|Alpha Centauri. See what I mean?|
In the back story, mankind has begun suffer from the long term effects of living as if our planet was an infinite resource. Earth is dying and threatens to take the human race with it. In an effort to save humanity, the nations of the Earth begin the Unity Mission, a colony ship effort to send a representative sample of humanity to the nearest habitable planet. Being the horrible creatures that humans usually are, the colonists pack all of their ideologies and prejudices in their luggage and carry them along. Ten thousand colonists start the trip to Alpha Centauri. And they almost make it.
On entry into the system, a collision with some space debris turns tragic. One of the cryogenic bays is completely destroyed, killing hundreds of colonists in one terrible moment. As the crew tries desperately to repair the ship, the deep factionalization causes riot and mutiny. A brutal act of sabotage seals the fate of the Unity Mission and the remaining colonists start a mad dash for the escape pods.
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|Sister Myriam. The greatest |
example of the preceeding
Fortunately, the fine folks at Steve Jackson Games thought a role-playing game based on this property was a good idea. Their book is is a valuable resource for any game set on Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, even if GURPS isn't your system of choice. It does a very good job of explaining the technology available. Author Jon E. Zeigler does an even better job of neutrally describing the various factions and leaders without portraying them as the total knobs that they are. GURPS Alpha Centauri examines how to run a campaign at several different points in the progression of the video game.
The game idea that interests me begins with even before the players leave the Unity. As members of the ship crew, they can remain largely above the ideological squabbling, at least at first. When it all goes tits up, they will have a limited amount of time to save comrades and gather supplies before escaping in an emergency crew evacuation pod (one separate from the pods dedicated to all of the main factions). Once they land survival becomes the first order of business. A wide variety of adventures could then be in store as the players work to build their own immediate shelter into a budding colony. Scouting forays to recover supply pods can intermingle with first contact missions with the local flora. As the players establish themselves, they will gradually come in contact with some of the other, likely factionalized, survivors. Do they join with one of the factions and risk alienating others? Do they try to remain independent and risk aggression from the more warlike leaders? Does someone do the colonization effort a favor and shoot Sister Myriam in the face? And most importantly, will they be able to make Alpha Centauri the next chapter of the human story instead of just the last one?