Backstory

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Tyreth
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Backstory

#1 Post by Tyreth » Thu Jul 31, 2003 5:19 am

As written by Aquitaine, and passed on the old forums, here's the official backstory for the main campaign/mod. This should give you an idea for creating races and developing content, so please make sure it integrates with this story. In your stories, do not say anything about the future - what outcomes will happen.

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Following is the final version of the purposefully open-ended back story to the FreeOrion Project. It is designed to support user-specific stories, campaigns, scenarios, new races, and the kitchen sink. This is not epic science fiction, and, extracted from the game such as it is, I personally find it quite boring. It's meant to be a foundation upon which we can build the engine and the game. It also borrows a little bit from Issac Asimov, but only in vague ideas. </disclaimer>

-- Samuel Knowlton / “Aquitaine”

Orion

Long ago, the Orions were the most advanced civilization in the galaxy. They were not the only one spacefaring race, but they easily outpaced all of the others They were as strong as they were wise, good-intentioned, eager to explore the universe and its many wonders. Their neighbors were not always so inclined, and several wars were fought; the Orions persevered over races far more warlike than themselves; their unique combination of innovation and unity of spirit made them extraordinarily difficult to defeat. Although the Orions had centuries of internal conflict and often "dirty" politics in their own history, the great majority of them transcended their checkered past, such that their society ultimately reflected the galactic pinnacle of learning and industrial might. Their government, supported by their tremendous technology, was small and universally effective. Poverty was found only in history books, and incredible luxury could be had from even a bare supply of food and minerals. Theirs was the sociopolitical harmony that other races pursued vainly for centuries.

While other races often wrestled with artificial intelligence seeking supremacy over its various masters, the Orions created millions of servile androids who wanted nothing more than to please their enlightened masters. They were the backbone of the Orion industrial sector, and, when the situation called for it, a key part of the military.

The rise of the Orions ultimately slowed to stagnation. While some few Orions were pampered and made lazy by their many luxuries and opportunities, the race was generally quite resistant to such attitudes, thanks to their deep knowledge and understanding of their own history; they were possessed as a people had never before been possessed to fight not for what they wanted, but what they already had, realizing rightly that it was the culmination of the efforts of dozens of generations.

Nevertheless, as in any free society, dissent arose. A small, splinter faction of Orions, mistrustful of the hyper-advanced technology that was the foundation of their strength, recognized early on the futility of attempting to change a utopian society, and embarked on a pilgrimage to a faraway star system, well beyond the reach of the Orions; despite their advanced civilization, the Orions themselves rarely colonized systems far from their home world, instead preferring to rule benevolently over the annexed empires of their fallen opponents. That splinter faction eschewed the technology of their forbearers, taking with them only what they needed to reach their destination and establish a small, agrarian colony. It would be hundreds of years before they returned to space.

Other factions periodically desired independence from the Orions, but it was very difficult for another race to achieve the level of independence and freedom required to secede, or even travel beyond the fringes of the Orion Empire. An inherent logic dilemma within the utopia of Orion society was that no other race had ever proved capable of even approaching them in any significant fashion; no race ever demonstrated a single strength that surpassed, or was even equal to that of the Orion people. There was, many thought, no way for the Orions to be anything other than quietly racist, although they never actively persecuted any of their Imperial subjects on a significant scale. The Orions’ grasp of history showed them the simple truth that no race had ever done as well on its own as it had when guided and governed by the Orions; why, then, should any race desire independence when the statistical likelihood that they would be any better off somewhere else was zero? Most races that encountered the Orions simply allowed themselves to be ruled in return for the very tangible rewards their people received: longer lifespans, improved quality of life, strengthened economies. One race that had been fought to near-extinction during a protracted war with another race simply moved to the home world of the Orion people, Orion 3, and became willing, second-class citizens, responsible for maintaining the tremendous amount of infrastructure and governance functions based on Orion 3. This book-ish, near-extinct race grew to a healthy size, but they never again left Orion, preferring to permeate the academic and bureaucratic systems of Orion 3.

But if the Orions had a keen understanding of history, they lacked foresight. Previous generations had always looked to the achievements of the current generations as the goal toward which they strived. Orion society had reached its pinnacle; there was simply no way the following generation could be better off, because no-one could agree on what “better off” entailed. They had achieved everything that they, as a people, had set out to achieve. They had no significant obstacles and no natural predators. Through millennia of strife, warfare, and gradual progress, they no longer had anything to which they could aspire. A lesser race’s power would have dwindled with apathy, but the Orions dedicated significant resources and most of their energy to prolonging their golden age for as long as they could. As much of a marvel as this was, they could not remain static forever; the universe may have few absolutes, but even her brightest stars must die, and she would not permit the Orions to be any different.

Cataclysm

The scientific and social elite of Orion began to perceive that no degree of effort could sustain the Orion people indefinitely, or even that such an end was desirable. The universe itself had no perfect state; its nature was to always change, and no two moments, however spectacular and wondrous they might be, could ever be the same. The Orions were one such moment. And so the Orions dedicated their energies to discovering an appropriate ‘next phase’ of their being. They knew that they could not carry on as they had, nor even move far away from other races. But neither could they accept that their reward must be the extinction of their species; their pride in all they had achieved refused to allow them to even consider that.

It is impossible to describe the progress the Orions made in their endeavor to anyone that does not belong to their society; not their methods, not even what they were attempting to do. The only knowledge that any other races could glean from the increased goings-on on Orion 3 was that the Orions were working to be “Orions No More” – and no-one that was not an Orion could comprehend what that was, or why the envy of every other sentient race would pursue anything that seemed to entail no longer being what they were.

The only item agreed upon by those still living today is that, in the same instant, every Orion, every Orion world, every building, every databank, every piece of their infrastructure and civilization was terrifically and entirely destroyed. Every physical trace of their being was wiped away. It was not instantaneous; the entire process lasted a few minutes, during which witnesses recall seeing the leaders of the galaxy writhe in agony as some of them imploded, some exploded, some disintegrated, and others simply up and died, but all vanished once they had. It was a tremendous destructive force that killed many, even non-Orions, for everything touched by Orion technology was violently and irrevocably destroyed, with no trace left behind.

With its center fallen away, galactic civilization collapsed from the loss of the Orions. Several races immediately declared independence, while others grudgingly admitted they saw no alternative, as depending on someone that had ceased to exist proved impractical. But with government and technological functions having been conducted by the Orions for so long, no-one retained the theoretical knowledge that the Orions had held; indeed, if they had retained any of it, they were destroyed along with the Orions. As for the Orion system itself, only the former second-class citizens remained, for they, miraculously, had not been touched, nor had their caches of Orion technology. They constructed and activated the Orion Guardian and set about protecting the Orion System from the universe, and protecting the universe from another galactic cataclysm. A dark age had begun.

Half a galaxy away, the descendants of the Orion splinter faction that had forsworn their roots achieved starflight, and encountered another race. Their opening transmission contained a drawing by one of their most famous artists of their physiology, and several mathematical formulae basic to their understanding of the universe.
They called themselves Humans.

Did the Orions attempt to achieve some kind of transcendence and fail? If they did not fail, was the destruction of entire races and worlds intentional? Are there Orions left? Were the caretakers left unharmed because the Orions are going to return? The answer is <deleted by Rantz>. It is the fifth X. It is the secret of this project.

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Tyreth
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#2 Post by Tyreth » Thu Aug 07, 2003 4:00 pm

Just so you know, the backstory has been reprinted on our main website also, for safekeeping and reference, thanks to Neuromancer our documentation lead:

http://www.freeorion.org/index.php?modu ... story.html

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Impaler
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#3 Post by Impaler » Thu Aug 07, 2003 7:32 pm

I kind noticed some inconsistences

If all Orion tecnology is destroyed wares the Guardian come from?

If all beings assosiated with the Orions were destroyed how do guys living in very close proximity (on the planet Orion) live?

If all the Orions worlds were destroyed how dose their Home Planet Orion survive?

It seems the Cataclizm is weakest at its center which is illogical.

Perhaps we can say that these guys who construct the guardian were infact not second class citizens but THIRD class or lower, other races that were higher up were eliminated duee to contact with the Orions. The builders of the Guardian were thus insulated form the Orion assosiated destruction to an extent. Like wise their tecnology was third class hand me downs which pailed in comparison to TRUE Orion tecnology but after the Cataclysum its the best stuff in the Galaxy.

Also dose the connection with humanity implie that playing humans will be significantly different from playing one of the other races??
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

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Aquitaine
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#4 Post by Aquitaine » Thu Aug 07, 2003 9:33 pm

Uh, it's science fiction. Need we say more?
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utilae
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#5 Post by utilae » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:49 am

It's quite good actually, but seems like it's missing something. Like maybe, the bad guy. Where are the bad aliens that spell doom, ie similar to the Antarans. Or perhaps we could incorperate some kind of rivals to the Orions, that are less powerful, but competitive in the area of technology.

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Zanzibar
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#6 Post by Zanzibar » Sat Aug 16, 2003 2:30 pm

The bad aliens are my worm guys, of course!! They want to eliminate all other races in the galaxy... isn't that pretty bad?

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Nightfish
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#7 Post by Nightfish » Sat Aug 16, 2003 3:47 pm

9 out of 10 suggested races' primary focus is destruction of everybody else. So if anything we're lacking peaceloving races.

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#8 Post by Thumper » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:05 pm

Nightfish wrote:9 out of 10 suggested races' primary focus is destruction of everybody else. So if anything we're lacking peaceloving races.
That's because they're all "puppy chow" for the "eat-em-alive" races. Long sinse subjugated and put out to range. :D


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Impaler
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#9 Post by Impaler » Sat Aug 16, 2003 6:20 pm

I have got a peacefull race in the works, will get them written down after I post the write up on the Evil worms.
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

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utilae
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#10 Post by utilae » Sat Aug 16, 2003 11:35 pm

Yeah, there may be alot of bad aliens, but nothing that threatens the orions. There should be some kind of hidden plot along the lines of a super powerful alien race rivalign the tech of the orions had something to do with their dissappearance, but there are only clues to this, no real give away.

I think it would make you think that there is something out there other than the orions to watch out for. :P

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#11 Post by Redbook » Thu Sep 18, 2003 7:40 am

Sounding completely like a noob (which I am)...

How close are you guys following the MOO, MOO2, and MOO3 storyline? I don't see any Antarans mentioned, so does that mean the backstory is only very loosely connected to MOO2 and MOO3?

In which case... why not make the Orions the bad guys (of a sort) instead?

edit: spelling
Last edited by Redbook on Thu Sep 18, 2003 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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utilae
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#12 Post by utilae » Thu Sep 18, 2003 8:42 am

The story is completely different from Moo3, etc. FreeOrion is aiming to capture the spirit of the Moo series. :wink:

Orions as bad guys would be a twist.

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#13 Post by Impaler » Thu Sep 18, 2003 6:51 pm

Perhaps the "evolve" beyond the consepts of Good and Evil 8)
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

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#14 Post by Voice In the Wilderness » Tue Nov 11, 2003 3:50 am

In the 2001 series by Arthur C. Clarke, the Monliths (the black things, that they find in space with perftect "1:4:9!" proportions) are built by the First Ones.



The "First Ones" were not like humans, but they were beings of Flesh and Blood. Over time, they transcribed their thoughts into computer latices and became the Machine-entities (almost exactly like the MOO2 Meklars). HOWEVER, even the time of the Machine-entities passed, and they transcribed themselves onto the very fabric of space-time, becoming the "Lords of the Galaxies" beyond our comprehension.



Maybe something similar happened to the Orions.



Basically, I think you should leave in SOME Antaran-equivalent.


If you are just basing it on the Orions, know this: The Orions were the ones to create the other races, uplifting them to their basic levels.


Merely impartint intelligence does not impart wisdom. This can only be gained through experience. The Orions, whatever they have become are not and never were gods.


Some races want peace, others war. Some want good, some want evil, and others......have their own agendas......

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#15 Post by Moonsword » Thu Feb 26, 2004 2:43 pm

Gods in fact, no. But were they gods in name and deed? There could well be a few religions that worship them, and I don't doubt that they had enemies. They seem almost... human in a way. Their dreams and desires remind me of mankind, almost of the easly Roman Empire in a way. They see themselves as superior to all, but as they realized, Time conquers all, even them.

The possibilities for enemies are endless. Radical destroyers are possible, but unlikely in a logical sense. Races simply wishing to be left alone, elder races, older than the Orions but far less expansionistic, and as a consequence, far less powerful, could still be out there, watching quietly. I wouldn't be surprised if there's at least one radical faction that doesn't care much about the other races but would gladly go after any Orion ruins (or Orions themselves!) they could find. A race that dreams of rising to the Orion's place. Shadowy beings that feed on other races and literally need to consume to survive. Many things are possible.
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