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 Post subject: 101 SFRPG campaign ideas
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:03 am 
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One of the posters on RPG.net started a thread to collect 101 suggestions for sci-fi RPG campaigns that are not "root[ed] to one of two concepts: You're military personnel (either on a capital ship/space-sub, or ground-pounders usually of the space-marine variety); or you're a ragtag bunch of misfits with a light freighter that carries varying legalities of cargo."

I've made twenty suggestions so far, and I thought it would be handy to repeat them here where they will be a bit easier to find.


  1. You are investigators from the Imperial/Federation/Commonwealth Department of Justice, enforcing the Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth Crimes Act on various colony worlds. Colonial societies are bizarre and usually horrible; colonial governments are often repressive and usually corrupt; and the courts you have to try your cases in exist to protect colonial liberties from Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth tyranny.
  2. You are explorers (planetologists, biologists, social scientists) aboard the Space Beagle. Your five-year mission is to visit a list of lost colonies, do a quick survey of each one, and prepare a brief for HQ outlining the nature of the follow-up mission required. Colonial societies are bizarre and usually horrible, their governments are freakish and usually repressive, their economies are dysfunctional, and many of them are torn by war between territories, dynasties, and factions. The Space Beagle is not equipped for solving global problems, and you are not authorised to try — while you are on duty, anyway. The naval bods who drive the ship are Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth loyalist fanatics. The diplomats are smug and entitled. The marines are halfway between Shao-lin monks and Rugby hooligans. And you're getting cabin-fever.
  3. You each play several characters on the Space Beagle: one irresponsibly liberal explorer, one fanatical naval officer, one coldly manipulative diplomat, one Rugby-obsessed marine, and one of the senior officers from each branch who sits at the big table when the captain is conferring about strategic decisions. In any given encounter with the bizarre and horrible society, government, or situation of a lost colony, responsibility for dealing with any issues may pass from the explorers for discovery to the diplomats for solution, to the marines for a rescue, etc. As it does so it will be dealt with by player characters at every turn.
    (For the Space Beagle and its mission, see (2).)
  4. You are undercover operators of some Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth covert-action agency, performing secret missions on a series of colonies with bizarre societies and freakish governments. This is strictly contrary to the independence and non-interference provisions of the Constitution/Charter/Basic Law, so if you are caught everyone will disavow knowledge of your missions.
  5. You are clandestine effectuators from some interstellar NGO such as Greenwar, Amnesty Interstellar, the Humanity League, the Sons of Patrick Henry, Democracy Unlimited, the Organisation for Independent Development, the Planned Progress League, the Institute, or the Suffragemmes. You visit a series of worlds with bizarre societies, freakish governments, and dysfunctional economies to carry out secret operations such as fomenting revolutions, freeing prisoners, discrediting slavery, assasinating tyrants, sabotaging terraformation projects or bioroid factories, frustrating Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth or opposed-NGO interference. If you are caught, everyone will blame someone else for your crimes.
  6. You are scruffy and unscrupulous art dealers and "artifact recovery experts". You roam the Periphery, ferreting out things that belong in museums (flashy, well-endowed museums on planets in the Core that pay good prices for artworks and antiquities) and arranging for them to be shipped there (before the local authorities can effectively ban their export or list them as stolen). In doing so you have to deal with freakish and often corrupt governments without losing all your profits to bribes. Also, with bizarre colonial societies, arbitrary taboos, and eccentric "rightful owners".
  7. You are bounty-hunters (perhaps "weasels" of the Interplanet Police Co-operation Company). Fugitives invariably hide out on planets with bizarre and often horrible societies, where they are protected, or weasels inhibited, by freakish and incomprehensible taboos, weird and usually repressive governments, and sometimes armouries of smuggled weapons. Simply butchering (or even assaulting) the mud-sifting savages would bring you face-to-face with murder charges; bribing the government would exhaust the bounties on offer. And the cherry on the cake of your difficulties? Bounties are too seldom offered "dead or alive".
  8. You are free-lance makers of documentary holovids, visiting planet after planet in search of footage that will have enough compelling planetological, biological, historical, or anthropological interest that it can earn a few thousand credits in a universe of spectacularly imaginative animation. To get that footage, you have to deal with bizarre societies, freakish governments, and voracious or insidious autochthonous wildlife.
  9. You are troubleshooters for an incomprehensibly diversified multiglobal corporation. You get sent from head office to planet after planet where the bizarre and contrary local customs and social features, taboos, government regulations, planetology, and wildlife are causing trouble for the smooth extension and cheap, reliable functioning of standard corporate operational models, and the man on the spot isn't good enough to fix it.
  10. You are a team of free-lance journalists (camera operator, talker, investigator, "field accountant", bacon & eggs and wiretaps runner, etc.). You rush to trouble-spots, wars, and disasters in search of scoops.
  11. You are a clique of rich and idle adrenaline junkies with extreme sporting skills. You go to all the planets and moons with the most extreme environments to jump the highest BASEs, spelunk the vastest caves, climb the tallest mountains, hike the most gruelling great circles, kayak the wildest water, photograph the most beautiful plumage, catch the most dangerous big game, eat the most exotic delicacies, smoke/drink/snort the most potent recreational anthropological botanicals, lick the most psychedelic toads, screw the most uninhibited groupies, and seduce the most aloof royalty in the known universe. This pursuit naturally brings you into contact, even opposition, with the Vancean societies and governments of the most bizrre worlds in the Empire/Federation/Commonwealth or the Beyond.
  12. Each of you was terribly wronged (in a separate, traumatic incident) by Quandos Vorn, and each of you has sworn to encompass his doom.
  13. After one or more decades in the service of the Empire/Federation/Commonwealth/Connatic you retire to your homeworld/your buddy's homeworld/a peaceful idyllic world you visited all to briefly once. The beneficial exchange rate/price level and the simple, relaxed way of life will allow you to live very comfortably there on your modest pension and savings. You plan to lazy on a ricketty old porch, mind some trees, attend star-naming parties on beaches, disport yourself with amiable and affectionate members of your preferred sex, and (naturally) play Rugby or hussade with a friendly amateur club. But after you arrive you discover that things have changed, and not for the better. A strenuous ascetic movement is trying to industrialise the planet; your brother has sold your family home/plantations and donated your inheritance to it. Retired starmenters are building vulgar, ostentatious mansions on the waterfronts. Loutish tourists are spoiling the beach parties, and the young lovelies are no longer engaging in casual hook-ups as you did when you were one. Rugby is going professional!
    Forty years of Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth/Connatical service has made you tough, resourceful, and above all determined: regain your birthright, and make the world safe for natural beauty, clambakes, lasciviousness, and amateur Rugby!
  14. A missile from the surface of the planet destroyed the Space Beagle, and only you who were already in a landing craft survived. Your space-boat was damaged in a forced landing, and you were captured by astonishingly anomalous human natives. Escape the Emblems! Recover your boat from the Chasch and repair it! No? Steal a spaceship from the Wankh! No? Build a boat in secret out of available parts on a vast, mob-controlled Dirdir spaceport! Evade the Yearning Refluxives! Escape embalmment by the Pnume in Foreverness! Manipulate bizarre social conventions! Kick alien arse with the elaborate hand-to-hand fighting techniques of Old Earth!
  15. You are retired senior officers of the Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth service: field grade officers, senior staff NCOs, supervising deputies and special agents in command, diplomatic attachés etc., not big brass. As a results of your long, life-extended careers you have (a) handsome pensions, (b) large savings, and (c) lists of things that needed fixing and people who needed killing but that you could not fix, or whom you could not kill because of guarantees of colonial independence and restrictions on Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth interference in the Constitution/Charter/Basic Law. Well, you're not Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth servants now! The gloves come off. How much good can you do before you're caught?
  16. You all are seminary graduates. It took prodigious amounts of barrack-lawyering, bribery, family influence, illicit sexual favours, and/or blackmail to make up for your bad grades, mocking skepticism, and/or atrocious disciplinary record, but you're through. Now you just have to complete the required tour of missionary work; then your patrons and sponsors will be able to appoint you to comfortable rectories and important prebends. That's normally a matter of routine drudgery in comfortable missions, but apparently, for some unaccountable reason, the vice-rector has taken you in a strong dislike. Acting with the utmost spite, she has set you an agenda of definite proselytising accomplishment on a selection of the most fixedly anti-religious, persecutingly xenophobic, socially bizarre and physically dangerous worlds in the Popular Revised Handbook of Planets.
  17. As 16, but the PCs are actually pious.
  18. You are roadies, engineers, managers etc. for a rock band on an interstellar tour. The musicians are self-centred, self-entitled prima donnas who expect to shamble onto stage at a time that suits them, grind out their show, and then retire to their dressing room, hotel etc. for a sybaritic life of precisely their favourite luxuries, exactly their favourite intoxicants, and hot and cold running groupies. They refuse to make any allowances for local customs, mores, and blue laws; if anything goes wrong they have people to fix it: you.
  19. You are agents, theatre managers, stage managers, props managers, accountants etc. for an interstellar touring opera company. The tour is funded by a trust run by high-handed, snobbish, and oblivious old-money society types who are armoured with an unshakeable belief that grand opera is the epitome of high culture, and that bringing it to the benighted masses of off-world savages is the most noble undertaking of the mission civilisatice de La Terre Ancienne, and that the performers and company are being uplifted and ennobled by this opportunity to take part: far more so than they would be by, say, generous pay, comfortable hotels, or a safe and adequate starship. Some performers enjoy the personal favour of particular trustees and have to be coddled. From time to time the trustees read about some planet with egregious social conditions in National Geographic or the New Yorker and the board suddenly decides to send the company there at once. From time to time different factions gain temporary control of the board and send down directives commanding either sensitive adaptations of text and staging to the social circumstances of the colony where the performance is, or else rigid adherence to canonical texts and orchestrations, the use of original stagings, etc. The captain of the starship is completely under the thumb of the Board: they can make him an outlaw or explode his head if he deviates from their orders. On some planets the local officials are extremely suspicious, and treat the Opera as a cover for the Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth secret service, or some subversive NGO such as the Humanity League, the Sons of Patrick Henry, Greenwar, etc. It's possible that they are right, even that several different agencies etc. have agents in the company unbeknownst to each other.
  20. You are members of a interstellar circus troupe, struggling with your props &c. from planet to planet and working desperately hard to make enough money on each one to get to the next. You have to contend on each world with its bizarre societies, violent prejudices, arbitrary laws, and freakish government; also, with the suspicions of local security officials who suspect you of being agents of a hostile secret service or effectuators of a subversive interstellar NGO.

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— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 6:07 am 
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Please feel welcome to add suggestions.

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— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:23 pm 
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21. You are covert organizers for the (illegal) Interstellar Union of Asteroid Miners sent to build the union in the Periphery. You'll have to work as ordinary belters, make friends and slowly build the organization, all while avoiding the Management's prying eyes and the local Pinkerton enforcers, not to mention the scabs and the local criminal underworld.

22. You were the crew of the Space Beagle and have completed your 5-year mission beyond the frontier. But on your return you find that the Federation/Republic/Empire has fallen into a Yugoslavia-type multi-factional all-out civil war. HQ is now only radioactive ruins and your carefully-gathered data is of little worth for the time being. Most ships have been destroyed in the fighting so you are in possession of a highly prized starship coveted by all factions, and you ship is not very well armed - it was an exploration vessel, after all, not a warship. What do you do?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:21 pm 
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23) In a corrupt pseudofeudal setting of interstellar dynastic intrigue, you are the senior retainers of a nobleman too good for his world and time: his constable, his chancellor, his swordmaster, his mentat, his master of assassins, and perhaps his concubine. Your lord has been outmanœuvred by his bitterest enemy, and has been translated from his secure powerbase on a poor but happy world to a tiger-riding seat as duke of Trencho, the sole source of the spice thionite. Can you save him from his noble folly? Save his dynasty at least? Rescue his heir into a run for the Beyond with the family atomics? Can you at least salvage his reputation from the ruins?

24) Earth has been hit by a comet, or invaded by pygmy elephants on platform shoes who dropped a "dinosaur-killer" asteroid into the Indian Ocean. Can you brave free men survive, keep your women and children alive, and build an Objectivist utopia in the post-apocalyptic ruins of decadent Eighties California? (Warning: may contain traces of irony.)

25) It's the early 22nd Century: Earth is desperately crowded with 18 billion inhabitants, and teeters on the brink of widespread community violence, rebellion, and war over water supplies. The United Nations keeps the lid on, partly through controls on human reproduction, partly by constant anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism operations, and partly by strict monitoring and control of research and development that has potential to be used for weapons and war. Nations and their governments are jealous of the loss of "sovereignty" that this involves; conspiracy theorists scheme more-or-less earnestly against UN repression, etc. You are UN police detectives dealing with international organised crime such as organlegging rings; you also have responsibility (within your bailiwick) for investigating illicit R&D and any mysterious crimes that look as though novel technologies might have been used in them; and treason against the UN.

26) You are faculty members at Walpurgis U., which is the kind of obscure Pioneer-Valley college where the likes of Indiana Jones and Professor Challenger would be able to get tenure. It's the kind of place where medical researchers revivify corpses, psych professors unleash the powers of psionics, physics professors working on teleportation turn themselves into giant flies, entomology professors accidentally breed ichneumon wasps big enough to parasitise undergrads, and all those football players who are neither werewolves nor neandertals are hepped on Professor Presbury's monkey-gland extract. Every week some NPC invents or discovers something out of pulp/schlock sci-fi, and produces a crisis. It is up to the PCs to get the whatsit back into its box, ideally with due diligence towards the safety and sanity of the undergrads.

27) It's 1896, and the Royal Geographical Society, assured by astronomers of its habitability, is sending a rocket to Mars. Long Live the Queen!

28) It's December 1917, and you are infantrymen in the Australian 3rd Division. You have been in the trenches in north-eastern France for years and has just come through the Battle of Passchendaele. You are physically and emotionally exhausted, and have everything from lice to battle fatigue by way of trench foot. Roused from your dug-out to repel a German midnight raid, you are caught in the eerie spherical effect of a secret weapon. After a profoundly disconcerting sensation of falling in every direction at once, you find yourselves on one of several small hillocks of Flanders mud that dot a small area of a strange, harsh red desert. The edges of the hillocks are scattered with the severed limbs and dismembered and incomplete torsos of less lucky men who were caught at the edge of the zone of effect. The air is dry and smells of Portland cement, the sky is dark indigo, the Sun is small, and there is a small irregular moon rising rapidly in the west.

29) You are members of a superior human race representing the next stage of evolution, which is subject to genocidal persecution by official or mob violence. You use your racial gifts for a series of resistance operations against the persecutors, such as rescuing children of your race born to muggle parents and smuggling them into safety or hiding, liberating members of your race from camps, and disrupting genocidal plots. You may have the help of muggle sympathisers who put decency towards individuals ahead of the survival of their kind. You may have to contend with extremists of your own race who advocate counter-genocide against muggles.
Despite having been successful and popular as the premise of the novels Slan and The Chrysalids, the much-remade TV franchise The Tomorrow People, and much of the run of The X-Men, this set-up has unfortunate implications. If you were running it you'd have to make sure that everyone at the table was doing it naïvely or everyone was doing it ironically.

30) There has been a catastrophe — perhaps nuclear winter, perhaps a bioweapon plague, perhaps aliens are raising the sea level, or perhaps walking plants with deadly stings escaped from oil-farms after most people went blind. The economy, government, and society have collapsed, most people have died off, and you have to husband every cartridge and ration-pack to survive.

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— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:56 pm 
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31) You are the household staff of an young Imperial noble or the child of an important and wealthy family in the Federal or Commonwealth Core: his or her bodyguard, tutor, guide, bursar, factotum etc. The youngster is on a tour of the Periphery (well, a dozen planets or so), a wanderjahr or Grand Tour, in the course of which he or she is supposed to form an appreciation of the scale and diversity of the Empire/Federation/Commonwealth and the varied lot of the common people within it. He or she ought to acquire sophistication and confidence and a patina of actual experience, as well as accumulating a supply of dinner-table conversation to see him or her through until his or her administrative/business experience and political views are worth talking about. Your job is to help this happen without getting your charge killed, maimed, imprisoned, or embittered. When it comes right down to it, mummy and daddy are paying your wages.

32) You are bodyguards and fixers hired by the Network to look after their star interstellar correspondent and her researchers as they collect and file hard-hitting investigative copy and footage, ideally with a strong lascivious or prurient angle. The journalists' understanding is that you are supposed to facilitate, not impede their work, and they have (1) a poor understanding of the dangers of dealing with bizarre societies and repressive governments and (b) an entirely exaggerated notion of how much trouble press credentials from the Interstellar Journalist's Association can get them out of. The Network's position is that the safety of their employees is more important than copy or footage. Unless it's really good footage.

33) You are secret effectuators of the Interstellar Journalists' Association. You are sent from planet to planet on clandestine operations to promote the freedom of the Press, and in particular the immunity of IJA members. Operations may include gaolbreaks and hostage rescues, delivery of ransoms and wergilds, but also special operations against press barons whose partial editorial policy represents a threat to the reputation of the Press (and especially accredited IJA members) and therefore the safety of journalists, and even, very, very secretly, operations against repressive regimes that control or seek to control and muzzle the Press. There may be "dues collection" and "demarcation" operations against blackleg journalists and journalists' unions that free-ride on the accomplishments of the IJA. And possibly you might have to disaccredit unethical IJA members who have misused their credentials for biased or partial reporting or as cover for espionage etc. Disaccredit with extreme prejudice.

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— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:21 pm 
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34) Congratulations Cadet! You have just graduated from the most prestigeous Naval Acadamy in the Empire. Here is your first assignment. One of your friends and classmates is the daughter/son of the Emperor (4th in line for the Star Throne). Your assignment, and that of several of your other classmates, puts you on the same Cruiser as the Distant Heir. The Empire is strong, the Empire is mighty, the Empire is a bit corrupt and quite a bit into Nepotism. As friends of the Distant Heir you find yourself caught up in internal Naval politics, Imperial Politics and the occasional rebellion or naval action.

35) You wake up. You are in some kind of medical facility and there are several other tubes opening up with yours. You do not recognize anyone else in the lab. Then again, you don't remember your own name or how you got there. There is a rocking motion and the overhead lights flicker and the gravity slews to the side for a second or two. The computer screens go blank, then the computers begin to reboot. Any tubes that were still closed begin to open. What do you do?

36) You and the other members of your Boy Scout Troop are camping in the remote wilderness. Some time in the middle of the night, there is a loud explosion that wakes everyone up. As you scramble out of your tent, you see a bright light blazing across the sky and crash just over that next ridge. It is a Meteorite, an Alien Space Ship? Lets go find out!

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:54 am 
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37) You are agents in a special unit of the Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth Space-Naval Investigative Service "specialising" in shallow-cover operations against space-pirates, space-smugglers, space-terrorists, and spies. Becasue of the need to work undercover you get to be quirky, undisciplined mavericks who really look as though there is no way they could be in a paramilitary unit. Some of you may be former Space Marines recon snake-eaters, ex-Space Navy VAWL (vacuum, air, water, land) snipers, vice cops, and fashion models. Perhaps even a trained intelligence officer. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, and perverse government of each planet of the week.

38) You are free-lance travel writers, moving from world to world in search of gonzo and schlock material for blog entries or Rolling Meteorite: drug experiences, musical gigs, extreme parties, and orgies a speciality. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, and perverse government of each planet of the week.

39) You are xeno-physicians, xeno-surgeons, xeno-dentists, xeno-almoners, and frankly veterinarians on a mercy ship in space. You travel from natural disaster world to plague spot world to war-world; healing the sick, succouring the afflicated, and causing hilarity to ensue. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, and perverse government of each planet of the week.

40) You are a team of agents of the Special Homeland Alien Defence Organisation, equipped with a modicum of captured alien technology, defending Earth (played, in a bold casting move, by the USA) from alien infiltration. You visit the location of the week to investigate a UFO sighting or weird event, discover any alien operation involved, and terminate any threats to peace, order, and good government.

41) You are a crack counter-terrorist operations team of the Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth security service, investigating suspected or possible Meresian operations, sleepers, and agents of influence and neutralising the ones that turn out to be real. Ideally, you do so without tipping Meresian Intelligence or Meresian Covert Operations how much you know about their operations or your sources and methods. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, and perverse government of each planet of the week.

42) You are a resistance cell on a planet occupied by the Meresian Empire during The War. You struggle to sabotage the Meresian war effort, gather intelligence for the Federation/Empire/Commonwealth, smuggle escaped POWs and political fugitives to safety, hide inspiring Resistance propagandists, disseminate Federal/Imperial/Commonwealth propaganda, and distribute explosives etc. without (a) being caught by the efficient and brutal Meresian Secret Police, (b) unnecessarily provoking brutal reprisals, (c) being exposed by the clumsy and insecure Federal/Imperial/Commonwealth Secret Operations Branch, or (d) being "expended" to support an operation by the ruthless Federal/Imperial/Commonwealth Secret Intelligence Service.

43) You are fugitives from a false accusation or the vengeance of the Space-Mob, fleeing from world to world in pursuit of the one-armed man, the evidence that will clear your name, a means to destroy the mobster who put out the contract on you, and/or a safe place to hide. You are pursued by a very determined hit-man or Imperial/Federal/Commonwealth marshal or both, or simply have a contract/warrant out for your murder/arrest or both. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, and perverse government of each planet of the week.

44) You are badge-wearing, gun-carrying building inspectors from the New York Department of Buildings (or the equivalent in some other, even older metropolis). You investigate and retire problems with gateways into the past or future or cracks into parallel universes that show up in or between the ancient geomantic buildings of the great city. You also rescue anything that disappears into them, deal with and ideally return dead or alive anything that come through them, and occasionally deal with things released from crypts, problems to do with changes to the city blocking or releasing the flow of geomantic energy, etc. etc.

45) You are medical officers, nurses, colourful SNCOs, civil affairs officers etc. in the hospital regiment/company of the Xth division/regiment of the Federal/Imperial/Commonwealth army or space marines. You are deployed to worlds afflicted by plague, disaster, or even invasion by the Xth to cure the sick, heal the injured, and engage in hi-jinks. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, and perverse government of each planet of the week, and occasionally the militarism of your line-officer comrades.

46) You are engineering or E&M engineering officers, colourful SNCOs, civil affairs officers etc. in the engineering and/or recovery regiment/company of the Xth division/regiment of the Federal/Imperial/Commonwealth army or space marines. You are deployed to backward, disaster-hit, and war-ravaged planets, or ones that are being invaded by the Xth to [re]-build hospitals, roads, teachers' colleges, dams and canals, ports, spaceports, and support military ops. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, and perverse government of each planet of the week, and occasionally the militarism of your line-officer comrades.

47) You are undercover reviewers for the Michelin Guide, Lonely Universe, Travellers' Aid Society, or Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. You travel from planet to planet visiting tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, and star-ports, subjecting them to surprise stress tests, rating them, and writing entries for your travel guide. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, and perverse government of each planet of the week — and write them up for the information of tourists and amusement of readers.

48) You are inspectors of public morale and discipline, working for the Imperial Censorate or Commonwealth Inspectorate-General, as personal agents of the Connatic, etc. It is your job to visit worlds and planets under cover, to mingle with people in all walks of life, and to determine whether (a) the local government is treating its citizens in accord with Imperial minimum standards, (b) whether the attitude of the People is indeed as the world government is reporting it to the Empire/Commonwealth/Connatic, and (c) whether there is anything untoward occurring on the world that it is within the Imperial/Commonwealth/Connatical remit to put right, all in such a way as to get around any effort or tendency for misinformation to be reported through official channels. Naturally, you have to contend with the planetological peculiarities, bizarre society, perverse government, and possibly corrupt local agencies of the Empire/Federation/Commonwealth, of each planet of the week.

49) One of you is an eccentric (not to say erratic) but extremely gifted alien scientist. The rest are his rather bewildered human travelling companions. You flit from juncture to juncture in a teleporting time-machine, saving the multiverse with feelings.

50) One (or several) of you is (or are) notorious. You are a deposed emperor, the admiral who sterilised a world or exterminated a sapient alien race, a former genocidal tyrant or cannibal dictator, the former chief of secret police in a fallen or defeated-enemy regime, the inventor of AI robots, an apostate, a murder-cult leader, the author of a blasphemous novel, or an infamous serial killer. You have been mindwiped, rehabilitated, or officially vindicated, or your defection to the winning side was vital in the Commonwealth/Empire/Federation's victory in the War; but there is no world in the Commonwealth/Empire/Federation where the government will grant you permanent residency, or where the People would tolerate it if they did. The rest of you are the entourage of this notorious person or these notorious people: valet, bodyguard, food-taster, almoner, personal physician and brain-care specialist…. You wander from planet to planet, probably on space-liners. On each one you stay only as long as it's visa-waiver program or transit visas will allow. Once per quarter 100,000 credits is deposited in a numbered account at the Galactic Bank for your support: at a branch on yet another world, far from the last.

51) You are on a pilgrimage to visit all the worlds that the Great Guru visited in the course of his wanderings, to find the sites of his recorded deeds, and there to make the customary observances. The thing is that it has been centuries since anyone made pilgrimage to most of these sites. The planets' societies have become quirky and even bizarre, the governments repressive or lunatic; the sites are overgrown, or forgotten, or have been converted to uses that make them high-security or downright dangerous. And the Church isn't well liked everywhere any more.

52) As 51, but completing the pilgrimage will make one of you eligible for election — perhaps the only eligible candidate — to the vacant throne of the Patriarchal Pope. There are rivals — perhaps heretical in your view — competing to complete the pilgrimage and seize the papacy [first]; some of them are not above sabotaging you (nor, perhaps, you them). And far away the Cardinal Camerlengo is doing rather nicely as regent, and has all the resources of the Church at his disposal to keep the Papacy-Patriarchate vacant [for another term].

53) The Gallimaufrey (or perhaps it is the Connatic's Palace at Lusz, or the Commonwealth/Federal/Imperial sector HQ in Pegasus Sector) is a magnificent orbital habitat (or perhaps it is a monumental palace) where diplomatic representatives of a multitude of autonomous worlds in the Commonwealth/Federation/Empire (or perhaps independent interstellar states) gather for bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. Parts of it also function as tourist attractions. You are senior members of its staff: the major-domo, chief of security, chief of engineering, quartermaster, purser, chief steward etc. It is your responsibility to provide for the needs of the various diplomatic missions (members of which are often surprisingly parochial) and visiting heads of government and other VIPs, hose down their squabbles before anyone is killed or makes a diplomatic incident, and keep the espionage down to a dull roar.

54) Grosseteste College (or Barton Rogers Hall) is a residential dormitory at Oxford University (or MIT), on Old Earth — one of the most ancient and prestigious institutions of research and higher learning in the entire Commonwealth/Empire/Federation/Oikumene. It is one of few that specialises in accommodation for off-Earth (or even alien) students. You are the senior staff: the warden, the bursar, the senior fellow, the principal, the dean of students etc. It is your job to stand in loco parentis for hundreds of young adults from a multitude of different and often bizarre social backgrounds, to stop them from causing or coming to any serious harm while not coddling them, to manage their expectations of privilege, and to make sure to the extent possible that they study and pass their exams, all while most of them are away from their homeworlds and in a cosmopolitan environment for the first time in their lives. Also, you have to manage the college's endowment and preserve the thousand-year-old fabric of its buildings.

55) You are elderly members of the Interplanetary Club, firmly ensconced in favourite chairs on the window side of the Members' Bar. Whenever some young whippersnapper of an actually active explorer comes in with a tale of his latest expedition, why, you have better story of something similar but more impressive that you did or saw on one of your expeditions back in the Golden Age of Interstellar Exploration. Your tall and rather rambling tale is played out in flashback, probably using one of those newfangled narrative RPG that the young people have these days.

_________________
— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


Last edited by Agemegos on Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:18 am 
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56) You are field workers for an organisation that has a time machine that will only transport living things (though it will transport e.g. the hairs, scales, nails, claws and epidermis and other non-living tissues of living things.) You come from a culturally and biologically impoverished post-apocalyptic future. You get sent back in time to (a) bring back seeds/cuttings and breeding stock of extinct species, (b) cache cultural and technique information in time capsules in which it will survive the apocalypse, (c) cache "missing" and "stolen" pieces of famous art for later recovery, (d) arrange for supplies of clothes and equipment to be placed or delivered where you or other agents will be able to obtain them for use in "future" operations, and (e) prevent reckless maniacs from attempting "historical engineering". The machine moves its contents (not itself) through time, but not to different places: passengers arrive at and must be collected from the close vicinity in the past of the operating location of the machine.

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— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:32 am 
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57) You are (a) a retired officer or staff NCO of the Commonwealth/Federal/Imperial military, or a retired lawman from a frontier world, or a retired effectuator or secret operative — something hard that kept you away from home, mostly — (b) one or more grandchildren of 'a' in mid-to-late adolescence, and perhaps (c) a mindwiped-and-reconstructed notorious felon friendly with 'a', or an elite special-forces veteran-on-the-other-side of a famous war of a generation or so ago, and maybe (d) one or more AI household robots, such as the childrens' AI pedagogue. You wander from planet to planet in search of 'a''s child (the children's missing parent and aunt or uncle), frequently coming somewhere he or she has recently left, and left strong and divided opinions about his or her character. The errant relative is good with a raygun, but the kid is better. And I'm better than both of 'em. No brag, just fact.

58) You are the recently-elected and appointed law officers in a frontier county on a recently-terraformed world that is still open to mass immigration. Your territory has only just obtained self-government, and in your county you are the first local peace officers to take over from the marshals/rangers employed by the Commonwealth/Empire/Federation/terraforming-company etc. The place is still wild and wooly — disodium rush an optional extra — and floods of migrants from different worlds, either of divers alien races or with very different social norms, are moving in or through. It's your job to keep the peace and help found the decent standards of a decent society.

59) You a a team of field researchers for the Almanach de Gotha, Debretts, the Interstellar Social Register or something like that, consisting of a genealogist, a field sociologist, a diplomatist, an oral historian, a bacon & eggs expert, a computer systems counter-security expert etc. You visit planet after planet to make discreet investigations "on the spot" into the pretensions to nobility of the local big noises. Does this quaint and quirky little society actually have a concept of nobility? Are the clowns with the money and the muscle really it, or are they the jumped-up progeny of usurpers, carpet-baggers, and successful main-chance men. Who if anyone is actually descended from the ancient entrepreneurial families of Old Earth?

60) You are a gang of interstellar snake-oil salesmen, including experts in anthropology, social psychology, merchandising, accounting, and stage illusions. You visit world after world, and on each one you analyse the bizarre local culture, the vices and fads of the ruling class, the peculiar legal institutions, and the economic circumstances to figure out exactly who will buy what bridges and what snake-oil will sell well. And then you collect your money and get off-planet. On a good result they won't know they were had until you have vanished and change names two stops up the liner route. On a really good result they will never know that they were conned.

61) You are 1920s/1930s Action archaeologists and anthropologists and gentlemen explorers. You discover an ancient ruin in Amazonas or Borneo or somewhere like that, when you fall, or stumble, or are forced through a glowing white portal. You find yourself at a different ruin, in a vast swamp, under a pearly sky, with savages and dinosaurs. Interpretation of the carvings suggest that if you make you way halfway around Venus to the antipodal point you will find the other gate and might get home. Have fun along the way!

62) Bugger! The gate from Venus didn't bring you back to Earth. The sky is dark, the desert is red, Mars is full of the decadent successors of a fallen high biotech/transhuman culture. Perhaps if you make your way halfway around Mars to the antipodal point you'll find the shimmering blue-green gate that ought to take you home to Earth. And meanwhile, all of this deadly intrigue will make a nice change of pace from the brute simplicity and low-tech weapons on Venus.

63) Earth was conquered by vampiric martians in 1896. You are humans living in the ruins and tunnels of London, evading the tripod fighting machines, scraping together what you need to survive, gathering intelligence on Martian operation, and occasionally striking boldly at some critical link of the alien regime.

_________________
— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 9:32 pm 
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64) You are the rag-tag band of survivors of the crash-landing of an exploration spaceship on a ringworld. It doesn't look as though there's a high-tech civilisation near your wreck site, but presumably there's space industry at the rims. The closer rim is half a million kilometres thataway, with a couple of hudred oceans and continents to cross. First, get to the coast. Then, build a ship.

_________________
— Brett Evill

My SFRPG setting, Flat Black

© My posts to this board are copyright under the Berne Convention. They may be quoted on the board with appropriate attribution. They may not be reproduced beyond the board except with explicit permission from me.


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