Nice to meet you all.
Inspired by Star Trek: Discovery's Season 3 and "The Burn", I've been re-reading materials where there has been a "Fall of Civilization" scenario and it seems most writers opt for a singular point of origin. Examples include:
- Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: The Nietzschean Uprising and the subsequent FALL OF THE SYSTEMS COMMONWEALTH;
- The aforementioned Star Trek: Discovery: THE BURN titular event;
- Dragon Age: Inquisition: THE BREACH of the magical Veil;
- Warhammer 40,000: The birth of Slaanesh and the instantaneous fall of the Eldar/Aeldari Civilization, as well as the Horus Heresy and subsequent loss of "The God-Emperor of Mankind"
There are plenty of others, of course.
What has gotten me curious and eager to beseech your assistance is this: even in our own History, the fall of the Roman Empire did not happen with a single event, but instead a sequence of them. Same thing for the rise and fall of several Chinese dynasties, which even fractured the Yellow Kingdom at one point into the Three Kingdoms period. The fall of civilizations seem not to occur overnight, but instead a period of transition.
How could I make a "believable" model of such a catastrophic (to some) scenario in a RPG? Assuming an Interstellar body of government divided into central "Core Worlds" full of opulence (and decadence) as well centralized military bases, and "Fringe/Frontier Worlds" often left to their own devices by sheer bureaucracy, inefficiency and red tape, how would such a political beast "fall"? Is it more likely to be slowly eaten away at the fringes by invading forces while the Core worlds are too slow and sluggish to even recognize an invasion? Can a plague bomb be detonated within its Capital cities, cutting the snake's head off so to speak?
I feel that most writers focus too much on a singular point of origin for these catastrophes and it seems to be too convenient to "undo" the disaster: just magically or scientifically time travel to that event in time, prevent it or contain it quickly and ALL issues are solved. Whereas, in real-life, such events only portray a "tip of the iceberg" and slowly bring to light long-ignored underlying issues.