steelbrok wrote:OK, this ne has had me interested for a while, here's a couple of questions:
Is there faster than light travel in the setting?
Ship design rules?
Are the aliens typical antagonists or really a scarey off scene background threat?
These are good questions; thanks!
Yes! I wanted to use real star maps, and keep the setting focus tight. (a few dozen star systems) So I went with an FTL drive which is a bit slower than some other settings to give the whole thing an "age of sail" feel. Most starships travel at 80-100x lightspeed, so a typical interstellar voyage takes 4 or 5 weeks.
This strongly affects the pacing and tone of a Terracide campaign: characters won't likely go on such a long voyage without a compelling reason, and they'll go with the knowledge that things at home could change drastically while they're gone. This is a good place to note that FTL Communication is quite rare in this setting; limited to "official" traffic only. (A character with the right Connections Edge could use it, with a good roll!)
Ship design rules:
Rather than "reinvent the wheel" I adapted the basic starship design system from the Science Fiction Gear Toolkit
for use with Terracide. I've added a bit more detail and made a few changes where necessary, although the weapons list is all new. Those familiar with ship design from the Toolkit won't have to learn a new system from scratch, and they'll be able to adapt old designs without too much trouble. There will also be a good list (maybe 20 or so) of starships designed specifically for Terracide, including several that are well-suited for PC groups.
When it comes to starships, the most important thing in Terracide is the new space combat system. Space combat in Terracide emulates the battles in space opera novels rather than tv shows and movies: they're fought at distances of thousands of kilometers rather than "visual" range. And the ships move like spaceships, not "sopwith camels in space"; I've created a simple set of rules for starship movement that emulate newtonian mechanics (more or less) while keeping Fast Furious Fun
in the game. And of course there will be lots of new Edges for space combat! ("A Leaf On the Wind" was the playtesters' favorite.)
In my campaign, I try not to over-use the aliens, and keep them in the background most of the time. That way it's more of a major campaign event when they do finally show up. Actually I've got a number of different alien species in Terracide, and most of them aren't necessarily antagonists, or allies. They're just... aliens
. They have their own agendas, and humans might not always understand them. They have technology and information which humans value, and some of them are willing to trade for it. Here's a quick rundown of the most commonly encountered types:
Cytherians: smallish, short-lived, native to worlds with extremely hot, superdense atmospheres. Partly silicon-based, reproduce by fission. Not remotely humanoid; they look like silicon flatworms w/6 legs.
Fluorians: Fluorine-breathers native to very hot worlds; they have a limited form of racial memory. The closest thing to "human" in the galaxy; bipedal and they have a spoken language, but still extremely alien.
Ammonites: rather large, cold-natured ammonia breathers which resemble the extinct terran mollusks of the same name. Difficult to get along with, but not overtly hostile.
Titans: Overtly hostile. Methane-breathing tentacled blobs massing up to 50 tons. Social darwinists who consider property rights subject to personal strength. Not very numerous, but dangerous due to possession of advanced nano-tech.
Jovians: Gas-giant dwellers, several kilometers in size, who have mastered bio-engineering and adapted their own bodies for space travel. Nearly god-like in power and intelligence. Do not
Keepers: Cryogenic He3 creatures living on the dark sides of tide-locked worlds in dead star systems; their entire species is quantum-entangled. They trade in information across the entire galaxy.
In your own Terracide campaign, it's up to you how often you'd like to use aliens as the enemy. In the demo I'll be running at MACE Con, I've got rather a lot of aliens: one species as an enemy, one as an ally (of sorts) and another simply in the background. (I'm not saying which ones: no spoilers here.) If you really want a campaign with a strong Humans v. Aliens
theme, the most obvious plot-line is to have your PCs investigate the cause of the Terracide, find out who was responsible, and begin a crusade for righteous vengeance in the name of humanity... but they'll need whole a lot of help!