(this echoes our Site Wide Content Notice – we’re trying out different wording and different approaches and feedback is welcome)
This is an RPG played out on the page by our own system members. The narrator of each story is effectively the GM, with our Senior Crew as game designers.
The setting is officially a generational starship that is one in a long, branching line of such starships that are capable of reproducing themselves. This process has continued for so long that no one knows where they all started from. There are clues, but never any concrete confirmation.
We’re pulling a Tolkien, and the conceit of these books is that they have been translated from the original language, Inmararräo, into English. And the translator has taken the liberty of inserting contemporary American English vernacular, names, and references so that the modern Terran readers who are likely to stumble accross it can have the most accurate emotional reactions to the things in the book. “Human” in these books means “person.” And “Thomas” is probably not actually Thomas’ name.
It is also a qualitative reflection of our inworld, but not a quantitative or empirical one. Some things get blown way out of proportion, or just plain work differently, in order for them to be interesting for us to play with and explore. The names of people are the same as those of us who actually exist in our system, but descriptions and roles may be a bit different. Their actions are very different.
This is not an actual history of our system, but Hailing Scales does it delve into the big themes of our life! This, of course, includes death, so you can expect to encounter instances of death and characters dealing with it in a few points. It also includes various forms of childhood trauma, so there’s that, too.
We tackle some pretty big concepts and ethical dilemmas here as well. A few of the touchier ones include:
– Eugenics can’t actually work on a lot of things, like gender variance and Autism, but that doesn’t make it OK to do it, either.
– We don’t know if genetic engineering is necessarily eugenics, but it seems like it is, and we’re exploring that.
– Artificial Intelligence is only inherently what we make it.
– Plurality is not inherently traumagenic.
– Dysphoria is not necessarily always something to do with gender.
– Even if you had a genderless society, you’d still have people with physical dysphoria and you’d still have people grouping themselves with each other at least in a superficial way such as via pronouns.
– Fusion or merging doesn’t have to be permanent.
– Even in a relatively healthy system, dissociation can be used as a punitative measure and you kinda have to keep an eye on that, because it can be a problem.
– Consent and Autonomy in all things is a great ideal but also inherently an ethical dilemma that gets hard to navigate.
– An asexual story can be written by asexual people and still be compelling and fun to read for everyone.
– If there’s one consistent thing about consciousness, it’s that it’s weird.
We probably don’t handle all of these particularly well, and we’re open to discussions about how to improve things.
Finally, when you’re reading these stories, if you ask yourself “would it work this way in real life?” or “is this a good lesson for people navigating a modern earth culture?” you’re asking the wrong questions. These stories are all about inner-system dynamics and ethics. There may be some parallels and analogs, and you may be able to compare and contrast outworld stuff with this inworld stuff, but it’s probably best to do so with caution.
Also, systems are all really different from each other, so your mileage may really vary there, too.
We’ve left the greater universe that this takes place in rather open. So if you’d like to create your own parallel or ancestor ship inspired by the Sunspot, please do! And tell us about it! Maybe we can coordinate a crossover. If you don’t want your ship to have anything to do with the languages or mythology we’ve constructed, that’s OK, too. There’s room for that in the history. (We are actually working on TTRPG rules for this, too, to eventually release.)