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Giant Apocalypse Setting

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Eclipse Sovereign, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. Eclipse Sovereign

    Eclipse Sovereign Minstrel

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    I recently began rereading Attack on Titan, a manga and anime series based on the idea of man-eating giants besieging humanity. A cornerstone of the franchise is the idea of ‘Titan Shifters’, humans who have the power to become advanced Titans at will.

    As I’m a shameless hack, I took this bare-bones concept and tried to make a completely different story based on it.

    For starters, the setting is the distant future: the year 2760. Our era, from 2000 to 2150, is the Medieval Era. From 2151- 2500 was the Rust Era, kicked off by a near-apocalypse caused by a limited nuclear war. And about two hundred years ago, the giants appeared.

    These giants are generally 50-100 feet tall, and are immensely strong and durable. They are virtually immune to damage, with missiles or rail guns barely slowing them down, and can regenerate from any wound as long as their Nucleus is intact. The Nucleus is an orb about 5-6 feet in diameter, with numerous needle-like spines serving to integrate it with the rest of the body. It produces enormous amounts of blood when damaged, and is relatively weak. Giants are mostly empty except for the muscles, bones and skin. They are driven to devour animals and humans, but need no external nutrients.

    Some giants, dubbed Traitors, can take the form of humans they’ve eaten. While in this form, they have no knowledge of their true nature. They have caused massive casualties by infiltrating human settlements and activating. This is part of the reason why the Junta has no centralized government or single head of state.

    The Shifters are the only means to really stop the giants. Their origins are unknown, but there are currently seven in existence. They are also used as terror weapons to maintain control of humanity by the Junta, as nothing short of a nuclear bomb down the throat can reliably do anything. Despite this, the Shifters are human, and sometimes disobey.

    Thoughts? I’ll post on the characters and setting more if anyone wants.
     
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I think you might be wearing your influence on your sleeve a little too much. Props for admitting it, though.

    I really don’t like the series but I did find aspects of the series interesting. So I did a thing (or will eventually do a story) where there are small, isolated human settlements that use technology to defend themselves against giant monsters. But I didn’t do the shape shifting thing or making the monsters humanoid since that would be going too close to the source. Plus my setting is a southeast Asian chiefdom hiring mercenaries and militias to fight the monsters.

    So with your premise, I need to ask if it’s absolutely necessary that you have giant near-invisible humanoids who eat without requiring nutrients? Especially, since the one main thing you wanted to take was the idea of people being able to turn into the monsters and vice versa. I think going beyond that one aspect basically goes beyond “bare bones” and into copying.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  3. Eclipse Sovereign

    Eclipse Sovereign Minstrel

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    You raise several good points.

    Well, my idea was that if AoT was The Walking Dead, this would be WWZ. The monsters are similar, they’re both zombie apocalypses, but the characters and plotline are completely different. Or to put it another way, they both have giants and people who become giants, but otherwise they explore different aspects of that concept.

    Normally, I would definitely agree with you. However, the author of Attack on Titan has stated in an interview that one of his goals with Attack on Titan was the ‘giant apocalypse’ becoming a genre in its own right. That statement definitely helps.

    Additionally, the regular giants serve as a contrast to the shifters. They’re a perpetual reminder of what they could become, and help keep them from going completely power-hungry.
     
  4. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    I would still insist that there's a difference between being the same thing versus being in the same genre.

    Another inspiration for my giant story was the video game Shadow of the Colossus which also featured a world devoid of much human life, a kind of post-apocalypse thing and featuring a hero battling against giant monsters. It also deals, mildly, with the idea of humanity prospering under great external threats. So, I suppose this video game also falls under this proposed "giant apocalypse" subgenre. However, the giants are magical golems rather than flesh-and-blood creatures.
    I think in order for a subgenre to be viable, creators within that genre need to be able to strip away a "core essence" of the genre and build their own thing from there. And I would think that taking not just the "desperate humans versus seemingly unstoppable giants" bit but also the shapeshifting, the general biology of the giants and potentially the militarism angle would be going further than just the "core essence".

    Going to your zombie example: the first zombie film, 1932's White Zombie, featured intelligent zombies created through magic and under the control of a living human. It was mostly Romero with his Living Dead trilogy (made between 1968 and 1985) that the idea of a horde of mindless zombies and a zombie apocalypse came into the genre. And it was from Romero's take that Walking Dead and WWZ got their influence. The creators of Walking Dead and WWZ could afford to stick closer to Romero's take because, by then, the genre was established and there were many different takes of the genre (one zombie, zombie hordes, zombie apocalypse, magic zombies, non-magic zombies, smart zombies, mindless zombies, etc.)

    Of course, you can do whatever you want. I just tend to think that when people limit what they take from their influences and challenge themselves to make something new and different, they're more likely to come-up with something better or at least more interesting.
     
    Eclipse Sovereign likes this.
  5. Eclipse Sovereign

    Eclipse Sovereign Minstrel

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    At the very least, the Shifter idea and the military idea are what I want to retain. I guess I can drop the mindless giants.
     
  6. WooHooMan

    WooHooMan Auror

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    You could definitely get away with making them mindless non-humanoid giants. Maybe like kaiju things? Maybe something more ape-like/simian?
     
    Eclipse Sovereign likes this.
  7. Eclipse Sovereign

    Eclipse Sovereign Minstrel

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    My original idea was more ghoulish. With external ribs, skull faces and no hair, as well as emaciated frames with barely a resemblance to the human form.

    Simian shapes do seem interesting, though...

    My idea for the main Shifter had him being more hideous than a normal giant as well. Long, ragged hair, a skull for a face, talons and an emaciated figure. Something wasted and pitiful, yet strong enough to kick tanks thousands of feet up.
     
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