As noted yesterday, I’ll be running an off-time Eclipse Phase campaign for a couple people in my gaming group, and as such I need to start building the initial game. I’ll be doing so here – less the parts that my players shouldn’t be aware of, as they do venture by here from time to time. The basic structure of the campaign is two players, one as a ‘shock jock’ personality XP-caster, the other undefined as yet, with the initial events of the campaign taking place on and around Venus.
I’m removing Firewall; while it serves an excellent role as a built-in excuse for PCs to stick together, for a two-player game there’s no need for that glue; they can simply already know each other and have a reason to stay teamed up. I’m axing it, thematically, because a secret conspiracy of cells that spans the solar system and protects humanity from horrible existential risks is a little too on the nose for the feel I want to aim for. They may come back in the form of one of the groups manipulating events, or they may not. Either way, the players won’t be part of them or any of their internal factions.
Likewise, none of the other Big Forces – Project Ozma, Oversight, the AA, the Junta, most of the hypercorps – will have any direct interaction with the players, at least at the beginning of the game. We’ll see, based on the actions of the PCs, if any of them notice the pair, or if they continue to be storm-tossed by the cold war of those at the helm of these groups. Instead, the game will be startng out on Gerlach Station in orbit around Venus, with the PCs having been there for long enough to be used to their present morphs and the adjusted gravity.
Several factions across Venus will have goals that they’re trying to achieve, with an array of resources and motivations behind their goals. The Planetary Consortium is busy, both overtly and behind the scenes, trying to sabotage the independence of the Morningstar Constellation by campaigning in public, funding political figures in favor of returning to the PC’s fold, and covertly supporting and encouraging activists and terrorists. Among their catspaws are the supporters of the Solid Ground Initiative, a group of conservative-leaning activists who want to see Venus fully terraformed to resemble Earth. The SGI is often accused of being a front for the New Earth Coalition, a terrorist group dedicated to sabotaging the Aerial Terraforming Initiative.
Likewise, the ATI’s supporters are working, with covert support from the more extreme liberal-aligned factions and the overt support and funding of figures and groups who favor either the continued independence of Venus or the transformation into a living and exotic world. Like the SGI, the ATI is often accused of being a front for terrorists, including the Daughters of Ishtar and the Wild Skies mercurials. None of the terrorists have proven links to either group, but this doesn’t stop anyone from speculating about their backers.
Rumors abound of secret habitats hidden in the deep skies of Venus, and of cutting-edge habitats on the surface itself; the smart dismiss these claims as nonsense, as the turbulent weather of the lower atmosphere and the volatile surface conditions make both the kind of project that would require a ridiculous amount of resources to achieve. Regardless, the rumors persist in the same channels that whisper of ghost airships and TITAN relics lurking on the surface, waiting to be found by the unlucky.
Among the factions interested in Gerlach, we have a couple of criminal groups lurking around semi-discretely; 9Lives is around with a resleeving and egocasting facility that operates at a discount compared to more legitimate operations, the Night Cartel maintains a few respectable businesses that serve to launder more illicit funds and provide clandestine meeting spots for shady dealings, and the ID Crew has a small research firm that launders their funds.
Cognite has a presence on-station as well, given the presence of their research habitat Thought in orbit around Venus, showcasing their latest products in a style reminiscent of an Apple Store; Fa Jing and Go-Nin both have small outposts present that amount to kiosks with indentures offering AR previews of services and products; and Zbrny has a small automated terminal where visitors can place orders for raw and refined materials, with no presence beyond a robust AI and a handful of guard drones.
Perhaps the most unusual and alarming business on Gerlach is the Humanitarian Bar and Grill, where a trio of exhumans with access to several healing vats delight in horrifying unexpecting clientele with their dishes of prepared vat-grown human flesh. While their rep gets continually dinged by people horrified by their cuisine, they have all the necessary permits on file, have regular visits by local security forces to ensure that they’re only sourcing their meat from the vats, and have enough anonymous upticks to their rep and take-out orders delivered by stealth drone to keep them in business in a fairly prominent area.
And that effectively wraps up today’s planning, since much more will need a better idea of what both characters will be. Thanks for coming along on the brainstorm!