So, with one of my regular players unavailable sometimes because she has a new job and it can handily devour her spoons, leaving our group without the full crew. Given that they’re moving into the endgame of the campaign, this means it comes down to two choices – don’t play at all, or start up a campaign to play when the Pathfinder game can’t happen. We chose to start up a new campaign – one using the Eclipse Phase system and setting.
Given that the campaign will only involve two players, I expect it to be somewhat cozier than most other campaigns, and I’m starting to lay plans accordingly. There’s only so far I can go without knowing the characters, of course, but I do know the game will take place on Venus, at least at the beginning, and there will not be any interaction with Firewall. Whether or not Firewall actually exists is something that may or may not be learned, depending on how the campaign goes.
Things that will be involved beyond any doubt will be the conflicts between the liberal-wing supporters of the Aerial Terraforming Initiative and the anarchist-leaning backers of the plan, the moderate-liberal members of the Constellation proper, and the catspaws of the Planetary Consortium who support the Solid Ground Initiative. Likewise, while Firewall won’t be part of the story, there will be conspiracies, intrigue, and a fair helping of the kind of horror that marks Eclipse Phase.
One character already exists as a concept; a former member of the glitterati who crossed the wrong people and had to go on the run; in a fitting fashion, they decided to do so by abandoning their old identity and sleeving into an octomorph, creating a new self as an outrageously over-the-top ‘shock jock’ kind of persona, complete with ridiculous XP casts doing outlandish and unbelievable stunts. The player plans to have a rather versatile character, buying skillsofts to fit the character to the needs of the day.
As such, I’m currently planning to have the characters caught in a power struggle between unseen forces, with their XP casting capturing events that are being directed by people several times removed from them who have little concern for a couple hapless people caught in the middle of their conflict. At the same time, they have the chance to influence eents on their level, angle to make a profit in both wealth and power, and perhaps even cause some of the powers that be to notice them, in a distant pebble-in-the-shoe sense.
Or, given the proponesity of these players to come up with over-the-top “Let’s go fight champions on Ilum”* style plans, they might even manage to carve out power niches for themselves and stand a real chance of disrupting the plans of those in absolute authority.
There will, of course, be a healthy** sampling of horror of both the mundane and exsurgent varities, because 1) this is Eclipse Phase, and 2) this is me GMing; if I don’t include some small measure of creepy weird shit the players may wonder if I was replaced by a confused doppelganger.
* A phrase my wife and I use as a result of our escapades in Star Wars: the Old Republic, referencing plans that are horribly badly thought out and enacted without too much forethought, often followed by running madly away after killing the champion in question so the rest of the champions and elites get bored and stop chasing us.
** Not very healthy for the characters, I expect. More superstitious characters might consider it a sign of some kind of curse on the players that Horrible Things keep happening in their vicinity, be it a case of Shit We Stumbled Into A Secret Lab, Is There Something Following Us, and/or Why Did We Dock With This Abandoned Station Anyway And Is That A Headhunter Drone Coming At Us.