Friday, December 23, 2005

Sci-Fi Setting

It's a fairly standard (by standard, I mean Geek standard, not really-real-science fiction standard, mainly cuz I don't know much about really-real-sci-fi) "gritty" sci-fi setting. Something along the lines of a planet completely covered with constructed matter, one world-sized city, ruled by a petty and bureaucratic oligarchy. Oppressive government structure, but its so big that it can't possibly keep an eye on everything, so there's lot of illegal/extralegal activities. Everyone is kinda generic human. Fairly standard setting-Sim kind of game, skill trees, different splats to be a part of, etc.

This game is kinda like Mike Holmes's Cell Gamma (from the No-Press Anthology), in that the GM really, really knows something that the players don't. But, there is a twist that the players know - their characters all have to be adults (above 21, or something of the like), and their memories don't go back farther than their 18th birthday. Nobody, no NPCs, no-one, has memories of childhood or adolescence.

There's certain guages on the character sheet that track stuff thats useful to the matters at hand - like bravery, or honor, or willpower, that kind of stuff. At some point in the continuing campaign (oh, it's designed for long-term play. Oh, oh yes) there's a Breaking Point. A situation comes up where it's resolution is absolutely dependent on something coming up from the pasts of the characters. The text would, of course, have buckets of tips and help for putting situations together for different amounts and kinds of characters, that involve all of their backgrounds.

Anyway, the Breaking Point. The only way out is to bring something up from the past - and each character has a dramatic flashback. There's a number of options for their true origins, dictated by those guages I mentioned above. I'm thinking, some are vat-grown to the age of 17, have a year of basic "skills" training, then have their higher faculties activated at 18. Some are from various other planets or worlds, who were smuggled onto this one, but part of the deal is that they wipe the memory, so the smugglers can never be found out. Some were criminals, who had their developmental years erased so as to purge the elements that made them criminal. And some, the fewest, are plain, born-n-raised humans that, when they leave the public educational system, are wiped so the government can fit them into the places they need them in society.

Did I mention that the determinent of the "truth" is entirely dependent on how the player managed their players guages?

Anyway, now a new phase of the game begins. Only very few people on this planet "Break," and they have an entirely different, and secret, society that operates alongside and beneath "normal" society. It's obsessively caste-oriented (Vat people are the bottom rung, goes up through immigrants, criminals, and the highest is pure-bred human) and paranoid, with fingers in all the pies. There are ample, ample reasons for nominally normal people to abhor this society, but once you've Broken you can't go back - and they will find you out. I'm also thinking that, once you have access to all of your memories, you can start to learn or develop supernatural powers, probably stuff along the lines of "things that go bump in the night" - turning into shadow, drinking blood to gain more power, generating fear and paranoia in others, that kind of stuff. Creepy stuff, that helps them keep their hold on the shadows.

There's a lot of goals there that may conflict (like, the coolest part is the part that no-one other than the GM is supposed to know, makes it kinda hard to sell), but it's interesting.

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