Characteristics of Core Worlds vs. Frontier Worlds

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Darkwing, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    The rpg 2300 A.D. was the first place I saw this concept explicated for science fiction, but it made a lot of sense to me, and I see some of this in the UFP - the Maquis are colonists, Earth is a Core world. It's kind of like the old west and the eastern city slickers concept. Joss Whedon used it to great effect in Firefly.

    Well, I've never sat down and worked out the spectrum from ultra-liberal, high-population, highly-urbanized, soft-living intellectuals on a major politically powerful world down through the back-of-beyond, thinly-populated, barely-settled, hard-scrabble colony with minimal education facilities. But there'd be a lot more variation than the original concept implied, and I'm running a Traveller game now, which has a galaxy full of planets, with wide variation, and damn-all for details about the societies. Between that and wanting to work with the concept in some of my Trek fanfic when I get a chance to start writing again, I want to flesh out the idea and give some details to the variations. Large, older colonies might not qualify as core worlds yet, but would sure seem like it to someone from one of the smaller colonies. OTOH, a small society settled by reactionaries from a homeworld might have been settled long enough and be built up enough to be a core world, but has rougher, more frontieresque attitudes, laws, and mores.

    So, any suggestions to help build this? The idea is to give a thumbnail of a realistic, feasible society and where it fits in this spectrum, not to write up L. Niel Smith's body of fiction as UFP colonies. While I do enjoy his writing, his people and world seem too artificial, and the good guys win a little blatantly solely because the laws of physics favor libertarianism. I want a guide that can help make each world my players visit seem different, without a month-long background.
    Traveller uses a few metrics to differentiate a planet: Population level, law level (mostly concerned with privacy and weapons), tech level, and the planet's characteristics, such as atmosphere type, size (gravity), water percentage, etc.
    I guess I'm thinking of a kind of Cultural sophistication level and survivalism level, but not as linear as Traveller usually does it.

    Any input?
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Because the homeworlds of the Federation Membership are scattered over the volume of the Federation's territory, there really wouldn't be a "core."

    There might be a central area where the earlier Members are located, but many of the later, and farther out, Members to join could have civilizations much older and more advances than those in the central area. So being outside the central area wouldn't make them somehow "frontieresque."

    Earth's colonies, certainly the early one would also be in the central area, near Earth if possible.

    The overall Membership on the other hand while not existing in a single core, would not automatically be evenly distributed and could be situated in clumps.

    :)
     
  3. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    This dry land thing is too wierd!
    Point taken. While they might not be centrally grouped, there would likely be a difference. 2300 used the core world term; I haven't thought of a better one; Homeworld doesn't work, because that precludes earlier, larger colonies from developing into the same sort of major society. Any ideas on better terminology? I want to avoid "developed" so as to stay away from implying '3rd world' too much. Yeah, there'd be 3rd world-style planets, probably rebuilding after a fall, but frontier colonists from a developed nation aren't the same sort of 'developing nation'.
     
  4. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm curious what the avant garde look like in the 23rd and 24th centuries. We usually see the more traditional or conservative parts of future societies, but what's cutting edge for those we imagine on the cutting edge? And I mean in a good way, not some lazy dystopian Morlock and Eloi analogy.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wonder too. One of the things that disappoints me about Star Trek is we really didn't get to see the Federation's society and overall culture. I understand that the show centered upon Starfleet and it's advenures. But, the surrounding society of a multi-species interstellar culture was largely absent. We saw no contemporary art, heard no future music.

    Now we did see some future fashions, and while not every fan enjoyed it, I give TPTB credit for showing it.

    :)
     
  6. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    GR touched on that in the novelization of The Motion Picture, talking about the unfortunate tendency of starship officers prior to Kirk's generation to "go native" and the rise of such things as the New Human movement on Earth.

    Kirk's generation of officers was supposedly deliberately selected to be "conservative" as you put it to counteract that effect.

    The NH movement went on to feature heavily in the novel Triangle.
     
  7. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, I always wanted to see more on that, too. Personally, I think the New Humans collective would have been a lot scarier threat than the Borg!

    But as I recall, Roddenberry didn't say Kirk's generation of officers was more conservative, so much as not quite as intelligent - still smart, but that the ones at the top of the bell curve were more likely to be open to new ideas and more easily seduced by alien societies. He said that Starfleet tended to be more conservative than the civilians, believing in old-fashioned things like duty, honor, country, etc. His idea of conservative was far more liberal than today tends to think of, in their opennes to new cultures and ideas. Kirk's generation was thought of as less intelligent than their predecessors, which I thought was an unfortunate implication. On a sidenote, if Spock wasn't one of the smartest officers in Starfleet, how many Daystroms served?
    Did Roddenberry really think out this tidbit? He basically implied that conservatives weren't quite as smart as liberals, but also that the presumably smarter liberals either had minds so open their brains fell out or were so smart they went nuts!

    But back to the earlier point: So Kirk's saying that civilians were into crazy, ultra-liberal things, and Starfleet is stodgy and old-fashioned - kind of like the 60s, and then illustrates with the New Human movement. Except for Triangle, we never hear about them again, and a century later, Starfleet is much the same, except we explicitly hear their chosen music is mostly classical - very conservative. TNG wasn't going to risk trying to show 24th century music, like Buck Rogers did! And while we never saw it on screen, Diane Duane did include Devo in the 23rd century's definition of classical composers...

    Personally, I think of the music as interpretive substitution - Picard probably wasn't listening to what we heard, and Riker didn't call it Berlioz. Those are simply what we heard, because if it was some weird 22nd century piece the audience didn't recognize, and Riker asked about the composer M'Oktra from D'Geb V, we wouldn't get the joke.

    It'd still be nice to see what passed for normal music and cutting edge art in the milieu, as well as what was hanging on as yesterday's.
     
  8. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    This dry land thing is too wierd!
    So, for terminology, I've got "Homeworld", which is really just the first "Core World", and "Frontier World", and, has been pointed out, at least in Trek, this isn't quite accurate. But Frontiersmen and City-slickers isn't useful either. So I'm still looking for better terminology and a wider gradation of the categories.
     
  9. robau

    robau Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I keep wishing for a new series centered on Federation society on Earth. But it couldn't be called Star Trek I suppose. And it would probably fail miserably.
     
  10. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I always imagined the core Federation worlds to be Earth, Vulcan, Andor(ia), Tellar, and possibly Alpha Centauri--with the rest of the Federation expanding outwards from them in an irregular (or inkblot) shape. Because of the proximity of other governments like the Klingons, the Romulans, the Cardassians, etc., also determining the shape of the Federation, some of the frontier worlds may be relatively close to Earth (only days away at high warp) while others could be considerably far away (months or even a year or two away at high warp).

    Along the Federation's core systems, Starfleet may have a very high presence while it's totally the opposite along the outer sectors. In such a case, starbases become very important as some of them may be the only source for Starfleet assistance and/or Federation administration for many light-years.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    TOS made a point of several worlds specializing in being recreation spots for the rest of the Federation; TNG mentioned planets of scholars and artists and freethinkers. We also learned of planets owned by individuals or by businesses. Since habitable worlds are in bountiful supply, and interstellar travel is dirt cheap, it may indeed be that a key characteristic of the Federation is the specialization of entire worlds (generally colonies rather than homeworlds, supposedly) for the pursuit of a single agenda, including esoteric ones.

    This I guess is the dynamic that would dominate the landscape in the gaming: it is an anarchist hodgepodge of ideals out there, and a traveler is likely to meet a great variety of ideologies and cultures. But not at the "colony zone", where everybody is a dull Amish-type "rebel" who feels that any deviation from the galactic standard of stoic settler philosophy is an affront to his freedom of identity...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. Thomas L

    Thomas L Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Something like Hub-worlds and peripheral-worlds or old world and new world maybe?
     
  13. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    Darkwing, I mean "conservative" in the technical, prosaic sense of the word, not as it is applied to 21st century politics. I believe that he actually used the word "throwback" at at least one point.

    It was meant to imply that yes, Kirk's generation of officers was in fact chosen to be less culturally "flexible" than their predecessors.
     
  14. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And yet they were very nimble to new ideas and noble to lofty ones.

    Never read Triangle - any good?

    New Human movement's interesting (ONE movement among many I'd imagine) but only if it's viable and not, again, Eloi's prancing around paradise. That's easy dystopian dreck.
     
  15. Captain Nebula

    Captain Nebula Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Star Trek's culture is quite a bit different than Traveller's culture. In Star Trek, 24th Century colonies can have a replicator, a miniature antimatter reactor, a phaser rifle, and a subspace communicator in every household. Being able to request information over subspace alone would give the colonies a leg up.

    That being said, you're basically looking at the difference between the City culture, the Suburbs, the Rural culture, and people who live far removed from any contact with society. The City and maybe the Suburb folks would have every new gadget and gizmo and wear the latest styles. And those in the Rural areas would get by with what they have or can improvise.

    The same can be said with Traveller - a subsector capitol on a Trade route and an X-Boat route would have access to so much more new and novel, well... everything, pretty much. The backwater worlds on the other hand might not even get their mail for a while.

    I can see mail-order catalogs working really well in a Traveller setting. People on the backwater worlds would be able to see what is trendy or "new and improved" even if it's not in the "local" stores. And order it through the catalog service - but it would take several weeks or even months to show up. This would all be done over the X-Boat network, of course. And it would be much more expensive to be shipped over parsecs or subsectors.

    I hope that helped.
     
  16. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    Thomas L, I like the Hub and Periphery idea, but would like to extend the range a bit. Got any more ideas? Captain Nebula's list is pretty much what I'm thinking, reinterpreted into far-flung worlds, but also tracking access to technology, art, etc. Small, rich colonies near major routes might have very different cultural attitudes than old, poor main-worlds that have regressed.
    In general, population density tends to change attitudes towards privacy, individual rights, police, free speech, laws, and more. A small, new place might have a short list of crimes that everyone has a similar understanding of, while a large, old place might have had to render that same list into 121,311 pages of laws, spelled out in great complexity, to cover all interpretations.
    Captain Nebula, my Traveller campaign was just the vector to get that thought rolling again, but your ideas in that vein were helpful. I'm going to have to think a bit about how that will affect the game - the players are running a tramp freighter with a horrible propensity to misjump catastrophically.
     
  17. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    Arpy, the novel was very good, although you do have to slog through the Marshak/Culbreath writing style. But the New Humans are not Eloi, and not a viable movement for individuals. It's a telepathic shared-consciousness. Every person who joins becomes part of the same collective Mind and loses their individuality. Much scarier than Borg, because you can't see the difference.
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Species homeworld is a good place to start. or maybe "birthworld" would be better.

    There really should be different terms for the various colony worlds, depending upon age. Earth already had colonies before ENT began. So by the 24th century some of them would be over two centuries old, and are likely fairly well developed. Especially if they recieved constant migration.

    Some Federation Members could have had warp drive for thousands of years, Vulcan did (but apparently lost it), and they could have colony worlds that are thousands of years old.

    :)
     
  19. Darkwing

    Darkwing Commodore Commodore

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    Diane Duane used Hearthworlds to describe cultural mainworlds. Homeworlds describe the world a species calls home, whereas birthworld would describe the one it evolved on - America is a home country, but England was the birth country for many of the colonists in the dominant culture then extant in the part that defined the nation we became. Of course, it was also the birth country of the natives, and then there were all the other European settlers...
    So Hub worlds / Core Worlds / Main Worlds can be indpendent, mature colonies or homeworlds or other variations.