Jump to content

Looking for FEEDBACK on campaign idea


Guest lucky

Recommended Posts

Guest lucky

Hello all,

 

I have a vague idea for a campaign that I'd like to run for my friends and I wanted to get some feedback from y'all. I only have a few of the larger premises and themes worked out and I need some input--basically, I'd like to throw my ideas against this board and see what sticks. :)

 

The major themes I'd like to explore in this game are adaptability, identity and alienation. Specifically, I'd like to examine the ways in which the process of identity-creation is fluid, dynamic and continuous: to paraphrase Descartes, we change therefore we are.

 

Additionally, I'm interested in looking at cybernetic relationships (writ large). I want to explore interfaces between humanity and machines, as well as between humanity and other life forms, even other consciousnesses. To this end, all of the PCs will be hybrids of one sort or another.

 

 

SETUP:

 

Initially, players will be instructed to create 50-point Skilled Normals (25/25). The year is 2040-ish and an international lunar colony has been established. It functions mainly as a research center and launch pad for further, deeper exploration of our solar system.

 

(Currently, both the Japanese and European Space Agencies have expressed serious interest in establishing just such a base by the year 2025, so this isn't too farfetched.)

 

The PCs are all taking part in a massive drilling operation: the scientific community on the moon has yet to discover what, exactly, is at the satellite's center. Is it ice or is there a molten core? Maybe it's empty space or possibly even the elusive blue cheese. :) Regardless, it's not solid rock, as the mass of the moon is insufficient: whatever's in the center of the moon is significantly less dense than rock.

 

(Again, contemporary research sort of supports this idea. Allegedly, the moon may have an icy center.)

 

So the PCs can choose archetypes which would be involved in this operation: geologists, astronomers, military, engineers, etc. As long as the character could justifiably be taking part in this operation, I'll accept it.

 

Eventually, the drilling operation will reach a dead end: a metallic object blocking their path. Sonar scans reveal that it’s part of a structure: a massive artificial building completely encased in the rock at the center of the moon.

 

Quick note: This facility is approximately 25 km long by 8 km wide, although the dimensions will not immediately be apparent. It is not, in fact, a building at all. It is a vessel which has been orbiting the Earth for millennia. The “moon†as we know it is an accumulation of rock around the ship’s hull. Humanity did not accidentally find this ship at this time: they were lead here. The builders of this ship had anticipated a time when it would be necessary for humanity to find this technology. More on that later.

 

None of this is known to the PCs at the beginning of the campaign.

 

 

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS:

 

A hatch will quickly be located and, after some efforts, opened. Inevitably, one thing will lead to another and the PCs will find themselves trapped inside the building, alongside a dozen of their colleagues (NPCs). The hatch shuts behind them and resists all attempts to breach it.

 

On the outside, three things are happening:

 

1) The existence of the structure is being wrapped in many layers of “top secret.â€

2) The work crews are trying to figure out a way to open up the hatch and get to their people who are trapped inside.

3) A true sense of the structure’s size and age is slowly becoming apparent (shorthand: very fucking big and very fucking old.)

 

Inside the building, those who are trapped (i.e. PCs plus NPCs, AKA “mobile plot devicesâ€) are trying to figure out where they are and how they can get out. Since I can’t really predict what the PCs will do, I’m prepared to wing this section. Basically I want to create a haunted-house feel, with many creepy corridors, surreal echoes, alien architecture, foreboding imagery, and etcetera. What’s important is that no-one who’s inside the ship knows that it’s a ship. As far as they’re concerned, it’s a structure: it’s obviously far too massive to be a vessel and the technology is too alien to give them any clues.

 

Eventually, something happens and everyone in the ship gets hit with a wave of tremendous nausea. They all pass out for a brief time (maybe 20 mins). When they wake up, nothing has changed. From their perspective everything’s fine (which should be creepy if I play it right). The truth is that the ship’s Faster-Than-Light drive has been initiated and the entire vessel has made a “jump†halfway across the galaxy. Back on the moon, all hell has (obviously) just broke loose.

 

Now, the ship has jumped into an area of space which is claimed by a militaristic alien race. Shortly after this massive craft appears within their borders, these aliens will begin approaching it and scanning its exterior. Their probes will be unable to penetrate the interior of the craft, so they’ll initiate a boarding party.

 

Right around this time the PCs should have resumed exploring the “building.†Ideally, they’ll suddenly realize their predicament at the same moment as the boarding ship latches onto theirs and starts cutting open a hatch. I’m thinking something as simple and dramatic as an observation deck: they walk into a massive room with an enormous window on one end. All of a sudden they realize that they’re in a ship, the ship is in space, and they’re surrounded by other craft.

 

This is as far as I’ve gotten so far. What have I forgotten or left out? Any glaring holes in my setup so far?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Looking for FEEDBACK on campaign idea

 

I don't see anything that ties in the first part of your post, ie human-machine interfaces. Maybe that will come later. Check out the anime Ghost in the Shell; it may give you ideas.

 

Also, when are you planning to have everyone meet the aliens? I once played in a campaign where the PCs were supposed to colonize Mars. Suddenly, we're all transported to an unknown region of space and meet up with aliens, including an elf-like being. The campaign died prematurely soon afterwards.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Looking for FEEDBACK on campaign idea

 

Definitely sensing a bit of David Weber influence. :) But overall the concepts seem sound so far it just depends on where it goes at that point. So far with what you describe the players are along for the ride. Are they going to be in a running chase throughout the ship with the aliens hunting them? Learn enough about the ship to initiate actions to fight the aliens, find a medical complex within the ship which modifies them in some way to interact with the ship and thus learn more about what is going on? Any or all of these ideas can be fun depending on what your players enjoy. But on what you have said so far the idea works up to that point fairly well well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest lucky

Re: Looking for FEEDBACK on campaign idea

 

I don't see anything that ties in the first part of your post' date=' ie human-machine interfaces. Maybe that will come later.[/quote']

It does: during the boarding of the ship, the PCs will each become seriously injured and/or captured. Whatever healing process is used to save them will result in a hybridization process. I was thinking of:

 

- Healing/repairing nanites injected into the bloodstream (similar to The Engineer in The Authority);

- Cybernetic prostheses;

- In the case of extremely severe injuries, transference of consciousness into a completely artificial form;

- Alien surgical techniques that result in a kind of symbiote being attached to the character;

 

Also, I thought that if one or more of the PCs were captured, the aliens might employ psionic surgery during interrogation. Who knows what sort of abilities that might accidentally unlock in a human mind?

Also' date=' when are you planning to have everyone meet the aliens?[/quote']

During their attack on the vessel.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest lucky

Re: Looking for FEEDBACK on campaign idea

 

Definitely sensing a bit of David Weber influence. :)

Who what now? :)

 

So far with what you describe the players are along for the ride. Are they going to be in a running chase throughout the ship with the aliens hunting them? Learn enough about the ship to initiate actions to fight the aliens, find a medical complex within the ship which modifies them in some way to interact with the ship and thus learn more about what is going on? Any or all of these ideas can be fun depending on what your players enjoy. But on what you have said so far the idea works up to that point fairly well well.

I am a little concerned with potential railroading, yes. What happens between "A" and "B" can be as long and drawn out as it has to in order to satisfy the players, but ultimately they do need to reach a point where they become exposed to something transformative. Recovering from injuries sustained during a battle with a vastly powerful foe seemed like an easy and plausible way to go about it. Also, I know how satisfying it is to watch your character get whupped, recover and return with a vengeance. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Looking for FEEDBACK on campaign idea

 

I think that is a wonderful, compelling beginning to a campaign. Because it is an 'original' the players really will not have any conventions to fall back on, so make sure to brief them as to the state of technology (ie, in a Star Wars, campaign, everyone knows what a light saber, X-Wing, and a blaster are, and what they can and cannot do--in a previously-undefined future, make sure the PC's know this stuff BEFORE they even make characters). Maybe a written introduction for them about the state of the world and technology...

 

I wouldnt worry about the railroading too much. Plot devices are always railroading--after all, most great plots follow this basic pattern:

 

Introduce characters--Get Characters into trouble--get characters into even more trouble--characters get themselves out of trouble, and adapt/live with the consequences.

 

Not too many characters WILLINGLY get themselves into trouble, so plot devices are necessary (or at least the kind of trouble you wish they woudl for ease of running the game!. That's why alot of series premieres need to be long--because the equivalent of introductory exposition needs to take place so the view (or in this media, the PLAYERS) develop an attachment to the characters and game world.

 

What is your major theme, though? War? Exploration? Slow discovery of ultra powerful, ancient technology? Integration/discovery into an alien culture? Voyage home? With your setup, you MUST decide this before going any futher. If the Aliens truly are a warlike race, the most sensible thing for the PC's to do is figure out how the ship works and run like hell back to Earth, if possible. Even if the PC's fight off the Aliens in their first wave, what do they do when the Aliens come back with reinforcements? If the Aliens cant get into the tough hide of giant starship, what threat do they pose, and what purpose do they serve? Will OUR HEROS lead the alien race right back to a decimated and defenseless Earth? (An exploded moon would do VERY BAD THINGS to Earth).

 

Once you know the major theme and tone, you can decide what can of worms you are opening for the PC's, and designing scenarios should be alot easier. It will be impossible if you dont define this stuff as well as tone first.

 

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest lucky

Re: Looking for FEEDBACK on campaign idea

 

I think that is a wonderful' date=' compelling beginning to a campaign. Because it is an 'original' the players really will not have any conventions to fall back on, so make sure to brief them as to the state of technology[/quote']

Thanks, that's an excellent idea. The technology level won't be leaps and bounds beyond what we see today: I imagine it's simply a couple of steps further on, so it should be fairly easy to grasp. A one-page summary should suffice to summarize the major scientific and technological developments.

 

What is your major theme' date=' though? War? Exploration? Slow discovery of ultra powerful, ancient technology? Integration/discovery into an alien culture? Voyage home?[/quote']

The major themes are:

1) Hybrid identities and the search for the self;

2) Gradual discovery of alien technologies, histories and motives regarding humanity;

3) galaxy-spanning conspiracy theories; :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest lucky

Re: Looking for FEEDBACK on campaign idea

 

With your setup' date=' you MUST decide this before going any futher. If the Aliens truly are a warlike race, the most sensible thing for the PC's to do is figure out how the ship works and run like hell back to Earth, if possible. Even if the PC's fight off the Aliens in their first wave, what do they do when the Aliens come back with reinforcements? If the Aliens cant get into the tough hide of giant starship, what threat do they pose, and what purpose do they serve? Will OUR HEROS lead the alien race right back to a decimated and defenseless Earth? (An exploded moon would do VERY BAD THINGS to Earth).[/quote']

I'm planning for a sequence of events like this:

 

- The ship jumps to the far corner of the galaxy;

 

- It's quickly surrounded by this hostile alien race;

 

- As these aliens begin their boarding attempt, the PCs start realizing what's happening;

 

- The aliens make it on board and a battle of some kind breaks out. I'm thinking it'll be a long, drawn-out, running game of hide-and-seek. Outnumbered and vastly outgunned, the PCs will really have to think fast to survive for any length of time at all.

 

- Ultimately, the PCs are all either "killed" or captured;

 

- PCs who are "killed" are left for dead on the massive alien ship that brought them here. The ship's AI clandestinely recovers their bodies and "heals" them--this leads to the transformative experiences which create their new, more powerful bodies;

 

- At least one PC will be captured by the attackers. The subsequent interrogation scene will allow for a lot of exposition as the interrogator inadvertently (or intentionally?) reveals various bits of information about the gigantic ship, this part of the galaxy, etc.;

 

- With their newfound powers, the PCs are able to resist and escape in their ship;

 

- Unfortunately, the attacking aliens now knowof earth's location and its primitive technology, which would make them defenceless;

 

I have some more vague ideas, but I'm not entirely sure where to go next...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...