Worldbuilding: Children of a Frozen Earth

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Worldbuilding: Children of a Frozen Earth

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-01-21 04:50am

I've been working on a few worlds over the years and Children of a Frozen Earth is one of the more interesting ones alongside my 'Iron Pact' timeline and a setting I like to call 'A New World: A World of Conflict and Sorrow'. These are pretty different given that they have (to us) fantastical technology and very different social and political norms than the modern day.
Children of a Frozen Earth
A World of Survival in the Frozen Tundras of Earth and through the Harsh Mistress of Space​
  • This is a universe where Global Warming takes a turn for the ‘Day after Tomorrow’ and ‘Frostpunk’.
  • The Calendar switched from AD/CE to ‘Post-Cataclysm’ -or PC for short- in 2070.
  • To put things into perspective, the year 0225 PC is the year 2295 AD/CE.
  • The average temperature outside the citadel city-arcologies is -60 degrees Celsius with severe storms able to make it drop down to -100 and it is considered extremely warm at -40.
  • These temperatures is part 'Earth going Snowball', part 'high-powered nukes have been used far too many times', and part 'extreme eco-terrorists deciding that humanity must die'.
  • There are three primary factions in this world and they consist of:
    The American Dominion
    A (in pre-Cataclysm standards) semi-benevolent AI Dictatorship made up of much of the former US and Canada. What is considered basic rights in the pre-Cataclysm days are now heavily monitored and restricted.
    Aesthetically, it’s a mix between Earth 21X0’s United Civilized States, Battlefield 2142’s EU, Deus Ex: Human Revolution/Mankind Divided, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
  • From a government standpoint, it’s basically Earth 21X0’s UCS after the events of Earth 2150, where the AI basically took over.
  • The reason for this is that initially the American Dominion started out as an AI augmented Cyber Democracy, but that failed as democratic leaders kept killing off segments of the population and tribalism sprang up. The AI pulled a coup against the democratic government with the military and thus the current government. Far better than what was done previously. AIs run pretty much every aspect of governance.
  • Neo-Prussia
  • A monarchy where the Monarch is spliced with an AI. Made up of northern Germany and Northern Poland. While rights are not as restrictive as the American Dominion, they are still pretty restricted.
  • Aesthetically, it’s a mix between Front Mission’s EU, a Teutonicized/Prussianified version of Earth 21X0’s Eurasian Dynasty, Satellite Reign, and Syndicate (reboot).
  • From a government standpoint, it’s an odd mixture of ‘Cybernetic Republic’ (where only those with cybernetic implants can vote or take office) and ‘Cybernetic Monarchy’ with a hefty dose of AI-driven bureaucracy.
  • The People’s Republic of China
  • The continuation of the pre-Cataclysm government with a few caveats. Mostly nestled in the Himalayas in a grand underground arcology and a smattering of major and minor surface cities.
  • Aesthetically, it’s a mix between Battlefield 2142’s PAC, Cyberpunk 2077, and Generals China.
  • From a government standpoint, it’s a ‘Cybernetic Dictatorship’ and police state.
  • Each of the main factions have an orbital elevator, each with shipyards, material processing facilities, low-level orbital research and development facilities, habitats, and power generation facilities. These also serve as the gateway to the various interplanetary holdings that the three main factions have.
  • There are numerous minor factions on Earth, but the only reason they still exist is due to cost being too much to be worth conquering. If push came to shove, however, they’ll get crushed if a major faction decides it’s worth it.
  • The total human population in 0225 PC is barely 1.56 billion across Earth and the space colonies barely add .44 billion to that number… or barely 2 billion in total.
  • Technologically, mankind is more advanced than pre-Cataclysm Earth in many ways, particularly in the fields of AI and robotics, automation, cybernetics, genetic engineering (although extremely limited after the lead up to the Cataclysm, and much of the wildlife that now inhabits the surface of Earth is because of various groups trying to wipe out mankind), hydroponics/vertical farming, space travel, energy, nano-tech, among others.
  • In the case of the American Dominion, they have perfected quantum entanglement communication technology to the point where compressed messages (which can be in the Terabytes when uncompressed) can go through with ease. This is mostly used to keep the various AI mayors connected to the overall polity. They’re not that compact though, so this is only used for spaceships, habitats, stations, space colonies, cities, and military outposts.
  • Fusion and/or fission energy is the primary power source of all remnants of humanity with natural gas being a close second.
  • The Cataclysm is simply a reference to a series of atomic conflicts, global warming disasters, epidemics (both natural and artificial), resource wars (over arable land and drinkable water as well as vital resources like oil and metal), and eco-terrorism.
  • The Cataclysm is also responsible for killing about 7.3 billion people (out of a population barely over 8.2 billion) over a period of three decades thanks to a combination of wars (both conventional and nuclear), global warming side-effects (including famine), disease (both natural and synthetic), and eco-terrorism (be conventional, biological, nuclear, or exotic).
  • This is partially the reason why the various remnants of humanity -be the major factions or the minor ones- are extremely authoritarian compared to the governments of the Pre-Cataclysm era. When the technology exists where one can create an unnatural monster from whole cloth or make horrific synthetic diseases with a handful of common equipment and a little know-how on the biotech end or create black goo weapons with a nano-fab and a little know-how on the technological end, the moral calculus shifts well into the authoritarian direction.
  • Another reason for the high amounts of authoritarian rule is due to the fact that any act of sabotage or willing destruction of equipment can kill an entire city-arcology during the early years.
  • This has led to aspects of an omnipresent omni-surveillance state in practically every remnant of humanity. This isn’t because every remnant wanted to go with ‘1984 as a guide book’ -as pre-Catacylsm people would think- but due to survival and sadly practicality.
    Thanks in part to the Cataclysm, not a whole lot of animals and plants made it. The few that did were only done because of their ability to provide food.
  • A lot of culture had been destroyed in the Cataclysm as well. While history does remember culture from the pre-Cataclysm era and a tiny sample of it does exist, it is a far cry of what came before.
  • What little fiction that remains tends to be sadly bleak in outlook with most of them with no end in the bleakness in sight of the characters, a character a few generations down the line might find the metaphorical ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
  • Franchises that were remade in the Post-Cataclysm Era (like Mass Effect) tend to be very bleak with a very ‘fight the bleakness’ undertone overall.
  • Military forces in the Post-Cataclysm world are incredibly small when compared to their Pre-Cataclysm counterparts in terms of genuine human manpower. This has been true for much of the Post Cataclysm Era, and only recently (i.e. the last two decades) that practical autonomous combat androids and cybernetically augmented clones have become commonplace.
    This is exacerbated by the fact that people only live until the age of 60 on average for the last two centuries, with the average only going up in the last decade.
  • A good portion of the problem is due to what is known as the Age Plague that was released by eco-terrorists during the Cataclysm. It is only recently that -after starting practically from scratch- this plague has been cured.
  • Due to the conditions on Earth -and later across the solar system- walkers in the vein of Battlemechs, Wanzers, and Palabors exist. While always part of a combined arms formation, they’re incredibly effective in the Post-Cataclysm World.
  • In order to stay outside in the unpredictable conditions outside the citadel city-arcologies, one must wear what is essentially a powered space suit (i.e. a space suit mated with a powered exoskeleton) when they go outside.
  • Infantry utilize a heavily armored version of these suits known as Battlesuits which range from 'make the wearer slightly bigger' to 'proto-mecha' in size.
  • Space travel is fairly standard fare, as ships tend to look like they’re straight from the pre-Angelwing portion of Nexus: The Jupiter Incident, starships and dropships from Battletech, and the Earth Alliance ships in Babylon 5. Like the Earth Alliance ships, they also have inertia dampeners to minimize problems from the lack of counter-rotating grav-blocks and the shear mass that many ships have or haul around.
  • Space combat is similar to Nexus: The Jupiter Incident in that they batter each other until the ship’s structural integrity is too fragile to allow it to keep going, which then the crew evacuate or surrender depending on the situation.
  • The average spaceship that all major powers can accelerate to is 3 Gs, with anything resembling a fuel economy. For the most part ships tend to accelerate at the starting quarter, coast for half, and decelerate at the remaining quarter.
  • All spaceships -regardless of manufacturer- have retro-thrusters as standard. The type of retro-thrusters might vary, but all ships have them as standard. This is mostly to minimize the need to simply flip and decelerate that way.
    It should be noted that artificial gravity does exist, but it is currently extremely power hungry and only available to colonies on planets and planetoids like Mars, Luna, and elsewhere, i.e. where volume isn't as much of a problem.
  • Strikecraft (aka ‘fighters’) play a supporting role in most combat scenarios. They are usually used as part of a defensive screen to eliminate things like missiles and ‘torpedoes’ (basically missiles with a genuine ship drive attached to them). If there are no missiles in play, then they can damage lightly armored components like sensor arrays, armament, among other systems.
  • Most strikecraft have horrific -compared to their parent vessels- drive range, forcing them to stay within a battlefield (which can range from 10 megameters (Mm, 1 Mm equals 1,000 km) to 100 Mm depending on the conditions) to ensure they don’t get left behind or vanish into the black.
  • Most of humanity living off-world lives in either domed cities that are partially underground or in O’Neil Island 3 habitats. All dangerous facilities -usually RnD labs in fields that are fuck-off dangerous- utilize a less resource-intensive Stanford Torus.
  • Any habitat or space-borne facility utilizes autonomous weapon platforms for defense, which are incredibly dangerous to fight without a plan to eliminate them from play. Without a plan to eliminate them from play.

I'll admit that this setting is heavily influenced by the Earth 21X0 series, which has the best leader overall being an AI.

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Re: Worldbuilding: Children of a Frozen Earth

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-01-25 04:06pm

Really, when I started thinking up the setting, the Polish-made series Earth 21X0 made a hefty amount of influence... to the point where the base idea is 'what if Earth 21X0-verse and Frostpunk had a baby'.

If you don't know what Earth 21X0 series is, the basic summary is the same as Russian history: it got worse. Earth 2140 has the Eurasian Dynasty (basically the worst of the Mongol Khanates and the USSR blended together, shortened to ED for brevity's sake) and the United Civilized States (basically AIs run pretty much everything and what would be normally elected positions would be put into a lottery that would happen every eight months with AIs assisting the winners, shortened to UCS for brevity's sake) fight a major conflict that ended with the Earth's orbit being destabilized, which wasn't noticeable until a decade later. The game itself plays like a heavily modded version of the original Command and Conquer, with infantry being genuinely useful thanks to a garrison mechanic with buildings.

Earth 2150 is the second game of the series and is split into three parts based on their own plots: The Escape from the Blue Planet, The Moon Project, and Lost Souls. The plot for Escape from the Blue Planet is simple: you choose a faction (be the ED, UCS, or the new faction that is the Lunar Corporation or LC for short) and lead said faction to get the prerequisite resources to build your faction's mode to escape the doomed Earth and must do so within a year. The Moon Project focuses on the titular project that the LC is developing for their scramble for resources on Earth with the LC trying to complete the project while the other two factions try to stop it in it's tracks. Lost Souls probably influenced Tiberium Wars in the fact that it used a similar parallel story structure and the plot centers around citizens that the factions left behind on Earth...

The Lost Souls intro is pretty somber to say the least:

Then there is Earth 2160... which has the ED fighting the LC for control of the Solar System. Mars hasn't been properly terraformed yet, strange shenanigans relating to a satellite and a group called the Edenites happen, alien technology a plenty, and ancient alien weapon systems run a muck. Oh, and the UCS doesn't properly show up until three-quarters through the four part campaign. Instead of all the conspiracy theories that everyone came up with, the AI of the UCS Phoenix pretty much told the UCS president where to stuff it and implemented it's own plan to dominate humanity, until the player characters and the Edenites give the AI an alternative and the AI jumps at the chance to be as far away from the ED and LC as possible.

The trailer for 2160 gives a rather quick overview of the timeline:

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Re: Worldbuilding: Children of a Frozen Earth

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-02-01 01:36pm

The world in the Post-Cataclysm Era pretty much looks like this with no end in sight. Thick layers of ice and snow dotted with little islands of civilization in the form of various Citadel City-Arcologies and Citadel Outpost-Arcologies.

What is an arcology you may ask, and the answer to which is definition you are going to ask for, as there are two definitions: Original and Modern.

(A rather informative video on Arcologies)
In this world, arcologies are a mix of it's traditional/original definition (communities that have minimal ecological impact and are moderately self-sustaining) and the 'modern' definition (i.e. giant towering structures that can house entire cities in). Due to the rather unique circumstances that these great structures are residing in, every system has to be carefully monitored to ensure their continued operation. In the older arcologies, if the primary system goes down then it must be fixed post-haste as the auxiliary systems can't keep up with the demand for long. There are many ruins of arcologies that either failed to get their systems fixed in time or died because the systems were sabotaged (usually by 'Eco-Purists' whom have a vendetta against humanity).

While the Citadel City-Arcologies house the vast majority of humanity, the Outpost-Arcologies are usually remote RnD facilities for hazardous projects, centers of resource extraction, or military facilities. Despite originally not designed to tank nuclear explosions, both City-Arcologies and Outpost-Arcologies are oddly immune to anything less than a 10MT nuclear warhead... and it is this durability that allows them to survive the most dangerous weather phenomenon of the Post Cataclysm world: Death Frost Storms.

The first recorded Death Frost Storm was recorded in Central Africa in 0024 PC by the City-Arcology of New Sibut. The initial temperature was -40 degrees Celsius, it dropped 60 degrees in nominal temperature (making it -100 degrees Celsius) within 6 hours with winds in of excess of 177km/h (to put things in perspective, at 177 km/h, the wind chill factor is 165.7 degrees Celsius). Now at this wind chill factor, a person not clad in a Cold Suit -what amounts to being the desperate love child of a space suit and a powered exoskeleton- will die in seconds at most. Ever since 0024 PC, Death Frost Storms are a regular occurrence to the point that having a Death Frost Storm warning is a fact of life on Earth.

This also makes resource extraction incredibly difficult, as one has to go through a lot of ice and snow to get to the surface of Earth on top of all the dirt and rock needed to get to these deposits. More often than not the mines get utilized as the base for arcologies, to save on space and resources. This also influences human recycling policy from 'good if we can' to 'vital'. Every broken part is to be recycled, no matter what for example. There are no burials anymore but dead bodies of humans and animals get processed for their proteins and minerals for fertilizer and other vital non-food products. No watt of electricity is wasted, especially during the initial days where there is only a handful of powerful fission and fusion power plants.

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Re: Worldbuilding: Children of a Frozen Earth

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-02-07 02:14am

So, anyone willing to critique this? No, 'GrosseAdmiral, why is this the way it is?'? No 'GrosseAdmiral, this doesn't make sense'?

I don't simply put these out just because, I also want to have the best setting possible.

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Re: Worldbuilding: Children of a Frozen Earth

Post by GrosseAdmiralFox » 2019-02-26 09:32am

So, someone that I showed some of my notes to asked why are Eco-Purists still a threat after all this time... and, well, it isn't pretty. By the time the Cataclysm happened, eco-terrorism was becoming more and more violent as the situation deteriorated. As the world fell apart, they gained equipment and technology that would severely screw humanity over. While the ideology of Eco-Purity is self perpetuating (as those of the ideology have hidden themselves quite well) with their own hideouts and bases across the planet, the efforts that the various factions have put into annihilating this ideology would have killed it by the modern day.

To get into why Eco-Purists haven't been annihilated, we must go with some history. Russia during it's pre-Cataclysm days was ruled by an oligarchy and that oligarchy is ruled by a handful of former intelligence department leaders and officers, the most visible of which is one Vladimir Putin. Putin -no one has a complete picture of this era thanks to Grigor Stoyanovich destroying as much as he could when Karyavin Yuliy Vadimovich 'pulled a Napoleon'- initiated a program that would turn things like freedom of the press and freedom of information against the target and the more 'open' these freedoms are, the worse the effects. From the mid-1990s AD, this slowly evolved into a comprehensive program utilizing mimetic weaponry and was first used in Brexit and the US 2016 Presidential Elections alongside the more traditional 'Active Measures' program that the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) had perfected into an artform with.

To say that this worked beyond expectations would be an understatement. Brexit caused a disastrous cascading effect with the European Union, as it caused an incredibly punitive Brexit to be implemented. This punitive Brexit not only caused North Ireland have The Troubles again -although what little specific information from that period that is left indicates that mimetic weaponry was used to cause this, but this can't be completely confirmed thanks to the destruction of important documents by Stoyanovich's regime- before loosing it completely but also cause the military to reinstate the monarchy at gunpoint. The punitive Brexit caused ripples within the EU, which led to a series of economic and civic meltdowns across key members of the EU and caused it's dissolution in the late 2030s AD.

The United States on the other hand fared somewhat better. The Trump-Russia Investigation managed to cause an unprecedented series of court cases started by the Supreme Court that would destroy not only Trump, his family, and his associates (Donald would only survive a year in ADX Florance while serving a life sentence) but also for all intents and purposes annihilate the GOP and it's propaganda infrastructure alongside curtailing social media in general. While this did cause minor bouts of insurrection, it went more or less roughly... before the status of the world became -more or less- defined as 'on fire'.

Putin then authorized an expansion and perfection of this new form of weaponry. This is where one Chayka Mili Yegorovich enters the picture. Chayka Mili Yegorovich and his team developed a whole new mimetic weapon technology from scratch within eight years and developed an entire suite of mimetic weapons out of that technology. What Chayka Mili Yegorovich and his team managed to create is the closest thing to mind control as one could get. The technology could make anyone who is receptive to the meme into a Manchurian Candidate. The rate that the process takes hold of a person differs wildly from victim to victim, and it has only been discovered recently that those with inactive psionic genes are the most vulnerable (and even then, it is it's own spectrum, as the more powerful the inactive psionic gene, the faster the process goes), but it is 100% effective on those that it takes hold. Now, Chayka Mili Yegorovich and his team understood the implications of this, and decided to defect to the United States. With the help of the remnants of MI-6, the CIA, Poland, Germany, and a handful of others, Chayka Mili Yegorovich and his team managed to get to the US safely with a detailed manual on the technology with the original software and what little of the hardware they could smuggle out.

Chayka Mili Yegorovich and his team's fate would be that they died after helping the FBI and NSA on creating very basic countermeasures with everything related to the project stolen and let loose across the internet. This coincided with a rash of attacks by a now-dead hactivist group who believed that all information must be free. To say that this technology getting into the wild was disastrous would be the understatement to end all understatements. While most of the ideologies that would spawn from these would be brutally put down, it would cause greater bloodshed later... as what would become known as the Eco-Purists would perfect this technology into it's current form.

That is how the Eco-Purists have managed to stay alive for so long. With careful planning, they could turn anyone into an Eco-Purist fanatic. That is why things like the freedom of information is heavily restricted and privacy has been annihilated.

That wasn't the only horror that the Eco-Purists would be responsible for... for it is the eco-purists -more specifically a faction within the ideology known only as the 'Riders of the Apocalypse', a faction that most other Eco-Purist factions hated and feared and whose sole define purpose is to annihilate humanity and everything it created- that caused the Earth to snowball.

Taking data from various weather manipulation projects that various nation-states were doing (the leaders of the field would be the US and Russia with China bringing up the rear), the 'Riders of the Apocalypse' created a series of technologies that would cause the entire Earth to Snowball in an effort to doom humanity to extinction. The 'Riders of the Apocalypse' managed to go basically comic book villain and created a superweapon that was straight out of a comic book. When this weapon was first activated, it didn't do anything within the first two years like their models predicted... and it wouldn't be until a decade and a half after activation that the effects started to show themselves, which was one of the causes of the Cataclysm. At first, it was only notable for the uptick in polar vortexes... which got worse every year until it caused entire swaths of the US Midwest to be uninhabitable during winter time. That was when various nations started building what would become the Citadel-Arcologies, in preparation if these polar 'super' vortexes get even worse and cover a wider area.

Sadly, this won't save everyone...

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