Dawn of the Third Age of Man
The source material for this campaign is based on the following science fiction 'universes':
- Babylon 5 TV Show - The history, races, governments, technology, and portion of the Milky Way in which the campaign will take place are based on B5.
- Firefly - Gritty. Irony and humor were often part of the story lines. Human centric. Generally small stories about surviving in a universe that does not care about you.
The characters in this campaign would operate like 'troubleshooters' for a quasi-governmental/interstellar corporation/independent or maybe you are all on the run (this part is up for discussion). Each option has pluses and minuses. The adventure arcs would be extremely episodic.
The flavor of the game will be like (not exactly - like the TV shows not the movie versions):
- Mission Impossible: “Your mission, Jim, should you decide to accept it, is… As usual, should you or any member of your I.M. Force be captured or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your existence. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim.”
- A-Team: "In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them....maybe you can hire The A-Team."
- Equalizer: "Got a problem? Odds against you? Contact the Equalizer."
- Stainless Steel Rat (book series)
Importance of Characters
The characters are no more or less special than any of the billions of other beings who inhabit the galaxy. Characters can have an impact on what is happening in their 'little corner of the galaxy'. It is very unlikely anyone outside that 'little corner' will know about it or care about who or what you have done. For instance in Minnesota people know who Jesse Ventura is and what he looks like. People recognize him and will say things to him on the street (I know this because I know someone who is related to Mr. Ventura). But in another state, say Texas or New Mexico he would pass unnoticed.
Role Playing vs. Combat
The balance is going to be 75% role playing and 25% combat. Combat will rarely be the focus of an adventure.
Role playing your character as they are written up will be very important. The action in the game is going to come from thinking about how to accomplish a goal with minimal notice and violence. And then executing the plan and seeing what goes right and what goes wrong with the plan.
Everyone should have some combat skills. Both hand to hand and with a weapon or two. For example a character that doesn't face combat often will probably have weapon familiarity with small arms and maybe a single skill level with one kind of weapon (pistol). That same character might have weapon familiarity with clubs and again a single skill level. Characters with combat backgrounds will be much more skilled (full martial art) and maybe one overall combat skill level and another skill level in either hand-to-hand or ranged combat.
Hand to hand combat is the most likely kind of combat that will happen. On board ship all ranged weapons will be locked in the ships weapons locker and usually there is only one key for the weapons locker. On many planets and space stations carrying around obvious weapons is not allowed.
Within the context of this campaign Good vs. Evil is not always clear cut. Characters may decide to do something that is illegal, immoral or unethical in order to accomplish a larger goal. There will be consequences for actions the characters take.
The campaign will be realistic.
That many of the mundane/common problems people have in their daily lives will impact your characters. An example of a realistic campaign can be seen in the Babylon 5 where one of the characters is being told by some bureaucrat back home that her living quarters are two big by 2' and she has to pay more in rent. Or another character trying to get a package out of the Postal Service but he can't pay because all his assets have been frozen. In Firefly the crew is always trying to keep the ship flying and themselves feed. This means you will need to track your characters income, expenses and personal equipment. Even if the character has a wealth perk that will just mean they have a stipend coming in and it will still have to be tracked.
Death and serious injury (loss of limb) can happen. They will be permanent. This will only happen with prior consultation between player and GM, unless the character does something stupid and dies.
In an Extremely Realistic campaign daily life would enter every aspect of the game. Economics, politics, history and social issues would be ‘modeled’ in as realistic a way possible. All of these things would impact the characters in extreme ways. See Realistic with the caveat that death and serious injury can happen just based on a dice roll and that is just the way it is.
A Very Romantic campaign would be like the recent Marvel movies. Where does all of Tony Stark’s money come from? How does Xavier come up with the money to run his school for the gifted? Don’t the neighbors near where Peter Parker lives wonder what all those strange sounds are outside the building, when he comes swinging in and out? How do those ‘fancy uniforms’ the Fantastic Four have really work? When the Hulk knocks down a building – how many people got killed? All of that is glossed over in a Very Romantic Game.
How things turn out will depend on how well the characters are played. The universe doesn't care about how your characters are doing.
The campaign will be serious with moments of humor.
Although the stories will be episodic, the episodes will build on each other to form a coherent long term story arc. This is different than an Epic story arc in the following ways:
|Long Term Story Arc||Epic Story Arc|
|There will be a beginning. The middle will go on for a long time. Even if there is an 'end' it would just lead to another long term story arc.||Clearly defined beginning, middle and end to the story|
|Only ends when we get tired of the long term story arc||When the end of the story happens it is all over|
|Usually there isn't a single 'opposition' or the opposition is more of an idea than a person or organization.||"Opposition" has a clearly defined plan and when they become aware of the characters actively work to thwart the characters plans.|