Thursday, December 18, 2014

Back Issues #12 - Do I Know You? - Part 3

The last two issues have dealt with the idea of taking the familiar and making it new and unfamiliar while attempting to retain some degree of recognizably. I tackled the two biggest RPG genres, fantasy, and science fiction and reworked the humble orc into something new-ish. In regards to the final result your mileage may vary, but no idea please everybody all the time (somebody famous said something about that I think  smirk ). This week will be the final of this tangent as I re-work the orc one last time for the modern/post-modern age...

Issue #12: Do I Know You? - Part 3

This is all true. In the later days of the 20th Century trans-genic animals were a big deal. Goats who could be milked for spider silk, sheep that produced insulin, disease and pest resistant vegetables and fruits, and more. Medical research was even underway to try and breed transgenic pigs that whose organs could be harvested for human transplant. You may think, "We're closest to chimps, why not look there?", but the reason why swine were chosen was due to the size and configuration of their organs compared to humans. A pig's liver, stomach, etc are roughly the same size as human organs, chimpanzees are smaller and so too are their organs.

Now for the fiction...

As research continued the insertion of various genes into pigs progressed with this goal in mind. The leader of this research was Trans-G Ltd. an international company with their fingers in dozens of transgenic pots, including modified crops, and "humane meat". The medical trade however was the grail that the strived for, to be able to provide organs on demand would be a major coup, and provide the kind of PR that money cannot buy. When Trans-G succeeded it broke open transgenic market. No long was the public skeptical, they could see with their own eyes the two dozen organ recipients from the first clinical trials, people who had been hooked to machines in need of kidneys and livers, and hearts. Within a year approvals for other Transgenic products were being fast-tracked under the weight of consumer pressure.

Ten years later Trans-G Ltd. stunned the world when it unveiled its newest "product"; the O.R.C. The pOrcine Rational Custodian was a transgenically uplifted specifies of pig given low human intelligence and the capability to function within the human environment via bipedal locomotion and fully dexterous hands. Smarter and more capable than helper dogs and monkeys the O.R.C. was intended to replace helper animals with a servant who was able to do everything a those creatures could do and more. Further they were hailed as the new answer to menial labor. O.R.C.s could be given jobs too dangerous or menial for humans and still do their jobs.

Like their genetic relative O.R.C.s were strong and possessed a snout like nose and protruding lower canines. Coarse hair and pink skin that was sensitive to sunlight and sunburn were also inherited from their genetic forebears. Unlike their stock they walked on two human-like legs and had hands with three fingers and an opposable thumb. Tests suggested that the O.R.C.s possessed an I.Q. of roughly 70-80 and were capable of learning numerous simple tasks and the smartest could even master one or two complex tasks.

Physically powerful, the government considered them for military ground forces but found that them lacking the ability to make intelligent tactical choices on the battlefield. Other groups derided them as monsters, while still others insisted that Trans-G had played God and that these intelligent creatures were deserving of the rights of freedom and self rule that all "people" had. Trans-G insisted that they were product, that they could not reproduce on their own, and were little more than extremely intelligent animals. Laws were passed outlawing them in sound countries, while still others wrangle back and forth to this day trying to decide the fate of a new life form.

Three weeks, three genres (kinda), and three variants on the classic Ork that are all quite different, but also kinda the same. What do you all think? Any ideas I missed? Opportunities left un-mined? Does this exercise give you ideas on how to make aspects of your own game new again?

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