Saturday, June 11, 2011

StarSIEGE: An Unnamed Campaign Setting (That Still Needs Work)

Following the 9-Minute Campaign Design notes from The Mule Abides, I managed to stretch this out into a...uh...4?  5? -hour long project.

Man, I'm gettin' old.


What is the Look & Feel of your campaign?
This game is a high-spirited, light-hearted space opera. It's not a comedy game, but it is a little bit satirical. It's about fighting the bad guys who make everyday life difficult for good guys and regular folks everywhere, but it happens at a grand scale.

The setting is a highly-urbanized future Earth with high (and, more often than not, weird) technology. There is life on other planets, both native and colonial, but Earth is home. It's an increasingly strange place to call home...but it's home.

Inspirations include: The Fifth Element, Robocop, "Futurama", The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez and a little bit of the 1979 "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" TV series – but only a little bit so.

What’s the high concept of your campaign?
In the year 2263, the Earth is the hub of an interstellar society and a melting pot of cultures both native and alien. Technology routinely makes possible all manner of wonderful things (even if said technology is not available to everybody), interstellar travel is commonplace and humans and non-humans share glitzy megacities, arcologies and slums alike.

Of course, there's also a never-ending supply of unethical corporations, flamboyant nobles, interplanetary warlords, alien invaders, extremist malcontents and bad guys of all stripes who just can't stop trying to have their way at someone else's expense...and someone has to stop them. Someone skilled, talented, brave and clever...and who didn't sign up for the job.

Who is this game about -- what's the Core Story?
The heroes own and operate a freelance general contract company called "Freelance General Contractors". They hire out as consultants, couriers, mercenaries, researchers, private detectives or whatever someone needs done and can pay for. Invariably, they end up crossing paths with bad guys of various types and taking it upon themselves to save the day.
Characters can be human, or one of a few races that I'll determine later. Android PCs are allowed.

What rules will you be using in your campaign?
The game uses StarSIEGE: Event Horizon from Troll Lord Games. The "I Make This Look Good", "Leaving...20 For Me", "Shoot The Hostage!" and "Taste My Paired Blasters of Doom!" rules are in effect. Characters are built per the Field Guide, but receive 15 XP instead of 10.

Cyber Score is 2. Galactic Standard Tech Score is 7, but with contragravity and FTL. Galactic Standard Psi Score is a measly 1, which makes psi powers possible but very rare. Taint Score starts at 0. PCs receive 3 additional Nova Points at time of creation.

What are the big-scale social institutions or groups in the campaign?
Here's a brief overview of a few of these, just to get started and to establish the mood:
  • HolistiCorp: A megacorporation with wide-ranging interests, covering everything from security and construction to consumer electronics and fast food. Its level of ethical behavior ranges pretty widely, too...  
  • The Solar Constortium: The governing body for Earth and its colonies. Efficient but largely powerless as corporations gain -and maintain- greater influence.
  • The Monastic Order of the Latent Divinity: A popular but very exclusive quasi-religion which proposes that there is a spark of divinity in every intelligent being, which needs to be nurtured and developed. They are not prosyletic, prophetic or in any other way jerkwads.
  • The Isorat Combine: An alliance of interstellar corporations dedicated to mutual protection of business interests. Kind of like the mob.
  • Baron Montague von Capulet: An industry unto himself, the most popular industrialist/athlete/noble/playboy/entertainer/celebrity/author/movie star/insufferable prig in the known galaxy. He probably has some skeletons in the closet.
  • The Radical Automaton Liberation Front: A pro-robot rights organization infamous for their extreme tactics and obnoxious publicity stunts. Although most androids are not sentient, the RALF think that they all should be, and fight the "good fight" -- sometimes quite literally.
  • The Vundra-Qu'urtund Empire: An interplanetary autocracy controlled by the alien Qu'urtund race. They are expansionist and militarized, and have a tenuous peace accord with the Solar Consortium, enforced (on their side) only by fear of the Vashloo.
  • The Vashloo: Ancient race of galactic peacekeepers with Clarke's Law technology and a far-reaching power to back up their stern but laissez-faire warnings to other races not to goof up.
Who are the major supporting cast?
There are plenty of good guys, bad guys, OK guys and real weirdos with whom to interact. Here are some notables:
  • Baron Montague von Capulet: Good guy? Bad guy? OK guy? Weirdo? Being immensely wealthy, egotistical and probably close to insane, he's likely to be one or all of those at any given time.
  • Claudio Killebrew, The Spectre of Titan: The most notrious space pirate in the Sol system. He captains a spaceship called The Void Princess, and maintains a secret base somewhere in the Jovians.
  • "Razz" Berie Barret: The owner of a spacer bar in New York City, and a reliable source of information and connections. Definitely a 'good guy', which has made her some enemies.
  • Dr. Nelok Irdelemmtor: Tyvorian professor of Xenoarchaeology at Ausonia University on Mars and a regular patron of FGC. A founding member of the Astroexploration Society, age has curtailed the swashbuckling adventures of his youth.
  • Kallendra Spartano: Known RALF member, key agitator and general pest.
  • Lhater Mtashk: Qu'urtund diplomatic envoy to the Solar Consortium. He brought a retinue and a starship that's supposed to be unarmed. The Qu'urtund are not known for their diplomacy and Mtashk is careful not to sully their reputation.
What are the major threats in the campaign?
  • Lhater Mtashk is probably up to no good. Did he bring some troops? Can he bring some into the system without anyone noticing? Would he condone an attack on Earth? Yes, yes, and yes.
  • Baron Montague von Capulet. 'Nuff said.
  • Piracy is a problem -- Claudio Killebrew is the most _notorious_ pirate, not the only pirate.
  • HolistiCorp is usually running some ethically-dubious project or other, somewhere.
Draw a map of the campaign setting.
Not right now.

Draft up your first adventure.
"Make sure to get immersed in your Core Story right away, and try to introduce your major threats, major supporting cast, and socio-cultural stuff early on, and in easily digestible pieces" is good advice. I'll follow it in a little while.