Hey guys, anyone got any ideas of how a civilization based on modern Goths would go? Yeah, I'm fishing for ideas here.
The first step is always research. Ideally, one should spend a few days (at least) researching the Gothic Subculture, and preferably talk to some actual Goths and get their opinions. The following is what I can come up with from a quick skim of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goth_subculture:
So, the Gothic movement is cored on lots of things. There's the old Gothic style architecture, and along with it medieval styles. There's the Gothic literary movement, epitomized by Frankenstein, Dracula, and the like. Then there's Gothic rock, the myriad styles of dress, a general fascination with the macabre, and so forth. There's so much material here that I'm actually paralyzed by indecision. To focus on any one thing would fail to do the whole justice. But to try to do everything would leave the reader with the same bewilderment that I'm feeling now.
So… I'm going to commit the sin of focusing on one thing (the macabre). The following should be treated as one aspect of a potential Gothic-derived society, not as the whole of it. Even if these ideas are to be used, a lot more needs to be added to the society to make it whole.
On transitory death:
With a society so interested in death, and having the technology to do anything, I could see the future goths focusing on ways to, if not avoid death, then embrace and survive it. Without some kind of transition, death loses all meaning, so I see a Gothic civilization as having just the bare minimum technology to allow the (partial) survival of death.
So, let's say that everyone has enough nano/cognitech in their bodies to slowly, over their lives, adapt their minds to survive the death of their bodies. In the end, as they die, the brain is encoded into it's own nano-structure, and rebuilt to survive the ordeal. The body, now dead, is preserved by the sheer quantity of nanotech. (I'm reminded of a Tibetan monk who mummified himself by consuming vast quantities of lacquer, and later water tainted with arsenic. His body still rests in seated contemplation, unrotting). There would likely be a several day period while the nanotech finishes the bodily reconstruction, rewiring the brain to control the re-built body through the nanotech. For those who die of extreme old age, the process could be gradual, over years. For those who die suddenly and young, the process would be an emergency, and would leave the person incapacitated for some time as they get used to their new body. Even so, the process is imperfect. The resultant person is something of a shadow of their former selves, their personality subdued and their body, in some ways, weakened.
As time passes, even this form of immortality would fade. The body would grow ancient and even the nanotech decay. And so processes would be build into the infosphere to allow the not-quite-dead to sublime their consciousness. Unlike stored, who are still human, these data-ghosts are anything but. They are the reflection of their old selves, the idea of a person made real.
Such a society could not avoid some classism. The dead are respected as elders, more knowledgeable than any still living. And yet, the dead and the living still walk together, interacting in the same society.
Focusing on one thing is perfectly ok. Focusing on the one biggest thing that folks will remember in history books 6000 years later is more than ok, it's practically required.
Having said that, your take on goth immortality is much more gruesome than mine. :) And yes, that means I have such a civilization planned already. Pilgrim, if you need details on it, just let me know and I'll send you an excerpt from Travelogue… though not until I get back to my own computer on the 2nd. Tau's civ sounds very interesting too - I always like seeing what other people come up with.
Colin & Tau,
Tau, That is neat. May I nick that for a write up? After all, there can be more than one heir to an idea or fringe group… Maybe blend that with some of the earlier ideas I had about this (focus on the romanticism roots of the movement and the easy availability of the ideal Goth appearance through genetic engineering).
Colin I'll hold my curiosity in check for now, but color me curious and looking forward to the Travelogue even more.
Ok, 9 months later I still haven't done anything with this.
I'm thinking and tinkering and I'm pretty sure I can get look and feel for the civ. I've got enough goth sterotypes to play with to come up with ideas for them.
For Core Values, when I research the Goths, I keep coming up with things like Tolerance, Diversity, Empathy and Romanticism. Then I think of the popular stereotypes and come up with Macabre or Ghoulish. Marrying these to each other may take a while.
Though 'talking' about it here makes me think that Romanticism and Ghoulish may be the core values for the civilization. With the additional common values Tolerance, Diversity, Empathy, Fashion, Carpe Diem, Community, Elegance, Rank Hath Its Priveleges, Beauty, Sensation, Hedonism and Spirituality.
Now, benefits. As I thought more about it, Tau's trick above is more of a society specific to Gothica. What would be civ wide benefit to them?
To me, they've got routine and easy access to gene mods, etc. that make them pretty, so what have we got? Stealing from previous ideas, here's what I have:
- Tao: One additional twist per game that can only be spent on Romance, Intrigue or Empathy.
- Pretties: Two additional twists per game that can be spent on Romance or Magnetism due to their striking looks.
- New: One additional Twist per game for the Horror theme.
- New: One additional twist per game that can be spent on Romance, Magnetism or Horror due to their striking looks and cultural fascination with the macabre and ghoulish natures.
Yeah, I know its rambling, but this is clarifying things for me.