Search Amazon.com:
Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«6 »
  • Post
  • Reply
Ettin
Oct 2, 2010

Heh. Heh. Heh.
Four hehs.




Welcome to the Plutovember Design Contest!


What is going on??

Okay, so I want to see you write a setting. (It can be system-agnostic or tied to a certain system, I don't care. I may ask you to write a short adventure though, so you might want a system in mind.) Specifically, I want to see a science fiction setting!


What do you mean by science fiction?

Whatever you feel is science fiction enough, as long as it is close enough I don't give a poo poo. It can be as hard or soft as you like - something like Traveller, or Eclipse Phase, or your favourite goofy 80s/90s cartoons, or something pulpy, whatever.


Does fantasy count?

Yes, if it has obvious heavy science fiction elements and isn't just a retread of the "let's apply scientific principles to magic!" or "let's drop some alien wreckage in a swords-and-sorcery setting!" concepts. Science fantasy/planetary romance will slide. Think Numenera or Barsoom, not Expedition to the Barrier Peaks or Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.


Does steampunk count?

Unless it's in space and deals with actual themes like the exploitation of the lower class instead of slapping gears on its top hat and calling itself Baron Wifflebottom, gently caress no.

What happens if I link TVTropes?

Disqualified.


Can I try to weasel out of ask about these rules?

You can try! No TVTropes though. Never TVTropes.


What's the prize?

Either avatars or a mystery prize depending on whether anyone pitches in anything.


Okay, so how do I sign up?

Signups are open right now! Here is your first deadline: By November 10 I want to see your pitch with a setting overview, the themes you are going for and the kind of science/technology stuff involved.

Signups are closed!

And... go!

CURRENT ENTRANTS

1. Fuego Fish - The Sun of Liberty
2. Mors Rattus - Earthclan
3. JDCorley - Random Access Memories
4. Evil Sagan - Drachir
5. Tollymain
6. Meinberg - Last Light
7. neongrey - The Music of the Spheres
8. Null Profusion - The Gods of the Dead World
9. Glazius - eLf
10. Saguaro PI - Fist of the Universe Tournament
11. El Estrago Bonito - HALE
12. Benagain - Pilgrims
13. Snorb - Stargazer
14. neonchameleon - Star Ship Titanic
15. Syphilis Fish - Nibiru
16. Attilla - Reach Unto Heaven
17. PublicOpinion - HERX
18. Black Wombat - Patches
19. Sion - The Difference a Day Makes
20. MiltonSlavemasta - The Great Escape
21. Mr. Maltose - Consume/Crusade
22. Loxbourne - Praise Be To Man
23. Libluini - The First and Last War
24. Xaander - The Loser's Game
25. xutech - Can we be friends?
26. Bucnasti - Strange Tales of the Galactic Legion
27. Shockeh - Nexus
28. Flaky Biscuit - The Red Star
29. Spincut - Falling Stars
30. Egregious Offences - Lawbringer
31. Desty - Transhumanitarian
32. Rexides - 0 K War
33. JackMann - Wolves at the Door
34. Quadratic_Wizard - Merl
35. DocBubonic - Thoog Lyfe 4 eva!
36. namesake - hARmony
37. Error 404 - Deepest Black
38. MadRhetoric - SimulacRomantic
39. Speleothing - Agents of the L-3
40. TheDemon - ACEFs High

Ettin fucked around with this message at Nov 30, 2013 around 00:15

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010

Heh. Heh. Heh.
Four hehs.


ANSWERED QUESTIONS

TK-31 posted:

I am terrible at fluff but I've been wanting to get some practice at that while exploring weird concepts for my system. One question: Does it need to involve space? It seems to be the idea, but it is not stated within the rules.

Nope, space is actually optional!

Splicer posted:

How "with the serial numbers filed off" can we get? I always thought the premise of Gateway could make a decent RPG setting with a little work.

As long as it's not an obvious knockoff go for it.

Black Wombat posted:

Ettin, would it be acceptable to use the StoryNexus system that Fallen London's dev team is putting out to make a choose-your-own-adventure-like game in the setting?

I really hope the answer is yes, as I've already sunk several hours into this.

It is!


PREVIOUS BONUS POINTS

Round One: Include one of the following science things as a major setting element and I will give you a point.

• The space roar
• The Schwarzschild radius
• The uncertainty principle (none of that Doctor Who observer effect BS)
• Dinosaurs (scientifically accurate or not I don't care)
• Lagrange points
• Laser guns (the kind that are visible and go "pew pew" or the other kind)
• Spaceships which people can walk around inside instead of floating around, with a vaguely plausible explanation
• Magnetars
• Quantum Computing
• Bose-Einstein Condensate


Round Two:

Ettin posted:

Bonus Point

Write either one long-form two-page fluff piece* or 3-5 smaller fluff pieces which flesh out your setting. When I say fluff piece I am mostly thinking of stuff like this:



But I am down for whatever. If you want to do art, that works too!

Ettin fucked around with this message at Nov 24, 2013 around 00:39

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007


Hm. Tempting...

Tollymain
Jul 9, 2010

GOOD GOD
MY POSTS ARE TERRIBLE


You rear end in a top hat. I was gonna win Nanowrimo this year

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


The dawn of a new century fast approaches! It is 1799, and the new nation called the United States of America has been born through the great war for independence! In Europe, Britain seeks to extend its power, while old enemy France is embroiled in the fires of revolution! Amidst all this, a race has begun to claim the last territory as-yet untouched by the hand of man - SPACE!

Already the air is a contested domain! The Balloon Regiments of the Redcoats swayed battles against the colonial forces until the balance was regained through the Volunteer Aerialists. The whims of the wind were bested in 1779 through the implementation of the paddlewheel, and small fleets of balloons propelled by the power of the Franklin stove made short work of the British airborne.

In 1784, construction began on the first of the so-called Long Guns, artillery pieces with barrels in length exceeding three miles. The goal? Orbit! Across the globe a war of espionage broke out as the leading scientific minds of the era had their work purloined and sold to the highest bidder. Fanciful pamphlets detailing the wealth of treasures in the wider solar system saw print. Worlds untouched by man! Telescope surveys charted alien climates as the frenzy for expansion grew amongst the general populace, and the governments who led them!

Now we have Long Guns on the Moon, and the power of steam has been stillborn, superseded by the incredible discoveries made out in the inky ocean surrounding the islan Earth, and by those incredible inventions drawn from necessity by the most creative minds of the age! Steel your nerves and prepare your senses for the many worlds of The Sun of Liberty!

Short version: space race spins out of the American Revolution, man lands on Moon before invention of radio, technological progress kind of goes weird from then on. One part swashbuckling to one part retrofuturism, set to a background of revolution, espionage, and war.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-Mein


This sounds like something right up my alley. Do I need a pitch to sign up or is Fuego just a go-getter?

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Meinberg posted:

This sounds like something right up my alley. Do I need a pitch to sign up or is Fuego just a go-getter?

I am the go-gettingest, to the point where I trimmed mine down a bit because I was literally writing the entire setting all at once.

Fenarisk
Oct 26, 2005



Sounds a lot like space 1889, I dig it!

http://www.peginc.com/space-1889/

Error 404
Jul 17, 2009


MAGE CURES PLOT

I love sci-fi, and am totally going to pitch something!

Edit: tentative working title is Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality!

JDCorley
Jun 28, 2004

Elminster don't surf


I like it. I'm in this month for reals. Also I'll buy someone whose stuff I like something they'll like on drivethrurpg for the JDC Award of Good Job.

Null Profusion
Dec 30, 2008


Are there any guidelines for what our setting document should contain? Do we need maps, a wordcount, modules? Something like Vast and Starlit has a defined setting made up of about 12 words and AW has maybe a paragraph while still giving a reasonable amount of flavor. I'm in as long as I'm not expected to write something like a Forgotten Realms setting book.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Fenarisk posted:

Sounds a lot like space 1889, I dig it!

http://www.peginc.com/space-1889/

It arose from IRC. Lemon Curdistan said he was "tempted to work on something similar to Space 1889" and I said "Space 1779. Go pre-victorian. American Revolution segues into a space race. Actually gently caress you that's my idea now"

And so it was

Asymmetrikon
Oct 30, 2009

I believe you're a big dork!


Time to get my hard science on. Maybe this will be the first contest I manage to finish

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007



Out and about. Got my ipod with me. And then it hits me: Ar tonelico is compliant with the terms of the contest.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007


Humanity isn't alone. We've known that for a decade or two now, ever since our first manned missions towards the outer planets. We had the bad luck to run into the first wave of some alien explorers. Since then...well, we had our first interstellar war. We lost, by the way. Close-run thing, though. And we got to join "galactic society."

That one wasn't because of the war, though. They'd have invited us anyway. What the war meant was that we owed a debt for them not killing us. Who are 'they?' Hadarclan. They've got three species. We're lucky, though - we have five in Earthclan. Turns out it was a good idea to uplift all those animals back in the '40s. Who knew?

Of course, they had lasers worth a drat. That's why we lost. Anyway, my point is, we owe them. That's bad, in this galactic society. Everyone's a merchant, it seems like. Debts are a big deal. And if someone spares your life...yeah, you owe them. That's something we hadn't figured out when the war was one. On the one hand, it's why we nearly won. On the other, it's why we owe them - they kept sparing our ships when we lost.

At least there's a few other groups out there. Hadarclan are ruthless and they've been straining us, but at least they keep their deals. Okdaclan, now, they're nearly as good at weaseling as we are. Don't you listen to what anyone outside Earthclan says - being good at weaseling around the spirit of a contract's important now. Pisses some of 'em off to no end, sure, but it's legal. They say it's keeping us poorer than we have to be. I say it's keeping us free. This debt slavery business I've seen happen - well, it's bullshit, but that's the law. Anyway, bargain with one of the Okdaclan and you better make sure you read all the fine print. Homamclan - well, let's just say that you be sure to look those gift horses in the mouth. They're generous, all right, but be careful. And Zubanaclan? Well, they're pretty good at keeping deals, but they creep me out.

And no matter what happens, try not to get your life saved by anyone that isn't Earthclan. I mean, we don't really go in for honor slavery.

Well, most of us.

Some of us, anyway.

Look, we do it less than the others. Just - watch yourself, okay? Don't break deals, don't need to get your life saved. You'll do all right.

Oh, and if you can, see if you can crew a Hadarclan warship. Especially an Agena-designed one. I hear the bigwigs back home will pay top dollar to figure out how they managed to make a laser weapon work. We've never gotten the trick to work. Anyway - go out there and make me proud, kid.

Good little dolphin - he'll go far.

Short version: In a galaxy ruled over by clans formed from a species and the beings they uplift, humanity finds itself entangled in a web of debt, honor and reputation. The themes are debt and loyalty - the idea is to explore what kind of loyalty you owe to someone, and how far it goes, and whether you can really owe someone a debt so great that they can aks for anything.

E: Major inspirations include Known Space, Uplift and Eclipse Phase.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at Oct 31, 2013 around 19:06

DocBubonic
Mar 11, 2003

Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis

Would Post-apocalyptic settings be considered O.K. for this contest?

Evil Sagan
Jan 22, 2011

Prepare to be reduced to star stuff.


EDIT: I didn't really like this pitch so I rewrote it.

In the far future, humanity has abandoned Earth and populated many other planets across the galaxy. In their search for resources, they awaken a humongous tomb of sleeping dinosaurs. The awakened beings quickly overwhelm the human race with their superior technology and their fierce military intellect, subsequently enslaving us. A few holdouts exist, small forces of heroic rebellion eager to overcome our reptile overlords and free humanity once and for all.

I'm going for some camp/pulp scifi here. More Star Wars than Star Trek, if that makes sense. Terrible masters from Earth's prehistory locked in laser fights against determined defenders of freedom with huge muscles and scrappy can-do intelligence. Monsters, flashy guns, swords that shine, hulking metallic outposts, bikes zooming through lush forest, spies with super binoculars atop red cliffs on barren worlds.

Evil Sagan fucked around with this message at Nov 1, 2013 around 16:41

JDCorley
Jun 28, 2004

Elminster don't surf


In a not so distant future, time travel is possible, but the intense radiation generated by breaching the time barrier prevents living things from surviving the trip. Instead, we send unmanned drones into history to solve historical puzzles from dinosaur behavior to who killed Merriwether Lewis, and project our minds into people of other time periods.

It's a world where emergency response can happen before the emergency, where the corporate race to market with new innovations often happens before the R&D process that creates the innovation, and where intrusive thoughts are no longer just the realm of psychosis or schizophrenia. Someone in the future may take over your mind with an urgent message from that future, deliver it, and then disappear, leaving you with jumbled memories of events and traumas that now will never happen.

This has led to the description of humankind's collective consciousness over time with a phrase that formerly applied only to our computers. Welcome to Random Access Memories.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Stargazer
There are many limits, even in the year 2297, and the speed of light is one that still exists in the distant future. No matter what movies, video games, novels, or other forms of entertainment would like us to believe, Einstein was right, and the myriad points of light out there in the night sky will be just that: points of light, forever beyond our reach.

That is perfectly fine. After all, there are twelve* other planets and countless moons in our own solar system-- the perfect places for humanity and near-humanity to settle down, expand, and create new things (or destroy it all.)

What It Has
Like Evil Sagan, I'm going for an oldschool scifi feeling with this. There will be lasers, space stations parked at Lagrange points, spaceships with realistic artificial gravity, genetically-engineered near-human explorers scouting out the unexplored reaches of Io, stuff like that.

What It Hasn't
Transporters (personal distaste, not realistic), FTL travel (unrealistic, seriously, our own solar system has enough going for it as it is, why overlook what we have?), extraterrestrials (humanity's perfectly capable of making its own monsters thank you very much.)

What Inspired This
Buck Rogers, primarily, with hints of Cowboy Bebop and Firefly. (This may be hamstrung by the fact that I've only ever seen the Cowboy Bebop movie and vaguely know of Firefly.)

The System
Microlite20, as much as I want this (and think it can be) system-agnostic.

The Bonus Points
*Dinosaurs: Humanity's made several major advances in genetic engineering, splicing, and artificial genome construction by 2297, so... hell yeah. There is the potential for dinosaurs.
*Lagrange Points: Are perfect places to put space stations. How in the world that would work with planets that lack moons or have more than one moon... that's for someone smarter than me to figure out.
*Laser Guns: Are a drat standard and reliable weapon in 2297!
*Vaguely Plausible Artificial Gravity: Yes, complete with backup!
*Quantum Computing: The next step up in computing, commonplace by 2297.


*Yes, twelve. I'm one of those people who consider Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake full-on planets.

SECOND EDIT: To add a bit more detail regarding the Bonus Points in the OP.

Snorb fucked around with this message at Nov 9, 2013 around 05:42

Tollymain
Jul 9, 2010

GOOD GOD
MY POSTS ARE TERRIBLE


Setting overview: An entire civilization living somewhere inside the Schwarzschild radius of a supermassive blackhole. How? Psychics. Inhumanly dedicated psychics. Despite this, people still have such crazy ideas as wars, and governments, and revolutions. Rather irresponsible, really.

Themes
: The inevitability of human conflict no matter what the situation. The child holding the key to the tiger’s cage. An unimaginably unreal world that seeks to utterly unmake the humanity that ekes out an existence within it.

Science Fiction
: The actual science started and ended with the words “Schwarzschild radius” and “black hole”. After that it’s just utter bullshit. This scifi is so soft you could shape it with wet spaghetti.


The only influence I can spot so far is the Keys to the Kingdom series.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-Mein


Last Light

Mankind had spread through the stars, manipulating gravity and bending space to make the impossibly far all the closer. They found an empty galaxy, one hostile to humanity, but they set to work, embarking on ambitious terraforming projects, creating elaborate space habitats to support life, and harnessing the resources of the near and the far. But then they found another form of life, alien to the human experience.

The Viral Wars ended with a pyrrhic victory. The virus was wiped off the face of the galaxy, but at the cost of every life form that the virus had infected. It was better than the alternative, to be infected and ground into paste, to have all individuality removed in the face of the terror of the unimind of the virus. But now, dozens of systems have been set into chaos, death and decay and countless bacteria rapidly setting back decades or centuries of terraforming, and reducing the population of humanity from the trillions to slightly over a hundred million.

A hundred million souls cramped into makeshift refugee ships and set in orbit around the cold sun of the last bastion of humanity's resistance, the Proximus system. It is up to the survivors to figure out what happens next. Do they search the gates for a world untouched by the viral scourge? Do they seek to travel out to fallen Gaia, where the virus was born, and see what answers can be found there? Do they attempt to break the temporal seal around the Sol system and entreat the distance lords of Earth for assistance? Or do they simply try to pick up the pieces and rebuild upon the ashes of the old?

It is up to you to determine their fate, as you and your fellow players take on the role of the crew of one of these refugee ships, hoping to guide it to safety and prosperity in a cold, dispassionate galaxy, filled with the rotting corpses of those who came before.

Themes: The primary themes are survival, claustrophobia, and the struggle between hope and despair. With all of humanity consigned to space ships or habitats, there's not much room to stretch, and resources are always in limited supply.

Influences: I'm obviously pulling a lot from Battlestar Galactica, with just a touch of Gravity. I'd be interested in looking into other material that deals with similar sorts of stuff, though.

Rules: Right now I'm looking into using a modified version of Fate Core, but if that proves to untenable, I will research additional systems or develop my own that gets what I'm looking for.

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007



The Music of the Spheres

When the first explorers returned from the edge of the world, the results were... disappointing, really. Slabs covered in text that no one could understand. Metal spheres with strange designs, not steel but like enough to it as to be worthless as anything but art. No riches to be found, no secrets as to what lies over the edge. People kept studying the things they brought back, but it was a hard sell to fund more expeditions given the sheer danger of the trip.

Some of the more attractive pieces ended up in a museum. It was at the gala thrown for the opening of the exhibit when it happened. A singer contracted to perform at the event began her show... and the sphere unfolded, awoken after untold centuries.

Further experimentation showed it was no accident: something about the spheres caused them to react to human voices raised in song. No imitation of the sounds has been very successful in working the spheres, though other forms of music seem to accentuate the effect.

Interest re-awakened in the ruins at the edge of the world, now is the time to venture forth and sing the mysteries of the world to life.

--

I'm going for sort of the Might & Magic-esque bait-and-switch 'a-HA, it was science fiction all along!' (the edge of the world bit is obviously literal) with Ar tonelico-esque technomagical singers (while stripping out the robot girlfriends bits).

Rexides
Jul 25, 2011



Disregard this, I am trying a new thing.

ArkWorld

5th day, 7th month, 73rd year After the First Reveille.
I remember the time I was back on Earth, feeling like a drat champion for securing a place on board the Ark. In retrospect, I would have been better off staying back there, dying off with the rest of the sorry bastards that we left behind in whatever environmental disaster finally did them. Would have been a better fate than this machine hell I found myself in.

We found a pod cluster today, same specs as the one I awoke from three or so years ago. All empty. These however were done in. The covers were shattered from the outside, and the sleepers missing. Cannibals, no doubt. No bone piles nearby, luckily enough. Should be safe for tonight, at least. It's been two weeks since we entered the uncharted decks, and I reckon it will take us another before we can reach The Hull. I am not even sure what we are supposed to do once we get there. If we get there. I have half a mind to cast myself out if we find an airlock, better to die in the vacuum than to a cultist's blade or get eaten by a cannibal. There is nothing to hope for here anyway...


During the late 22nd century, it became apparent that humanity could no longer survive on Earth anymore. The rich and powerful commissioned the Ark, a gargantuan sleeper ship designed to carry them and a selection of other needed specialists across the stars and start anew on another habitable planet. But long before they reached their destination, an accident caused a large number of sleeper pods to open prematurely, an event referred to as the First Reveille, and forcing the now awake crew to fend for themselves.

Some were lucky enough to awake near food stores. Others had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive. The Ark was so enormously massive and hazardous that entire communities formed isolated from one another for years. No one knows how big it is. No one knows exactly how many humans are on board, or if they are counted in the thousands or millions. No one knows how close to their destination they are, or even if they are in space in the first place. The highly automated ship is indifferent to what is happening to the crew, and tries to maintain itself in ways that can be fatal to humans. Some people remember Earth and cling to the hope that they will live like that again one day. The generations who were born in the ship just don't know anything else that the cold metal world they found themselves in.

The setting is generally sci-fi horror or sort of "post-apocalyptic" in a sense. Since it's a world that should be able to host a multitude of stories rather than a single one, there are a lot of "interactable" people around, rather than the usual trope of a group of sole sane survivors. It's not really the Uncertainty Principle, but I plan to leave a lot of things uncertain about the world, like the size of the Ark, it's mission, whether it has missed it's destination or is currently being digested by a giant space-worm. From the perspective of the inhabitants, the only definite thing about the Ark is that it's an "unending machine hell"

Influences: System Shock, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Cube trilogy, maybe a little bit of Paranoia.

Rexides fucked around with this message at Nov 5, 2013 around 17:12

Null Profusion
Dec 30, 2008


The Gods of the Dead World

600 years ago there was a war.

There had been wars before, and there will be wars again, but never a war like this. The cause, the combatants, the stakes and even the winners of the war are now long forgotten. Records from the time have ceased to exist, perhaps purposely erased. All that remains from the war are the weapons and the scars.

The weapons of this war were unlike any created before. What began with enhanced, purpose-bred soldiers quickly escalated into living weapons unlike anything the world had ever seen. Intelligent plagues that traveled on the wind, hid inside hosts and adapted to treatment. Self-replicating swarms of impersonators and saboteurs able to disintegrate into clouds of trillions of nannoscale sub-agents. Self-sustaining, independently thinking organisms infused with animal cunning and augmented regeneration, wielding the primal forces of the universe itself as weapons.

No records exist to tell how long the war went on, but it ended in an instant. The clash of opposing forces had turned an entire continent into a scorched battlefield. Nothing lived there apart from the instruments of death stalking each other without regard for day or night. A single decisive blow was struck. An explosion of unthinkable magnitude blossomed outward. Rock was divided as the force of the impact cleaved a tectonic plate in two. The skies themselves ignited as nuclear fire raged across the surface of the world.

The war had ended. But the world would not know peace for a century.

Savage earthquakes traveled the globe for a dozen years as the continents shifted and re-aligned. The intensity and unpredictability of their fearsome rumbling left not one stone stacked atop another anywhere that life had settled. Entire cities were swallowed by the earth as mountains re-aligned and seas leaped from their basins. Features older than thought itself were wiped from existence in less than a decade.

Titanic storms shredded the atmosphere for another 20 years, driven in perpetual cycles by the ceaseless heat at the burning heart of the devastation. They transformed the surface of the world, scouring, flooding, dissolving and tearing up anything that had taken root on the surface of the planet. What could not be displaced or destroyed was poisoned, bathed in radioactive fallout and toxic effluent.

Amidst the chaos, the weapons continued to wage their war unending. Maddened by pain, severed from the infrastructure of the networks that once controlled them, they struck out against each other, against civilian populations, against the world itself, devastating anything within their reach. The most terrible of the living weapons were the Dragons. Agile, adaptable, constantly evolving, incredibly resilient and possessing near limitless reserves of energy each coupled with the intelligence of a weakly godlike-AI.

In time the smoke cleared. 50 years after the last war ended, those who began it still survived. Once they were lords among men -- powerful, nearly immortal, controlling the destiny of nations and peoples. Now they are the inheritors of generations of advanced technology and paranoid engineering, they had emerged from the crucible of war as something no longer altogether human. Powerful beyond measure, impervious to harm, surrounded by clouds of servitor fog and infused with entire ecologies of engineered biotics, these beings had become Titans. Having transcended the bonds of flesh they dwelled in the Citadels, sprawling, self-regenerating sealed cities of unfathomable complexity, each capable of supporting millions of their kind, but dwindled by the attrition of war into ghost towns operated by skeleton crews, each housing only a few hundred of their most elite and heavily modified citizens.

The Titans looked out over their world and saw that they were not alone. Although their war had nearly eradicated all life, pockets of desperately struggling biology still remained. In some places, stunted, hardy flora sprouted against all odds. In others, mutated animals and microbes had infected or crossbred with remnants of the living weapons, forming colonies and ecosystems of dangerous, mutated creatures. Still elsewhere, bioweapons mutated by their exposure to the deadly environment had developed various methods of self replication or genetic re-transmission, prolonging and preserving their lines with the single-minded intensity shared by all living things. Although many ecological niches were empty, life was not exploding across the globe. The war had left the world so ravaged, so poisoned, that only the barest and most fragile of ecologies remained. Where life survived, senseless predation by hyper-aggressive mutated weapons would often quickly end evolution before a species could flourish. Life, of a sort, had survived but never again would their world play host to the cornucopia of biodiversity it had once housed.

It was decided that the world should be reclaimed. Perhaps the Titans were driven by regret or guilt. Perhaps, being immortal, they sought one day to re-inhabit it. Perhaps they merely sought to test the limits of their abilities against a foe greater than each other. Regardless of the cause, before the Golden Ships departed, carrying the young gods across the sea of stars, they created the Towers as their legacy. A crown of glittering jewels set atop the blasted filth of the world that was.

Each Tower was a marvel of engineering. Self sufficient, incredibly resilient, able to survive the toxic, abrasive, unstable conditions of the shattered world, and equipped to reshape it, each was operated by meta-brain council of quantum computer AIs, and given the authority and means to exact absolute control over one aspect of the environment. Their ten-thousand year mission was to recycle the planet, making it again suitable for the return of the Titans. The Titans then departed, traveling deep into the sea of stars, far beyond communications range, their will and hubris long forgotten, as the Towers slowly churned the world in their absence, plotting and sculpting, preparing for the day when the stars come right once more.
-----------------------------------------------

Inspired by the Panzer Dragoon games and the Naussica movie and comics, players in this world start out as humans or near-human mutants in low-tech societies trying desperately to survive against living weapons and hostile competitive organisms thousands of years after an apocalyptic war that has long since been forgotten.

The world is a small and dangerous place filled with engineered or resurrected organisms such as dinosaurs, carnivorous plants and gargantuan protists bio-engineered by the immortal, uncaring AIs of the Towers as they try and create a sustainable biosphere on a ravaged far future earth. Self-aware swarms of nannites evolved from engineered weapons gone rampant have evolved their own form of sentience completely alien to human patterns of thought including a language composed almost entirely of symbols and metaphors. Many worship these swarms as Spirits or gods and some even cultivate colonies of nanobots within their bodies to extend the range and knowledge of the swarm in a symbiosis which grants the host superhuman abilities.

In the massive Tower complexes themselves and in the toxic ruins of ancient arcologies and military installations lurk intelligent living weapons, ancient technology such as laser weapons, gravity manipulation technology and sci-fi power sources. The Tower AIs are busy playing nth-dimensional chess with each other and vying for power and have barely registered the re-emergence of humanity. If and when they do take notice, they will not recognize humans as their masters as the Titans who created them had uplifted themselves into creatures that would no longer be recognized as the same species.

Players will move from adventuring in the world, discovering the nature of Spirits and monsters to managing the progress of peoples and civilizations as technology is re-discovered, to co-operating with and foiling the plans of the Tower AIs to eventually ascending the the orbital elevators of the Towers themselves, boarding intelligent living spaceships and war machines and launching themselves into the black to join, serve or combat the godlike, inhuman Titans that may some day return.

The theme of the game is discovery and questioning of the nature of the world and humanity as the players peel back layer upon layer of secrets.

GimmickMan
Dec 27, 2011



I am terrible at fluff but I've been wanting to get some practice at that while exploring weird concepts for my system. One question: Does it need to involve space? It seems to be the idea, but it is not stated within the rules.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007


Ettin posted:

What do you mean by science fiction?

Whatever you feel is science fiction enough, as long as it is close enough I don't give a poo poo. It can be as hard or soft as you like - something like Traveller, or Eclipse Phase, or your favourite goofy 80s/90s cartoons, or something pulpy, whatever.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010

Heh. Heh. Heh.
Four hehs.


Tollymain posted:

You rear end in a top hat. I was gonna win Nanowrimo this year

If writing a couple thousand words about science over the course of a month keeps you from doing something tropers can do the contest isn't the problem

TK-31 posted:

I am terrible at fluff but I've been wanting to get some practice at that while exploring weird concepts for my system. One question: Does it need to involve space? It seems to be the idea, but it is not stated within the rules.

Nope, space is actually optional!

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


When a Worker is newly made, it is told of the Makers, who journey between the stars. It is told of the Planet, where the Makers paused on their journey to refresh themselves, and which every Worker carries a tiny piece of, in memory. It is told of the Crawlers, waiting on the Planet until the time comes that the Makers return. And it is told of the Homes, which the Makers built on stable ground, that neither the Planet nor the Star would take them for itself.

Loneliest of all is L3, the Sun Home, farthest away from everything. It can hardly see the Planet, so its Workers look out at the space beyond, waiting for the Makers. Some fancy that what they see is closest to what the Makers must see on their journeys.

Busiest of all is L1, the Moon Home, sitting between the Planet and the Star. It sees the Planet in full light, and watches the Moons as they pass, so that Workers may travel safely.

Heaviest of all is L2, the Dark Home, lurking in the shadow the Planet casts, watching it by night and seeing the tiny lights of the Crawlers pass by. Light in the Dark Home is rare and precious, and many Workers there make do without.

Happiest of all is L4, the High Home, leading the Planet on its endless march through the heavens. The Workers there are built to travel easily to the Planet, and it is rare to meet one who has not gone there. They are all full of stories.

Quietest of all is L5, the Grey Home, trailing in the Planet's wake. Workers leave the Grey Home but rarely, though when they must leave it is a matter of the gravest urgency. Color and adornment have long fallen out of favor in the Grey Home, that it may have more hope to put in its Workers.

And when a Worker has been told all this, and given the time it needs to understand it all, it is told one thing more: it is unique. Nowhere in the Homes or on the Planet is there another Worker exactly like it. One day, though it knows not when, another Home, or the Planet itself, may have the greatest need of it. And it must go.

---

eLf is a about a small system in a quiet corner of a vast interstellar empire, and the quirky little robots who keep it all ticking over. The star empire may have faster-than-light drives, but the little robots hardly do, so when they need to travel between stations or down to the Planet they catapult into space and clock down for the weeks or months it takes for them to get where they need to go.

Themes include the dignity of work, the enormity of time on the cosmic scale, and the perspective a quirky little robot has on the whole thing.

If I have to write an adventure I will probably hack Golden Sky Stories.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-Mein


I have to say, all of these ideas sound really cool so far. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they come along, and how viable they are for TGing. I'm totally going to lose the contest though, which is probably for the best.

Saguaro PI
Mar 11, 2013

Totally legit tree

Fist of the Universe Tournament

"Your Galactic Shockwave Strike is impressive, Earthling, but you will find it is no match for my impenetrable Shrinking White Dwarf Stance!"

At some point in the future, humanity heads for the stars and eploxres outside our solar system, setting up colonies and all that jazz. It isn't too long until we confirm we are not alone. It turns out aliens have been watching us for some time, and have deemed us ready to prove our worth and join greater galactic society.

So how do we prove our worth? Demonstration of our technological prowess? Understanding of enlightened philosophy and discourse?

Nah man, kung fu.

See, it turns out when you're capable of interstellar space flight it's trivial to manufacture weapons that can effortlessly eradicate the population of an entire planet. So a while back the greatest alien minds got together and came up with a system that would avert destruction on a horrendous scale but also settle disputes and satisfy the urges of the more martial cultures.

Now martial arts tournaments are used to settle everything from civil wars to border disputes to things as trivial as trade disagreements. Sure, the occasional war or bit of political skulduggery still occurs, but winning in a tournament grants universal galactic legitimacy.

Combat can take place in a variety of arenas, although the majority of them take place in a Zero Gravity station. Depending on circumstances, the fights could be to the death, although most of the major ones are until surrender.

So now humanity has turned a great amount of effort into reviving ancient esoteric martial forms and improving humanity in mind and body. Genetic engineering has allowed human warriors to perform feats previously only seen in wuxia movies.

Oh, and turns out we recognise one of our interstellar neighbours. Some meddling race ages ago rescued the dinosaurs we refer to as Troodon, recongising their potential and kinda sad to see a potentially intelligent species wiped out by some meteor. They've developed their own civilisation in a little corner of the galaxy, but now that we've become a part of wider society, there are rumours of certain ambitious Troodon politicians who want to take their ancient homeland back. And unless we can find a counter to their infamous Wounding Tooth Form, primates may no longer be the Solar system's dominant species...

Saguaro PI fucked around with this message at Nov 1, 2013 around 10:39

Saguaro PI
Mar 11, 2013

Totally legit tree

Basically, Tekken meets Dinosaurs in Spaaace. Good for the Fight! system, but probably also others.

Splicer
Oct 16, 2006

from hell's heart I stab at thee

Saguaro PI posted:

marital arts tournaments
I saw that, and am kinda sad you fixed it.

How "with the serial numbers filed off" can we get? I always thought the premise of Gateway could make a decent RPG setting with a little work.

El Estrago Bonito
Dec 17, 2010

Scout Finch Bitch


I've got a setting I've been meaning to write up for years so I'll do that:

The title is HALE (High Altitude, Low Expectations).

Overview
In the far future of 3400, known space is ruled by the Imperial Terran Hegemony. Which is a semi-authoritarian democracy. Known space is divided into three loose sections: The Inner Sphere, Mid Space and the Rim Worlds. Inner Sphere dwellers live a very sanitized life. The Hegemony keeps society organized along almost Jetsons like designs. With 50's influenced saccharine pop culture that worships an idealized form of the past in an almost Pleasantville style. Outside of here in Mid Space is where the money is made. Mid Spacers are traders of resources that pass from the heavily regulated Inner Sphere and the lawless Rim World frontier. The law is controlled here by cyberpunk styled mega corps and if you're rich you are essentially accountable to no one.

But this game doesn't take place in those places, barely touched by strife and war. This game takes place in the Rim Worlds. You see, the Rim is in a constant state of conflict. Most planets and systems have been crudely terraformed over the centuries into livable areas. Many are sort of ethnic ghettos due to the make ups of the original colony ships. Often you will find bizarre combo cultures formed from hundreds of years of colonization. The common language out here is Rimtongue, which is a sort of combination of Mandarin Chinese and Spanish due to those countries being the main supporters of early colonization and mining efforts. Every couple of years there are major revolts and uprisings against the Terran authority that must be put down. Fortunately due to the efforts of the previously mentioned mega corps the access to good tech in the Rim is quite low and most armies are armed with more pimped out and rugged versions of Cold War or 21st century gear.

So Terra started a noble and fruitful program to both help fix a problem at home and fight one outside. It wasn't worth the resources and expenditure to send real military forces to these far off rocks just to pacify a bunch of cavemen with guns. So they came up with a ingenious solution. They took all the old military Powered Combat Armor and weapons platforms and put them into the hands of teenagers. Violent teenage delinquents to be exact. Running a heavily enforced sanitized environment breeds a lot of dangerous elements. Communists, rebellious youths, drug users and gang members among them. In order to get rid of them the Terrans and Megacorps simply pack them up onto old converted cargo ships and send them to the far reaches to fight rebels. The Space Marine armor, although old by modern military standards is miles beyond anything that has ever been made or blockade run to the Rim and few weapons save some high velocity tank and artillery rounds can actually pierce it. In essence it takes useless members of society and transforms them into patriotic warriors that can make their family proud!

The teen delinquents live in "The Beast" a massive galactic class transport cruiser made to hold millions of tons in materials and goods. Now it is home to the massive tent city that makes up the barracks. Tents, bunk beds, and mattresses all litter the floor organized into loose "camps" based around individual squads and their "allies". Squads all have insignia and themes that they are very attached to and often make large flags and banners to advertise how cool their squads are to new recruits looking for family. Out on the Rim currency is almost meaningless since its usually on a planet by planet or system by system basis. This means that a good 50% of what any unit does on a mission is loot any and all valuables in order to trade for things they want or need from other squads. Especially prized are fresh foods since they are not included in the rations.

From here they are dispatched on missions. The deployment is not easy. They are dropped from low orbit in what basically amounts to a sort of metal "frame" equipped with parachutes. Hanging on for dear life they hurdle down towards their targets, often in the face of massive enemy fire. The frames are disposable and are abandoned once they land and the soldiers disembark to go accomplish their operations and score some sick loots.

Influences
Mutant Chronicles, Cyberpunk, Starship Troopers (Verhoeven, not Heinlein), Robot Jox, MASH, This Is England.

General Themes
Pretty standard Cyberpunk stuff. The Disenfranchised fighting and surviving on the fringe mixed with a lot of cargo cultism.

Tech
Besides generally powerful Space Marine Armor and relatively speedy cross system travel (takes about three months to get from Terra to the edge of known space) most technology on the Rim is very rugged and durable. Things like AK-47's are still in use along with other "greatest hits" of hard hitting, long lasting human weaponry and tech. I'd describe it overall as a Firefly-esque level of technology but without the heavy Western influence and more of a Cold War one. So in other words the military stuff is pretty hard but the actual Sci-Fi tech is handwavingly soft.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010

Heh. Heh. Heh.
Four hehs.


Splicer posted:

How "with the serial numbers filed off" can we get? I always thought the premise of Gateway could make a decent RPG setting with a little work.

As long as it's not an obvious knockoff go for it.

Fenarisk
Oct 26, 2005



Ettin posted:

As long as it's not an obvious knockoff go for it.

There goes my mashup of "Gattlestar Balactica" and "Fargate".

Ego Trip
Aug 28, 2012


Glazius posted:

eLf

If I have to write an adventure I will probably hack Golden Sky Stories.
I was getting a very Mouse Guard vibe.

Glazius
Jul 22, 2007

Hail all those who are able,
any mouse can,
any mouse will,
but the Guard prevail.


Ego Trip posted:

I was getting a very Mouse Guard vibe.

Eh, you probably could if you wanted more crunch to your tiny robot adventure. But Golden Sky Stories was the game I was thinking about when I sketched out the setting.

Benagain
Oct 10, 2007


I am dead to my people. I grew too bold and too curious, ventured to close to the harsh void that our shelter protects us from. Now the touch of the angry sun has poisoned my body. To remain in my shelter would merely condemn my comrades to caring for my dying form, taking valuable time away from other labors. Instead I have been entrusted with one last task. I will carry the small package of my home's genetic material to other stations, spreading our seed among the myriad stars. It would be a suicide mission, if I were not already dead. Instead it is a pilgrimage. A way to ensure that even in my foolish death I serve.

Overview

Basic idea is a far future setting focused on one star system. Two massive gas giants, one hellishly radioactive star, and a whole lot of small rocks where all of known humanity lives. Shielding against the radiation is incredibly expensive and difficult so inter-settlement travel is non-existent except for the Pilgrims, those who are already dying for one reason or another. They're put into unshielded ships with a tiny, heavily shielded vial of genetic samples from the entire settlement and sent out to visit new places and prevent inbreeding. Adventure happens. Also I think everyone would look like humanoid naked mole rats.

Themes
Discovery. One of the core tenets is that you've lived your entire life in one rock, never leaving it. Now you've got an entire solar system to see.

Also making the most of limited time. Pilgrims are all dying of something. There's not enough time to see and do everything so you have to choose.

Duty. Pilgrims entire reason for being sent out is to spread the genes of their home. Of course, there's nothing forcing them to do that. So how much do you love the people who just put you into a crappy spacecraft and kicked you out of the only home you've ever known?

Further ideas/possible adventure hooks
It's customary to give gifts to pilgrims as a thank you and a way of encouraging other pilgrims to come by. Different genetic samples are worth different things to different settlements.

Benagain fucked around with this message at Nov 5, 2013 around 01:43

Evil Sagan
Jan 22, 2011

Prepare to be reduced to star stuff.


I'm not very satisfied with my pitch, so I'm taking the same concept and writing it again. Hopefully better.

In the far future, the children of Earth are locked in an unending war with vicious monsters from Earth's prehistory. The Terrortiles, alien beings with incredible technology and minds evolved for warfare and domination, have awoken and are determined to enslave all of mankind. Aboard their vast Eggships they travel the Drachir System, rooting out the last remnants of human civilization with their superior weaponry and merciless Dinodrones!

Humanity is on the edge of extinction. Hope lies on the outskirts of the system, where tiny outposts serve as homebase for the scrappy rebels determined to save our species and blast the Terrortiles to the stone age!

Drachir is a soft science fiction setting drawing inspiration from action cartoons of the 80s and 90s. It portrays humanity in peril at the hands of monstrous galactic conquerors and groups of underdog heroes with the grit and determination of Thundarr the Barbarian or the rebellious anti-establishment attitudes of the Biker Mice From Mars and Street Sharks.

Technology falls on the side of space fantasy. The conflict that defines the setting takes place in a small cluster of planets. Spaceships (or the Terrortile Eggships) can travel from planet to planet in a couple of hours. Weaponry takes the form of hulking tanks, robots shaped like animals, and laser guns. The crux of the conflict centers around an almost magical energy source found on the various planets of the Drachir System.

Evil Sagan fucked around with this message at Nov 2, 2013 around 22:21

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

neonchameleon
Nov 14, 2012


Overview: Star Ship Titanic

The earth was used up. No more oil, global warming rendering it uninhabitable. And we escaped in a set of colony ships, each one pointed at a different planet and system. Whoever named them has a black sense of humour - one of our sister ships is the Hindenberg [Insert others]. Only one way off the earth given all everyone else had done to it, and how big we wanted to make it because we only had one shot at this. Orion Engines. So the Titanic was built big and tough, and a sleeper ship holding hundreds of thousands - but only a couple of hundred of us are conscious at any given time. And to keep us active, they made the overdesigned sphere spin. Me? I prefer the near weightless hub to the outer sections

And it was just as well it was. Because space isn't as empty as we believed. There may be no stealth in space, but there's certainly distance. And there's also time. We factionalised - and were invaded, although we can't work out what by. Either way we're not getting biodome three back in a hurry although since then oxygen production's been up 900% and the infiltration teams that have gone in have come back with some fascinating stuff. The Captain went insane, shot the first officer, and controls the security system. Fortunately I know the cameras in this section haven't been repaired and he can't hear me say that. The Bioengineers want us to try adapting to and living in space, and are looking for volunteers. We can't do much about them because they tend the biodomes, other than biodome three of course. And one of them seems to have been a Jurrassic Park fan. I know that isn't a real tyrannosaurus in biodome two. But close enough.

And the work? Most of the work was intended to be done by robots. They unionised. You know we have to give them one day off in seven? And can't send them outside without special protection?

Influences: Battlestar Galactaca, Babylon 5. Dungeons and Dragons. Paranoia. Sid Meyer's Alpha Centauri. Isaac Asimov.

Themes: Paranoia, survival, weirdness, exploration, politics, labour relations and oppression (the bots are playable characters). Ridiculous martial arts are possible in the low gravity zones, and very tense survival outside.

Tech level: Very near future with some ... other stuff. Weapons are lasers that plug into the wall to recharge and can be reflected off shiny interior walls; power's cheap and we don't want anything flying around our biosphere. Or tazers or batons.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«6 »