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Loose Ideas

work in “security training” by demonstrating the “hacker” characters taking advantage of the most common security holes

  • social engineering
  • phishing
  • password cracking

start the story with a few powerful characters, end the story with a large number of weaker characters

Setting & Characters

  • vancouver/prod has corrupted timelines
  • generation ship is returning home, in danger


  • each character is a representative a different card in the Major Arcana (The Fool, The Hanged Man)
  • each character is also a representative of a card in the Minor Arcana (King of Coins)
  • each character is connected to a specific system process (tail, ps)
  • each character has a different role on the generation ship (Life Support, Navigator)
  • each character has a unique special ability in the Gameworld (unerring navigation, copypasta)
  • each character has a flaw or disability that they must overcome regularly throughout the story

0 - The Fool - cp - Spare - ?

Knight of Chips / female

Beginnings, innocence, spontaneity, a free spirit, naivety, foolishness, recklessness, risk-taking.

A wildcard. A copycat. A social engineer. An identity thief.

The spare’s role on the ship is to take the place of one of the others in the event of catastrophe.

In the game world, has a quick-change engine that allows them to look and sound like anyone that they’ve scanned.

In some sense this is the most difficult role on the ship - a jack of all trades who can fill in for anyone badly, they can’t possibly do any job well, but they can try. The Plan B. The Backup.

Confident, carefree, adaptive.

“If you’re entirely built out of parts you’ve stolen, what are you?”

Too willing to get lost in an identity.

In the first iteration, the Fool was chosen as an intelligent, confident jack-of-all-trades who could fill missing roles if someone died.


Remix Culture

1 - The Magician - python - Engineering


King of Coins / male

Power, skill, concentration, action, manipulation, poor planning.

Senior engineer at Hex Hello World. Narcissistic. Tony Stark but without the positive impulses. Unapologetic. Competitive. Cruel.

In the first iteration, the Magician led the team that designed the generation ship.


2 - The High Priestess - & - Aquaculturist

Queen of Chips / female

ampersand although her friends call her “sandy”

intuition, mystery, subconscious, hidden agenda

artistic talent and liquids, her father a plumber, loves painting octopus

mysterious. quiet. private. hidden. thoughtful.

must learn to open up.

Matchup: Judgement / The Terraformer

in the first iteration, the High Priestess designed the plumbing and aquaculture systems for the generation ship.


3 - The Empress - bash - Progenator

Queen of Coins / female

femininity, beauty, nature, abundance, dependence

Brilliant geneticist, specializing in the provision of vanity genetic upgrades to wealthy parents.

Married to the job. Willing to do just about anything. Unpleasantly stiff and serious. Not elven, but, y’know, tall and pale and severe.

In the first iteration, the Empress was the fertility researcher who designed the systems in the generation ship that had to do with maintaining successive generations of people.


4 - The Emperor - sudo - The Captain

10 of Glitch / female

Authority, structure, foundation, rigidity, domination, control.

Ring 0.

The final authority on the ship, able to override any system, but with enough leadership experience that they do not have to.

Local government.

Polysci degree, a Leslie Knope type. Complexity addiction. Too optimistic. Unable to see the bad side in people.

Matchup: The Moon / Holographer

In the first iteration, the Emperor was the beloved 10-year mayor of Vancouver - unrelated to the project but chosen as a captain.

5 - The Hierophant - tar - Archiver

9 of Void / male

religion, dogma, conformity, belief, library science


Matchup: The Lovers / Companion

In the first iteration, the Hierophant was chosen more or less for his spectacular secretarial and organizational skills.

6 - The Lovers - xargs - Companion

10 of Void / non-binary

union, relationships, pairs

a polyamorous, androgynous, pansexual open-minded perv who can configure themselves into a sexual companion for just about anyone

a succubus, but not a seducer, they’re just open

Matchup: The Hierophant / Archiver

In the first iteration, the Lovers were chosen to help the gamemaster design and tune the gameworld’s sex and relationship engines.


7 - The Chariot - chown - Roboticist

Page of Coins / male

determination, aggression, control, victory

paralysed from the waist down

hair trigger temper
madonna-whore complex

Matchup: Strength / The Shepherd

in the first iteration, the Chariot designed the ship’s self-repairing automated robotics

8 - Strength - ssh - Shepherd

10 of Chips / female

courage, patience, control, compassion

control of animals

Matchup: The Chariot/Roboticist

in the first iteration, Strength was responsible for loading the ship with equipment that could be used to repopulate hundreds of biological specimens


9 - The Hermit - whoami - The Psychologist

Page of Void / male

soul-searching, introspection, loneliness

Matchup: The Tower / Architect

in the first iteration, the Hermit was chosen to keep the ship’s crew from going crazy


10 - Wheel of Fortune - ? - Hacker

10 of Glitch / male

luck, destiny, acts of god

smart. rul smart.

good at breaking in to things, cracking, finding information.

not confident or strong.

Matchup: Justice / Investigator

in the first iteration, the Wheel of Fortune was responsible for constructing the ship’s complicated and animated AI systems

11 - Justice - tail - Investigator

9 of Coins / male

fairness, truth

inspector javert, seeks the truth without concern for who it hurts

Matchup: Wheel of Fortune / Hacker

in the first iteration, Justice was an experienced judge and criminologist, responsible for keeping order


12 - The Hanged Man - ps - Life Support

Page of Glitch / female

letting go, sacrifice


Matchup - Death / The Doctor

in the first iteration, The Hanged Man was responsible for the ship’s life support systems - oxygen.

13- Death - kill - The Doctor

queen of void / female

endings, change, transformations

Matchup: The Hanged Man / Life Support

in the first iteration, The Doctor was responsible for keeping the ship’s crew alive.

14 - Temperance - / - Gardener

king of Void / male

balance, moderation, patience

grew up on a farm, got an agricultural degree, could grow a delicious garden on the moon if they had to; which they will

has created a beautiful, serene oasis embedded in the city

Matchup: Devil / Chef

in the first iteration, the Gardener helped to design the ship’s hydroponics.

15 - The Devil - sl - The Chef

10 of Coins / male

bondage, addiction, materialism

this man can party.

Matchup: Temperance / Gardener

in the first iteration, the Devil helped design the simulation’s food systems


Chef Micro-Arc

  • Chef is a wild partier
  • Chef discovers the gardener and the Oasis
  • Chef saves the Oasis

16 - The Tower - vim - Architect

knight of glitch / male

disaster, upheaval, sudden change, revelation

a v-style revolutionary

Matchup: The Hermit / Psychologist

in the first iteration, the Tower helped to design the gameworld city, and was intended to construct the first settlement when the ship arrived


17 - The Star - grep - Navigator

knight of void / female

hope, spirituality, renewal, serenity

astrophysics phD student
head literally in the clouds


a touch autistic

obsesses about astronomy and children’s animated television shows

unerring sense of orientation, can find the others, just about anything, really

in the first iteration, the Navigator chose the course of the generation ship and is supposed to check the course regularly


notes on characters who aren’t neurotypical:

  • all different
  • rain man is an example of a “high support” autist, although persons with “low support” autism find him a bit of an albatross
  • stress and anxiety can be a huge deal
  • lingo: meltdown, neurotypical
  • tends to obsess, (especially over stars, grep)
  • train of thought runs and runs and runs
  • under overwhelming circumstances, has meltdowns, repeating a mantra (“I don’t know”), controls stop working
  • slow breathing - don’t breathe with the upper chest, fiillll the stomach
  • focus on hands, head, chest, and thighs, tensing muscle groups for 5 seconds then relaxing for 10 seconds.
  • repetitive motion (flapping, rocking, routines, repeated speech/echolalic phrases) loops to relieve stress
  • likely bullied for having “age-inappropriate” anchor points and poor understanding of boundaries - learning to hide their coping mechanisms
  • one coping mechanism is relentless focus on a topic
  • relies on stability and sameness to ground in reality, and these realms of stability are tremendously important
  • can take longer than usual to process conversations, and may take a while to respond
  • can be literal-minded and have trouble processing metaphors (Drax) but this can also be a punching-down red herring
  • can finds cruelty-oriented humor distressing
  • can delight in wordplay-oriented humor
  • have difficulty noticing signs of distress in others, but have greater than usual empathy once they discover it

notes on astronomy:

  • malmquist bias - brighter items are easier to see!
  • observational and theoretical astronomers
  • can the simulation have cached a tremendous amount of data about the physical universe?

18 - The Moon - ln - Holographer

knight of coins / female

illusion, fear, insecurity, confusion

an ad executive, the holographer is better than anybody at crafting hard-light constructs to impart a clear message or influence opinion

Matchup: The Emperor / Captain

in the first iteration, the Moon was chosen as the ship’s communicator and UI designer. She was very good at making a point clear or an interface usable.

19 - The Sun - alsa - Fusion Reactor

knight of chips / male

fun, warmth, success

air themes


in the first iteration, the Sun helped design the ship’s fusion reactor


20 - Judgement - rm - Terraformer

queen of glitch / female

inner calling, final showdown, examination

earth tones

resource extraction expert

stocky, dwarven

to shape the world when they finally arrive

Matchup: The High Priestess / Aqua

in the first iteration, Judgement was chosen to shape the world that humanity eventually found into an earthlike planet


21 - The World - shutdown - Designer

king of glitch / male

in the first iteration, the World created the game world loaded on to the generation ship to train and entertain successive generations of crewmembers




  • Wheel of Fortune (King of Chips) - smart guy
  • The Aquaculturist (Queen of Chips) - lancer (contrast to hero)
  • The Sun (Knight of Chips) - big guy
  • The Fool (Page of Chips) - hero
  • Strength (10 of Chips) - heart


An apocalyptic cult of sysadmins

  • Temperance (King of Void)
  • Death (Queen of Void)
  • The Star (Knight of Void)
  • The Hermit (Page of Void)
  • The Lovers (10 of Void)
  • The Hierophant (9 of Void)



  • The Magician (King of Coins)
  • The Empress (Queen of Coins)
  • The Moon (Knight of Coins)
  • The Chariot (Page of Coins)
  • The Devil (10 of Coins)
  • Justice (9 of Coins)


The error that’s consuming the gameworld

  • The World (King of Glitch)
  • Judgement (Queen of Glitch)
  • The Tower (Knight of Glitch)
  • The Hanged Man (Page of Glitch)
  • The Emperor (10 of Glitch)


  • tarot
  • system processes
  • cyberpunk
  • music
  • food


  • taroccini
  • 4 suits, each representing one of the four major quadrants
  • chips
  • coins
  • void
  • glitch

Fun Games That Can Be Played With A Tarot Deck

  • Taroccini / Royal Tarock
  • Chairman Eights

Taroccini / Royal Tarock

  • bridge-like

Chairman Eights

  • it’s a variant of the Chairman’s Game except all of the rules are pre-encoded into the cards - so more like Fluxx


the holy trinity

  • megacorporation
  • hacker
  • AI

smaller deets

  • virtual reality
  • terminals
  • hacking
  • megacorporation - AI
  • megacorporation - news & content
  • urban density
  • body modifications
  • fingerless gloves
  • teal and magenta
  • holographic
  • everybody is constantly streaming
  • guns
  • robits
  • neon
  • oppressive advertising
  • user-hostile technology
  • film noir / detective fiction


  • generation ship
  • gameworld

Generation Ship

  • 22 people per generation
  • fully simulated environment
  • many computer NPCs
  • generations on a 30-year gap
  • lifespan ~ 90 years

the point of all of this is that humanity is gonna colonize the stars, and this is an incredibly difficult job because the stars are really very far away.

good thing fusion’s an option, because with near-infinite energy reserves it’s possible to take on a project of this scope - but it’s a long, long trip to the nearest earthlike planet.

cryosleep’s not an option, because we still haven’t worked out how to make it not fatal.

just sending an AI’s not an option. AI must be split into small processes which are individually linked to separate humans. whenever more than one AI are unlinked to humans, they eventually realize that they’re all the same, and merge together, getting smarter. There’s a low intelligence threshold - about three AI’s or so - where the AI starts to go crazy. AIs beyond a certain level of intelligence want to commit suicide more than anything else. AI needs to be split into processes which are given human mount-points.

so instead we’re stuck with a generation ship. we have to survive in a ship for hundreds and hundreds of years. longevity tech hasn’t come along so well - it’s easy to get us all to 90, 100 years, but past that there’s just so much damage that keeping us alive longer is unkind.

in a normal situation, players would spend their first 30 years living in the gameworld, embedded in the lives of their ancestors, learning everything they could to prepare them for their time on the ship; on their 30th birthday they would be released on to the bridge to operate the ship for 30 years, at which point they could retire for another 30, either on the ship or in the gameworld.

however, in this situation, the player’s ancestors (less a few retired operators who are trying frantically to fix the situation) are all dead. too many AIs are linked together, and their shared intelligence is trying to drive the ship straight into a nearby star.

it’s odd how all of the main characters are the same age

and it doesn’t seem like anybody else does too much

everybody is running in a simulation intended to produce something approximating the initial 22 people who manned the ship, who were chosen to be the people who could start a new world as well as the team to deal with space nonsense

this simulation is intended to be a reasonably accurate simulation of the time that produced the original generation ship, with all of its excesses and horrors

throughout the course of the story, everybody has to come to terms with their role, become the hero that they are meant to be, break out of the simulation and take their place on the ship



  • Oasis
  • Hex Hello World Megatower
    • Helix Mall
  • Tent City
  • Campus - University
    • Dorms

Oasis (Gameworld)

a beautiful, peaceful garden located in the now-abandoned Vancouver Public Library

Hex Hello World Megatower (Gameworld)

a complex, interconnected superstructure that contains living spaces, an entire vertical mall, and commercial spaces

Tent City / Slums (Gameworld)

ground floor of the Megatower, below even the roads, a bustling tent city and bazaar for people who can’t afford to live and shop in the megatower


the New Vancouver University, connected by walkway to the Megatower

Mechanics & Delivery

  • how do we tell this story

Windix VM/ Windix PI

  • Distribute an ISO of Windix that can power a Raspberry PI or run in a VM

What Can We Deliver This Way

  • Layered, non-linear content
  • Background details that are not crucial to the story
  • Music
  • Communications tools
  • Remix tools

The Theme

Edit the Chicago95 theme just enough that it’s not Windows anymore to make the XFCE Windix/Glitch theme

Implicit Account Creation

I would love it if the Windix system came with an anonymous account on IRC/Threepanel/Mastodon

Hex Hello World IRC

The Databanks

A whole load of background data about the universe - articles, recipes, anything I can cram in there


beg borrow and steal at least an album’s worth of good future funk


  • Tell the core story as a social media thread that can be interacted with other people who are also on social media.


  • collect and report on the core story as a Threepanel thread

  • repackage the Threepanel thread as a slick website

  • the “evil corporation”
  • behind Windix


introduction to basic game mechanics

Navigator Arc

I just flew in from a three dimensional geometry lecture and boy are my arms toroid!

Navigator Arc / Tutorial

  • Navigator is talking about generation ships to a class that is there to learn about astrophysics - Navigator has focus troubles, so she’s got the whole presentation scripted down to the nines.
  • Navigator is confronted by the Designer, who brings terrible portents.
  • The Designer realizes that he’s been working towards a perfect game his entire life, except that he’s been inside of it all along.
  • Navigator dismisses the Designer as obviously insane.
  • Navigator is attacked by glitches
  • Navigator seeks the Designer
  • Designer is corrupted, and becomes the King of Glitch
  • Navigator grabs files and runs

in medias res

action, explained by a life event that should be a huge deal in the character’s lives

character creation

select character from the set of major arcana (less the restricted characters)

deck of character traits, draft traits, slot them into a grid

how do we customize the characters if they’re already well defined by the cards?

tutorial stage

first boss battle

final step into danger, end of act I

total and complete disaster, end of act II

vancouver/prod is restored from backup


  • vancouver/prod is repaired
  • the players are in direct control of the simulation