Neglectful Precursors
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Basic Information

When the ancient race that predates man left one heck of a mess behind them, that's Neglectful Precursors. In general, the more neglectful the Precursors are, the less likely they will actually appear in the narrative.

Related Tropes include Precursors and:
Abusive Precursors
Evil Is Not A Toy
Lost Superweapon
Omniscient Morality License
Sealed Evil In A Can
You Are Not Ready

See also:
List of Disasters
Weapon of Mass Destruction

Sources

Bibliography

Game and Story Use

  • Adventure seed: Oasis in the Ice
  • Most cases of neglectful precursors in sci-fi movies and novels don't really intend for them to come off as deadbeat parents, but it's hard to avoid that analysis when you consider how badly they mucked things up and then bailed. It's the sort of thing you might not notice (or choose to ignore) when you're passively watching a show for an hour at a time, but if you really stop to think about it, the "Ascended Ancients" are usually bloody irresponsible. Players in an RPG have plenty of time to think about such things, so be careful how you portray your precursors. You may need to pick one of the following options:
    1. Make sure the current danger facing the universe came about after the precursors went away.
    2. OR the Ancients contained the danger and set up warning signs … but the danger lasted longer than the safety systems…
    3. Include some terrible disaster that wiped out the precursors so they couldn't worry about the current evils. If so, this terrible disaster has got to be big. You'll also want to spell it out clearly early on, or else you may hit option three by default.
    4. Be prepared to listen to the players criticize the ancients' morality or intelligence. They'll feel justified in doing so.
    5. Play to it. Every chance you get, depict the precursors as lazy, distracted, decadent, immoral, self-concerned, etc. They knew about the great evil, and yet left the galaxy to its' fate. The precursors have infinite power, and aren't even human, so you might as well revel in it.
    6. Maybe the danger wasn't dangerous to them - either its nature changed over the years, or some aspect of their biology made it harmless or even beneficial to them. Maybe the ancient machine of rampaging death was their equivalent of a rat-catching robot which has mis-classified humans as vermin, or that is programmed to look after them, as long as they stay in places the ancients meant them to stay in … or something.
  • Hey, cut the Precursors some slack. They put up signs all over the place saying not to touch the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. How were they to know that the stupid monkeys would take that as a challenge?
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