Sunday, October 21, 2012
Strange New Worlds, Aliens, Starships and Blasters, Oh My!
So I guess that I'm going to go ahead and design a campaign and try to attract a handful of players after all... Since this is something I need to want to run, it's going to be Sci Fi, Space Adventure with strange new worlds, aliens, starships and blasters, oh my!
Working from the outside in is the classic mistake; I will, however, do an overview, a 'State of the Galaxy', but otherwise my motto is "Go Small or Don't Go!" 8-P
Let me begin by saying that there doesn't seem to be any hard evidence for spacefaring Alien civilizations in the Galaxy at this time or in recent history. There are three good explanations for this-
1) Life and Intelligence (of which there's bugger off down here! 8-) are vanishingly rare- We may be alone in a sterile, empty Milky Way... and that thought makes me very sad.
2) The Galaxy is a very dangerous place and we got lucky in being overlooked and passed by. The Powers That Be routinely wipe out younger species to eliminate competition, but mostly keep quiet and to themselves. This is both heart-stoppingly exciting and depressing!
3) The Milky Way is in fact well-kept real estate, with parks and gardens. The Elder Species live quietly within their means and leave fallow worlds on which The Younger Species can be born, develop and mature.
No. 1 means, AFAIC, that we need to get busy and fill up the Milky Way, terraforming and speciating until we have plenty of strange new worlds to play in and we *are* the aliens!
No. 2 means that we must be a force for good and bring about No. 3! (although No. 3 is boring, it would be a good place to live in 8-) In the 'Rot and Ruin' of worlds there would be plenty of call for terraforming murdered worlds and for speciating to fill every niche...
Or the worlds could be a mix, No. 3 falling apart into No. 2 and No. 2 leading to No. 1... our own small arm could be 1/2 and we could be bordering No. 3! In some ways, this is the story of Traveller RPG, the 1st and 2nd Imperiums leading to the 3rd, and the Spinward Marches being a dangerous periphery of a peaceful interstellar state.
The State of Our Spiral Arm- Locally, patchy with war-wrecked stars and persistent genocide; there is a small chance of life and technical civilization. One association of kind and gentle souls, stern and powerful,
has started to roll up this wilderness, somewhere far away, but Humanity has come onto the scene as the new-kid on the Block and it's a dangerous, run-down neighborhood where we live.
In the 2020s we found and reverse-engineered an alien space-craft which had crashed into the Gulf of Mexico 73 centuries ago during a battle in LEO between two factions in a terminal interstellar war which destroyed the previous local Powers That Were/Big Bads. The USG took the lead in space and beyond our solar system, using the tech advantage as well to arrest a half-century of reversals for the Once Again Superpower.
I owe something about the reverse engineered tech, but it's not super-important; there are a hundred worlds, an active 'grave-digging' industry licensed by the USG but prone to cheats and smugglers. The world strangely doesn't like Uncle Sugar hoarding all the goodies, so that's very much still an issue, and even within the US things aren't that great... the 'Two Cultures' problem is festering in the Southwest and corporations are still people; maybe this is the Corporate States of America (the South, or rather southern Planter-style entitled elites, will rise again!) and an undeclared civil war has been brewing up for a generation and change?
I have the bare bones of a setting, need to 'Go Small' now and design the starting point, a colony and world with people and places, local color, problems and possibilities, plus try to 'lay off the politics' or else peeps won't want to play... this should be fantastic escape from the horrible realities of our time and place.