So as of Thursday morning, we have two fairly intact character concepts, even if the actual stats are completely in the air still. One the one hand we have a person on the run, a former glitterati/socialite who has had to go into hiding, and decided to do so by becoming even more absurd of an individual, effectively hiding in plain sight as an octomorph XP shock jock. On the other, we have a Fall evacuee who was one of the lucky ones to escape as an infolife without being put into dead storage, getting a relatively modest indenture contract to earn their way to proper freedom, who has the skill to edit, produce, and advertise XP, AR, and related media.
Both are pretty clearly going to be solidly reliant on f-rep as their primary networking source, and they’re going for the Extreme Productions angle. This is going to fit into my plans fairly well, as they can double up as extreme gonzo journalism if they witness something unexpected and alarming (or ratings-grabbing). One thing they’re already set on is a cloud-diving excursion from low Venusian orbit, but that’s something they’ll need to work toward; nobody’s going to care much about the cloud-diving XP of a relative unknown, after all.
I’m going to cap player rep at 30 to start off; while it’s certainly less than the rules default to allowing, it feeds into the Climb to Fame angle and the On the Run aspect more effectively than simply being well-known on a rep network from the start. It also means that, in order to gain Rep and the fame sought, they have to start small and work their way up to progressively more impressive stunts to attract viewers and fans.
With the advice of a few people from the Eclipse Phase forum, I have a few ideas to seed the beginning of the campaign with suitable challenges, which will also start to introduce them to the political situation and the intrigue going on. The result of each possible act – including any the players think of on their own – will be the result of the interaction between the background intrigue, their f-rep, and the notoriety of the act itself.
The first few options are fairly small and largely confined to the vicinity of Gerlach Station itself; they’re suitable for getting that first boost of f-rep and viewership. First and foremost is the prospect of the cylinder-hab equialent of BASE jumping – either climbing to the peak of one of Gerlach’s arcologies and flinging oneself toward the other side of the habitat with a jet boost, or heading into the hab at the axis of rotation and ‘skydiving’ from there. Either way, a target landing zone has to be designated and aimed for. Given the rotation of the cylinder, this is no mean feat, and pulling it off requires a mix of Freefall and Flight skill, or a lot of luck.
This is actually the one I’ll encourage them toward first, with an official competition with rewards based on success (and potential future rivals being one result), with jumpers using the axial path to try to hit specific targets; there may be additional AR targets for bonus points to show exactly how skilled a jumper is. Hit a perfect on the AR and the landing, and the sponsors will even tout your own production to show off their handiwork in making it possible.
The second initial seed is a manual station transfer – jumping at the right time to be able to loop through an orbital path and catch hold of another station as it comes by on its own orbit. Given that the best-case failure scenario here involves ‘misjudge velocities and get pancaked, but at least they can get your stack out of the mess on the hull’ and it quickly goes down from there through ‘dead in orbit because no one wants to waste the delta-v to collect your corpse’ and ‘violently aerobraking in the Venusian atmosphere’ it can certainly qualify for Extreme Stunts XP.
The third option involves riding drones in space outside the habitat, and attempting to enact ‘space jousting’ by knocking the other off their drone mount, with the losers relatively easily collected and returned to the station. Of course, there’s plenty of potential for hilarity and sabotage, and the question of what else they might see if they’re not doing it entirely above-board with all the necessary permits and schedules (which only makes it more exciting, since what if something else is scheduled to be in the space you’re using?)
From there, we can get into more exotic options – riding an iceteroid as it comes skimming into the atmosphere, with a death-defying leap off at the last second once it’s shed enough speed, or the various cloud-diving stunts. At the right point, they might aim for an unpowered orbit of the world; too soon in the career, no one will care about the nobody whipping in a trajectory around Venus, while too late and you’re likely to have anyone who hears of it in advance trying to intercept – some for an ‘autograph’ of some sort, others perhaps planning to kidnap (or forknap) them.
Cloud-diving can easily come in three or four flavors – the usual nets that most dive into, safe and sound, at the habitat and cloud-line levels; the aerial scoop nets being hauled behind aircraft; the wingsuit dives and resulting pickups; and the most death-defying (and thus impressive) of all, using a wingsuit to dive toward one of the automated cargo transports, and a parachute to slow down enough to safely land on top of it, a much smaller target than any of the others.
Past that, we’ll see. Perhaps the challenge of exploring an abandoned hypercorp hab in orbit that didn’t get scuttled, or something more exotic.
It depends – on the PCs, and on the intrigues going on while they’re becoming famous.