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Colonel Kane

Sci fi game universe

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Hello all

 

This post is me seeking some help. 

I want to run a sci find roleplaying game.

My idea is the universe is basically humans have gone into space and discovered that they alone. They have colonized multiple planets and keep expanding. They eventually start discovering ancient ruins. My idea for the adventure is the exploration of an underground city. 

What I would like help with is how long could I keep this adventure going? How could I help keep this 'fresh?

 

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You can have various factions seeking to explore the same city--plunderers, real estate developers, eugenicists, maybe just friendly competition for exploration-related bounties. 

Just because you know the humans are alone doesn't mean your players should be so sure.  There may be some entity (a corporation or nation or terrorists even) that benefits from plating false evidence of other-life (ETs, extrabios, xenomorphs...) or furthering a lingering belief in common people that aliens exist.  That group may even don alien-seeming armor and use strange weapons and ships to incite wars and fear.

It may be discovered that the seed of human life is actually extraterrestrial, that we are essentially aliens to our own homeworld.

Perhaps in their explorations your players or scientists or both find what seems to be the very edge of the universe--maybe it is, maybe it's just a strange energy area, maybe it's Q.

The possibilities are as endless as your universe!

Edited by BLZeebub
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BLZeebub thank you for your quick reply and the ideas. I like the ideas you are throwing at me. 

 

I am not sure of what set of rules I want to use for this campaign as of yet. There are several I am looking at.

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Human nature itself is a limitless source of inspiration. I mean, even when you don't use aliens or "mystical forces" so to speak, especially the fact that you have got a future as well as a historic background makes a perfect background material to keep the story running.

 

The only limit to what you will achieve in the end is the way you tell and the detail you put into the story.

 

Look at the "big" stories like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, maybe the Honorverse. The reason all those stories fill entire movies, books and series is their flawless way of making you believe that there is more. If you allow your players to explore your material, maybe throw some humor, some thrilling events and dramatic stories at them, you will be able to make your game run smoothly and for a long time. Or take NieR (oh my god - I have NO idea why I always bring this game up) where in the middle of the game the characters start to discover that the world they live in are the remnants of a world, that ended thousands of years ago and was actually the world WE live in.

 

Important is that YOU know what you are aiming at. If you want to put in a war, put in a war. Give them agent missions, let them scavenge, but always allow them to explore their surroundings - and surprise them.

 

As I said: Human nature itself is a limitless source of inspiration. And if you take some time to think of what people could think of, then you already have got the best idea what you're going to do.

Edited by SisterMaryNapalm
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You may want to search through the eclipse phase "gate crashing" source book, it's full of interesting things to find on "dead" worlds. 

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Thank you for your reply wererobotwerk. I will have to look it up. I also know that there are various resources out there, but find them might be a pain in the butt.

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keep in mind that certain tech assumptions can and should change the universe in different ways, especially when it comes to communications and travel. 

For example, in the Traveller game system's default universe, communications is limited to the speed of travel.  This gives you things like two arms of the same entity working at cross purposes because they can't communicate fast enough, and colonies that have a lot more autonomy.  At the PC level, this means that PCs can often outrun the news of any crimes they commit or people they piss off.

There is quite a bit of sci-fi out there that follows this assumption as well - Avatar and Aliens are two of them, but each handle it slightly differently as well. 

 In Star Wars and Star Trek, communications is FTL, and virtually instantaneous, meaning that your central authorities have a lot more control, and news travels a lot quicker. 

IMO, slowing down your communications between worlds will allow far more mystery and confusion for the PCs to explore (and exploit). 

 

 

Oh, and I mentioned that because it may have an influence on what rules system you use. 

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Thank you kristof. I have the Traveller rules, but I like 'free' rules. Having said that. I was recently introduced to the GURPS system. So far I like what I see, however I can not see me buying 4th edition. It is on the expensive side for me. 3rd edition is cheaper, but on looking at it I would have to purchase several books just to get what a I want. I do see that there is a Traveller books for GURPS, so could use that, but not sure if it could be used for what I am wanting.

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Communication at the speed of travel (per @kristof65) is a really interesting thing that can do a number of things in your setting.

 

If you assume that most "radio" communication occurs at light speed, then it can take hours or years to speak to other planets/stations.

 

But if faster-than-light travel is possible, then physical couriers become very important. 

 

It's also possible that you have a "Stargate" situation, where communication can go FTL but only if directed through a gate of some kind. This gives you three tiers of comms:

1. "Radio" light speed

2. Physical couriers travel FTL

3. Gate ultra FTL

 

If that's the case, then your big question is: who controls the gates? 

1. Communally-interested government or benign corporation, willing to allow any user (for a price or as a right, depending on your universe)

2. Self-interested govt or Corp, using the tech to further their own goals and stay ahead of competition

3. Whoever discovers the gate in question; it's part of the Ancient Mystery

4. Nobody yet; it's part of the Ancient Mystery and nobody has figured out how to use it.

 

All of these have some potential hooks for player characters. Players can be hired as couriers, especially if they're moving from planet to planet. Maybe someone with no gate access found something that needs to be delivered to another planet, without the gate-control knowing: players could be couriers, tasked with being stealthy, or they could be tasked with sabotaging the gate to buy their employer time to deliver. Maybe a new gate was discovered, and the players have to go there and activate it so it's useful. Maybe the players discovered the gate and have to defend it from claim-jumpers.

 

Just a few ideas. Point being, if there are communication tiers in your universe, someone is willing to pay money or favors to use or circumvent the tiered system.

 

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Thank you sanael.  I have a lot to think of. I am starting to think that I may have to swipe a universe and modify it to more my liking.

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Don't bring GURPS 3rd edition back from its well-earned grave. Well, unless you actually like half the party being bloodthirsty kleptomaniacs with eidetic memory, which seemed to be par for the course back then.

 

Now, you want the adventure to be dungeon delving in a ruined alien city, essentially?

 

I'd definitely create a backdrop where different factions are competing in exploration, trying to establish footholds and finding ways deeper into the complex. Because that lets you throw competition at the players initially, instead of having to challenge them with all alien everything from the get-go. Fast FTL communications being possible would help with that, because it facilitates a "xenoruins rush" environment (once the news gets out at all, it's out everywhere in a hurry). If, on the other hand, FTL comms are slow or non-existent, whoever finds the ruins first shouldn't have too hard a time securing a fairly substantial (months, or even years) head start for their exploratory efforts.

 

Clearly define whether it's just the advanced alien culture that seems gone from the ruins, or whether at first glance it's all life that seems to have disappeared. If you have an extant native ecosystem "topside" there's nothing inherently surprising about creatures living in the underground ruins. The players will be pestered be the local equivalent of feral cats and dogs, not really that dangerous, just annoying - and when you ultimately introduce something truly nasty, it'll be a surprise. No ecosystem, on the other hand, would mean more creepy emptiness to explore, with every distant sound actually being foreboding. So base your decision on what kind of syle you'd prefer to run.

 

Have a clear idea of why the underground ruins are underground. A normal city that good buried beneath debris from a cosmic catastrophe will have a different layout from one that has been intentionally built into the ground. Either option might raise questions with your players, but (hopefully) different ones.

 

All I got for now, without too strongly duplicating stuff that's already been said.

 

 

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Or just simply let the rumor have arisen of "discovered...…" whatever. This can create an atmosphere similar to the Gold Rushes of the 1800s. That lets your characters give their own reasons for being there. 

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Thank you Arkady and Corsair.

Is GURPS 3rd edition that bad?

The thing that am liking about GURPS is there is no classes. While I love my DnD clones, I have been wanting to 'branch' out. I bought the little black box for Traveller a few years ago, the two things I dislike about that game is the fact that character generation is spread over 5-6 books. I know, I could just use the main book, but that seems  to 'limit' characters. The other thing I dislike is any player that wants to play will have to purchase a book. GURPS does not seem too bad other than the fact it seems I would have to purchase multiple books, which I could do over a period of time. The only other option I have considered is the old D6 Space. It is free for all and there are no classes as such. Anyways I feel like I am rambling again.

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I haven't looked at this in detail myself, but you might like to check out Cepheus Engine.  It's basically a version of the Traveller game system with the IP content omitted.  I believe it is available as a pay-what-you-want PDF.

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