INTO THE SWARM
MAJOR WORK IN PROGRESS
please bear with the messiness thanks!Cast of CharactersGame OOC
consult the cast of characters for available ship roles
please be nice and also see what people want in discussion
there can be additional roles beyond those listed
in the cast of characters
This is an interest check for a moderately advanced, small group (3-5 player) game. While we are looking for serious writers, this is going to be a casual
game on the soft side of sci-fi. Think Firefly
. Other inspiration are The Expanse Series, Alien, Battlestar Galactica, and FTL.
The main focus of this game is on the crew of the 'Molly Malone' and how they deal with shit. NPCs will die in this game and even player characters too (if you choose).
This game is about the ship crew and the setting is generally going to stay on ship too. The ship is making a journey into an uncharted area of space without support. There'll be ship battles, system malfunction, hull breaches, and enemy boardings. Basically things will operate like FTL
. Kudos to Jason's idea
(this game will be similar but different).System:
Still working out how exactly a ship encounter would work, but I'm thinking a cross Freeform with some Dice. There's a roll to determine if certain ship actions are successful and visa versa for the enemy ship. Then if successful we'll randomly select a consequence such as: engines off-line, hull breach, fire, etc. The success of this game is going to largely depend on the players' ability to play off these cues and expand on them. This game is largely freeform.
The dice are there just to introduce a bit of challenge and risk. And we can retain ship damage through the story as well as other consequences that will create issues for the crew to address.Plot:
Jump drive technology allowed Humanity to leave the solar system in 2120. We thought we were alone in the Universe... until they
found us. The Phage
is what we call them, a mindless swarm
that erased our fledgling colonies and overwhelmed Earth
like we hadn't even put up a fight. In a matter of a days, humanity was reduced from countless billions to just five hundred thousand souls. Those of us that survived jumped far into deep space.
The year is now 2243 and nearly 100 years has passed since the destruction of Earth. All that remains is a flotilla of ships, jumping between solar systems to solar systems. They never rest, they never tire
. We cannot put down roots anywhere, because the Phage is slowly following us. They creep along like they are playing with us.
We had no hope of fighting them until it was discovered that the Phage had a hive mind. Some of us believed that there could just be a single entity that was controlling all of them. We knew that the Phage had taken over Earth and was concentrated there. If the Phage had a central mind then it must be on Earth. It's really our only shoot. Lop off the head of the beast.
But getting back to Earth has got to be a suicide mission. The flotilla can't risk that last push on just a hunch alone. Instead we outfitted the fastest and most advanced ship in the fleet. It's not big, but all we need to do is deliver a few nukes. Whoever's crazy enough to join this crew already knows this is certainly a one way trip.Background:
The Flotilla is made up of 23 civilian ships
and a small military escort comprised of a few frigates
and a destroyer
. The Flotilla is largely an anarchical society held together by a council of ship captains and the executive authority of the fleet Admiral. Each ship has it's own set of laws and regulations, enforced with varying degrees of success by the ship captains. Life on the Flotilla is chaotic and largely unstructured. The only currency is ration cards and the only law honored throughout the Flotilla is the fair distribution of food. Anyone screwing around with the ration system gets a punishment worse than death.
The Molly Malone:
The current Fleet Admiral, Elizabeth J. Caine
is the daughter of the former Admiral and the grand daughter of the first Fleet Admiral. The military and the civilian ships have an uneasy detente based largely around the fact that they need each other. Disagreements between ships used to be very bloody in the early days.
In fact, over the past 100 years, the military had on five occasions massacred civilian ship crews and on one occasion even destroyed a civilian ship. An attempt by the military in the early days to exert total control over the Flotilla only polarized the civilians against the military and ultimately lead to the formation of the Council. Things are hardly tranquil in the Flotilla now, but there has evolved a status-quo. Everyone knows where the lines are, even if they are drawn in the sand. Additionally, the military continually recruits from the civilian fleet, and after multiple generations with the Flotilla, practically every family has at least one member in the military.
The Flotilla is culturally very diverse as survivors were descendant from both pre-Invasion Earth and deep space colonies. While it is possible that some human survivors exist outside of the Flotilla, basically any group that attempted to do so either joined up with the Flotilla eventually or were wiped out by the Phage years ago. Socially, the Flotilla is unified by survival and considering the fragility of the Human race and the importance of repopulation -- contraception and homosexuality are illegal or stigmatized on many ships in the Flotilla.
Laws are incredibly confusing in the Flotilla. For the common person, the Flotilla essentially operates under martial law where habeas corpus is ignored and trials are optional. There exists a Fleet-wide law enforcement branch that was set up by the Council to deal with the theft of any critical resources exchanged amongst ships in the Flotilla. However, the ship captains and the military have their own police (some more fair than others) and manage law enforcement independent of one another. As you might imagine the entire system is incredibly corrupt and probably more interested in maintaining the authority of the captains than in providing a civil service. Local ship or military police also -do not- work well with Fleet-wide law enforcement. By and large, people are often just left to fend for themselves, and it's not unusual for people to take justice into their own hands.
The Phage generally catches up with the Flotilla within a few months after each Jump. This usually allows the Fleet an opportunity to make repairs and acquire resources from nearby star systems. However, there is really no way for the Flotilla to know exactly when the Phage will show up. It could be tomorrow or the next day or months later. As a result, the Fleet is always on high alert and any reconnaissance or resource collection work is done with the anticipation of rapid abandonment and retreat. Ships in the Flotilla have creative ways of separating and rendezvousing as well, but people (and even entire ships) get left behind all the time.
Over the past 100 years, the various ships in the Flotilla have adopted certain proficiencies that were carried into the crew and populations living aboard those crafts. Some ships were asteroid mining vessels and continued to be mining vessels. Others became hydrogen gas or water collectors (largely for oxygen and to power the fusion cores). Many other ships became geared for farming -- either as massive greenhouses orbiting stars or as pop-up farms on any planet that had even the vaguest of atmospheres to support life. Some more intrepid ships were scavengers, traveling back into former Human space and trying to gather equipment and resources from pre-Invasion, deep space outposts. Unsurprisingly many of these scavenger ships never return, either being destroyed or failing to miss the rendezvous with the Fleet. Civilians are strongly tied to their ships and socially, ship populations can be quite clannish.
The official name of the ship is The Halcyon, but considering the sheer impossibly of the mission, the crew felt the ship deserved a bit of gallows humor. The Molly is an advanced military frigate
, fitted with most special whatevers in the fleet. For ease we'll just use ME's ship plan
with captain's quarters
and crew quarters
, (co-ed cause its the future baby)
, a communal galley
, and a separate lounge
. More details later. Input EncouragedTechnology:
Lets stick to Battlestar Galactica, Firefly level technology. There are droids
, but they are virtual intelligence only. The fanciest tech is energy shield technology and biomedical nanites and nanite fabricators (which can automatically halt decompression from small hull damage but is just a bandaid). Stealth and cloaking technology is also available. Power is derived from advanced fusion reactors. Faster than light travel is possible using a Graviton Jump drive, but cool down and warm up periods vary between hours to days depending on the size of the ship and how far the last jump was. Sub-luminal travel uses a combination of conventional rockets (for maneuvering) and a modified graviton field from the FTL drive (for direct propulsion).
If they have to the Flotilla can subsist on tank grown algae, which recycles waste and generates oxygen. The algae however was only intended as a temporary foodstuff back before the Invasion when the ships only made month long trips between colonies. Long term studies on algae consumption were never undertaken pre-Invasion. Humans now know it causes dementia -- otherwise fondly called the 'Greens'.
In a lot of ways, scientific development has accelerated post-Invasion. The military controls R&D and there is a strong emphasis in genetics (for farming) as well as in xenobiology in understanding the makeup of the Phage.
The setting's Universe is devoid of complex life save for the Humans and the Phage. Simple bacteria are found on many terrain type planets but that's it. Most atmospheres are toxic or unbreathable, but pre-Invasion tech was highly advanced and people are still capable of erecting sophisticated shelters and creating habitable areas in even the most adverse environments, thanks to energy shields. Additionally, with the assistance of droids and nanite fabricators, resource extraction can also be conducted remotely, but humans are still required to control and direct all operations.
Energy weapons do exist, but they are heavy, have fantastic recoils, and also emit lethal radiation in their discharges. Energy weapons are very effective against the Phage, but energy weapons can only be used by vehicles, ships, and power armor infantry. In the early days of the War, power armor was the first line of defense against the Phage, and was largely the reason why anyone managed to escape the Invasion at all. Since that time, the Phage has developed 'swarm projectiles', which are leach like entities that enter armor through seams and other weak spots. Attempts at electrifying or even shielding power armor from swarm projectiles have not been successful. Hardware is disabled by swarm projectiles, and marines who are unaware of intrusion into their armor have been found eaten from the inside out.
With power armor made obsolete, marines now use minimal armor for maximum maneuverability and evasiveness. Faced with a Phage boarding party, a marine's strategy is to avoid direct contact and to rely on guerrilla tactics. The Phage is incredibly resistant to damage but even when large, Phages can be quickly dispatched by a headshot using explosive rounds.
Marines have at their disposal many new anti-Phage weapons. Energy grenades can vaporize most Phage entities, but are also likely to blow a giant hole through the ship hull which not even automatic nanite assemblers can patch up. Portable shield generators may be used as temporary defenses or can be employed to trap Phage entities. Explosive rounds are very effective against larger, ranged Phage entities, but are difficult to produce and also volatile if fired rapidly. Marine rifles are equipped with both conventional bullets and explosive rounds. A typical tactic is to slow Phage entities with conventional bullets and then finish them with an explosive round. Plasma throwers are effective against smaller Phage entities (see next section). Heavy, fully automatic depleted uranium machine guns can pretty much cut any Phage into pieces, but they are usually employed by machine gun teams at stationary positions.
The Phage is an organo-silica organism that can be considered a composite of modular entities. The basic unit of the Phage is a multi-limbed, insectoid looking ameboid about two feet tall that is simply called a Phageling. Phagelings are purely melee based entities, but they are frighteningly fast. Phagelings can combine into entities of varying sizes by elongating their 'necks' and twining their 'heads' together. These aggregated entities have projectiles, which increase in destructiveness as aggregates become larger. At the basic level, aggregates throw spine like projectiles, which become corrosive to explosive as aggregates enlarge. Phageling aggregates can also disintegrate back into smaller components, making them incredibly versatile. In deep space, Phage ships are actually mega-aggregates. For this reason the Phage prefers using boarding techniques against Humans. Human ships try to maintain great distances from Phage ships, using energy weapons to vaporize the Phage ship because it's common for Phage ships to get close to a Human ship and completely disintegrate into thousands of phageling boarders. The line of defense Human ships have against this mass boarding is it's shields. In normal combat, Phage ships will punch holes through shields and fire phageling aggregates into those holes. Phageling boarders have no clear strategy -- sometimes they try and disable systems while other times they are focused on killing the ship crew. Phagelings do not appear to have any intelligence, though larger Phage aggregates become increasingly aware of human tactics.
We're looking for moderately advanced writers because this game is going to require some character input in order to function well. We can't accommodate outlandish characters in this game, so there will be an application review
. Don't worry though, this IS casual. Sensible photographs for faceclaims please and aim for realism. Character roles are first come first serve, though just be sorta mindful of what other players' interests are before proceeding. Lastly, I'd really like this game to have an even mix of genders (players and characters), so do us a favor and tell your lady friends
Please PM your completed sheet to me (Joel) for Okay. The following template is optional. Format as you like.
[floatright][table][td][tr] [/tr][/td][td][tr][img height=300]<<CHARACTER IMAGE URL HERE. USE ONLY PHOTOGRAPHS NO ILLUSTRATIONS>>[/img]
[img width=200 padding=2]<<ADDITIONAL IMAGE URL HERE>>[/img]
[img width=200 padding=2]<<ADDITIONAL IMAGE URL HERE>>[/img]
[/tr][/td][/table][/floatright][font=georgia][color=gray][size=15pt][b]<<CHARACTER NAME>>[/b][/size][/color][/font][hr][font=georgia][color=gray] <<Character's Ship Role>>[/color][/font]
<<A brief description of your character's personality. You may omit this section if you like, but think of it as an easy tl;dr for your fellow players to -quickly- get to know who your character is>>
<<A physical description of your character.>>
<<A sentence describing the three major attributes or your character, chosen from the following list: strength, dexterity, stamina; charisma, manipulation, appearance; perception, intelligence, wits.>>
[li][justify]<<Knack Title>> - [color=gray]<<you may have 1-3 knacks for your character. knacks are distinguishing qualities about your character. they are the sort of things that other characters might nickname your character for. they can be good or bad things. please use moderation in your selection. i.e. a marine will of course be badass, but an especially badass technician will require greater explanation in your history.>>[/color][/justify][/li]
[li][justify]<<Knack Title>> - [color=gray]<<brief description of said ability>>[/color][/justify][/li]
[li][justify]<<Knack Title>> - [color=gray]<<brief description of said ability>>[/color][/justify][/li]
[color=gray][i]<<place a quote here if you like, delete this section otherwise.>>[/i][/color][/center]
[right][i]<<place more blah blah here for an introduction to your character. delete if you don't wanna.>>[/i][/right]
<<the meat of your history goes here. go to town on the length. if you have any questions on setting details please feel free to PM your GMs (Joel or Tinkertoy). we are looking for realistic characters that exhibit a clear personality. [b]PLEASE PM YOUR SHEET TO ME (Joel) for OKAY[/b]>>[/spoiler]