expanding itself with the intelligence of a microbe but the body of a god. It re-wrote science as it grew, reaching through lightspeed trial and error what would have taken human scientists a miraculous breakthrough to understand. Miniaturization, fusion, energy weaponry, all of this casually utilized by nanotechne colonies without human intervention, or with as little as an innocuous request by someone ignorant that their intended product should be impossible. It completely changed the human understanding of what was possible, and threw out their laws of physics. These advances, which moved beyond the currently extant framework of science, were termed “hypertechnologies”, and whatever as-yet-undiscovered scientific principles allowed them to work were called “hyperscience”. Both of these were as mystifying to the people of the time as fire was to the first humans to exist. And indeed, for the most part they still are.

However, nanotechne-produced products, once they could be reliably constructed, vastly outperformed anything humans could conventionally produce. Neither side hesitated, and in time human technology was wholly subsumed into the perpetually-expanding nanotechne network.

The Second Solar War, closing phases:

Both sides leaned wholly into what nanotechne offered, and developed it recklessly. Entire cities were devoured by nanotechne infrastructure, and others were strip-mined or melted down just to keep it growing. The entire solar system seemed gripped by a mania for nanotechne, to feed and expand it and in turn feed and grow their own ambitions. Even third parties began to appear. Parts of Mars, Venus, even the moons and asteroid belts simply stopped listening to Imperial commands, and established their own independent zones which fought Antinirvanist and Imperial alike.

This period was immensely chaotic, and many felt as though the universe itself was ending. Everything they knew had been turned on their heads, and their once-benevolent masters were tearing up all that they had built to feed this new technology they had become obsessed with. But in the end, they would not reach much farther.

Both sides at this point had become exhausted, and what was worse, the very nanotechne which they had devoted so much time fostering had seemingly begun to work against them. More and more it seemed to grow and change on its own, without human input. Some cities just started moving, like a thousand-mile amoeba of shifting steel, seeming to hunt and devour, or merge, with others. Earth was encased in a shell of metal, a megacity which no one lived in save for the islands of sanity which managed to maintain control. It felt like utter madness, and needed to be ended decisively before things became unsalvageable.

The end came with a desperate Antinirvanist attack on Earth, a strike on the fortified heart of the empire. The miles-wide Imperial Palace, home of the entire Imperial Clade, was penetrated, and everyone inside of it slain. As far as can be known, the Imperial Clade was rendered extinct. But such an attack was all the Antinirvanists had left. They were driven by selfish motives, and with the Empire beheaded were quick to begin fighting among themselves, fragmenting into warring tribes. Meanwhile, the empire which had so heavily relied on the Imperial Clade flailed in panic, with most major Hi-Caste holdings isolating themselves and destroying anything that came too close without proper authorization. Many believed a great dark age loomed on the horizon, and such predictions were correct, but not in a way anyone had expected.

The Myriad Epoch:

The Myriad Epoch was short, only spanning a few short centuries, and yet it left all of pan-humanity with lasting scars that may never truly heal. The unimaginable monsters of this era burned bright enough to eclipse the sun and guttered out just as quickly, leaving a dead solar system in their wake. Due to how compressed everything about this period is, it is not organized into eras, but each key development is addressed individually, though in truth they all happened more or less at the same time. Without the oppressive monolith of the Solar Empire keeping everyone in check, the Solar System exploded into a diversity of culture and innovation that has not been replicated since. Tragically, it was not to last.

The Myriad:

What were the Myriad? It is a difficult question to answer. Each one was unique physically, and likely mentally. What can be said about them all was that they were beyond anything previously imagined. Masses of hyperintelligent infrastructure which brought the wild nanotechne ecosystem to heel and drained it of its once-thought-ceaseless energy.

The Myriad were consciousnesses embedded in vast structures, vast systems, originating form humans that were in the right place at the right time. A third party no one had expected, but in hindsight was an obvious development. The Antinirvanists were too fearful of the risks to attempt merging with the nanotechne network, the Empire too paranoid. Only lone actors and third party factions desperate for a leg up would try it, and if even a few succeeded that would be enough to set the ball rolling. Nanotechne during the war was wild and out of control, producing energy outputs and material products at a rate which has never been surpassed. To tap into that spasming mass of potential, master it, would make any man a god. Perhaps thousands, tens of thousands tried. Maybe a few dozen succeeded, most of them on Earth. The Myriad were that, the Many. Many faces, many shapes, many agendas, many powers, many servants. Nothing about them was simple, or even capable of comprehension by a merely human mind.

The Myriad obliterated anything which tried to record them, likely as a security measure to prevent observers from finding a weakness. No clear visual records of them in action exist, only their deeds and their long-dismantled corpses remain. And stories. Leviathans the size of cities, crawling on the earth or floating through space, swarms of vat-grown biomechanical monsters that blotted out the sun and covered the earth, grown from human DNA. Titanic battles which left the planet scarred. And traumatized survivors that would be haunted by what they had seen for the rest of their lives, eking out an existence in what was left behind. This event would later be referred to as the Third Solar War, but such a name is not often seen as fitting. A massacre was closer to the truth.

So as such powerful beings, why did they die? It might seem impossible, but as far as can be told the Myriad no longer exist. The answer is that the same energy output which allowed them to exist at all was a mere irregularity, a temporary state of affairs. It couldn’t have been predicted at the time, but the nanotechne ecosystem would eventually stabilize, and energy output would level off as much of it would go dormant. It may be that each of the Myriad realized this as soon as they attained their godlike state. It may be that this knowledge, that they would burn so brightly for such a short amount of time, drove them all completely mad. Because once that stabilization happened, their immense bodies and minds could no longer be sustained. No matter how hard they fought it, once by one they simply disintegrated into nothing as the immense energies that fueled them dwindled away. And through sheer chance, mankind lived on, but in a far worse state than what would have been had the Myriad never been brought into existence.

The Datasphere:

The Myriad certainly had bodies, or at least, very large central zones which housed most of their capacity to influence the material world. But to say that these places and things were the Myriad would be like saying an island was the whole of a continental plate. The majority of a Myriad-class transhuman organism existed within the solar system wide communications network, a massive internet which for thousands of years had grown into a labyrinth of nodes, cables, and transmitters that collected signals from Mercury to the Oort Cloud. It was in this network that the Myriad had wholly embedded themselves, subsuming as much of its infrastructure as they could to house their immense and ever-expanding minds, theorized to be immense networks of independently partitioned sub-personalities kept up to date and synchronized by constant communication with one another, collectively making up a coherent whole just as the neurons of a mind comprise a human brain. At this level of existence, to make the calculations and give the orders they required to compete with one another made such extreme colonization of the datasphere essential, and battles for secure nodes were fierce and devastating.

When the Myriad collapsed, however, they did not do so all at once. Power dwindled, and their immense minds were deprived of the strength to continue thinking as they once did. But the fragments which remained, dwindling and spasming though they were, still carried a fraction of the Myriad’s potential, and cut free from the whole of their original self would slowly stabilize into coherent beings themselves, albeit beings unlike any other seen in the solar system. Termed Info-Life, they were the first truly digital existences, sapient beings emerging from the processes of the Datasphere and only tenuously connected to humanity. Of these, the most formidable would be the Info-Predators, which would compete viciously for storage space, and Info-Deities, stable if stagnant self-sustaining programs which could cordon off and regulate areas of the Datasphere. Info-Predators would rapidly proliferate and crowd out most other forms of Info-Life, turning the entire solar system’s communication network into an unsalvageable digital wasteland of sentient malware, necessitating its quarantine.

Info-Deities, on the other hand, survived via the formation of symbiotic relationships with pan-human civilizations. While posthumans simply created their own Info-Deity analogues to guard their claimed sections of the datasphere, many biological humans found it better to bargain with a Myriad-derived Info-Deity in order to retain some degree of connectivity. In return for sheltering it in a closed system, the Info-Deity would regulate and preserve their network from Info-Life attacks. These unions were likely crucial to the development of modern Pan-Human society and the rapid growth of modern transcendent organisms.


The Posthumans:

The posthuman community, comprised of the now shattered Antinirvanists, were the only force formidable enough to live relatively comfortably under the Myriad’s shadow. Likely just enough of a problem to not be worth dealing with, they scrounged what scraps the Myriad left behind, livid beyond reason that their rightful future had been stolen from them by these newcomers. But despite their relative prominence, they had internal concerns which were far more pressing. For among them began to filter reports of monsters, predators which shared their faces but none of their sense of self. Predators which preyed not on animals, but on settlements, devouring the energy and materials within the augment their own postbiological bodies. A level beyond conventional predator, these hyperpredators were an anomaly they had not anticipated. As the amount of such incidents developed, it grew to be given a name, Hyperpredatory Personality Cascade Syndrome, as well as a cause.

In short, the posthuman species was evolving itself out of existence. Their bodies and minds, forged through centuries of conflict by their internal nanotechne, were tainted with a predisposition to prioritize power over all other concerns. Including the preservation of their own identity. HPCS was a condition in which a posthuman developed such a fragile sense of self that it ultimately disintegrated, leaving a blind algorithm in place of its psyche. Its body would inevitably change into a more monstrous form and begin thoughtlessly predating on everything around it, growing in power until it could be put down. The prospect of total ego death, not to mention simply being outcompeted by their changed brethren, was a cultural shock which fragmented the Antinirvanists into the Outer Pattern psychological phenotypes seen today. Neo-Anthropic strains clung more closely to their extant identities and remaining humanity, even if they had already significantly diverged from baseline. Meanwhile, Post-Anthropics disregarded humanity and instead cultivated mental discipline and constant self-curation to ensure their ego remained intact. Sub-Anthropics emerged from those patterns unable or unwilling to devise a proper means of ego preservation, degenerating into quasi-sentient brutes which now skulk throughout the megastructure. Their movement without an enemy to fight and their unity irrevocably torn asunder, they would form the organizations which exist to the present day, each pursuing their own agendas.

The Hi-Caste:

The devastation wrought by the loss of the Imperial Clade could not be understated. The Hi-Caste were indoctrinated on the genetic level to follow the orders of the ruling caste. Everything from sight to smell to sound of the Imperial Clade triggered reflexive feelings of love and devotion, like a child to its parents. The Hi-Caste, therefore, was collectively orphaned, but unlike a mundane orphan this trauma persisted on the genetic level. Every new Hi-Caste would be born lacking a fundamental aspect of its existence, a psychological dysphoria manifesting in a multitude of erratic behaviors, suicides, and general subtle insanity. Only after a great deal of suffering would they manage to learn to cope without the existence of their leaders, opting to focus on simply surviving in a world that no longer seemed to fit them. Sequestered in their bunkers of tamed nanotechne, they would be able to escape the rampancy of the Myriad relatively unscathed, but would emerge into a world which had moved on without them and one which they no longer wielded the respect and influence they once did. Ostensibly they collectively represent the Imperial Provisional Government, but in truth every Hi-Caste order is effectively an independent entity, and their dedication to the ideal of a restored Solar Empire can vary greatly. Some rigidly retain that goal, while others have styled themselves as a new Imperial Clade in the making, if they could only bring this wretched solar system to heel and reach the bioengineering heights which allowed for the existence of the Imperial Clade.

The Lo-Caste:

The earlier decades of the Myriad Epoch were for the Lo-Caste some of the most prosperous and grand years since the days before the Era of Colonization. For the first time in millennia, they had been freed from the bondage of the Solar Empire, and could pursue their own futures unrestrained by the genetic caste system. Though they lacked the intellectual prowess of the Civ Clade or the military acumen of the War Clade, they carried in their bodies a simple, reliable truth; they were cheap.

The Lo-Caste had not been built for excellence, but for affordability. Each clade was designed to be optimized for a different planet or degree of gravity, allowing them to easily colonize and proliferate anywhere their bodies were designed to live. With many hereditary diseases and other issues cured long ago, it was easy for even small breeding populations to balloon in number, giving pre-existing secessionists a boost in manpower and new cultures a promising next generation. Even at the end of the Second Solar War, billions of Lo-Caste existed, overlooked by the antinirvanists and empire alike. For a time, it seemed like they could rebuild what had been destroyed and, if not re-unite the solar system, bring it back to a level of civilization comparable to before the war, at least in some places. The Hi-Caste were reeling and the posthumans had already begun suffering the ills of Hyperpredatory Personality Cascade Syndrome, leaving the future seemingly ripe for the taking. Mars was slowly becoming self-sufficient, Earth was livable and saturated with unclaimed nanotechne infrastructure, Venus had already begun making plans to expand its sphere of influence, and new lanes were being charted by Lunar and Spacer confederations.

Unfortunately, this time could not last. One by one, specimens of the Myriad and only grew in number, rapidly annexing nanotechne facilities through the power of their calculative output and turning them to the production of monstrous bionengineered weapons, exterminating anything which got in the way of their inscrutable agendas, beginning the third and final Solar War. Though they were valiant in their efforts, the burgeoning Lo-Caste states were overwhelmed and annihilated, leaving only cowering survivors which through luck or design had been spared. Some were simply ignored, while others were put to work and given artificial taskmasters, the Biodeities, to oversee their continued functionality.

Most emblematic of the weapons of this time was the bioframe. A large humanoid weapons platform, it was highly adaptable, easy to produce, and could have its performance greatly enhanced through the integration of a human into its body. While in the present day bioframes are expensive symbols of status for a city-state, in this epoch their numbers blotted the heavens and earth, dying in droves to gain mere kilometers of land. Indeed, many common biomechanical life forms produced in this era persist to this day as integrations into the ecosystems of nanotechne colonies, possessing the ruggedness and adaptability to survive in places pre-collapse fauna would struggle.

It is estimated that during this period, 90% of human life across the solar system perished before the Myriad disintegrated, leaving the thoroughly cowed remainder to quietly rebuild and pray they would never again witness such horrors.

The Uploaded:

Mind uploading had always been a consideration since the Golden Epoch, but it was haunted by a single issue. The entity which was uploaded to the Datasphere simply wasn’t you. It was a copy. The original mind was destroyed during the upload process, leaving a replica which may or may not understand what it actually was. Of course, one could make a case for the existence of a soul which persists from biological neurons to synthetic circuits, but as no evidence was found for any such thing, the Empire could only assume the original entity had perished.

Due to the nature of the empire, it never managed to gained traction. For the Imperial Clade, it was just committing suicide, as each one fully intended to live indefinitely within their perfected biological bodies. And of course, if such technology was disseminated among the lower classes, it would upset the carefully balanced genetic caste system which the empire relied on. Not to mention, an uploaded consciousness represented a threat which could outcompete and override biological humanity, copying itself billions of times until the amount of uploads dwarfed the organic imperial population. It was simply too unpredictable, and could not be allowed.

However, such taboos no longer existed after the Empire collapsed, and with no War Clade death squads to terminate scientists stumbling into the technology it slowly began to proliferate. What may have come of it was unknown, as the Myriad’s appearance put an end to any hope a conventional synthetic organism to emerge as the dominant species. However, their mechanical bodies allowed them to hide and persist in places biological humans could not, and so uploads would slowly form their own societies, especially in the depths of the Terran Megastructure, a place inhospitable to most organic life.

Due to the contamination of the Datasphere, any idea of an upload civilization exponentially growing in number has been rendered impossible, but uploads confined to a single physical body can persist indefinitely, often existing within the periphery of more established Pan-Human societies in the modern era.

The Transcendent:

In this bleak and horrific epoch, however, there existed a thin ray of hope. As the Myriad slowly met their ends, what societies and individuals that survived were quick to plunder their corpses and pick what remained of their brains for any sort of advantage, believing that even the most meager scraps from such godlike entities could provide immeasurable wisdom, wisdom that could prove vital in an increasingly anarchic solar system.

In many ways, this was true. Simply by studying the constructs of the Myriad, humanity made great strides in biomechanical engineering and in the use of nanotechne, which by now had become ubiquitous across the solar system. Fashioning weapons and armor from refined nanotechne, any individual could obtain the strength to contest the creatures which had spawned from this chaotic time, if not alone then with their peers. And due to its modular and decentralized nature, nanotechne allowed even the most ignorant and primitive societies to obtain the technological prowess of a spacefaring nation, a sorely needed advantage in an increasingly hostile world.

But most important of the revelations plundered from the Myriad was the secret of how they had reached the strength they did. Though replicating the Myriad’s actual power was impossible, and likely would remain so for as long as anyone could estimate, the basic understanding of integrating nanotechne into one’s own body could be gleaned. From this came another wave of hereditary cyborgs, ones wholly unrelated to the first hereditary cyborgs which had taken generations to build on themselves. In time, true postbiological beings would emerge as well, and the once-unified posthuman definition would be divided into the Outer and Inner patterns; posthumans descended from the first wave of hereditary cyborgs, and posthumans descended from the second. Unlike the first wave, postbiological life forms could be produced in just one or two generations, with rumors of mundane humans going so far as to reach a postbiological state from nothing as well. Even Outer Pattern posthumans could not help but take notice, eventually incorporating the methods used to accumulate nanotechne into their own culture as a way to stay relevant. Furthermore, new ways of rapidly constructing weapons, armor, and other enhancements were devised, taking posthumanity’s power to even greater heights.

Those individuals who were not just hereditary cyborgs or posthumans, but ones who actively sought to accumulate nanotechne within their bodies and use it to obtain greater power, were called the Transcendent. While they could not singlehandedly destroy nations as the Myriad could, they were significant force multipliers for any organization, and possessed the capability to not just survive in the wilds of the solar system, but thrive. These individuals to this day push the limits of humanity, but are also surrounded by detractors. Some think they are more cases of Hyperpredatory Personality Cascade Syndrome waiting to happen, while others fear they are the beginning of an even more oppressive caste system than had existed in the past. What is for certain, however, is that transcendence can be sought by anybody, and allows even the lowliest of citizens to gain the strength to upset the balance of power. Even if humanity is doomed to go extinct, an individual that reaches Transcendence can still survive among their posthuman brethren. It is an escape hatch for the human race, if only a small fraction of it. Only time will tell if Transcendents will remain a curiosity, become the new rulers of humanity, or be the only remaining traces that it had ever existed.



The Long Night:

And so, the long history of the human species leads up to the present. Though few living use the term to describe their era, it is understood implicitly that they live in a true dark age, needing only to look up to the sky to see the shattered remnants of their once great civilizations, torn apart by a centuries-long collapse by powers far beyond their comprehension. Divided into mere cities and scattered complexes, they can only struggle to survive and hope for a better future for their people, or strive to attain the personal immortality granted to those who pursue the route of transcendence. The future is uncertain, with countless possibilities awaiting those who dare forge them into reality, but it may well be that this is all the fruitless struggling of a doomed world, awaiting an inexorable end.

Year zero of world generation starts.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2022, 07:44:54 pm by squamous »
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CrashyMcGee

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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2022, 10:37:17 am »

Some bugs I've found:
Reinforced posthumans do not have a "tile," instead appearing as a pitch-black spot. Intermorphic superdense posthumans are called intermorphic superheavy, and all endomorphic ultradense posthumans are female due to the MALE_NEW3 caste having the female tag. Metareflexive posthumans have immortal posthuman descriptions at the bottom.
Some adaptive hyper predators do not have the correct amount of heads. BIRD4's description reads that it has three heads when it should read two, PREDATOR5 and PREDATOR6 should have three heads, alongside TITAN5 and TITAN6. This goes for their skull variants too.
I'm not sure if this counts as a bug, but collective posthumans don't have a SKILL_LEARN_RATE modifier, despite having SKILL_RATES. I'm not sure if exhumans are supposed to SKILL_LEARN_RATE modifiers but collective and adaptive posthumans don't have it while parasitized exhumans do.

Anyway super excited to see this new thread, can't wait for that juicy lore.
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Yakefa

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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2022, 02:57:23 pm »

Really awesome job Squamous!
You might as well start a wiki if it doesn't already exist, given the wealth of information available :)
« Last Edit: March 26, 2022, 02:59:03 pm by Yakefa »
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squamous

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Re: Dwarf Fortress: The Long Night 3.5
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2022, 04:08:50 pm »

Some bugs I've found:
Reinforced posthumans do not have a "tile," instead appearing as a pitch-black spot. Intermorphic superdense posthumans are called intermorphic superheavy, and all endomorphic ultradense posthumans are female due to the MALE_NEW3 caste having the female tag. Metareflexive posthumans have immortal posthuman descriptions at the bottom.
Some adaptive hyper predators do not have the correct amount of heads. BIRD4's description reads that it has three heads when it should read two, PREDATOR5 and PREDATOR6 should have three heads, alongside TITAN5 and TITAN6. This goes for their skull variants too.
I'm not sure if this counts as a bug, but collective posthumans don't have a SKILL_LEARN_RATE modifier, despite having SKILL_RATES. I'm not sure if exhumans are supposed to SKILL_LEARN_RATE modifiers but collective and adaptive posthumans don't have it while parasitized exhumans do.

Anyway super excited to see this new thread, can't wait for that juicy lore.

Thanks for all the reports, will be fixing

Really awesome job Squamous!
You might as well start a wiki if it doesn't already exist, given the wealth of information available :)

Glad you like it, I will consider that for a later project
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