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Into the Desert: Enki II


rust

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Back from the holiday in Bulgaria, I was surprised by my players, who decided

to put our Pharos IV water world setting to the side for a while (:eek:) and

start something new, this time a human colony on a barren, lifeless, cold de-

sert world - Enki II.

The task of the player characters will be to explore the planet, choose a site

for a first outpost, establish a (mining) outpost, develop it into a small colo-

ny, and at the same time design and begin a long-term terraforming program

to turn the barren planet into one with a better climate, a breathable atmo-

sphere and some liquid surface water.

Their resources will be, as one player put it, "heroic trading and engineering",

so the adventures will include interstellar trade (and diplomacy), technology

research, development and application, and of course also wilderness survi-

val, strange ancient alien ruins, encounters with hostile neighbours and pro-

bably raiders, and all the kinds of trouble that can happen in and to a colony

on the rim of explored space.

The foundation of the campaign will be a "colony simulation" (somewhat like

the old Alpha Centauri computer game), with the Traveller sourcebooks World

Tamer's Handbook and Pocket Empires as basic material for economy and po-

litics, and with the various GURPS sourcebooks (Space, Ultra-Tech, etc.) and

the upcoming Mongoose Traveller sourcebooks (Beltstrike, Scout) as basic ma-

terial for the equipment and technology.

The game system will be the BRP-Traveller-Combination we developed for our

Pharos IV campaign, with Traveller's "lifepath" character generation system

and BRP's percentile game mechanics - somewhat similar to the excellent ma-

terial developed by Soltakss from the RQ and Traveller SRDs.

There will also be some additional skills and some new careers, for example

"Road Gang", criminals who "volunteered" for a few years of hard work on a

remote young colony world instead of serving their time in prison, or "Ranger",

the Federation's special colonial police force (think of the marshals of the Old

West).

I have just started to work on the new setting. The Enki System and the pla-

net Enki II have been designed with GURPS Space, there are lots of notes on

the politics, economy and technology of the setting, a first sketch of the fu-

ture colony region, and more of such stuff.

My "weak point" currently still is the terraforming of the planet, but I will ha-

ve lots of time to do some research on it, while the player characters are bu-

sy to explore the planet and build the first outpost.

So, this is what I will be working on for the foreseeable future, I think.

Comments, questions and ideas would be most welcome - Thank You ! :)

Edited by rust

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Thank you for the links ! :):)

Enki II is indeed a kind of Earth-sized Mars, I even use ESA and NASA photo-

graphs of Mars as "props" to show the players what the environment looks

like.

The background universe of the setting is the Solar Federation, an interstel-

lar state of ca. 230 mostly autonomous systems within a sphere of about 180

parsec.

The state is somewhat modelled after the real world UNO, with a Federation

Charta, a Council, a Senate and a General Secretary as chairman of the Fe-

deration's government.

The individual systems have to adhere to the Federation's charta, but are

otherwise quite independent. The Federation mostly controls the relations

between its member systems, with a small Federation Fleet and a Federation

Patrol that is a combination of police and "coast guard".

Enki II is on the rimward edge of the Federation, about 95 parsec from Terra

and about 14 parsec from the nearest developed colony planet, Kinsun.

There are some few alien species in the region coreward of the Federation,

and some trade between these aliens and the Federation in the border re-

gion (this is how the Federation obtained both hyperdrives and contragravs,

both still very rare and expensive), but humans and aliens usually keep each

other at arm's length to avoid potential conflicts.

Well, and this is almost all that I know for sure about the universe right now,

it is still very much "under construction".

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Since the space corewards of the Federation is inhabited by aliens, any hu-

man colonization efforts have to be directed rimwards, into "free" space.

However, there are only few suitable planets in this region, and among them

Enki II is a good choice, because it has both the potential to become habita-

ble through terraforming and the natural resources (aluminum, titan, etc.) to

finance the colony and the terraforming with the exports.

Besides, during the campaign the discovery of a previously unknown alien spe-

cies in the region rimwards of the Federation will give Enki II some strategic

importance, too, although the players will of course not know this at the be-

ginning of the campaign.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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While I would have preferred to have both settings in the same universe and

to make "crossovers" possible, the players wanted a "more hard" science fic-

tion with a lower technology level (TL 9 in GURPS and Traveller instead of the

TL 11 / 12 of Pharos IV) and a smaller and less organized political scenery, so

Enki II ended up in a different universe than Pharos IV.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Until about 60 years ago, human spacers used an experimental and somewhat

dangerous jump drive that allowed them to jump up to 2 parsec each week

through hyperspace [the normal Traveller RPG drive], a drive type which is

now only used in some few outdated ships.

All modern ships use the hyperdrive that enables a ship to move up to 2 par-

sec - military ships even up to 4 parsec - per day through hyperspace [an op-

tional drive type in the new Mongoose Traveller RPG], a drive bought from a

neighbouring alien race about 60 years ago.

Hyperdrives, like contragrav devices, are still very rare and very expensive,

and therefore the number of starships is comparatively low, and space tra-

vel is somewhat rare. While there is some trade between systems, there are

not many passengers, and only the very rich can afford to travel on a star-

ship as tourists.

To give an example, the colonists of Enki II will travel there in "cold sleep"

(which has a small risk to die during the voyage) from Kinsun, about 14 par-

sec away, and this voyage of 7 days will cost each of them 2,000 Cr., about

an average monthly income.

To stay awake during the voyage would cost 25,000 Cr. per passenger, and

50,000 Cr. for a single cabin ...

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Here is some links enjoy.

Enki: The New Frontier

Thank you for the links, this is really interesting stuff ! :D

But, Oops, I thought I had come up with something more original ... :(

The similarities caused by using GURPS Space as a sourcebook were to

be expected, but the same name ... :eek:

In my setting the name came from "N-Key", because the system's on-

ly remotely earthlike planet had a numerical description code as a "Non-

Habitable Planet" - an "N-Key" in scout parlance.

Therefore at least no more Sumerian planet names in my setting's sys-

tem ...

Well, and the colonists can always give their new homeworld a new ma-

me, I think ...

Edited by rust

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Thank you for the links, this is really interesting stuff ! :D

But, Oops, I thought I had come up with something more original ... :(

The similarities caused by using GURPS Space as a sourcebook were to

be expected, but the same name ... :eek:

In my setting the name came from "N-Key", because the system's on-

ly remotely earthlike planet had a numerical description code as a "Non-

Habitable Planet" - an "N-Key" in scout parlance.

Therefore at least no more Sumerian planet names in my setting's sys-

tem ...

Well, and the colonists can always give their new homeworld a new ma-

me, I think ...

Just name it after a trait the planet has. Call it "Sandy Eggo":lol:

Edited by Dredj
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Just name it after a trait the planet has. Call it "Sandy Eggo":lol:

Hrrmmph. :shocked: :D

The scout who discovered the planet was a guy named Trelawney (at least

Treasure Island is not science fiction ...), and his ship was named "Destiny's

Call" ... I will of course let the players decide, but Trelawney's World could

be an option ... ;)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I have no problem that you are using the name Enik II. You know that Bad writers steal but good wans gets inspired. :thumb:

Her is something that i was realy inspired by:The Surreal Rash

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

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Thank you for the link, interesting stuff ! :)

I will keep Enki II as the planet's astronomical designation (second planet of

the star Enki), but will let the players search for a fitting new name for their

characters' new homeworld. ;)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Thank you for the idea with the handheld laser, but the only energy weapons

of my setting are vehicle-mounted heavy weapons, and there particle acce-

lerators are more common than lasers, because they are less disabled by dust

or smoke.

Besides, a highly developed energy weapon technology would make some of

the construction tasks (digging underground facilities) and some of the ter-

raforming tasks (building a canal through a mountain chain - a job for my set-

ting's road gangs) too easy, because powerful laser drills and thelike would

then be available, too.

The everyday tech ideas are very inspiring, I may well adapt some of them

which are not too high tech for my setting, thank you ! :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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You can always equip your players characters with high tech stuff. But when they have arrived on the planet the euqipment stops to function. Maybe its sabotage or something else?

Edited by Solardog

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

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You can always equip your players characters with high tech stuff. But when they have arrived on the planet the euqipmet stops to function. Maybe its sabotage or something else?

An interesting idea, but unfortunately my setting currently has no source

of real high tech equipment, the technology level of the background uni-

verse's core worlds is only slightly higher than the technology level of the

remote colony worlds on the rim of explored space.

However, one of the planned campaign events is a first contact with an

alien species with a more highly developed technology and (if the player

characters do not fumble their Diplomacy rolls ...) an interest in trade.

I intended to use this as a means to introduce some new technology from

the upcoming Traveller supplements (e.g. the Dark Star Catalog, etc.) in-

to the setting, but it can just as well serve as a way to introduce some

of the technology from your links.

And then there are the alien ruins on Enki II, and once the player charac-

ters have discovered and excavated them, they may well be able to sal-

vage some few really very high tech artefacts from there (and to use them,

provided they have some special successes with the relevant technology

skills ...).

So, I will introduce higher technology into the setting and campaign "by

and by", and some of your ideas will doubtless find their way into the set-

ting, too. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Phil McGregor, co-author of Space Opera and several other science fiction

RPG materials, is currently working on a series of technology supplements

for Mongoose Traveller, the Dark Star Catalog.

He thinks (as do I) that Traveller's technology assumptions are quite outda-

ted, and that the equipment of Technology Level 9 and above will therefo-

re be much more "futuristic" than depicted in Traveller.

He plans to publish the first part of his Dark Star Catalog of science fiction

technology for Traveller (power generators and expedition gear, probably)

before Christmas, and more material next year.

Others are also working on new technology for Traveller, and for example

Flynn's Guide to Robots with a design system for robots and drones will

probably be published within the next month or so, and the Translight RPG

(a percentile system, compatible with BRP, I hope) with some interesting

equipment could also be published late this or early next year.

So, there is much good science fiction technology "in the pipeline", but it

will not yet be available at the start of my campaign, which is one reason

why I designed several ways to introduce it into my setting once it has

been published.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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