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Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk


Comrade Gorbash posted:

The Lesson is essentially "a species that's regularly using fusion torches and gigawatt lasers is inherently dangerous; they can turn those things on you as crude stopgaps immediately, and can build nastier stuff if they get the chance."

this makes humans sound kind of like an intergalactic ant colony.

"yeah, they mostly just putter around and mine resources and terraform planets for better habitability, and you can probably crush an individual colony with the element of surprise. but doing that is like kicking over a giant ant hill, except the hill is full of pissed-off sentients that have mastered nuclear fusion and xenophobia, and the hill itself is powered by said nuclear fusion, so there's a non-zero chance they'll cobble together a reprisal that annihilates you. so, you know, probably don't do that."

"also any colony spontaneously experiencing a nuclear event will signal to the rest of the hive that danger is approaching, and they will swarm your rear end so hard that they might actually extinguish your entire species.

just trying to give you a heads-up here, before you go and do what you said you were going to do."

Freaking Crumbum fucked around with this message at 16:24 on Nov 13, 2017

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JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
And HFY rears its ugly head once again...

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Starfinger Alien Archive Part 03: "Though the spell carries a heavy risk in the form of a long casting time, most casters who use the spell quickly learn to seek cover (or take similar defensive measures) before spending 6 seconds calling upon beings from another plane."

We've covered appendices 1, 3, and 4, so let's finish off the appendices with a quick extra post-



Appendix 2: Summoning Creatures

Spellcasters get their own little section here, starting with the summon creature spell. Like mystic cure and a few other spells in the Starfinger Core Rules, summon creature is a variable-level spell. Also, it's available to both Mystics and Technomancers at all spell levels. When you select it, you can select up to four creatures you can summon, with your choices restricted by the level you're casting it at. Every time you level up, you can change out what creatures you summon. If you learn the spell twice, you can add another four creatures at whatever level that additional spell is learned at. The spell takes a full round to cast, so you're best off finding cover if you can, since one stray laser will muck up your casting.

So, the majority of summons are basically done using the elemental statblocks (provided earlier in the book) as a basic template. At 1st level you can basically summon a CR 1/3 creature, at 4th level that's a CR 1, at 7th level that's CR 3, at 10th level that's CR 5, at 13th level that's CR 7, and finally at 20th level that's CR 11. So summons are always going to be well below par - assistants rather than partners. However, you can summon as many as you like, spell slots and time permitting... though, of course, they only last your level in rounds. As such, it's not worth a lot at low levels. In addition, there are a few specific creatures you can summon - skittermander whelp, observer-class security robot, crest-eater, haan, ksarik, mountain eel, orocoran, or surnoch. What you can summon is restricted by your alignment, so no angel summoning for baddies. Of course, the alignment issues with summoning an sometimes-sentient creature to die and kill for you aren't really discussed. Skittermanders and haan are even playable, clearly sentient races from this plane! They could have families or be on their day off when, poof, time to defend your life with their life. It's a little weird to see them on the summon list.

Once you have your basic creature, you then can apply a summoning graft if it's not a specific creature like a skittermander, which often reflects what plane the creature is from. They often add an alignment, skills, traits (i.e. special abilities), and special attacks. The available types are: aeon (neutral clouds), agathions (formerly guardinals in D&D), angels, archons (abstract angels), azata (furry angels, aka guardinals II), daemons (different from demons), demons (different from daemons), devils (different from demons or daemons), first world beast (faerie animals), inevitable (robocops), protean (chaotic serpents), robots, and shadow creatures (spooky animals).

No doubt charop forums will have a field day with working out the optimal summon grafts for a given level but I've spent enough time in the number mines right now. Most of the base numbers for them seem to make summons useful but consistently below par for the level that they're summoned, which is just about right. Of course, the fact that Mystics and Technomancers can now drink the Engineer's buddy-class milkshake in the extreme short-term is about par for the d20 course.

Now with that out of the way, we can start on the monster parade.

Next: A is for Stormtroopers.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 17:02 on Nov 13, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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That actually is a fairly accurate description of how the modern Patriarchy views humanity. While any single kzin - hell, some kzin kittens - can probably kill any single human in single combat, the kzin have learned to teach their children that humans are emphatically not good for hunting or eating, because humans go completely insane once they get riled.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

I have to admit I always have a soft spot for the idea that we're the universe's Klingons.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
You know, one of very few games to do the Pet Class stuff very well is Double Cross, wherein you can summon pets, they have all your superpowers (All of them. I believe this includes the passive buffs) at the same level you have them, and they can be buffed up into something pretty dangerous and tanky. They also all get an action on your turn.

They also all use the same pool of 'I am getting too hot and going to be unable to turn human again at the end of the fight' power, have no Skills for baseline roll results, and reduce the main character's stats significantly while they're out. Also all the permanent buffs you can buy to them increase your baseline heat.

So you can do incredible amounts of damage or soak a ton of damage if you go all out with the pets, and the pets also benefit from the 'My heat meter is getting high so I'm both likely to die but also way more powerful' mechanic you do, but they heat you up very quickly and you have to be careful about managing how crazy you go with these big-investment summons.

You know, instead of the D&D way where there's no downside or price at all and they just wreck the action economy.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

JcDent posted:

Back to Starfinger: so I can build a giant, unliving, human dragon?

Also, demons, daemons and devils? Really?

Sure, it's pretty open-ended, and despite its faults, it's probably better to allow goofy combos than try and restrict stuff based on some nebulous thematic rules.

And yeah, for those without knowledge of old AD&D, demons were the chaotic evil fiends, daemons were neutral evil, and devils were lawful evil. Not the best nomenclature in gaming.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP

Freaking Crumbum posted:

this makes humans sound kind of like an intergalactic ant colony.

"yeah, they mostly just putter around and mine resources and terraform planets for better habitability, and you can probably crush an individual colony with the element of surprise. but doing that is like kicking over a giant ant hill, except the hill is full of pissed-off sentients that have mastered nuclear fusion and xenophobia, and the hill itself is powered by said nuclear fusion, so there's a non-zero chance they'll cobble together a reprisal that annihilates you. so, you know, probably don't do that."

"also any colony spontaneously experiencing a nuclear event will signal to the rest of the hive that danger is approaching, and they will swarm your rear end so hard that they might actually extinguish your entire species.

just trying to give you a heads-up here, before you go and do what you said you were going to do."

I think you just summed up why the galaxy in Star Trek is loving terrified of the Federation.

Quark: "Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, nephew. They're a wonderful, friendly people - as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts... deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers... put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time... and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don't believe me? Look at those faces, look at their eyes..."

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003



Evil Mastermind posted:

I have to admit I always have a soft spot for the idea that we're the universe's Klingons.
I believe compared to most other species on the planet we have ridiculous endurance and ability to recover from injury.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.

Zereth posted:

I believe compared to most other species on the planet we have ridiculous endurance and ability to recover from injury.

There's an old copy-paste of a post about this that makes the rounds every so often:

http://www.ongoingworlds.com/blog/2014/11/human-roleplay-characters-are-boring/

tl;dr -- Humans can eat anything, have hyperactive scar tissue that allows us to recover in weeks from injuries that would kill other species from infection or shock, and our ancestors were pursuit predators -- meaning they would just walk after their prey until it collapsed from exhaustion and fear.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
We're also not exactly small and we're pretty long-lived even without modern medical technology.

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.
Another thing I'd add to this is that it's worth looking at human beings relative to other social animals.

Most primates, including our closest relatives, do not get along well, especially under pressure. Chimpanzees, bonobos, etc. will rip each others ears, fingers, and genitals off over minor slights. Human beings dominated the Earth because our desire to constantly murder each other over petty grudges is suppressed by more cooperative tendencies just enough for us to form civilization.

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk


Zereth posted:

I believe compared to most other species on the planet we have ridiculous endurance and ability to recover from injury.

let's not forget our ability to hold grudges for an insanely long period of time. like, long after any other animal would recall that it had been harmed/wronged.

and then we can perfectly transmit that grudge information to future generations that never even experienced the original slight.

you blow up a human colony and it doesn't seem like there's any meaningful rebuttal. then, thanks to interstellar distances and the limitations of human hyperdrive systems, a human extermination fleet drops into real space above your home planet and completely craters it, decades after your original offense. whoops!


Evil Mastermind posted:

I have to admit I always have a soft spot for the idea that we're the universe's Klingons.

Stolze's "Out of a Violent Planet" is one of my favorite sci-fi settings ever, for exactly that reason. tl;dr - humans are the only sentient species in the entire universe that discovered purposeful murder / war, and when the rest of the xenos discover earth they are loving terrified when humans literally kill them. turns out our primary export is our military industrial complex, and we're running one hell of a trade surplus in murder, and every other xeno wants to pay us to kill their enemies.

The Lord of Hats
Aug 22, 2010

Hello, yes! Is being very good day for posting, no?
Other good takes I've heard are "Humans are the only sapient species to have evolved eyes", which lets you write vision as this hilarious Star Trek-style superpower where it sometimes doesn't work purely for plot convenience (because it is dark), and "There's nothing particularly special about humans, but thanks to an obscure loophole, any spaceship with at least one human on board gets a massive tax write-off, so they're everywhere".

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Freaking Crumbum posted:

Stolze's "Out of a Violent Planet" is one of my favorite sci-fi settings ever, for exactly that reason. tl;dr - humans are the only sentient species in the entire universe that discovered purposeful murder / war, and when the rest of the xenos discover earth they are loving terrified when humans literally kill them. turns out our military industrial complex specialized in murder is running one hell of a trade surplus, and every other xeno wants to pay us to kill their enemies.

IIRC, it's more that other races rely on psychic warfare, and humans are psychically null. So all their psychic weapons have little effect, whereas human guns and bombs work on aliens just fine.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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I feel it should be recalled that the original context here - the kzinti - are not afraid of humans for any biological reason. The Kzinti, biologically, are simply superior combatants 90% of the time - in hand to hand combat. They are better predators, with superior strength and reflexes, training from birth in the stalking and hunting of prey, a preference for live meals and so on.

The problem is that hand to hand combat is much less useful as a skill when your war is being fought with spaceships.

megane
Jun 20, 2008



Summoning is a huge mechanic that wrecks game balance completely unless heavily restricted and tuned with utmost care, and even then increases the complexity and cognitive load of combat by massive degrees. So naturally we have to give every spellcaster the ability to summon pretty much anything they can dream of, including other spellcasters, whenever they want to, for no cost, as a minor afterthought.

Does getting hit while casting even cause you to lose the spell in Starfiler, or is even the chapter quote a lie?

megane fucked around with this message at 17:57 on Nov 13, 2017

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk


The Lord of Hats posted:

and "There's nothing particularly special about humans, but thanks to an obscure loophole, any spaceship with at least one human on board gets a massive tax write-off, so they're everywhere".

ah yes, the old "money is the best super power" argument. which is actually pretty accurate, because if there were any type of organized intergalactic trade / market, you better bet at least one human would find a way to rig that poo poo in their favor.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man


I thought it was Stolze but it might have ben someone else where the One Unique Thing of humanity was that we are 99.9% as psychicly permeable as a brick, which is quite the advantage as the rest of galactic society is divided between two mind-controlling empires.

Ultimately a lot of the OUTs for scifi writers about humans gets very jingoist American but one step removed, so when it turns out to be that we are hateful unempathic assholes, well...

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Alien Rope Burn posted:

IIRC, it's more that other races rely on psychic warfare, and humans are psychically null. So all their psychic weapons have little effect, whereas human guns and bombs work on aliens just fine.
Yeah, that's the whole idea. We're the only species that doesn't have any psychic abilities, and as such we're the only species in the universe that's done stuff like invent weapons.

One of my favorite bits of the setting is how one alien race tried to wipe out humanity with a global-scale psychic death attack, and all that happened was that something like .1% of the world's population went "did you hear something?"

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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(I suppose it is also worth noting that one of the consistent reasons the Kzinti lose is that they always attack before they're actually ready. To some extent this is based on pure hunting carnivore instincts, and to some extent it's because the Kzinti are overconfident, since...well, they are actually really, really good at fighting, they just keep getting blindsided by new things.)

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.

Mors Rattus posted:

I feel it should be recalled that the original context here - the kzinti - are not afraid of humans for any biological reason. The Kzinti, biologically, are simply superior combatants 90% of the time - in hand to hand combat. They are better predators, with superior strength and reflexes, training from birth in the stalking and hunting of prey, a preference for live meals and so on.

The problem is that hand to hand combat is much less useful as a skill when your war is being fought with spaceships.

Also, despite being a lot more dangerous than the Kzinti expected, humans were losing the first Man-Kzin War until the Outsiders (ultimately being manipulated by the Puppeteers) sold them a cheat code.

The Kzinti expected an easy conquest because humans "didn't haven weapons". They subsequently took massive casualties when it turned out capability mattered more than intent. Just because something wasn't designed as a weapon doesn't mean it can't be used as one, which was something the Kzinti - and some other species - struggled to internalize.

It's partly explained by the idea that primitive makeshift weapons don't really enhance a Kzinti's combat ability, since they have claws and fangs and so forth. A human holding a digging stick is definitely more dangerous than a human without; a Kzinti with one isn't necessarily better off than one that's bare handed. So their basic experience is that you have to sit down and specifically design a killing device if you want something better than just using your claws.

That assumption shouldn't extend to more advanced technology, but it's explicitly stated to be a psychological blind spot for the Kzinti. At least, it was until the Kzinti most prone to that error all got turned into expanding clouds of superheated gas by angry monkeys.

Comrade Gorbash fucked around with this message at 18:06 on Nov 13, 2017

Tuxedo Catfish
Mar 17, 2007

You've got guts! Come to my village, I'll buy you lunch.

Mors Rattus posted:

(I suppose it is also worth noting that one of the consistent reasons the Kzinti lose is that they always attack before they're actually ready. To some extent this is based on pure hunting carnivore instincts, and to some extent it's because the Kzinti are overconfident, since...well, they are actually really, really good at fighting, they just keep getting blindsided by new things.)

Freaking Crumbum
Apr 17, 2003

Too fuck to drunk


Comrade Gorbash posted:

all got turned into expanding clouds of superheated gas by angry monkeys.

this is the best possible euphemism for when homo sapiens ruin your day

edit:

"what happened to the war-fleet in the Korlax 9 sector?"

"eh, you know, they all got turned into expanding clouds of superheated gas by angry monkeys."

"ah, poo poo, that again?"

Freaking Crumbum fucked around with this message at 18:14 on Nov 13, 2017

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
Specific to Star Trek, but this seems disturbingly accurate to a lot of sci-fi media.


Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Human racial ability: "What happens when I do this?"

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.
That is a pretty great AV/post combo.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion



It has worked for decades and will continue to work! Now go attack that colony!

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.


Grimey Drawer

Evil Mastermind posted:

Human racial ability: "What happens when I do this?"

Oh Christ. We're Kender, aren't we?

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

JcDent posted:

And HFY rears its ugly head once again...

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

megane posted:

Does getting hit while casting even cause you to lose the spell in Starfiler, or is even the chapter quote a lie?

Yeah, it does. Getting hit while casting (for spells with a 1 turn casting time) or getting hit as a Attack of Opportunity just straight-up causes you to fail the casting. Alternately, you can ready an action to try and whack a spellcaster as they're casting. Of course, if the attack whiffs, the spell goes off, so Combat Casting now just gives a dime bonus to AC and saves against effects that target you while trying to cast. This is a divergence from normal d20 where getting hit forces a Concentration check to retain the spell, which most spellcasters will have maximized.

The magic systems are better in terms of balance in Starfinger. They're just still not particularly good, but they're better.

Gerund
Sep 12, 2007

He push a man


I've seen that tumblr post before, buts its mostly useful as evidence of the hegemonic nerd culture sublimating uncritically the silicon valley "fail fast, fail often" mantra. Humanity being essentially X in a universe-wide society is a sweet fruit of temptation for writers to dig their biases into.

Human society is so very diverse that anyone pulling one quality put of it to the pedestal is going to be weird to play through as an RPG.

Gerund fucked around with this message at 00:51 on Nov 14, 2017

Loxbourne
Apr 6, 2011

Tomorrow, doom!
But now, tea.
I think the point is that there are far more interesting "human-specific" powers to come up with for human PCs in an RPG, if the setting's writers just want to put some effort in.

My favourite HFY story was the one where humanity accidentally emerges into the galaxy just at the right time and place to be mistaken for the terrible once-every-10,000-years Scourge From The Darkness, so all humans are mandated to keep up the masquerade whilst human civilisation frantically tries to work out what's going on and catch up technologically. That's far, far more interesting than just "1 extra feat at character creation".

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP
Another good take is the Guild Wars setting, where humanity is basically the elves of the setting: we're an ancient, cultured civilization with a rich history of magic and consider ourselves the most civilized and cultured race on the planet, but where once we ruled the world now we've fallen on hard times and are being outpaced by young, inventive races that have a far greater sense of urgency and purpose and are beginning to take over the world.

I thought it was an interesting view, placing humans into the traditional role of elves and, appropriately considering this all started with a Known Space discussion, a race of large, intelligent, predatory and militaristic felines as the young, adaptable, action-driven race taking over the world and advancing their technology and civilization with shocking speed.

Comrade Gorbash
Jul 12, 2011

My paper soldiers form a wall, five paces thick and twice as tall.

Gerund posted:

I've seen that tumblr post before, buts its mostly useful as evidence of the hegemonic nerd cultre sublimating uncritically the silcon valley "fail fast, fail often" mantra. Humanity being essentially X in a universe-wide society is a sweet fruit of temptation for writers to dig their biases into.

Human society is so very diverse that anypne pulling one quality put of it to the pedestal is going to be weird to play through as an RPG.
Yeah, agreed there.

There's some similar ones I like better - they focus on the fact that humans are ridiculously robust for mammals, or suggest Earth is a particularly inhospitable place for a sentient species to come from. Both of those are much more reasonable conceits.

I may be misremembering, but I feel like I read a short story where humans were brought into the galactic community to fight another tough, warlike, fractious species and did so quite admirably... Until both sides sat down, realized they had a lot in common, and proceeded to ally with each other and impose their rule on everyone else. Caught the rest of the species by surprise because they couldn't conceive that after killing so many of each other's people, humans and the other species would be willing to compromise.

EDIT: Also in regards to Known Space, human dominance of the local region is pretty clearly due as much to timing as anything else. The Kzinti were the dominant species and had enslaved most of the others until humanity knocked them off the top rung. Which we were only able to do because we happened to be just warlike enough to beat the Kzinti in a fight, without being so dangerous that the Puppeteers felt compelled to gently caress up our program. The Puppeteers are actually the real bosses of Known Space, it's just their culture and psychology is so risk averse they're much happier manipulating a client species to do the dirty work.

Comrade Gorbash fucked around with this message at 19:40 on Nov 13, 2017

senrath
Nov 3, 2009

Look Professor, a destruct switch!


Comrade Gorbash posted:

There's some similar ones I like better - they focus on the fact that humans are ridiculously robust for mammals, or suggest Earth is a particularly inhospitable place for a sentient species to come from. Both of those are much more reasonable conceits.

There was a post I read that I liked that I can't find again that involved alien races trying to use humanity as a terraforming tool because we could survive in environments that would be instantly lethal to the aliens. This failed because we could survive in environments that would be instantly lethal to the aliens, so it turned out that our terraforming efforts to take the planets from "dangerous" to "reasonably livable" just took it from "instantly lethal" to "rather quickly lethal" for the aliens.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Comrade Gorbash posted:

The Puppeteers are actually the real bosses of Known Space, it's just their culture and psychology is so risk averse they're much happier manipulating a client species to do the dirty work.

That's sort of true, but the Puppeteers strongly suspect that humanity is lucky enough (literally, it's a psychic power) that things would have just worked out anyway. Besides, without ARM to hold them back the Known Space humans would have been just as aggressively expansionist as the Kzinti.

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!

Evil Mastermind posted:

Yeah, that's the whole idea. We're the only species that doesn't have any psychic abilities, and as such we're the only species in the universe that's done stuff like invent weapons.

Reminds me of that one story, "the path less taken," or something similar, where humans were the only ones without easy and simple, antigravity and hyperdrives, and as a result we were also the only ones with stuff like combustion engines, jet fighters and machineguns. At which point a group of ALIEN IMPERIALISTS show up... in their spaceships that are basically the equivalent of colonial-era sailships and with blackpowder guns, and we kill most of them, take their hyperdrives, and the aliens are like. "oh wait gently caress now THESE guys have hyperdrives" and that's where the short story ends.

Bedlamdan
Apr 25, 2008

Gerund posted:

I've seen that tumblr post before, buts its mostly useful as evidence of the hegemonic nerd cultre sublimating uncritically the silcon valley "fail fast, fail often" mantra. Humanity being essentially X in a universe-wide society is a sweet fruit of temptation for writers to dig their biases into.

Human society is so very diverse that anypne pulling one quality put of it to the pedestal is going to be weird to play through as an RPG.

The entire concept of "Humanity gently caress Yeah" is basically a means by which nerds can feel like they've accomplished something solely by virtue of their own existence. It is an idea not altogether different from White Supremacy, but made more palatable by the fact that the Inferiors are fictional little green men instead of whatever minority the aliens in question are stand-ins for.

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darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011

YOSPOS

PurpleXVI posted:

Reminds me of that one story, "the path less taken," or something similar, where humans were the only ones without easy and simple, antigravity and hyperdrives, and as a result we were also the only ones with stuff like combustion engines, jet fighters and machineguns. At which point a group of ALIEN IMPERIALISTS show up... in their spaceships that are basically the equivalent of colonial-era sailships and with blackpowder guns, and we kill most of them, take their hyperdrives, and the aliens are like. "oh wait gently caress now THESE guys have hyperdrives" and that's where the short story ends.

The Road Not Taken, by Harry Turtledove.

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