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Space Exploration in Aeon

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  • Space Exploration in Aeon

    (As a preface I want to thank and congratulate the Onyx Path team for bringing back one of my favorite games, Aeon is an amazing setting)

    In a week I'm going to start a brand new TC: Aeon game where the PCs are crew on an exploratory Leviathan jump ship. They are psionic specialists that do the dangerous, dramatic, exciting away-mission type stuff. I'm curious to hear stories from other folks who have done this format for their Aeon game, where the protagonists are space explorers or all crew of the same space ship, and what recommendations I can get for this style of play.

    One early question I considered was whether to make the captain of the jump ship a PC. I decided against it, leaving promotion to captain open as a potential long term Aspiration. The captain, at least at first, is going to be an NPC. But to encourage PC agency, this captain will be big into delegation and won't leave the bridge much. The dramatic focus will be on the PCs as a mostly autonomous away team.

    A headscratcher I encountered when putting together pregen characters is how to interpret certain Edges in deep space. ISRA members are required to take the Mysterious Aid Edge, for example, and I wonder how this can be applicable and relevant when the PCs are going places no one has gone before. (One simple answer is that a teleporter shows up to help, so that might end up happening a few times.) One possible way to structure the game would be to play out some adventures in the Solar System, as the jump ship resupplies in between exploratory jumps.

    Something I want to try as a group with my players is collectively 'building' aspects of the jump ship. I'll poll them for any optional features they would like to see on the ship, suggestions for NPC crew and officers, that sort of thing. I've never done group setting creation before but I understand it's a feature of some Fate games.

    Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? Particularly if you've done a space exploration Aeon game before and have insight into what does and doesn't work. I'll likely be mining Star Trek plots for a few story seeds. Thanks!

  • #2
    Mysterious Aid might include someone sending a message that what the recipabt of the message needs is nearby (details). In this case, it is less of a dead drop, and more of a "we foresaw that you would gain much from being at X".

    Honestly, I think either Distant Stars or the Æxpansion have more details on planet/system building and shipbuilding.


    Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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    • #3
      How big is the crew/ship? How off the rails are you willing to go?


      It is a time for great deeds!

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      • #4
        Mysterious aid could include the ship having some non-standard equipment on board that just happens to be exactly what you need at a given time.

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        • #5
          I figure an exploratory complement of about 1000 (the upper-bound of using a Leviathan as a troop transport is given as 4000, and the Crew -3 tag means a minimum of 12 crew to operate without penalty). I figure that 1000 includes enough pilots to operate the Scarab frigates and hybrid fighter craft, engineers to maintain the ship, bridge officers, clairsentient navigators, scientists, medical staff, exploratory teams, first-contact xenorelations experts, some Qin, cooks, a bartender, a barber, and a janitor. Plus some other folks along for the ride! Anyway from a narrative perspective that's enough people that you can introduce various minor characters who have "been there the whole time."

          As for rails, I'm not sure what you mean exactly. But I'd like to showcase the cooler parts of the Aeon setting, so I'd like some of the games I run to focus around the Chromatics and Qin and Coalition and Aberrants. I could run the Alien Encounters adventures from the old Trinity, but I'd like to run some original episodic stuff too. Like the PCs come across a second Coalition ark ship, one that encountered a much different fate than the first one humanity found. Or the PCs find a Dyson sphere that an Aberrant created, and the interior is populated with strange phantasmagoria from the Aberrant's subconscious. Or the PCs stumble upon Chromatics using their captive teleporters for colonization efforts of their own, branching the potential conflict beyond Karroo and Earth and Chrome-Prime.

          One thing that I have trouble with is deciding what new sapient alien species to add to the setting, giving my players opportunities for first contact. Some elephantine high-gravity weirdos like the elcor from Mass Effect appeal to me. And the Zeps are canon but not well-defined.

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          • #6
            If you need inspiration on alien life you could visit the Orion's arm website (https://orionsarm.com/). It describes a hard sci-fi setting where trans-/posthumanity expands across the galaxy and finds plenty of alien life. Be prepared, there's _lots_ of stuff to read. A good starting point could be http://www.orionsarm.com/eg-topic/45bd210a5cbe1.

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            • #7
              Very cool! How about a perhuman AI race?

              How about a divergent breed of humans who seem to have diverged at least a 100k years ago so they are very humanoid but just a bit uncanny, like maybe 7 foot tall on average with larger eyes and a few different shades of skin added to their roster like grey.


              It is a time for great deeds!

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              • #8
                Another possible source for inspiration for alien worlds, sometimes with ecosystems, is the Gatecrashing book from the very good and sometimes sinister Eclipse Phase RPG (check it out, man!): https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product...e-Gatecrashing


                Edit: I removed the link to the "free" version of the PDF as requested by Ian below and replaced it with the link to DriveThruRPG.

                Also note that the PDFs for the Eclipse Phase RPG are Creative Commons, so if you manage to get your hands on them without bying that's completely fine, as the creators say. However, if you enjoy what you read then it'd be quite fair to buy them (as I did, in both digital and paper version).

                Final note: Of cource I'm not trying to set up some kind of competition between Eclipse Phase and the Trinity Continuum RPGs here, so go and buy both! They cover quite different aspects of sci-fi gaming.
                Last edited by shuragil; 01-18-2019, 09:34 AM.

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                • #9
                  We would prefer you use a link where the creators can still get compensated for their work, such as via DriveThruRPG. Thank you!


                  Ian A. A. Watson
                  Onyx Path Community Manager

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                  • #10
                    Aye, changed the link.

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                    • #11
                      I handed out some pregen characters, and ran my first TC: Aeon game. I had to spend most of the time explaining the setting and the basic rules, and I also had my players do some collective setting-building. So now they're crew on a jumpship that has a catlike personality, an aloof but respected captain, and a Qin bartender onboard. One conceit we're going with is that their ship is actually the first functional Leviathan, so it's named "Leviathan" and the other jumpships are "Leviathan-class."

                      I started the action in mid-2122, with the Leviathan sitting in the Thompson crater drydock, still being tested and fitted and various components cloned for use on other jumpships. The PCs are either helping with maintenance or relaxing in quarters. Suddenly, the engineers' teleportation sensors go haywire. A huge teleport happened... but the jumpships in drydock didn't do it. To everyone's horror, a Chromatic mothership has just appeared above the base and is sending out fighters and dropships! The PCs scrambled to the defense of the base, taking off in Locust fighters to engage the Chromatic fighter craft, and finding slugthrowers to fight off Chromatic ground troops.

                      Next game I'll probably incorporate elements from the Ascent Into Light 1e adventure detailing the Chromatic invasion. Poor Clarence Greaves.

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                      • #12
                        Noice...
                        How did the system played? Any major observation or suggestion for the ones preparing the GM in the next few weeks?

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                        • #13
                          Mechanics-wise I'm still not 100% up to speed on the finer points of the system, like when and how to bring out Complications. I mostly relied on typical Skill + Attribute rolls, look for one success, then add Enhancements. The players appreciated that when they failed they got Momentum. I guess my advice starting out would be to not worry too much about knowing and using every Tag and Stunt at the outset, the system can handle being simplified down to "roll your pool, then your intent happens or fails." We'll get more sophisticated with our application of the full rules over time.

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