Winter Campaign

Inigo Montoya's picture
Inigo Montoya
August 29, 2015 - 10:51am

I haven’t played SF with my kids for over a year now. I am kicking around ideas for a new campaign this winter. I want to get away from the frontier and have the kids explore various planets with populations at assorted levels of advancement (stone age, iron age, steam punk, dawn of the nuclear age, etc.).

Right now the thought is that a contact of a contact is a scholar doing very boring, in-depth research on a previous (pre-frontier) civilization when he discovers a mystery about some technological artifact that they had acquired. It turns out that the device was a harbinger about a powerful enemy in the galaxy. This civilization began assembling colony fleets to help insure their survival if they should fail to defeat the enemy. This dead civilization’s level of tech was somewhere between our modern tech and the tech of the frontier. The colony fleets each selected a distant star system that they hoped (to the best of their knowledge) contained a habitable world. During the time of preparation, they could not decipher the technological artifact. Each colony received the data collected and a physical piece of the artifact. Cliché, I know. It could be the background story for the birth of the frontier.

There were X colony fleets launched. The contact has determined X+Y potential colony planet locations. The team is employed to find them. That alone could be a worthwhile mission. But I’d rather the players not arrive and say “take us to your leader”. I’d prefer a more “prime directive” approach. Therefore, I was thinking that the pieces of artifacts could be the goal. Or rather, the data regarding the artifacts.

So what is the artifact? Possibilities include; a probe, a satellite, a weapon, a repository of information, a secret to defeating the powerful enemy …   All the above?

Please help me resolve the following questions:

1. What is the artifact? 

2. Why is it worth the search? 

3. How did the ancient civilization attain it? 

4. Why did the mysterious alien enemy destroy the civilization?

I’m struggling against the non-originality of the story line, but I’m sure my kids will not care if the community is unable to help me think outside of the box. But in the spirit of cliché; please, you are my last best hope!  


jedion357's picture
August 30, 2015 - 9:36am
The artifact could be the key to defeating the alien enemy overmind- something that affects the overmind (thinking Starcraft kind of on this) but is not a game changer like a death ray that can blow an entire planet away.

New weapon tech is always worth the search.

Alternately is could be the planet killer from the Original Star Trek designed to wipe out the enemy civilization. its now dormant and inoperable till the wave length converter gizmo and hyper phase inducement wingknut are re-installed.

Ancient civilization is not as old as the tetrarchs and they converted Tetrarch tech to defeat the enemy .

Why? Because. Implacable foes are just that they kill because they can- borg and sathar.

Other civilizations might have a more developed motive (taken from Civ 3):

Expansionist: the are driven to expand and the other civ is in the way

Aggricultural/ecological: great concern for ecological diversity and preservation and view the activities of the other civ as harmful and therefor requiring intervention

Industrial: build and develop with no concern for impact on environment

Militaristic: war is a way of culture

Commercial: aggressive commercialism would be required for this to be a part of why one civ wiped out another

Religious: religious belief- other civ resembles deamons or refuses to convert, or has defiled a sacred site/world by planting a colony and requires holy war on the part of the religiously offended, or etc.

Scientific: straining to come up with a why science would drive a civ to wipe out another other than the quest to add the other civ's technological distinction to the collective through aggressive assimulation.

Seafaring/starfaring- sort of dovetails with expansionist but in this case it would ensure that they are far ranging in the galaxy.

Civ 3 gives 2 of these civilization traits to each civ. for example I like Greece because its commercial & Scientific and this does very specific things in game which i really like but lately I've been playing Korea which is also commercial & scientific, though Rome which is Militaristic & commercial is fun to play as well.

If you are developing a civilization from the ground up then giving the civ a cultural trait like the above or better yet 2 of them can help make it distinct and would influence what you develop. For example the star ship design for a militaristic civ would be different from an ecological civ or a star faring civ thats looking to sail across the galaxy.

While all of the civs would build ships with weapons clearly the militaristic civ would build serious weapons platforms. the war strategy of the ecological civ might be to develop a bug that kills a targeted species ie the sapient species of the opposing civ.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
August 30, 2015 - 9:41am
Consider ripping off Clark's Rama series for colony fleets expanding out from a source system.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!