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Planetary Exploration Group Proposal

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I’m putting out an all-call for game.

House Rules

System: Mutants & Masterminds, 3e

Real World PC - PL7, 105 PP

Hub PC - PL10, 150 PP

Jack of All Trades – limited availability, by approval only

 

Setting

2255. Humanity has passed outside of their home system and started to move into neighboring space. The problem of FTL was difficult to crack, but by 2188, they had figured out working jump engines. The ships are pulled into a parallel dimension where physical space is shorter, but traveling through there, even in cryosleep, is damaging to human psyches. To prevent psychosis and brain death during a jump, the crew’s minds are uploaded to the Hub. The Hub network is a massive VR world called the Shattered Universe where people log in to relax, conduct business, or connect with distant people. While their ship continues under autopilot, the crew’s consciousness lives in the Shattered Universe. Communication is faster in the VR world, and they can talk to anyone else uploaded into the Hub. Once the ship exits the Jump Dimension, the crew returns to their normal lives on the ship.

They met aliens fifty years ago and learned that most of them are friendly and way more interested in trade than conquering the newest adventurers in space. They did make sure that the humans understood how claiming uninhabited planets worked: any world without sentient life on it is available to be claimed by placing a satellite in the orbit around the planet. Most civilized worlds respect the signs of a previous claim, and those that don’t become pariahs among all the races.

Since agreeing to follow the conventions that rules most of the galaxy, the Central Earth Government has come up with its own way to monitor claims by humans. Their colonies, both those still part of CEG and those who have declared their independence, abide by these rules as well - most of the time. To make a claim, a survey company has to upload a complete file of the resources and dangers of a given planet to the Office of Planetary Mineral Rights. When a mining company stakes a claim and starts to mine, they have to pay the survey company on record 1% of their profits. Most companies will survey a planet and go to the Jump Dimension to immediately upload the file. Pirates and rivals will sometimes ambush survey teams right as they attempt to make the jump.

Planetary Exploration Group

While not the largest, PEG is one of the oldest surveying companies in existence. They are so old that they used to be a surveying and mining company; once the CEG regulations didn’t allow surveyors and miners to be in the same company, PEG sold their mining branch to one of their CEOs and continued business as usual. Today, PEG and Planetary Mining Group are officially business allies. When PEG files their survey data, they send a message to PMG’s acquisition department to give them a heads up. If PMG takes the planet, PEG gets 1.5% of the profits. It is a very lucrative business for the both companies.

Surveyors see themselves as independent people, owing allegiance only to their company. As deep as they are in space, they usually only see their crewmates and the people in the Hub. For a lot of them, the CEG is a long way away and seems to have little immediate impact on their life. The lifestyle is dangerous, but even infomation pirates won’t destroy a ship for the hell of it. Space can be brutal and fatal, but the smart and well-prepared generally survive. Surveyor cruises are decades long, with the ships delving into unknown space. Because of the distance and isolation, PEG allows employees to bring their families along. They were the first to do it, and the company has encouraged the growth of surveyors culture.

The Shattered World

According to the history of the Shattered World, once all the dimensions were separate. When the gods went to war, their battles broke the barriers between all the worlds. The people of one dimension can freely travel to another. There are contests, battles, and parties, all attended by anyone who uploads their minds and chooses to attend. While it was originally created for surveyors, the Hub has taken on a life of its own and has residents and visitors from all walks of life.

They have their own police force, the Emerald Knights, who are recruited from the top players. The Shattered World uses real world currency to allow people to conduct business; there are craftsmen and coders who make a living off the program. Some humans have more or less permanently uploaded their minds into the Hub, never returning to their bodies. Some of those people have abandoned their shells, letting them die so that they can live forever in a realm of their own making. If their avatar “dies”, then their mind is are sent back to the Hub for a twelve hour reset. It is effective immortality, in a body of your choosing. The technology is only fifty years old at this point, so whether the mind can handle this immortality is unknown.

The worlds are limited only by imagination and computer coding skills. Martian Sunrise, the company that originally wrote the game, opened their license many decades ago for people to build their own worlds and cultures. After paying a fee, anyone may set up a world within the game. If they can attract residents and businesses, they can charge taxes to them. The most successful of these privately owned realms have made their creators very rich.

Martian Sunrise also provides scenarios of all types for people to play through. Rewards for completing these tasks are anything from digital trinkets to character upgrades. Their most popular scenario is their gothic horror Halloween murder mystery, set in a Lovecraftian inspired Victorian London. Another popular game is their daily foot races, where contestants would do anything to win.

When a person uploads into the Hub, they find themselves in a ‘coffin’, a holding place for the body they created for the Shattered World. When they walk out of the coffin, they’re in the Station, where they can explore a replica of the Cairo Ring Station that orbits Venus. From there, they can take any of the Doors on the station to other realms within the game.

Character Types

You can make two characters, one for the real world and one for the game world. You don’t have to make both, but then your character will miss part of the game.

All real world PCs should have permanent contracts with PEG for this game.  These contracts can be broken but usually require notice of at least 30-days.  Aside from that, pay and benefits are good (you can buy up to Benefit (Wealth 3) as your salary). PEG will accept aliens as employees, so long as the accommodations for their biology is fairly compatible with human needs.

Real World PC - PL7, 105 PP

Unaltered Humans – These are your run-of-the-mill humans who don’t augment themselves and weren’t augmented by their children. Most people who work for a survey company can afford to have cybernic upgrades so most unaltered surveyors have other reasons to be a ‘factory model’. For many, it’s religious; the quasi-religious Faith of Flesh has a philosophy that the human body is a temple that should remain unaltered. They argue that the equipment and tools available to humankind are enough for them to excel.

Build notes: Ability scores max naturally at 5. These characters should buy a lot of equipment for their character to make up for the lack of their innate abilities.

 

Cybernetic Humans – The human body was created through chance and happenstance. Now there’s a chance to improve through cybernetics and upgrades. It’s only natural and right that humanity should transcend their own limitations and improve themselves.  The idea that humans should respect their the boundaries placed on them by chance seems ignorant. Or perhaps the ability to bend iron into a circle with your bare hands is reason enough.

Build notes: No natural max, but the cybernetics purchased are not innate. They can be affected by viruses, EMP blasts, and so on.

 

Perfected Humans – Money can buy many things, and in this time, it can buy the best possible future for your children. Parents of affluence can afford to have their children built from the ground up: perfect bodies, minds, health, and designer hair and eyes. The truly wealthy can buy “extras” - better-than-human senses, reflexes, and more.

Build notes: Attributes are capped at 7, but “powers” can be innate.

Aliens – They’re not human all, though some might be human hybrids.
Build notes: Anything goes.

 

Hub PC - PL10, 150 PP

The character made (and for my sanity, only make one) for the Hub has no limits; literally anything can be built within the Hub. You can also create a specific Realm that your character calls home, or just declare it a generic genre world.

A Final Note
So what is the deal with the Shattered World? I got the idea from a game called Kalijor, and I wanted to explore the concept of living two lives, one real and one virtual. I also think it’d be fun. Questions?

 

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Oh wow, this sounds SUPER cool! I am in.

 

I must chew my ideas!

 

Edit - Must chew faster it seems! Hahaha. Well, I may still build a hacker or an inventor, but I will see what other ideas come to me before settling with one. :) Hm...perhaps an alien of some stripe?

Have human colonies existed long enough for offshoot strains to have developed? I suppose a colony could be settled by genetically altered ones...

HMM.

Edited by SalmonMax

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Have human colonies existed long enough for offshoot strains to have developed? I suppose a colony could be settled by genetically altered ones...

HMM.

I'd classify them as human hybrids / aliens since they've departed from the base genome far enough to not be able to have kids without further genetic tinkering. What's your hubside idea?

Must formulate ideas.

Let me know if you need help with anything.

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Okay, more detailed character concept:

Sidera was in the first batch of children allowed to ride on jump ships, following her parents into the exploration of the wider galaxy. As such, she's grown up over an extended period of time, mostly within the Shattered Worlds. She's just now been declared an adult, having finally reached physical maturity after a little over fifty years in and out of jumps, but she's been an Emerald Knight inside the Shattered Worlds for decades. "Meatside", as she refers to life outside the VR, she's followed her parents into working at PEG as a pilot, engineer, and general handyman on their jump ships. She prefers life inside SW and has a tendency to spend only her working hours in her body. She's a programmer as well and has made worlds for herself, friends, and the occasional commission work.

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So I am playing with the idea of the reboot of Quinn Torano.

Quinn is quite a bit older, but still spry, someone who's been working for PEG from near the beginning of the initial company. Nicknamed the Action Geologist, Quinn is a geology and mining expert who also can kick butt, surviving many many survey projects. Set in his ways, Quinn was never augmented and still is reticent over the concept of cybernetic enhancement - he's also preferred to live Meatside over 'in the Hub'.

In the Shattered Worlds, his avatar is very much strictly normal person in appearance.

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Guys, I've written up the captain and XO of your ship, named The Aldrin. Those are the only two positions I'd like to remain NPCs for now. Is anyone else wanting to claim a spot among the officers? Something like Chief Engineer, Head Doctor, or any other appropriate titles? Please let me know as soon as you can.

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I'm thinking of a sort of rough-and-tumble scientist...not a labby one but a field scientist. My mental reference keeps coming back to Dr Sattler from Jurassic Park, though I wouldn't be an archaeologist of course. :)

I could see this character being a good candidate for Chief Medical Officer as well. Biochemistry and xenobiology go well with medical science.

Hub persona would be something considerably different...still thinking about it. Something kind of wild and woolly I think.

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The Aldrin

48d12dfb-b696-4568-b4e6-6c99f2d87e12_zpsOutwardly, the ship is huge, but the size is deceptive. Half of the structure is dedicated to the jump engines, the gravity generators, and the cryochambers. Much of the remaining ship’s spaces are devoted to recycling wastes of all kinds and manufacture of parts. Due to the deep space nature of the Aldrin’s mission, the ship has to be self-sustaining, or at least able to continue with little outside support.

More than massive enough to support the sixty crew and their families, the Aldrin can sometimes feel empty. PEG overbuilds space into their ships to give the crew places that can be private. The botanical bays include cul de sacs for secluded green spaces. The gym and cafeteria are designed to be cozy, large enough to hold the entire crew if necessary. The spaces are painted to make them look smaller, with individual nooks to create intimate spaces and trellises growing edible plants that climb the walls and cross the ceilings. The unmarried crew share a room; married crew get a room for their family, which can feel crowded. The officers get their own room, or a small suite for married officers.

Transportation off-ship comes from a few ways. The most obvious is the Hub, though that’s only off-loading the human conscious. If someone wants off the ship physically, they can use the shuttles docked in the bay. Non-living material can be jumped over short distances, using the jump dimension to move bulk items like supplies to and from the ship. The Aldrin also has an umbilical, which is a long plastic tube that can connect with any compatible docking ring. It’s a serviceable if uncomfortable way of connecting ships. Last, the nose of the ship can dock at any CEG space station.

 

Captain Evergreen Smythe

273bcfbf-2eb3-41c6-bc3f-8c6e7a0c8fb4_zpsRaised on Eden, a ‘green-only’ planet founded by regressive hippies, Evergreen grew up with little training with computers or anything that wasn’t “biotech”. Her first trip off-world was an eye-opening experience for the teen girl, because it included her first upload to the Hub. She never went back to Eden and hasn’t spoken to her family there in years. She’s fine with that, since she’s happy with her life now.

She was twenty when she joined PEG. She’s been a good surveyor for them, rising steadily through the ranks. Her progression has stalled out at captain; her mindset makes her an exceptional leader but she’s bad at higher levels of administration. She makes the company money and her Bad Upload Score (BUS, a file which has an error or omission) is 9%, the lowest in the company. The president has said more than once that PEG can’t afford to promote her.

Smythe is generally a fair captain to her crew. She is also tough and can micromanage, particularly on when collecting data for an upload. She demands much from her crew but gives them just as much energy and effort.

Hubside, her crew is welcome to come to her tavern in Talon-Miami, a fantasy seaside town that mashes together the Earth city of the same name and the book series Lord of the Talon. The world is full of elves, dwarves, magic, and dinosaurs. Smythe’s avatar looks like herself but with bright, colorful outfits and flowers twinned in her hair. Any of the crew can drink for free at her place, named Aldrin’s Landing.

XO Andric Thao

7074e1b2-b64f-471d-af77-8ea164f56feb_zpsThere are many worlds that are settled by a variety of people. These cultures have different goals and desires when they colonize: everything from new land to the pursuit of a new way of life. One of the odder cultures created was Otaku. Founded by a gathering of anime and manga enthusiasts, it is a famous tourist world and producer of the galaxy’s top anime and manga.

Andric Thao grew up on this world, and it’s shaped his view on life. He’s a man who falls in love for the sake of the giddy feeling, and never passes up a practical joke. For all of that, Thao is a dedicated XO who truly cares about his crew. He would lay his life on the line for them. He’s charming and smart, and people find themselves following him without thinking about it too much.

His history isn’t untarnished. Thao joined right out of high school and rose through the ranks rapidly, using his charm and quick wit to propel him faster than any other in PEG’s history. He was Captain of his own ship before his posting to the Aldrin. He had the highest BUS, above 50%, when he was demoted. PEG determined that he could be a very good captain; he was just promoted too quickly. He was put under Smythe to learn from her, and for the most part, he’s accepted his fate. There are moments of bitterness, mostly when he disagrees with the captain, but he manages to keep it under control.

Hubside, Andric can be found in one of two worlds: OkatuHQ or Noir York. The former is a major nexus that connects all of the anime based worlds into one place. He goes there to connect with family and friends from Otaku. While there, his avatar’s skin has an anime appearance, but in non-anime realms. he looks like any classic noir detective. Noir York is where his apartment is; it’s a world based on a fictional New York filled with hard-boiled detectives, femme fatales, and sinister villains. The graphics even convert to black and white when one enters. Andric lives there because he’s part of a murder mystery guild that works together to solve the world’s Murder of the Month.

 

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Carver, what kind of weaponry would be considered standard.  Are we still dealing with bullet weapons?  What about lasers/blasters/other sci fi weaponry?  Would you allow exotic "Alien" weapons as devices?

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Carver, what kind of weaponry would be considered standard.  Are we still dealing with bullet weapons?  What about lasers/blasters/other sci fi weaponry?  Would you allow exotic "Alien" weapons as devices?

You can purchase normal pistols and rifles and such, and renamed them as energy laser or whatever you like. Anything that does more damage or uses powers, whether it's alienware or whatever, is a device.

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So here is what I have: 

Jer and Max have submitted partial PCs.

Mala and Jordan say they have PCs incoming.

Have I forgotten anyone? Anyone else interested? 

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