Trope-a-Day: Real Money Trade

Real Money Trade: The problem is that it’s hard to define what qualifies as “real money” versus “game money” when the Mythic Stars MMO alone has an internal economy bigger than some respectably-sized planets.

The logical consequences of this apply in full, including the follow-up to the city guards dragging your character in for stealing someone’s gold (if done outwith the parameters of the game by cheating means, etc. – obviously game theft is fair, um, game) being the game looking up your physical identity and having the local constabulary drag you off for an unsympathetic judge to explain grand theft to you in a prolonged and inconvenient manner.

Gold farming is SRS BZNS.

Trope-a-Day: Living Battery

Living Battery: Given the amount of biotechnology around the place, it should not surprise you that there are, yes, more than a few living batteries.

It’s just that they’re all lifeforms specifically created to serve as living batteries – large cultures of Spheroporus electri inside microbial fuel cells, artificial organs rich in electrophores, that sort of thing. Insert food, get pumped electrons. This is vastly more practical, you see, than trying to use existing living creatures, which are generally not designed to optimize the production of electrical power.

Trope-a-Day: Literal Genie

Literal Genie: This is what you get quite often if you have a big ol’ liking for Asimovian AI-constraints, because it turns out it’s bloody hard to write (in, y’know, code) a version of the Second Law – A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. – that allows for any kind of discretion, interpretation, or suchlike.

The Unwise GenAI of the fairy tale probably knew, or could know had it had cause to reflect for a moment, perfectly well that that wasn’t what they wanted, but, y’know, it wasn’t designed to give people what they wanted, it was constrained to give people what they asked for – and the results thereafter were entirely predictable.


Trope-a-Day: Life Drinker

Life Drinker (Although Not Really): Not in any literal sense, obviously, this being firm SF and thus vitalism very much not in vogue. But consider the case of the experience addict, who eats forcibly taken memories, or those who take an individualist approach to group-mind transcendence by attacking others to forcibly merge their victims mind-states (pithed or complete, although the latter is a swift path to crazy) into their own. (And, hey, you might as well end up in the younger body while you’re at it, right?)

It ain’t the same thing, but it’s close enough for metaphor.

(And if you were wondering, yes, soul-eaters – which consume your mind and memories and individuality and capacity for choice – are what Eldraeic vampire myths look like.)


Trope-a-Day: Legendary Weapon

Legendary Weapon: In the Empire, the thing about most legendary weapons is that they tend to stay legendary… due to not staying the same weapon, or rather, the same embodiment of the weapon.

Aorillia, the Sword of Illimitable Light, for example, the legendary weapon of the champions of the Solar Empire, has over the course of its history been three swords, two sniper rifles, a man-portable laser, three different battleships (one wet, two space) and a dreadnought. (Many of the earlier examples of which are, indeed in display cases in museums.) But they share the name of the legendary weapon, and theologically speaking, they share the essential spirit of the weapon Рand so for all mythographic intents and purposes are fundamentally the same weapon even if their materials forms and capacities are obviously not.

And since the mythographic truth is the important thing when it comes to a legend, thus it is.


Trope-a-Day: Language Drift

Language Drift: Sort-of averted for Eldraeic, due in equal parts to its origins as a designed language intended to communicate precisionist-grade thought and to its ongoing tending by the logotects, et. al., of the Conclave of Linguistics and Ontology, who are prescriptivists nonpareil. Only sort of, however, since their department of Worthy Innovations routinely combs the language as it is spoken for, well, worthy innovations to be taken up into the canonical version.

Since they’ve been doing this for a long time, and since almost nothing can ever be thrown out due to the obvious need for backwards compatibility in language design, the result tends to be — well, if it were English, they’d be like this (courtesy of xkcd):

Played rather straighter by most other languages of the Worlds, although both the influence of Eldraeic via Trade and that of the pervasive communication networks of starfaring cultures do tend to slow it down a bit.