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The New Faith of the True Emperor - scribbles and lies — LiveJournal

Feb. 2nd, 2009

11:53 am - The New Faith of the True Emperor

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In August 2007, I put out an invitation to a few circles of my acquaintance to participate in a lexicon, a cooperative/competitive game invented by Neel Krishnaswami and played via wiki. If you've ever read Milorad Pavich's Dictionary of the Khazars, it's a lot like that. As a game.

The New Faith of the True Emperor was intended as a dark epic space opera on the topics of interstellar civil war and religious faith: a Convocation of the great religious minds of the galaxy coming together to synthesize a single religion for all sentient life to adhere to, in the name of eternal peace. Seeded with a few evocative terms, twelve players (among them dr_strych9, pweent, fredfred, jorm, and mister_borogove) set to the task of shaping the task to which the True Emperor had set them. Along the way, there were obstacles, complications, arguments, murder, and much much more. It has its dark moments, its epic moments, its space opera moments for sure, even as it plays tongue-and-cheek with cultural references, analogy, and just plain goofy weirdness.

The game stalled right in its concluding turns, thanks to half the players all working at a particular well-known Silicon Valley engineering firm that has been very busy in the past two years, but we got back together to wrap the game up this past holiday season. And now that we've told our story, we're putting it out there for everyone else to enjoy as well, preserved more or less in the state it existed in at the game's end, with a minimum of additional editing. There is something of a narrative thread in it, if you go looking, but really, you may just want to just dive in and browse randomly as well.

Enter The New Faith of the True Emperor


The New Faith lexicon is being released under a share-alike with-attribution non-commercial Creative Commons license.

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For consideration: if you stare into the game too long, the game will stare back into you. by which I mean, have a flame war with you.

Comments:

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From:ferociousj
Date:February 2nd, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
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I had the wiki link for this thing in my bookmarks, but hadn't had a chance to come back and check in a really long time. You crazy, magnificent bastards.
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From:jorm
Date:February 2nd, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
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This was an amazing amount of fun, even though I failed in my goal to transform all sentience into Perfection and bring about the Immanent Godhead.

I'll be sure to redouble my efforts next time.
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From:crisper
Date:February 2nd, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC)
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No doubt.
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From:crisper
Date:February 2nd, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
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Total word count of the complete set of files is around 276,000 words. Bunch of that is markup, of course, but we're still surely over 250k actual text content.
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From:shiffer
Date:February 3rd, 2009 09:33 am (UTC)
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Over the course of my sins I've found lexicons a lot of fun to write, and notoriously difficult to read from the outside. I'll definitely give this one a try, though.

I see you've used a chronological (plot-driven?) element in the round structure, instead of the usual alphabetical order. Very interesting...

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From:crisper
Date:February 3rd, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
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When we did the Toothpaste Disaster back in '04, we discovered that the entries provided a platform on which an almost real-time "right now" story developed - the lexicon ceased to be about the past events we were cataloging, and became what was happening to the characters themselves. For the New Faith, I wanted to heighten this even more by specifically laying out a very simple bullet-point plotline of "key events" that would change the rules ever so slightly along the way. It worked perfectly.

Additionally, during the Toothpaste Disaster, I noticed that strict alphabetical order meant that players had to come up with their personal endgame stories for ridiculous X and Z phrases, and I wanted to spare my players that. Ultimately what matters is that each player writes once in each letter block; the order matters less if you lay out a Sequential page for tracking what got written in the early game, what got written in the end.
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From:crisper
Date:February 3rd, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
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("We", in the case of the Toothpaste Disaster, being Allen Varney and the players of the game, many of whom went on to become the Traitor Recycling Studio, writing content for the Mongoose Publishing edition of PARANOIA.)
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From:archfalhwyl
Date:February 3rd, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
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*gasp* that's just.. amazing stuff. I've just lost a day's work thanks to that.
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From:jorm
Date:February 4th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
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And to think that we (the authors) lost *weeks* of work.
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From:archfalhwyl
Date:February 4th, 2009 09:50 am (UTC)
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*laugh* I've only just dipped in, I fully expect to lose more days later.

Actually, I'm considering scraping the site into a docx and turning into paper with blurb.com (or something) so I can read it in bed. I like physically turning pages, even though the hyperlinked nature means I'll be turning a lot of them.
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From:archfalhwyl
Date:March 12th, 2009 04:36 pm (UTC)
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Finally... that turned into a big job, involving some truly revolting python and regexps and quite a bit of hand-tweaking, but I've now got a copy of The True Faith of the New Emperor, on paper, sitting in front of me. It's 660 pages long, and that's without the stats, discussions etc. (would have been closer to 1000 with those). I did it in LaTeX in the end, via lulu.com. Internal references are implemented as smallcaps with subscripted page numbers.

It's bloody lovely, if possibly insane. It's just a private project for me at the moment - other people can't access it; I won't open it up unless I get permission to do so from you and your cohorts. It would (of course) be under a CC Attrib/NonCom/ShareAlike license.

The PDF is at http://rapidshare.com/files/208397395/main.pdf if you want a look.
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