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RP Whistle
 Saturday, April 30 2016 @ 08:26 AM UTC (Read 7311 times)  
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Had a late night thought today thinking about how characters react to being "recruited" for the Improbability War. Obviously, the concept is rooted in dark comedy with the idea of being dropped naked into something you barely understand for the people at home to watch. But while there isn't an official theory as to why this was the chosen method to conduct a war on the Improbability Drive, there's plenty of canon motives to draw off of. You have the EMP calamity that may or may not have something to do with the internet becoming aware or maybe as a way to shut down the Drive. A Walk with Rohit implies that war became obsolete once robotic war turned into a duel of griefing and cheat codes and that there no longer exists formally trained soldiers to launch a proper invation. Even then, how do you fight a conventional war against the Improbability Drive? Ultimately: how does the world as we know it figure out how to deal with the Improbability Drive?

Whatever the backdrop, The Network (another thought for another time of what exactly they are) made a random draft and decided to televise the war for propaganda reasons. Everyone at home crawling back out of the Stone Age is gifted a television set (side question for CMJ: does everyone have to pay a television license in the form of a war bond?) so they can cope with the hardships of daily life. They watch draftees scramble about the Island trying to survive and it makes them feel better about their current miserable lot in life. Meanwhile, there's an understandable sentiment among those chosen for this "war" that they might not be inclined to participate. Not to mention that the incredibly likely notion that they will never get to go home tends to eat away at Contestant morale. There's a sizable number of Contestants who have resigned themselves to this fact and have decided to make this war zone their new home. They build houses, get married. So on and so forth.

Here's the disturbing What If that occurred to me: What If the People at RealHome lost interest in watching the only show on television? What if they watched someone reading a book on an Outpost bench for 3 hours straight or see something so ridiculous it's decided Improbable Island has jumped the shark and they're done with it? What happens to Improbable Island if it gets cancelled due to lackluster ratings?


 
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Spondulix
 Saturday, April 30 2016 @ 06:07 PM UTC  
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What happens to Improbable Island if it gets cancelled due to lackluster ratings?

Season Three


 
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RP Whistle
 Sunday, May 01 2016 @ 01:51 AM UTC  
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That's the doomsday scenario I'm exploring, though. There is no Season 3. The show isn't picked up for renewal. No one's watching. What then?


 
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Lyssa
 Sunday, May 01 2016 @ 10:26 AM UTC  
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Didn't this already happen? "We'll have the Network decide that the show's gotten too silly, and nuke the damn Island." That was the end of Season 1. The Watcher caught the nuke (after a fashion) and we got Season 2.


 
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Spondulix
 Sunday, May 01 2016 @ 03:20 PM UTC  
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Season Three isn't just "Oh let's change it up a little bit". A change of season is basically the Drive saying "Okay, time to start over." and warping everything as if nothing ever happened. No character remembers season one because in this reality/timeline season one didn't happen. Deus ex machina.

But if you are wondering "Okay, sure, but what if that didn't happen." then as Lyssa pointed out, the Island would probably be nuked to high hell.


 
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CavemanJoe
 Sunday, May 01 2016 @ 04:41 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Spondulix

But if you are wondering "Okay, sure, but what if that didn't happen." then as Lyssa pointed out, the Island would probably be nuked to high hell.



I would love to take this opportunity to remind y'all that that did in fact happen and also did not happen. Just to trot this thing out again 'cause it's not visible from the main site and there are folks who haven't seen it.


 
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RP Whistle
 Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 12:02 AM UTC  
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I know about that, but the scenario I'm suggesting is a bit different. Picture this: one NewDay, the cameras stop working. Some people might not notice it right away because they're so used to them being omnipresent in the background. But some folks start noticing when the cameras stop spitting out tokens. After some time, some start to wonder why they haven't heard the familiar drone of cargo planes overhead all day. Eventually, a Network flak gets around to breaking the news: "Board of Programming decided to go in a different direction. It was for a number of reasons: the people at home are tired of endless war coverage. Naked people fighting isn't as hip with the kids any more. Now they're into rude doctor dramas and situational comedies about zany extended families. Plus the Director's nephew just pitched this thing called Firefly Season 2. So we're going to go with that. It's not you, it's us."

And like that, The Network pulls out of the Improbability Wars. They don't try to destroy the Island, they just stop filming. How do you think the inhabitants would react?


 
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Lyssa
 Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 02:38 AM UTC  
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Would they do that, though? The Island is the only place with pre-EMP-level technology, after all. Running a loss in the short term if the show becomes unpopular would be more than balanced out by what they'd get if they had the only source of that kind of technology in the world under their control.


 
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Zoinks
 Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 02:50 AM UTC  
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Quote by: RP+Whistle

I know about that, but the scenario I'm suggesting is a bit different. Picture this: one NewDay, the cameras stop working. Some people might not notice it right away because they're so used to them being omnipresent in the background. But some folks start noticing when the cameras stop spitting out tokens. After some time, some start to wonder why they haven't heard the familiar drone of cargo planes overhead all day. Eventually, a Network flak gets around to breaking the news: "Board of Programming decided to go in a different direction. It was for a number of reasons: the people at home are tired of endless war coverage. Naked people fighting isn't as hip with the kids any more. Now they're into rude doctor dramas and situational comedies about zany extended families. Plus the Director's nephew just pitched this thing called Firefly Season 2. So we're going to go with that. It's not you, it's us."

And like that, The Network pulls out of the Improbability Wars. They don't try to destroy the Island, they just stop filming. How do you think the inhabitants would react?



Okay, I think I get what you're saying now. The responses before were kinda saying "This can't and won't happen." But you're just saying... BUT WHAT IF?

So I'm gonna try to answer!

All of a sudden all the contestants are stranded. Abandoned. The life they've lead for... however long, just comes to a halt.


I think things are likely to stay the same. From what I can tell, a lot of people don't really have the fact that their life is a show in their lives. Neither do they involve the Drive very much unless they, maybe, want a quick reset.

From what I can tell, the Drive is able to generate Improbability Radiation from some sort of observation effect. And the show shutting down would, potentially, weaken it a bit. So maybe Monsters will happen way less. But with so many people around, that's not really a major deal for it. It can still do its thing if it wants. (This leads into a whole discussion that is entirely just speculation on how the Drive and the Network do its thing... But the major point is that not much changes. It's just not a show anymore. And that's it.)


 
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Spondulix
 Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 02:52 AM UTC  
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Now you've got me interested, because I've got an idea what would happen.

The Island would, ironically, become the safest place in the world

Picture this, most folks on the island get by pretty well without much outside help. Sure, there would be a massive shortage of nicotine gum and OSTs but there is plenty of food, water, and even booze to go around. The contestants are already used to dealing with some of the worst the world has to throw at them. But the Drive? The Drive would be pissed. At this point hurling titans at outposts is something it does for fun. Imagine if it did that for every coastal city in the world, with the intent to kill. The world, and by extension the network, would be reminded why they need the draft.

To keep the war somewhere else.

If you would like me to expound on why I think that would happen, I'd be happy to do so in or out of character here or elsewhere. Big Grin


 
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Count Sessine
 Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 03:33 AM UTC  
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Stop filming? Well, maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't, but the question Whistle asked is, What if they did? Let's speculate!

If no more req tokens are being dispensed, that changes the Island economy pretty drastically right there.

No more crates, no more consumable supplies for eBoy. No more free stuff for humans in the NewHome Council Office. There'd be hoarding, and since the Drive wipes out everything you're carrying, it would quickly become the custom to gift it all before you fought the Drive. Fewer people would fight the Drive. Sheila would probably run out of ammo, too; the armor and weapons that don't need recharging would become a lot more valuable. People would still fight monsters, but only when they had to.

We know enough about the Watcher to be pretty sure the Network wouldn't be offering her a lift back to the mainland -- she's too scary. Plus she probably wouldn't even take it if offered. Would the Failboat still function as it does now? That would depend in part on whether the Retraining Personnel were still around to do their jobs. They might not be, and that would really change things. But... okay, let's say the Network abandons them too, so hey, they have no reason not to keep on doing what they've been doing...

What about all that miraculous future-tech healing? What happens when medical supplies start to get scarce?

What else would stop working?


Edited to add:

Quote by: Spondulix

If you would like me to expound on why I think that would happen, I'd be happy to do so in or out of character here or elsewhere. Big Grin

Yes, do please expound! I like this line of speculation. Big Grin


 
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Wongo the Sane
 Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 10:16 AM UTC  
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Down Below becomes much more important - suddenly it's the only renewable source of medkits, grenades, and Smile Drops.

Hunting monsters in the jungle becomes more important - but this is balanced by a general shortage of medical supplies which makes it more dangerous. Food prices spike, the pressure to become self-sufficient intensifies.
On the plus side, ranks are probably no longer a thing (I believe they are caused by Network Tampering) - so everyone suddenly becomes Rank 1 which removes a lot of the risk of Jungle Fighting.


 
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Lyssa
 Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 11:09 AM UTC  
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Jokers (and anyone else who can provide their own healing) would be in much better shape than the majority.


 
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Count Sessine
 Tuesday, May 03 2016 @ 02:20 PM UTC  
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Full clan buffs would really matter.

If ranks were no longer a thing, achieving full buffs in a new clan would be considerably harder. Also, I'm not sure if all cigarettes originally come from the mainland.* If they do, cigs would be increasingly harder to find. Many older full-buff clans that have fallen dormant or semi-dormant would likely start accepting applicants again.


* I still sentimentally cling to the notion of a Secrit Tobacco Mine somewhere near Squat Hole.


 
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RP Whistle
 Wednesday, May 04 2016 @ 03:33 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Lyssa

Would they do that, though? The Island is the only place with pre-EMP-level technology, after all. Running a loss in the short term if the show becomes unpopular would be more than balanced out by what they'd get if they had the only source of that kind of technology in the world under their control.



It's not the first time (nor the last) a policing action was abandoned to cut losses without much thought to the consequences. I always felt the Network's agenda was to contain the threat of the Drive expanding its boundaries outside the sphere and that a constant influx of draftees beating it down at best keeps that from happening. And make a tidy profit through product advertising and cutting down on unrest through propaganda. Ration Packs to the post-EMP families are much easier to stomach if they see their favorite Contestants eating them. In this scenario, it probably worked for a while but a combination of a sneaking suspicion this war in unwinnable combined by a public who at some point realized they could theoretically watch several television programs caused this to happen.

I like the idea of the outside world slavering at the potential spoils on the Island "when" the Drive is eliminated, though. Society at large would eventually recover from an EMP reset, although a significant leg up before anyone else does would be a massive game changer. That might be a What If for another time: What If The Drive was defeated and everyone else wanted to pillage the Island?


 
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RP Whistle
 Wednesday, May 04 2016 @ 03:46 AM UTC  
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Quote by: Count+Sessine

Stop filming? Well, maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't, but the question Whistle asked is, What if they did? Let's speculate!

If no more req tokens are being dispensed, that changes the Island economy pretty drastically right there.

No more crates, no more consumable supplies for eBoy. No more free stuff for humans in the NewHome Council Office. There'd be hoarding, and since the Drive wipes out everything you're carrying, it would quickly become the custom to gift it all before you fought the Drive. Fewer people would fight the Drive. Sheila would probably run out of ammo, too; the armor and weapons that don't need recharging would become a lot more valuable. People would still fight monsters, but only when they had to.

We know enough about the Watcher to be pretty sure the Network wouldn't be offering her a lift back to the mainland -- she's too scary. Plus she probably wouldn't even take it if offered. Would the Failboat still function as it does now? That would depend in part on whether the Retraining Personnel were still around to do their jobs. They might not be, and that would really change things. But... okay, let's say the Network abandons them too, so hey, they have no reason not to keep on doing what they've been doing...

What about all that miraculous future-tech healing? What happens when medical supplies start to get scarce?

What else would stop working?


Edited to add:

Quote by: Spondulix

If you would like me to expound on why I think that would happen, I'd be happy to do so in or out of character here or elsewhere. Big Grin

Yes, do please expound! I like this line of speculation. Big Grin



DIY would be really important and also put the Island's resources to the test. Requisition would be replaced by a barter system. Poor Elessa and eBoy are now down to a one income household (drop the surprised act, we all know they're married) but they'll do okay. Stern and Punishment, nuff said. Looting might be an issue, which makes me wonder about The Watcher. What's her role without The Network? And now that everyone's situation is decidedly permanent, would the current anarchic system continue or would people want there to be some sort of governing body? Would people want The Watcher as a benevolent dictator, or would people want some sort of elected system?


 
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Spondulix
 Wednesday, May 04 2016 @ 04:57 PM UTC  
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The Watcher is already the de facto general in charge of this war, so I'm guessing most people would turn to her for answers both because she is the strongest person on the island and has the closest connections to the network. I'm guessing there would be some objection to her taking the role of "benevolent dictator", but most would see it as her just asserting herself as the commander in chief she already is.

Racial tensions would probably reach all time highs. Squats would be the first to get out of line, their thievery going from a mild nuisance to major problem if there was a food shortage. It also wouldn't help that Squats aren't known for being organized or obedient, so it would take a heavy handed approach to keep them in line. The Robots would probably declare themselves the superior race, and then not do anything about it. The Zombies would get the most agitated by a food shortage, but they also wouldn't be hard to placate. The Mutants would likely start being held in much higher regard for their weird, disgusting livestock cultivating skills. Lastly, the Jokers. I have no idea what the Jokers would do.

But what I'd really like to see is the Network executives come crawling back to The Watcher begging her to keep fighting the war, because deadly improbable creature are crawling on the beaches of coastal cities and they don't have the manpower or the resources to prevent casualties.


 
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Lyssa
 Thursday, May 05 2016 @ 01:14 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Spondulix

The Watcher is already the de facto general in charge of this war, so I'm guessing most people would turn to her for answers both because she is the strongest person on the island and has the closest connections to the network. I'm guessing there would be some objection to her taking the role of "benevolent dictator", but most would see it as her just asserting herself as the commander in chief she already is.

Racial tensions would probably reach all time highs. Squats would be the first to get out of line, their thievery going from a mild nuisance to major problem if there was a food shortage. It also wouldn't help that Squats aren't known for being organized or obedient, so it would take a heavy handed approach to keep them in line. The Robots would probably declare themselves the superior race, and then not do anything about it. The Zombies would get the most agitated by a food shortage, but they also wouldn't be hard to placate. The Mutants would likely start being held in much higher regard for their weird, disgusting livestock cultivating skills. Lastly, the Jokers. I have no idea what the Jokers would do.

But what I'd really like to see is the Network executives come crawling back to The Watcher begging her to keep fighting the war, because deadly improbable creature are crawling on the beaches of coastal cities and they don't have the manpower or the resources to prevent casualties.




Given what we know about Rohit and his mission, I seriously doubt that is how the Robots would respond. They're certainly (to quote the canon character) supercilious pricks on occasion, and think themselves superior in many ways, but despite being the race arguably least dependent on the Network regardless of whether they pull out of the Island, they're still making (admittedly slightly torturous) efforts at diplomacy. The Robots want to get along with organics. They're just bad at it.
I imagine they would make efforts to help out, and, if at all possible, integrate themselves into the new status quo in such a way as to be indispensable and inspire gratitude.

The Zombies are also unlikely to be particularly bothered by a food shortage. One of their big racial perks is the ability to just snack on anything they kill, regardless of cooking skill or any of that preparation jazz. They'd be virtually unaffected.

Mutants have livestock cultivating skills? (This is a genuine question; have I missed something?)


In regards to the whole Pacific Rim deal, I once again draw your attention to Daughter of Chance, which Joe kindly threw out for us earlier. The Drive does not have an agenda. The Drive is a machine that converts energy to chance, and then the Chance does its thing. It is heavily implied that any motivation that the Drive appears to display is a product of the expectations of the Contestants warping the converted Chance. They've apparently been drafted into a war, so they expect enemy combatants - boom, monsters. We see this in action, in fact, with monster reporting. Presumably this is the origin of Titans, too. So, what we've got to ask ourselves is this: would people expect an attack on the mainland to be the Drive's next step?
Then again, I am pulling all this theory from an extremely depressing parallel universe that may or may not have spawned the creepiest being in the game, so. Yes. This may or may not apply to our Island.
Separately, there's the sheer practicality of the thing. Titans are not ever described as having anything other than feet, barnacles, and height. Could they even survive outside of the Improbability Bubble?
Finally, there's got to be some reason the Bubble exists. The Drive hasn't shown any restraint in the past. Why would it arbitrarily halt its effects a certain distance out to sea if there was no reason for it to do so?


 
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Spondulix
 Thursday, May 05 2016 @ 05:07 PM UTC  
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Mutants have livestock cultivating skills?


Where do you think The Magical Mystery Meat Mounts or the various creations over at Mutated Munchies come from? They just appear out of thin air? No, we aren't so lucky, someone has to guide those abominations into their prime.

The Drive does not have an agenda.


Here is where I disagree, although I may be grasping at straws with this one. The way I see it, several key pieces of the narrative seem to point toward the "observer effect" acting as a catalyst for probability manipulation. And the Drive, either deliberately or as a side effect of its design, seems like it tries to generate "chance" as much as possible. After all, does it actually make sense to televise an unwinnable war and actually have it be The most popular entertainment in the world? That central conceit of the narrative has always struck me as ludicrous, or more accurately as highly improbable.

So basically I think the Improbability Bubble is just a concentration of the improbability created by the Drive, and the improbable radiation spreads out much, much farther. I also think the Drive is actively altering circumstances to protect itself, and that includes convincing the world that this war is actually a good idea and not the "Stupidest idea ever conceivedô".


 
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Count Sessine
 Thursday, May 05 2016 @ 10:36 PM UTC  
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Quote by: Spondulix

Lastly, the Jokers. I have no idea what the Jokers would do.

Weird though they may seem to others less steeped in Improbability, most Jokers do operate with some sort of internal logic. What they do makes sense to them.

If your hypothesis is true -- that Improbability may be far more widespread in the world than most people imagine -- it occurs to me that some of the Jokers might decide to gather up a sufficient concentration of it to pay a Special Visit to the Network Boardroom.

Or, well. At least one of them. Big Grin

Wouldn't that be fun!


 
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