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Australia, anyone?
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Lich-Loved
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:34 am    Post subject: Australia, anyone? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I like to base my game worlds on real-world locations. It gives a certain feel to the places that I find hard to invent otherwise. In doing some research for one of my continents, I spent some time researching Australia and became enamored and intrigued with the place.

Since I know we have a few Aussies here, can anyone tell me the good and the bad of living in Australia? I don't hear a lot of news about it except the technical stuff. I know, for example, that the government is heavily cracking down on ISPs for filesharing and porn but that is about all I know. I favor (favour?) the deep southern regions like Victoria and NSW or perhaps southern WA rather than the more northerly areas. So, anyone care to share anecdotes about Australia or provide a link to a site or two that gives honest opinions about daily life there? Everything I have found so far is very tourist/travel focused and I am looking for more mundane information about living there.

Thanks
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sydney is surrounded by a 15m tall wall made out of steel and concrete. Even so, the bugs and 'saurs make regular attempts to climb over or push through - defending the wall requires constant vigilance. The locks are quite impressive: each side has an enormous metal gear that rolls into and out of place, it looks like nothing so much as a Cardassian space station. Unfortunately, unless you're coming in on the South Entrance, the entire lock area is only 15 meters across, meaning that you can't go in or out with an 18 wheeler. That's why most goods come in and out by boat or through the Train Iris.

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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

To my extreme rage Australia has passed the United States as fattest country.

I'm doing my part to correct this gross injustice. THE UNITED STATES IS FALLING BEHIND ON EVERYTHING BUT WE WILL NOT LOSE THIS WAR AMERICA FUCK YEAH UNGH UNF EAGLEFUKKEN APPLE PIE MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
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Josh Kablack wrote:
Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.
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Draco_Argentum
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:45 am    Post subject: Re: Australia, anyone? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lich-Loved wrote:
So, anyone care to share anecdotes about Australia or provide a link to a site or two that gives honest opinions about daily life there? Everything I have found so far is very tourist/travel focused and I am looking for more mundane information about living there.

Thanks


The major left wing party leans right. They're seriously selling the railway here. Latent racism abounds. Everyone loves sport.

Its like the US but not as entrepreneurial. Also Tall Poppy Syndrome is a national favourite.
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Our native wildlife is cute, cuddly and delicious. Kangaroos taste really good. But they are known to carry AA-weapons.

We also have deadly: snakes (top 3 in the world, beyatches!), spiders (funnelweb sadly ranks second), scorpions, centipedes, bees, wasps, hornets, flies, ticks, birds, kangaroos, lizards (we have one of the two only venomous lizards), swimming knives, coral, spiky rocks, sting/electric rays, eels, sharks, crocodiles, octopuses, jellyfish (includes invisible ones), shells, sheep, platypuses, spiky bastards, trees...

Ever played one of those old video games where anything you touch instantly kills you? That's Australia.

Also we one of each type of terrain (desert, rainforest, ice palace etc.) and it's usually very hot.
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Count Arioch the 28th
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Pssht, funnel webs are wusses. The #1 spider only kills 2.5% of who it bites.

Spider-bashing aside, it's weird that so much shit in real life kills you in Australia, and yet they won't let you have zombie games. I find that a bit silly.
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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Ice palace in Australia? Or was that just snark?
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Josh Kablack wrote:
Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.
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Lich-Loved
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Count wrote:
Spider-bashing aside, it's weird that so much shit in real life kills you in Australia, and yet they won't let you have zombie games. I find that a bit silly.
Eh wot? Seriously?

Koumei wrote:
Ever played one of those old video games where anything you touch instantly kills you? That's Australia.

I thought you might have something funny to say. Tongue So, why is it AusFAILia to you?

Draco wrote:
The major left wing party leans right. They're seriously selling the railway here. Latent racism abounds. Everyone loves sport.

Its like the US but not as entrepreneurial. Also Tall Poppy Syndrome is a national favourite.

Can you explain each of these reference a bit more please?
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

On a more serious note:

This is an actual joke that some actual Australians told me completely unsolicited:

"What is the difference between an Aborigine and a bucket of shit?"
"Answer: One bucket."

That kind of completely unfunny and frankly terrifying racism is pretty much endemic amongst Aussies. Even guys who seem kind of cool will refer to things that are bad as "Abo" which is short for Aborigine. Apparently Aborigines are still poor after the Aussies graciously took down the last concentration camps in the 1970s and never paid any restitution and only even apologized for putting them in camps and stealing their children in the first place like a year ago.

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Count Arioch the 28th
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lich-Loved wrote:
Count wrote:
Spider-bashing aside, it's weird that so much shit in real life kills you in Australia, and yet they won't let you have zombie games. I find that a bit silly.
Eh wot? Seriously?


Well, it was a bit more broad than I meant it to be. I was making a reference to LEft4Dead being refused classification.
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Crissa
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It's not like it's the first zombie game they've had trouble with.

-Crissa
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Count Arioch the 28th
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
On a more serious note:

This is an actual joke that some actual Australians told me completely unsolicited:

"What is the difference between an Aborigine and a bucket of shit?"
"Answer: One bucket."

That kind of completely unfunny and frankly terrifying racism is pretty much endemic amongst Aussies. Even guys who seem kind of cool will refer to things that are bad as "Abo" which is short for Aborigine. Apparently Aborigines are still poor after the Aussies graciously took down the last concentration camps in the 1970s and never paid any restitution and only even apologized for putting them in camps and stealing their children in the first place like a year ago.

-Frank

When I started posting here, I knew some Aussies from other boards. It was a shock when Koumei, Draco, Phonelobster, and the other aussies WEREN'T screaming psychotic racists who went off on aborigines at a drop of a hat.

I have heard that aussies don't like asians, but the person who told me that was a giant douche and they may have just not liked him for being a douchebag.
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Mask_De_H
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Because when I think of Australia now, I think of Warhammer 40K. Courtesy of a new Deathworld thread on 4chan.

/tg/ wrote:
There is a dark and foreboding place where few men dare tread, and where those who do tread speak with indecipherable accents. A place that will rape your Emperor loving soul and be left unquenched, sitting there silently... taunting your soul's now-swollen asshole with its maddening silence - where is your God now?! There's no way that such a hellish, fiendish nexus of putrid rot and agony could exist! Well, it does, and that place is none other than the continent of Australia.

But Australia, some say? Not the home of Kangaroos and Crocodile Dundee! Not the merry, magical land of Fosters beer fountains, Koalas, and effeminate metrosexual fashion that would make Brad Pitt blush.

Thou foul. Thou art deceived by wicked, impure forces! Thou art seduced by dark conjurers whose words are as laced with poison as your beloved Koala's eucalyptus leaves.Australia is a terrible place that leaves none but the strongest (or the gayest, for some peculiar reason) alive. Why else would the British have designated the entire continent as a PRISON COLONY for the worst scum of the earth Britain had to offer? Now granted, the British are prudes, and their idea of a rapscallion (or whatever the fuck those pussy-ass redcoats call it) probably just meant somebody who didn't butter his crumpet right, or whose grammar didn't sexually arouse the Queen enough. But still - the fact that this land was designated as a death trap so that foppish aristocrats could go back to their polo games in peace says something about the assumed lethality of this place.


And that lethality is more than just an assumption. Out of the intelligently-designed cruelty of some cock-sucking asshole of a God, or just dumb luck, Australia has the largest concentration of venomous, aggressive, and black-hearted creatures on Earth. The Box Jellyfish, the most ruthless, terrifying, and pants-shittingly evil killer of men (some people die as soon as 4 minutes after being stung) - lives off the shore. The Sydney Funnel Web Spider, whose bite can cause PERMANENT open sores if it doesn't just kill you outright, and whose temperment - unlike most cowardly spiders - actually compels them to actively pursue you and repeatedly bite you - calls Australia its home. The Australian Death Adder... well, shit, why do you think they named it that? The Saltwater Crocodile, none other than the LARGEST REPTILE ON EARTH, guess where he dwells? If you're bold enough about water to still take baths, I doubt that smug look of non-terror on your face would remain if you knew that the horror that is the Blue-Ringed Octopus frequents all coasts around the continent; the LD-50 of its venom (as in, the amount of the substance that will kill 50% of the test subjects) is so high that a single dose is enough to kill 20 fucking grown men. The Australian Jumper Ant - responsible for over 90% of Australia's emergency anaphylactic shock cases - is so sadistic and predatory that it actually has been known to wait on tree branches to ambush people below!

Even the plants are fucked up in Australia. Known only as "The Stinging Tree," this spawn of Satan looks deceptively innocuous. It's a mild-mannered-looking thing that's merely covered with tiny hairs. But the slightest touch of those hairs has been known to instantly kill rodents within a day, paralyze dingos and dogs, and cause excruciating pain (and yes, even death) to humans. I mean fuck, seeding the land with enormous reptilian carnivores and holocaustic insects is bad enough. But disguising certain agony and death as a little tree is truly a hallmark trait of sociopathic genius.

Then there's the Platypus. He deserves his own paragraph because of how much of a deceiver he is. He lulls you into complacency because his neurotoxic spurs don't directly kill humans most of the time. Don't be fooled; you'd beg for death. All human victims of Platypus stings suffer immediate hyperalgesia (clinical hypersensitivity to any sensation of pain) for weeks or even months after the sting! That's Australia's way of saying "don't fuck with me, asshole, or I'll send a Salt Water Crocodile to fuck you up and shove Box Jellyfish up your urethra while force-feeding your wife eucalyptus leaves. That'll teach you not to use the word "crikey" in a pejorative context. Fuck-ass."

Australia is a psychotic, cold-blooded murderer that would swallow you whole if you so much as left the front door of your house (and this is assuming that your Sydney Funnel Web barricades are in working order). Whoever thought up the concept of Australia was inflicted with the madness of Nietzsche and the megalomania of Qin Shi Huangdi. And you know what? Genocidal, rampaging hellholes bent on exterminating all
life on Earth are truly badass.

That is why Australia should be your next deathworld OP

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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

That kind of completely unfunny and frankly terrifying racism is pretty much endemic amongst Aussies. Even guys who seem kind of cool will refer to things that are bad as "Abo" which is short for Aborigine. Apparently Aborigines are still poor after the Aussies graciously took down the last concentration camps in the 1970s and never paid any restitution and only even apologized for putting them in camps and stealing their children in the first place like a year ago.

-Frank


To be fair, FrankTrollman, in the United States we still have people whining about the Lost Cause of the South. And don't forget about the insane border militia people.

I've recently read a vigilante crime thriller comic called Foolkiller: White Angel. While most stories in the genre exaggerate the villainy of its subjects so people feel less bad about others sadistically killing them, the white supremacists in that book would've been a dead-on accurate representation of what things were like 45-50 years ago. And if we're willing to go back 80-90 years that would've been a nice depiction.
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Josh Kablack wrote:
Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.
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PhoneLobster
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was going to write up a big thing and then I was like "But I'll start with the character of Australian society, which means talking about racism, but that will be alienating..." but yay, now I can!

What Sort Of RPG setting is Australia?
Australia is a horror RPG setting. Or at best an action horror/action conspiracy setting.

A number of factors lend it to this role.

1) Harsh natural environment
2) Isolation and low population
3) Harsh society

So I'm going to talk about Australia or "Straiya" as many locals might pronounce it in those terms.

In addition I'm actually going to be honest and work from actual facts (and paranoid extrapolations from those facts)rather than just making shit up.

But it's worth pointing out that making shit up about Australia and lying to foreigners is considered a major and hilarious hobby shared by all Australians.

And that in itself says a lot about our society. And is a hook for any amount of horror/conspiracy RPG. After all. Which crazy stories are true? Which crazy stories are lies? And with all the confusion, what have we got to hide that we make up all this crap? Worse still, considering all the crazy stuff we DO tell you, what sort of entirely true crazy stories are we NOT telling you at all.

...that bit about our society and racism in a little while...
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PhoneLobster
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The character of Australian society
Self described "Aussies" have a culture defined by a number of aspects.

1) Seething Racism
Why is Australia such a racist nation? We have really very little excuse for it. We are after all a multicultural nation of migrants, recent migrants at that. If you don't have AT LEAST a grand parent or two that was born in another country you are a minority.

But it seems hardly does a wave of ethnic migrants step off the boat and then suddenly their kids are spreading racist bullshit about the NEXT ethnicity to arrive in the nation.

Remember the Cronulla riots? Those happened. Like just a couple of years ago. In pretty much the heart of our oldest, biggest and (nearly) most metropolitan city waves of thugs ran down the streets beating up anyone vaguely brown and chanting "Kill the Lebs, Kill the Wogs". And odds are good plenty of those ignorant racist jerks running down those streets were at least second or third generation descendants of Italian and Greek migrants.

Perhaps it's because Australia is a continent in and of itself. We have no strange neighbours sharing a land border. And while mysterious and subversive New-Zealanders move freely among us they basically are more like us than Canadians are like USA residents. Our more "alien" neighbors in Papua New Guinea hardly ever come and visit, probably wouldn't even if they had the money to, and we pretty much snub them too. And those Antarcticans haven't so much as sent us a Christmas card.

But presumably part of this odd phenomenon is an effort to blend in with the racist "base" culture that has been here ever since the very famous days of the "White Australia Policy". Yes, we had an actual government policy that was actually officially called that, and yes, it pretty much was what it sounds like. And it was recent. There are migrants (often as not racist migrants) in Australia who had to live under its zany oppressive boot.

One of the White Australia policy's more famous tricks was the dreaded "language" test. Where police and immigration officials were empowered to test your "integration" into Australian society through your language skills. They asked you questions in a foreign language and you had to answer in English. If you failed you got deported. But here is the kicker, they could and did use any foreign language they liked and tended to pick ones that their current target wouldn't reasonably be expected to know. So Greek migrants really had to brush up not just on English, but also Japanese and every other language on earth that a racist government official might mis-pronounce out of a translation dictionary.

And if you don't see adventure hooks in THAT then well, how about...

Another famed attempt to keep us nice and white involved importing a bunch of really young white kids from under privileged white families in Britain. Kids that were basically conned, bought or outright kidnapped from their families! That wasn't that long ago. Some of those kids are still alive!

But Australian racism dates back well before White Australia because we also are racist dicks to the Aboriginals. Indeed, for all the migrant bashing (entirely literal migrant bashing might I add, so bad India has actually lately been making complaints about just the Indian bashing to our government), for all that is bad its nothing compared to our treatment of Aboriginals.

This isn't the whole "Deep South" or "Confederacy" style racism. Though sure, we had black slaves on the plantations up in Queensland, well, not all that long ago actually. Its more Apartheid South Africa level, maybe in some ways even worse.

Now originally we eradicated them, drove them into reserves, all the usual colonial shit. Indeed its widely taught in schools (with near accuracy) that we actually entirely eradicated the native population of Tasmania. But we really covered up a lot of the history of this. Like I recently mentioned, small wars were fought between large numbers of rebellious aboriginals and actual government soldiers, but you won't find more than whispered off hand hints of this in the historical record. (Adventure hooks galore again!).

Then we did the whole "stolen generation thing" where the kids all got kidnapped by the government and given away to white families and pedophile priests as "adoptive" children (read as unpaid child labor servants in most cases). And again, some of those kids are still alive today.

And now most Aboriginals starve and die in third world settlements in their various inland communities in crumbling shanty towns. Our government does NOT provide them with proper medical care or even police and law enforcement. Aboriginals though a tiny minority of the general population are MASSIVELY over represented in prisons, and are STILL beaten to death in police custody in Queensland on a semi regular basis.

Hell in parts of Queensland to this day a white civilian can booze up. Drive their car OFF the road to hit an aboriginal, reverse over them, run them over again, drive off and let them die, and not get so much as a ticket or fine.

Why we don't have aboriginal terrorists blowing up the opera house I'll never know. Probably because they're pretty sure well just start running the concentration camp crematoriums if they get too uppity.

Oh did I mention concentration camps? Did you know we (still) have "detention centers" where we imprison legitimate refugees for years on end for the crime of being desperate refugees? It's not as bad as it used to be under the jack booted John Howard, but lets just say their going pretty slow on shutting the whole thing down (well it WAS a huge and elaborate undertaking I suppose). And adventure hook wise it keeps turning out that the immigration department was fairly regularly "accidentally" grabbing tourists and actual Australian citizens and "accidentally" imprisoning them for no reason with no hearing for up to four or five years. Also there were kids in there. Some of them grew up entirely in detention. Oh and it was run by shady private American firms, and Howard put through legislation exempting the detention centers from normal Australian law, and some of the guards were rapists, and... and... etc...

Anyway, on to other things...
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Oddly enough, I've practically never encountered the horrible racists, even though I live in the South. Usually just cases of people talking about "those damn complaining poms".

Yeah, I know I've said my share of disparaging things about Asians. So maybe racism just does happen naturally here.

I was lying about the ice palace, but everything else is there. And you just about believed it. Which just showed how great our national pastime is.

I call it Ausfailia because that's just how it is. The place in general is pretty crap.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

More Australian character

2) The Friendly Fun Loving Aussie
Australians have an incredible reputation for being fun nice people. The famous image being the blond blue eyed sexy beach bum Aussie. Straight forward, honest, just a bit crass but with a heart of gold.

This is of course pretty much crap. Australian Tourists abroad and Australians in the hospitality industry locally rate no better than other nationalities, and tourists within Australia (rightly) rate most Australians they encounter not in the hospitality industry as being largely unpleasant and unwelcoming.

So. What's up with the fun loving image?

Well first of all Australians themselves really like it. So WE constantly keep patting each other on the back about it because most of us are largely oblivious and ignorant of our own behavior and the sorts of ACTUAL behavior exhibited by foreigners. (try asking an "Aussie" who mentions how famously nice his people are, in exactly what way are foreigners less nice, watch the idiot become instantly flummoxed).

But largely it is the fault of the British, and of various famous Australian exports. See the BRITISH really like us, we're a breath of fresh air, sunny in disposition by mere association with our WEATHER ALONE.

But more than that we export certain things to them, like Home And Away a long running Australian soapy about some (very white, very blond, very sunny) beach side town. Much of the Aussie image stems entirely from that show.

And then theres people like Clive James and Kylie Minogue, a whole bunch of famous Australian ex-patriots that are variously funny, sexy, intelligent, irreverent and entertaining.

What the British, the world, and most of all the Aussies forget is that these people ARE ex-pats. People who largely actively FLED Australia often not just for their careers but in search of a greater more accepting, more tolerant and more intelligent culture. Try actually ASKING Clive James about the issue, he has plenty to say about it.

When you get right down to it Aussies aren't all Clive James, that Wolverine guy and Kylie Minogue. Most of us are more like Mel Gibson, if you are lucky. (Even if he was apparently born in New York and widely rumored to be one of those sneaky New Zealanders).

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Another aspect of the mysterious reputation of the Aussie "character" is probably due in part to, get this, Rupert Murdoch. Yeah I know. Crazy hey. But that dramatically right wing vicious capitalist news mogul, now living in America and most famously for you guys running Fox News no less, IS indeed in charge of a massive media empire. Much of the current propaganda on the Aussie character is basically a by product of his own self marketing and personal PR. No really.

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You can even trace the very beginning of the "Aussie" image back to a British Officer in world war one who basically wrote and invented the whole thing from thin air as an act of war propaganda and what he saw as charitable "nation building" for one of the colonies.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Even more character crap...

3) Beer
Australians are major alcoholics. Being an Alcoholic (that is someone with an actual drinking "problem" in any sane nation, not merely being someone who enjoys a little drink, being an honest to goodness Alcoholic) is an important credential in every day Aussie society.

NOT being an alcoholic, worse, not being a drinker at all, is a serious social disability more so than in at least some other nations. You are pretty much expected, especially outside of the isolated capitals, to do basically all of your socializing over beer (a lot of it) down at the local pub. Or at a stretch a "club" which is to say a "Workers" or Retired Serviceman's "club" (or maybe a Bowling Club), which is like a pub only run as a local franchise of one of various sorts of elderly conservative mafia organizations.

Australian drinking isn't just about the daily grind of beer and beer and beer, its also about the weekly binge of even more beer the monthly party binge of even even more beer on top of that, and maybe some bourbon, and maybe some Baileys and maybe some vodka, and maybe some other alcohol on top of that. And that's not counting the big events like 21sts or regular high school age parties. Or the hard core parties where you throw in some e, crystal meth and fuck knows what else that your friendly local Bikie has in stock.

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Many towns are packed with pubs. Go to any back woods half abandoned tiny country "town". If it has like TWO buildings on its main street. One is a pub. The other one. Is also a pub.

4) Isolation
Australian racism probably springs from its international isolation. The Australian "friendly" image probably is preserved by international isolation. The Australian focus on beer as a social lubricant is probably fueled in part by the isolation from any social venue other than local pubs and the distance to reach them being too great to be worth it if you aren't drinking (a lot) of beer once you get there.

But isolation shapes the character of Australians and their society in a lot of other ways. We are isolated from the international community. We are isolated from the centers of limited culture and wealth in our capitals and we are isolated from each other.

And this isn't just some namby pamby "emotional" isolation. Though we have plenty of that (don't ever let Aussies convince you they are empathic open friendly and without social hangups and shit, that's just their ignorance talking). We are talking hard physical isolation through DISTANCE.

Outside of the capitals places are a long way apart. And outside of the populated regions they are even MORE a long way apart. I like like 40 minutes drive from almost ANYTHING, with NO public transport, and I'm right in the center of the world compared to plenty of genuinely rural Australians. I'm like, right on the edge of a bustling wealthy cultural metropolis as far as they're concerned (or in the fringes of an under populated poorly serviced regional town as far as a European or something would be concerned).

This isolation leads to there being two (or more) different Australias. See. In the big cities like Sydney and Melbourne and... OK Sydney and Melbourne. The people, the culture, the physical services provided by the public and private economy are very different to what you see in rural areas. But more than that, the only sensible way to casually travel between these cities (Except maybe between Sydney and Canberra, but that hardly counts) is by air, so even the metropolitan cultures of Australia are very isolated from each other.

I live, and operate a business like an hour and a bit's drive from (the northern edge of the sweltering sprawl of) Sydney on the Freeway. For a rural type like me that drive is nothing and I make it regularly on deliveries and business. For many a Sydney Sider that drive may as well put me on the MOON and they will seriously mail order my products over the internet rather than purchase superior versions by just turning up at my place.

And lucky for them I even HAVE the internet (sort of) because I'm in the rural fringes of Novacastria and I don't even have tarred roads, curb and guttering, sewerage, fluoridated running town water, a postman, garbage pick up, public transport, working mobile phone coverage or even especially reliable electricity.

And I live in the middle of a "populous" rural residential zoned region in a god damned tourist district at a god damned tourist VENUE.

Our town has a general store (doubles as pseudo-pub or "bottle-o"), and we are damned lucky to have that much in the way of services available to the (rather large by Australian standards) local community.

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Now Isolation has a BIG impact for horror games and RPGs in general. It means that you can have characters in Melbourne who seriously don't give a shit about (or know about) anything that happens in Sydney unless it makes the national news, and even then so what, it's fucking Sydney, they hate fucking Sydney.

And it means NO ONE knows what the fuck is happening in Bathhurst, and if anything at all has ever happened in Mutawinji then the locals sure as hell aren't telling any of the rest of us about it.

So you can like go to Witchelina and giant fucking Monster Mutant Lung Fish or something can block the only road out of town and the only way anyone is going to know is IF Telstra has managed to provide the locals with a single bar or more of mobile coverage, which is unlikely. And Witchelina is relatively accessible, I mean its on fucking google maps. If you're somewhere like a camp site on Lake Maurice then good fucking luck contacting civilization even if there AREN'T giant mutant monster lung fish attacking.

And while fictional giant lung fish are fun, this sort of thing actually happens with floods and stuff like all the time. ALL the time.

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The gaps between all the isolated stuff in Australia is mostly filled with DESERT. Even the "woodland" or "bush" dominant along the relatively hospitable East Coast is stark, dry and unlivable to the untrained, more so than most European and American equivalents. Hell you could die of thirst or hunger in FARMLAND trying to walk back to civilization after a hypothetical giant mutant lungfish attack in parts of Australia. On the side of a god damned ROAD waiting to hitch a ride even.

Don't let the hilarious killer animal and plant stories fool you. The Australian "bush", "scrub" and desert are deadly just by their very NATURE as much or more so than some of their creepy crawly inhabitants.

Well thats enough random "character of" rambling. I might cover some places and regions later on.
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PhoneLobster
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Places In Australia
Geology
Australia is like the oldest god damn continent around. We have relatively little active geology and all our rock and dirt is old as heck. We actually have things living in our underground water tables and ancient cave networks spanning across untold swathes of the desert continent that were previously thought extinct well before the dinosaurs ever walked the earth.

New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are like on "The Circle Of Fire" but we have nothing more than a lame disused side branch of Vulcanism, running down somewhere between Brisbane and Newcastle, about the only evidence of which was the Newcastle Earthquake of 1989.

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Aboriginal Tribal Regions
Check out this map of Australia. Those are aboriginal tribal regions, pretty much as of Terra Nullius (the British declaration on colonization that the land was unoccupied and up for grabs. Oddly enough a contested claim) and only as far as our increasingly limited knowledge of lost aboriginal cultures can be pieced together.

Click around on that map for some useful tribal names, and in some places other details that might be useful in an RPG. There is actually one near Brisbane called "Waka Waka". I THINK I'm in Biripi territory, but I don't know.

Anyway, we, and that's the aboriginals included, know very little about a LOT of these tribes, what they got up to, their legends, their monsters, their traditions even their languages are dead and dying. With more than 40,000 years of history behind them and violent colonial occupation set to destroy any trace of them, and that should it have found ANYTHING with any hint of "real" civilization to it would have had a motivation to raise it to the ground and erase it from history to preserve Terra Nullius there is any amount of opportunity for fictional adventure hooks to fill in the gaps.

I mean as it is there are various tiny discoveries of Asian kilns in the north, complex networks of aboriginal eel traps and eel based trade and industry in the south. Even rumors of complex underground tunnels somewhere near Darwin (no really).

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States and Territories
Australia doesn't have the sheer confounding number of states and territories as the USA has. But we have a few and with some alarmingly hilarious histories of borderline succession, rampant cannibalism and other antics.

Here is a hilarious animated history. My favourite bits are how often the Northern Territory has changed hands and best of all when Queen Victoria dissolved a state and the next two states to emerge called themselves "Victoria" and "Queensland".

So here are some states and territories in no particular order.

New South Wales
New South Wales is the most populous and oldest state. It has a silly name and in no way resembles Wales at all, South or otherwise.

Sydney is here, along with a lot of other cool places for adventure of various sorts I might mention later. New South Wales has a nice green(ish) east coast and the best bits of the "Blue Mountains" and the "Great Dividing Range". On the other side of the blue mountains is some more green(ish) land that merges into the great deserts and the "inland sea" (I'll explain that later).

My Sydney Harbor Bridge thread has some very interesting history about NSW, and it is worth noting the NSW Labor party is STILL almost a separate (and far more corrupt) entity to the combined federal Labor and all other state labor parties. Our state premieres (a bit like governors for you guys?) are very regularly removed from office due to major corruption scandals. We've had a recent string of removals with the stepping down of the last guy who's name the public recognized (John Carr) for mysterious reasons with almost his whole cabinet (almost certainly blackmail over a BIG undisclosed scandal, last I heard I vaguely recall talk of him since working as a "consultant" for the shady financial institution with its fingers in every seedy pie, Macquarie Bank).

Then we lost a guy over his insanely unpopular and stupid attempt to overrule the grass roots and massive public opinion and privatize our electricity. He failed, lost his position and much of his cabinet was also deposed.

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Victoria
Cooler climate, with slightly wilder seas off the coast. Probably the greenest over all state (in the sense of having trees and grass and stuff that isn't mostly dry and/or dead all the time). Recently burnt down. But you know, every three years or so that happens to ONE of the states.

Probably the state where there is the smallest cultural divide between the cities and the rural areas (or at least some of the less inland ones) even the outlying (less inland) areas are pretty cultured and you can find like restaurants and crap in like, just random towns and stuff! (but still just as many pubs).

Victoria is well known for being led for a time by the Infamous Liberal Premiere Jeff Kenet. Known for his crazy hair and his wild enthusiasm to throw endless amounts of public money at any and every private enterprise, tourist, traveling dog and pony show or passing hobo that looked like he couldn't decide whether to go to NSW or Victoria. Kenet also privatized like the entire fucking state leading ultimately to fun disasters involving massive rolling electrical blackouts, a collapsing never used expensive bridge project, and the massive disruption of Australian natural gas supplies.

Queensland
The deep south of the deep north of the deep south. Er. It's like some sort of cross between Alabama and like Columbia, you know, south American Columbia.

It's the scariest most racist place in Australia, outside of the mysterious and probably incredibly dangerous Northern Territory. Anywhere outside of more than half a days drive from the Capital is so hick country scary I wouldn't recommend traveling there alone. Especially if you happen to be black. Or even not incredibly super white. (but probably not albino, if you are albino they will likely burn you as a witch).

Pauline Hanson the infamous one nation racist politician with her one hit wonder overnight phenomenon political party Australia First originated from some hick fish and chip shop in this state.

Peter Beatie, recent former QLD Labor premiere was insanely popular, charismatic, federally active, and a major contender to join federal politics as the next heir to the federal labor leadership. Then he mysteriously vanished in a bloodless silent political behind closed doors type coup in a manner spookily similar to Bob Carr, around close enough to the same time.

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South Australia
Is an old state, but a boring one. They are probably right up there in competition with Queensland for populous and important. And they probably rival NSW for actual culture (if not population or wealth). As they effectively are chasing behind Victoria in a competitive policy to gather any and every bit of wealth or culture they can steal from NSW or Victoria both.

But ultimately they are still in the ass end of nowhere. Most notable for the sheer alarming number of mysterious serial murder victims found in drums in abandoned bank vaults. confused

Tasmania
Formerly known as "Van Diemens Land". And you KNOW you want to use that. After the dutch explorer who found it (and I'm pretty sure left after the natives burnt out swathes of the island, either due to bad timing on his part or as a means of driving off his explorers. The mentions of the largely unseen natives and the ladders of hand holds they carved into the giant trees are tantalizing and brief.

Where Queensland was as blatant corrupt banana republic and police state Tasmania still IS a blatant corrupt banana republic. The logging company "Guns" (a very scary company of very crazy very evil bastards) owns ALL the political parties, except the Greens, who they regularly sue and otherwise attack by every nasty means possible to silence.

Tasmania is notable for its isolation from the mainland. How frighteningly close it is to Antarctica. The basic eradication of all full blooded native aboriginals and their culture a LONG time ago. It's amazing giant old, OLD growth forests. And its wildlife.

It has the worst killer ants in Australia. It is the last home of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger (it was also in Victoria but lasted longer off the mainland). It IS the last home of the Tasmanian Devil (a vicious squealing carnivorous THING that is dying off now due to CONTAGIOUS FACE CANCER!). It is also home to a GIANT FRESH WATER CRAYFISH that can measure up to nearly a meter long, heres a little baby one, (and home to a giant crab but who's counting?).

edit: Oh yeah, until recent times Tasmania actually had the unusual problem of having an actual shrinking human population. I think they "recovered" from that one. Barely.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

More states...

Western Australia
Its a big state. It has cool stuff in it. Like isolated aboriginal communities, northern jungles, strange and rare carnivorous plants (like the Albany Pitcher Plant in the south).

A corrupt government again (both sides pretty bad, as bad as NSW). A history of secessionist fantasy.

Terrible environmental degradation.

Friendly dolphins. (and HUGE white sharks off the coast). Oh and they recently had a nine month long super oil spill disaster off the coast. Probably angered the evil sea monsters there.

And vast networks of underground unthinkably ancient water filled caves (well, most of inland Australia has THOSE). Only they are a lot LESS filled with water these days due to their massive abuse of the water table (there has to be a plot hook or five there).

Aside from being a staging point for some sort of "stop the whalers" stage for oceanic horror adventure I'm not seeing the coast or south western Australia as a great setting. But the inland has as much potential as well, all the other states inland areas. Which is a lot.

The ACT
The Australian Capital Territory is a small pseudo state, er, thing, that basically covers the federal capital of Canberra and, well, nothing else. Except a random port on the coast that it rules over in some inexplicable way in order to provide the territory to an inexplicably necessary "access to the sea" (WTF? Plot hook! We had a prime minister who mysteriously vanished into the sea, maybe he was returning to his people!!!)

The Northern Territory
A big "state" that isn't a state but really a territory. It works just like a state only the federal government has veto on like everything it does. So for instance when the slightly less conservative state government enacts some TOKEN law that actually helps the aboriginals in the state they could rest assured that (at the time) John Howard would (as he did a couple of times) step in and veto it.

The northern territory has jungles, inland desert. Ayers rock and Alice Springs. It is also famous for its underprivileged third world aboriginal communities. Which if it is at all imaginable, are slightly more worse off and isolated than those in other states.

edit: oh yeah URANIUM MINES. Australia has 24% of the worlds Uranium resources, and probably the better and more accessible 24% at that. One of the few mines we have allowed (against right wing attempts to the contrary) is in the middle of a stunning national park in this state. Another big proposed one is ALSO in the middle of that park. Plot hooks abound, aboriginal and environmentalist terrorists, mutant radioactive monsters, corporate conspiracy, Chinese invasion and resource harvesting.

The other Bits and Bobs, and Christmas Island
There are like a bunch of other weird little island territories around.

My favourite, the biggest and best is Christmas Island.

It has a population of about 1500 people. A fire ant mega colony problem, the worlds biggest land crabs AND biggest land LOBSTERS! It also has cool birds and other unique wildlife, but giant land crustaceans Yay! (they even have massive land crab migrations!)

Freakish wildlife aside John Howard turned it into a special weird legal limbo of "excised" special territory that doesn't count for refugee status if you arrive there, no backsies, forever, nyah nyah nyah.

It was invaded and occupied by Japan during the war. For its rich phosphate mines. Don't you know.

New Zealand
OK, it isn't part of Australia. But they are ALMOST part of us (and used to be part of NSW) and share our passion for SHEEP.

They are on the circle of fire so they have active volcanism. They are next to deep spooky arctic seas and have cold winters and snow (and real mountains and glaciers). They have weird wildlife including the Kiwi bird, those really smart giant land parrots that dismantle tourist's rental cars for fun and profit, and not all that long ago (1500 AD, maybe, they still find preserved frozen ones occasionally in the mountains) the last of the giant carnivorous bipedal Terror Birds, the Moa bird (and a giant extinct fucking eagle that used to eat them! (bah, we still have eagles that big where I live, they ate all our sheep Sad )).

The Moari native peoples are cool too, with their spooky tattoos and mysterious ways and such and such. And a much more intact culture than our Aboriginal peoples have.

New Zealand is a weird place, ancient and strange even if not ancient and strange in the same WAYS as we are. It's like a weird mirror spooky image of Australia like us but alarmingly UNLIKE us. New Zealanders have special privileges in Australia and moving and working between the two countries is about as hard as moving interstate.

Papua New Guinea
Also not part of Australia (at least not since we used to Voltron together with them and New Zealand and Antarctica to form the mega fighting continent of East Gondwana. But that was a while ago, most likely even before the early 1980's.

Anyway. A lot of our bird life migrates there and back. They have poisonous BIRDS. They have a giant ECHIDNA (monotremes are weird!). Tree Kangaroos (we have them too, but theirs are cuter, climb higher, and look like they really fucking hate living up there!).

And of course a corrupt crazy government, and western region annexed by a hostile foreign empire, strange isolated mountain tribes and reformed cannibals and head hunters and such.

We have weird and confusing (probably mildly corrupt) aid and political ties with them.
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shadzar
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Isn't Australia talking about people having to move away form the coast due to global warning causing those red dust clouds so severely?
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good read (Note to self Maxus sucks a barrel of cocks.)
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Koumei
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Canberra is so small that you can stand on one edge and spit all the way across it. And if you fail, you're spitting on Canberra so you still win!

Note that the news wants us to believe that the Aboriginals want all of our money, petrol, alcohol and porn, but want to be left to their own devices to abuse their children. I wish fewer people actually believed this. Yes, a great many want us to fuck the hell off, but if we did, they wouldn't mess things up any worse than we have.

That being said, any I've met seem to feel that I personally am to blame for their troubles. So those individuals can fuck off to the concentration camps for all I care, seeing as they're not moving past it.

To be fair on the beer thing, Australia is slowly modernising: now it's okay to have other alcohols (in the same quantities). You can even have girly drinks, as long as you're downing 20 in a night.

My 21st was pretty tame: 8-ish cruisers/polar bears, a Guinness, a few cups of sake, a glass or two of absinthe, a glass of red wine, a glass of white, half a bottle of vodka and half a dozen shots of tequila. And PL can confirm that for an Australian party, that is pretty tame.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

shadzar wrote:
Isn't Australia talking about people having to move away form the coast due to global warning causing those red dust clouds so severely?

... not really.

1) Those dust clouds come from inland moving closer to the dust clouds won't help.

2) Those dust clouds are not exactly eclusively the product of global warming. They are much MORE the product of over grazing and soil degradation in inland Australia, but they are also to some degree fairly natural. Increase drought and more strong winds may impact on their frequency but almost certanly not on the severity.

3) The dust clouds are not significantly harmful to coastal life so why they'd make us move I can't imagine. Rising sea levels will have a worse impact. Also water issues, but I might mention that later if I discus the capital cities.
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Lago PARANOIA
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Koumei wrote:
a glass or two of absinthe


My condolences.
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Your freedom to make rulings up on the fly is in direct conflict with my freedom to interact with an internally consistent narrative. Your freedom to run/play a game without needing to understand a complex rule system is in direct conflict with my freedom to play a character whose abilities and flaws function as I intended within that ruleset. Your freedom to add and change rules in the middle of the game is in direct conflict with my ability to understand that rules system before I decided whether or not to join your game.

In short, your entire post is dismissive of not merely my intelligence, but my agency. And I don't mean agency as a player within one of your games, I mean my agency as a person. You do not want me to be informed when I make the fundamental decisions of deciding whether to join your game or buying your rules system.
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