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My set-up for a Future*World inspired campaign


Nightshade

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[since I mentioned it in the thread about making BRP more popular, I thought it might be of some interest for people to see how I'd reworked the background of Future*World to suit myself. I never got around to any actual mechanical work (and at the time, it looked likely it'd be run with JAGS rather than BRP because of the specifics of my player group)]

Doorways in the Sky

The Doorways in the Sky Campaign is set in the year 2161, where man has found the stars–by walking there. Exploration is done by opening portals through space directly from world to world, but for all of that explorers are often effectively far away from backup. The PCs are members of a professional exploration team working for a private exploration and exploitation firm, and have to deal with the surprises, both good and bad, that goes with being those assigned to explore new worlds.

The Confederation of Terra

The government of Earth and its colonies in the Twenty-Second Century is known as the Confederation of Terra. The Confederation is a somewhat loosely (some would say haphazardly) arranged government evolved from the European Union.

The Union’s power and influence grew after a joint French, British and German project developed the gravitational technology that lead to the invention of stargates; though reluctant, bit by bit other major powers became part of the growing Union with the alternative of being left out of the potential benefits or having to go to war to access them. Over the decades since then, the structure that derived from the Union has become a true world government, but one where the member states still maintain a great degree of autonomy.

The fact stargates are administered by the Confederation has acted as a great restraint to any tendency toward excess (and the few nations that decided to push the point usually found a rather large number of unsympathetic neighbors and ex-friends told them to shape up or else, as North Korea and Israel learned to their regret).

Besides Earth, the Confederation includes 53 colony worlds, most of them colonized within the last twenty years. This includes three classes of worlds:

Primary Colonies: Primary Colonies have typically been established for fifty or more years. They are completely capable of being self-supporting, possessing their own permanent gate installations and gate assault defense installations, and are technically and industrially identical to Earth, perhaps in some cases on a smaller scale.

Secondary Colonies: Secondary Colonies have typically been around for between thirty and fifty years. They are capable of indefinite survival without contact with other worlds, but are not truly self-supporting, usually needing trade with other worlds for luxury goods and components for advanced technologies. They typically do not have permanent gates, but do have gate receivers.

Tertiary Colonies: Colonies that are still typically dealing with the difficulties of being a true frontier world, from brand new colonies to ones that have been running for a generation or so. Tertiary Colonies typically would have difficulties if left entirely to their own devices, and would certainly not have the ability to maintain 22nd Century technology, and perhaps not even 20th. Tertiary Colonies have few gate receivers, and may still be dependent on one-way gates.

The Confederation has three affiliated alien races, who they have supplied gate technology to, and another two that are allied and have their own gate technology but are not expansionist. They have also in the last decade encountered two alien races that are, like the Confederation, expansionist, and there have been increasing tensions between the three races.

Stargates

Stargates, or more commonly gates, take advantage of post-Einsteinian physics and gravitational manipulation technology to warp together locations separated in space. The technology works best when it is anchored by a gravity well, and as such, is normally used from planetary surface to planetary surface. A gate projector can open a gate potentially at any distance, but the power required increases with approximately the eighth root of the distance, and is easier if both ends are in a gravity well (ideally the deeper the better) and with a projector at both ends. It is also far easier to keep the gate stable with a projector at each end.

While it is possible to use a stargate as a method of invading a planet, it is relatively easy, and far more energy efficient, to set up gravitational “jammers” that make the energy load to do so progressively more expensive; as such, with an advanced world its probably easier to send through ships near the stellar body of the world to be invaded and do it that way.

There are several different kinds of gates in common use:

Locked Gates: Locked Gates are more or less permanent connections between two spots, almost always on the same world (though there is a Locked Gate connecting Earth with the Moon) used for mass transit and cargo transportation. Since these gates are designed to be used between two specific locations with a projector at both ends, they are much simpler than most gate projectors, use less energy, and require no operator (though most have a simple monitor to watch out for possible energy fluctuations).

Permanent Gates: Permanent Gates are installations designed to project gates to other locations, whether those locations are other permanent gates, temporary gates, gate receivers, or simply locations on a planetary body. Permanent Gates always have a fusion reactor hooked to them along with a high end dedicated computer system, require a trained operator, and are the most efficient and safest form of gate other than Locked Gates. A special case of Permanent Gates are Space Gates, designed to connect two orbital locations and allow the transport of spacecraft at interstellar distances. They are relatively rare because its usually simply easier to beam a one-way gate to the surface of a body than to mess with expensive to operate spacecraft.

Temporary Gates: Also called Portable Gates, Temporary Gates are capable of being relatively easily broken down and assembled at a location where a gate is desired to be opened. Temporary Gates are usually used at places like military advanced bases and other long term but possibly transient locations where gate origination is desirable, but an expensive permanent gate isn’t warranted. They usually run off a combination of microfusion packs and capacitors, which limits how frequently they can be used. They are also less energy efficient and harder to operate than a permanent gate.

Gate Receivers: Not a full gate system, a gate receiver is a signal and gravity stabilization frame designed to optimize the benefit of a remote gate projection. It can’t originate a gate itself, but makes a gate projection less energy expensive, more stable, and safer to operate. A gate receiver operates on microfusion cells, but can usually be used as frequently as need be, as most of the energy demand is generated by the gate projector at the other end. Ideally, it should have its own operator, but Gate Receivers are capable of operating in automated mode. A gate receiver is usually what a colony has when its become valuable enough to justify regular transit with another world, but before it has the resources to build a permanent gate.

One-Way Gate: A bit of a misnomer, a one-way gate is the term used for the projection point of a gate opened with no gate equipment at the other end. One-Way Gates are normally only kept open for short periods, as they are energy hogs and notoriously hard to keep stable even for a skilled gate operator.

Weapons and Other Technology

Though not so advanced as to be unrecognizable to us, Confederation technology is capable of doing some wonderful things, most derived from advanced energy generation and storage and gravitational manipulation technology.

Weapon technology has been stable for some decades now, and is primarily based on one of three principals: conventional explosive and kinetic kill methods, whether delivered by missile launch systems or electrochemical explosive pressure (slugthrowers), laser weapons (beamers), or plasma weaponry (blasters). Blasters tend to be the most powerful of these, with beamers the most accurate and long range, and the slug weapons the most versatile.

Defensive systems come in two forms: body armor and force fields. Body armor is optimized versus various combinations of the three weapon types, or strives to reach a happy medium (such as the case with the ceramalloy Confederation Marines wear). Force fields come in one of three forms: gravitational deflectors that protect against physical projectiles, reflective fields that bounce various frequencies of light, and magnetic fields that interfere with plasma and other charged particles. Most force field generators are capable of generating all three, but there are always tradeoffs as to which of the options the energy goes into.

Vehicular technology tends tend be based on gravitational levitation, though true flying vehicles are no more common than in our world. Most vehicles are gravitational “hovercraft” that can be set to hover between ten meters and forty centimeters off the primary surface.

Computer technology is advanced and ever-present. True AIs exist, but by law are treated as sapient beings that are free to make their own choices after a period of indentured servitude to their creators. While such AIs can be installed in vehicles and even installations, they are always “raised” in humanoid bodies that supply maximum flexibility and reduce any tendency to inhuman perspectives. While smarter than humans, they aren’t overwhelmingly better than a human with a high speed computer system; they’re usual advantage is that they don’t require nearly the years of maturation a human or most aliens do, effectively being “born” as, effectively, genius teenagers.

Medical technology has advanced considerably, but is not magic. Most genetic and developmental disorders have either been rooted out with genetic engineering or eliminated after the fact with retroviral techniques. While it is possible to regrow lost body parts, it can take weeks and months to do so; most people who find themselves in that situation opt for simple cybernetic replacements that are almost as good as the original; enhanced cybernetics are possible but get quite expensive quite quickly. All cybernetics suffer from the fact that unlike living systems, they aren’t self-repairing.

Energy storage and supply is quite advanced; relatively cheap energy is ever-present, derived from controlled fusion. Small fusion supplies can fit into a backpack, though these microfusion cells are somewhat expensive as they require Helium-3 supplies, unlike larger fusion systems that can run on even regular hydrogen (though they get greater efficiency out of deuterium or even tritium).

Nonhuman Intelligences

Not including the above mentioned AIdroids (pronounced Ai-droids), humanity has, at this point encountered ten nonhuman intelligences.

Three are primitive races on worlds that have been largely left to them, and have only limited contact with the Confederation (a small number of controlled xenoanthropological studies being the limit).

Three races have been encountered who had relatively advanced civilizations, but did not possess stargate technology or gravitational manipulation. The Confederation extended access to this technology on the conditions that the aliens joined the Confederation and limited their expansion to planets allotted to them by Confederation lottery. They are:

Rruuwor: These catlike humanoids were the most advanced of the three races when humans encountered them; they had thoroughly colonized their home system, and had sent slower than light ships to colonize two close-by systems. They resemble upright Terran leopards, though their eye structures are an odd four-pointed star structure. They tend to prefer sparsely settled areas.

Rumahl: The least advanced of the three, the Rumahl were at a technological level equivalent to the early 20th Century when encountered. They suggest nothing so much as smallish, three-eyed bears with a more upright posture and more articulated hands. The Rumahl are very gregarious and highly tolerant of others (of their own species or not) but are extremely tenacious in battle.

Yilidri: The most exotic of the three affiliated races, the Yilidri suggest nothing so much as small fir trees. They are not, however, plants, but more like a dry land sea anemone; the bushy part of their structure is hundreds of small tentacles around a somewhat cylindrical core, covered with sensory organs and small feeding mouths. They also possess between four and ten somewhat longer tendrils which function as more complex sensory organs and manipulators (these tendrils grown and die on a regular basis, so how many a given yilidri will have various from week to week). The Yilidri were in the early stages of space flight when encountered, and tend to have a “greatest good of the greatest number” view of life, though what exactly this means various based on various philosophical schools.

Two races have been encountered that have full stargate technology, but either are non-expansionist, or who’s expansionist desires fundamentally don’t conflict with humans or their associated races: both these races have chosen to ally with humanity to everyone’s mutual interest. They are:

Huuuuruuushuuu (rough translation): A race (if that’s the term) of colony creatures something conceptually like the Porteguese man-o-war that evolved originally on gas giant planets, the huuuuruuushuuu are, in a sense, immortal, as they lose and grow new components, including their brain polyps indefinitely. They are interested in expanding to new worlds, but they are not in a hurry and are usually interested in systems that aren’t ideal for humans and certainly have no interest in human worlds.

Valuk: The most human-like race yet encountered, the Valuk are tall thin humanoids with two hooved legs and four arms, along with fairly human-like faces. The Valuk have been in space at this time for over five centuries, and have largely stopped expanding; they are primarily interested in philosophical, social and scientific investigation at this point, having long since made themselves comfortable in the in the dozen worlds they’ve colonized and stabilized their population. Though only slightly more advanced technologically than humanity, the combination of the fact each of these worlds is a match or more for Earth or one of the other Primary colonies made humans handle them carefully. Fortunately, the Valuk find humans more amusing than anything, and are willing to participate in scientific and exploratory ventures with them on occasion.

Finally, in the last twenty years, the Confederation has begun to brush the fringes of two other expansionist races. Though outright war has not erupted, there have been considerable problems with aggressive and hostile action where conflicts of interest have arisen, and it seems only a matter of time before something goes wrong unless some common ground can be reached. These two races are:

Quertzl: A race of insect-like creatures with a variety of specialized “castes”, the Quertzl also appear to be the only known race to exhibit consistent and useful telepathic abilities; in fact, they appear to have both individual and group consciousness, the latter extending across all members of their “hive”. There were several nasty brushfire conflicts when the Quertzl first began overlapping with human gate exploration, and in theory there is now supposed to be gate transponders placed by both humans and quertzl to warn off the others, but such transponders have been known to fail or become damaged, and the quertzl are very prone to assuming the worse when this occurs.

Sauriki: A set of militarist and expansionist reptilians, the sauriki are are the descendants of a slave race of a destroyed imperial race that has an unfortunate resemblance to humanity. As such, the sauriki have strong prejudices against humanity and consider them not only competitors, but essentially existential opponents. Fortunately, they apparently have borderline telepathic gifts that cause them to find the presence of the Quertzl a continuous irritation, which has presented the two races from cooperating in any useful way.

Worlds

In general, once stargate technology allowed easy exploration of alien planets (and even delivery of probe satellites to systems they weren’t sure had planets), it became clear that while not a dime a dozen, habitable worlds were rather more common than had seemed once the case. Further, it was discovered that the majority of life-bearing worlds tended to have chemistries relatively compatible with terrestrial life (though sometimes shifted enough to be more prone to items toxic to terran life and vice versa). It is suspected this is a consequence of the simply physical and chemical realities of the universe and how life starts.

Of course, habitable and hospitable aren’t the same thing. The lush near-paradise of Deseret is the exception; the hardscrabble marginal survivability of Masada is much more the typical case.

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Would it be a good thing to combine the creativity of Nightshade's version of FutureWorld here with Nick's Gate Wardens vision of it?

(And make it a framework that wondrous worlds like Rust's Pharos IV could fit into?)

There are various inconsistencies, but they could be ironed out... IF it's seen as a worthwhile exercise.

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Would it be a good thing to combine the creativity of Nightshade's version of FutureWorld here with Nick's Gate Wardens vision of it?

(And make it a framework that wondrous worlds like Rust's Pharos IV could fit into?)

There are various inconsistencies, but they could be ironed out... IF it's seen as a worthwhile exercise.

Possibly, It would depend on how well those two could get along and decide what tings to sacrifice. Between the two it is an interesting setting, and one that lends itself to a sort of shared universe project.

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Possibly, It would depend on how well those two could get along and decide what tings to sacrifice. Between the two it is an interesting setting, and one that lends itself to a sort of shared universe project.

Exactly - the basis for SharedUniverse. I realize it's a big thing to give up total control of your own creation. Which is why I've advocated a "similar parallels" approach for SharedWorld (where each contributor gets final say over what 'goes' in their version). And these could continue being separate parallels of FutureWorld, just like that.

But the ideal would be to have every contribution in the same universe.

One big problem I can see with retro-fitting DoorwaysInTheSky to GateWardens is this snippet I recently noticed about Outpost 19:

"In the setting, humanity lost earth to an out break of nanotechnology over a millennia ago..."

But it could fit, say, if DITS were the history of GW...

Nightshade, Nick? Your thoughts are obviously key.

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Unfortunately, I don't have enough sense of Outpost 19's setting to make too much coherent comments. There are a few things about the DITS setting that are key to it in my view:

1. Humans pretty much are the dominant race in their faction, and their faction is pretty big and powerful. The only member of the Alliance that really is stronger is the Valuk, and I view them as pretty much like Andre Norton's Zacathan's; too intellectual and calm to really ever be a threat unless humanity did something really, really stupid. The Sauriki or especially the Quertzl may be a real threat to them, but its a struggle of approximately equal powers at worst, and at best, the Confederation is the strongest of the three, though not by much.

2. Large scale military activity is, in the end, pretty much a non-starter; the way the technology works means that stellar maneuvering is really pretty much a celestial game of Go mixed with the Great Game; nobody really has the resources to invade a world with Gate Defenses, and its hard to even get things going fast enough to deal with a secondary world or the like, so almost all the movement involves tertiary worlds or new planets no one has nailed down.

3. While the Confederation governments are strong, they're not the primary engine of expansion; that's a combination of population pressures and corporate interests. That said, the government(s) aren't weak, and the business interests game them at their peril.

Edited by Nightshade
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I am slowly creating a scifi setting very similiar to this, however, the rcaes for the most part have not met! There is slow in system travel with various races. There are two types of Gates. The planetary Gates , and space gates. The Planetary gates are artifacts, the space gates seem to be so far "natural". Thanks for posting this keeps me hopeful for this game in a sci fi setting.

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One kinda neat idea would be if these were parrale universes but that some damaged/malfunctioning gates that send people to the "wrong" universe.

That would make both setting possible in the same campaign.

Or maybe there could be a second Earth in an identical solar system somewhere out there is deep space, or even two fairly identical milky way galaxies but separated by such a vast distance that no one knew it until they had a gate mishap (perhaps the world they were going to was right at the midpoint between the two Earths, and during the time the PCs were on the world it's yearly rotation was enough to place it closer to the "other" Earth.

It could be fun to have to similar, but not identical Earths now able to interact with each other.

Edited by Mister Apocalypse
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DC comics needed 12 comic books (and George Perez) to get rid of this kind of "fun" when it went out of control.

And even more books to bring it back.

The problem wasn't with the concept, but in DC's execution of it. DC used an alternate Earth as a way of making it's Golden Age heroes concurrent with it's Silver Age heroes. All at a time when it's heroes were the most powerful, and the writing was at it's most silly.

In contrast Mavel has used multiple Earths, including one in our solar system but on the opposite side of the sun (ala Doppleganger) without any more problems than otherwise exist in a long going franchise.

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To get back to the setting ... ontopic.gif

This is a good way to get a BRP science fiction game going without writing lots of additional rules, much like the original Future World. I personally prefer SF settings slightly more removed from the real world, but that's just me.

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Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

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To get back to the setting ... ontopic.gif

This is a good way to get a BRP science fiction game going without writing lots of additional rules, much like the original Future World. I personally prefer SF settings slightly more removed from the real world, but that's just me.

Well, that's one of the things I liked about it; it didn't require fooling with spacecraft or psionics, just a bit of advanced technology.

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  • 1 month later...

Coincidentally, I'm just reading Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton. The setting is basically a universe where humanity has invented gateways which link planets via wormholes - it's Future World, with bells on! I recommend it for anyone planning to run this type of game.

Edited by Vile

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

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  • 1 year later...

By the way, does anyone know who has the copyright to Future*World? Chaosium or Steve Perrin? Or someone else?

In 1982 Chaosium held the copyright, but since Future World currently is available

as a free download, whoever now has the copyright obviously does not intend to

defend this right - at least not where non-commercial distribution is involved.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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In 1982 Chaosium held the copyright, but since Future World currently is available

as a free download, whoever now has the copyright obviously does not intend to

defend this right - at least not where non-commercial distribution is involved.

There is more to it than intention. There is also awareness, and ability.

Going after someone or something like this costs money. You have to pay for lawyers, and fees up ront, and often it isn't worth it, since the other party might not have the means to cover your expenses.

In a case like this, companies tend to turn a blind eye: partially because it isn't costing them any profits (Worlds of Wonder has been out of print for decades), and partly becuase they would alienate their fan base.

Case in point, Chaosium could go after the BRP site, and try to get Triff to remove the alternate rules, and homebrew stuff that is here, but it would be very stupid to do so. Triff hasn't histed any commercial supplements or such, and going after him to get him to remove something dumb like a BRP character sheet would simply aggravate a forum comprised mostly of Chaosium fans and customers.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Thanks, chaps, but my question was really more about whom one would have to talk to in order to re-release it legally. I guess I'll drop both Steve and Dustin a line at the same time.

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

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Thanks, chaps, but my question was really more about whom one would have to talk to in order to re-release it legally. I guess I'll drop both Steve and Dustin a line at the same time.

They are the only people who would know for sure. My assumption has always been that the copyright resides with Chaosium.

Cheers,

Nick

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