Tanks

In the Hummelverse, tanks rule the known world.

They are the most common type of sentient machine and rule over the other machines - with the exception of the neutral factories.   A tank’s typical day consists of a lot of resting. They nap a lot to conserve energy. When awake, scouts are assigned to look for threats or teams that their own team could attack.   Tanks tend to have backward ideologies and morals, and it is reflected in the way they interact and their views on life. Pragmatism is widespread. New things and innovative ideas are viewed very critically.   They stick very closely to their rules and traditions that are widely accepted and enforced. The two most important rules are that teamkilling is forbidden - offenders are exiled - and that abandoning your team means you are considered a traitor and fair game. What exactly counts as breaking the rules differs from team to team, though. Some cases may be seen as forgivable by one team, while another team might issue harsh punishment.   The life expectancy of the average tank is very low; a lot of them die very soon after being constructed. The older a tank gets, the more likely they are to survive even longer, as their experience and acquired skill helps them in battles. However, a tank is already considered "old" when it manages to live for 20 years or more. Anyone above 40 to 50 years is considered a veteran. Very few cases of tanks that lived beyond 80 years are known.   At these ages, an additional issue is that their AI Cores have become more susceptible to malfunction and disease. Tanks become forgetful, eccentric, or in many cases simply lose their mind. This is commonly associated with a condition called Mindrot, which - in essence - means these things. This leads to tanks rarely living beyond 90 years. If they somehow managed not to get killed in a battle so far, their minds begin to fall apart until they die.

Naming Traditions

Family names

Tanks usually don't have family names as this tradition was abandoned over time, but some older ones still do.

Other names

There are three main types of tank names - fantasy names, trivial names, and nouns.

Culture

Major language groups and dialects

English and Russian are the most commonly spoken languages in the known world. As a written language, Tank Runes have mostly replaced other alphabets. A language that was widespread but is no longer spoken is Machine Language.

Culture and cultural heritage

Many cultural leftovers from the humans are still present among the vehicles. They use words and phrases like "face" or "brains" even though they make little sense to a contemporary tank.   The cultural values of tanks vary greatly between the generations. Since most tanks don't live long, cultural traits die as quickly as they are re-invented. Even when they get passed down generations, it is usually only locally. Therefore, one will find many different sub-cultures when travelling through the land.   Each of these sub-cultures have their own traditions, additionally to the more universal ones. While those are also subject to rapid change, they are perceived as persistent and imperative.

Common Etiquette rules

Most tanks are very mistrustful of others. (Of course there’s also gullible ones, but they tend not to live long.) It’s normal when someone acts downright gruff, especially towards strangers. While some things that would be seen as rude in our world are acceptable behaviour among tanks, the lines are drawn at threatening others or pointing one's cannon directly at someone when looking at / speaking to them.
  Referring to someone by their name is reserved for tanks who are close to each other (friends, siblings, partners, ...) and may otherwise be seen as respectless. Instead, tanks address each other by their model designations, unless there is ambiguity, in which case nicknames are used.

Funerary and Memorial customs

Deceased teammates are usually not buried. Most of the time, their parts are salvaged to be used by teammates in need or sold.

Common Myths and Legends

Humans are known, but generally assumed to be all dead. Others believe they still live hidden somewhere. There are elaborate belief systems that involve mythical vehicles and factories. Not everyone believes in them, but their names and stories are widely known. Due to the lack of contemporary witnesses, historical facts and accounts are distorted and even outright replaced with fantasy stories.

Ideals

Gender Ideals

Gender or biological sex like humans practiced it makes little sense to tanks and has been mostly abandoned. Sexual dimorphism is observed in animals still, which is probably the main reason why the concept of gender still exists at all in tank society.   It lives on to a degree in the fact that tanks like to choose gendered pronouns for themselves; a tank's pronouns are indicated by a special symbol on their armour.

Gender Markings
Many tanks don't care much about pronouns beyond the practical use in language. The singular "they" pronoun is common as a personal pronoun, though a machine of unknown pronouns is usually addressed as "it"; this is not considered offensive in tank society. Though nowadays, some see it as old-fashioned. After all, most machines used to be addressed as "it" by humans. Using "they" for an individual of unknown pronouns is therefore becoming more common in the recent years.

Relationship Ideals

Relationships are common but usually discouraged. The concept of marriage exists, but is uncommon especially among younger generations.

Equipment

Accessories
Tanks are carrying around a lot of stuff and constantly modifying themselves to have a better chance at survival. Especially outside the clans, there’s mix-and-matching, just using whatever is available for upgrading and maintaining their bodies. Clan people tend to have a more "clean" appearance since they don't need to take whatever they can get and can afford to care about aesthetics.

Further Reading

Interacting with the Environment
Generic article | Mar 6, 2020

How vehicles perceive and manipulate their world.

Pastimes
Generic article | Jan 31, 2019

A collection of fun things that vehicles do when they're bored.

Typical Day
Generic article | Aug 16, 2018

A quick look at a vehicle's typical day.

Factories
Generic article | Apr 18, 2018

The beginning of a machine's life. Mysterious, sacred places.


Articles under Tanks


Origins

The events that led to the creation and the rise of the machines.

  • 1941 - 1946

    Early Stages
    Era beginning/end

    Mobile artillery is the first to be equipped with rudimentary AI.

    Related article
  • 1983

    Reaching Conscience
    Scientific achievement

    Artificial intelligence is developed to the point of being almost indistinguishable from human sentience.

    Related article
  • Year Zero

    The Legacy
    Military action

    Tanks and the other machines fight on after humankind's extinction and start World War III.

    Related article
  • ca. Year 20 to 22

    Entwicklungs-Programm
    Scientific achievement

    A scientific experiment aiming to alter machine consciousness to create the perfect soldiers. It was abruptly ended by the Bombs, but the subjects allegedly escaped.

    Related Location
    Argus Rest
  • Year 22

    The Bombs
    Disaster / Destruction

    The vehicles start a second nuclear apocalypse and their civilization crumbles.

    Additional timelines

Era of the Machines

Current

The world is torn in a neverending battle for resources and bare survival.

  • ???

    The new Order
    Miscellaneous

    In the aftermath of the fall of civilization, new societal structures form. Clans and teams take the place of nations.

    Additional timelines
  • 43 W

    Great Mishap of Jezioro
    Military action

    An armed conflict that ended in a huge friendly-fire incident. Due to its disastrous nature for everyone involved it is considered one of the harshest military failures of the age of the machines.

    Related article
  • ca. 60 W

    The Purge
    Revolution

    As SPGs took over, the other classes decided to overthrow their artillery comrades.

    Additional timelines
    Related article
  • ca. 66 W

    Exodus
    Disaster / Destruction

    After the clan that owned the province is wiped out, the machines of Australia leave it in a panic.

    Related article

Comments

Author's Notes

Changelog

01.10.2018: Added life expectancy.
16.09.2019: Added some gender info and further reading, fixed minor things.


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28 Apr, 2020 19:26

Character Idea: A T-34 and a BT-5 (Feel free to add the tanks relationships and names as you wish). T, a medium tank, is very protective of BT because of his light armor. BT is a very gullible light tank and is only kept alive by the overprotectiveness of his older brother. T, considered a young adult by human standards is distorted and keeps seeing visions of World War II (of course he doesn't know this) in his dreams, he only will tell this to a tank he is close with (like his brother). Both were restored in a Commie workshop and were given new AI and systems, they were both meant to be put on display as a historic reference and would allow crews to drive around inside them. These plans were screwed over by the nukes and they were left there, months later they awoke to each other and became close, where they lived, however, falls into northern territory and they were hunted by other tanks in the area. When the characters meet T and BT, they appear scratched and beat up, when asked about this, T responds angrily saying "It's none of your business, for all I know, you could be enemies too"! Feel free to take their stories anywhere or scrap some elements and add new ones if you so wish. Thanks!

29 Apr, 2020 08:46

That sounds like a fun concept, I wish I had the time to work on more things. :)

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