My game Dark Star

edited March 2011 in Play Advice
Hi I'm gm'ing a sci-fi game and need some ideas please,

Space travel in my game is only planet to orbit, planet to planet is achieved by hitching a lift on commits, captured and placed in safe orbits by a new Technology called (Commit capture.) Using Gravity.

Dark Star in my game is the result of a fail attempt to turn Jupiter into a sun so Terra forming could be attempted on the outer planets. Mars has been Terra formed with great success.

The attempt was made with a gravity bomb increasing Jupiter's mass to create fusion. Unfortunately a Dark Star was created ( imagine a dark spot in the sky 1/4 the size of our Sun with a glowing hallow like and eclipse.)
This Dark Star in a semi Fusion state burns like a smoky toxic fire limiting radiation and all other bad stuff.

Now there's more detail ,
The characters will awake on Mars from body banks (Hibernation). Mars has taken damage from the initial ignition of Jupiter by the Gravity bomb on one side of the planet. ( Facing side at time of ignition.) Mars has no strong magnetic field.
Earth has passed OK because of its magnetic field and being on the far-side of the sun from Jupiter.

The Characters had the choice to be injected with a serum to enhance there genetic advancement to adapt to the Mars environment.

Do I wake them near to the event or years after?
What are the effects of the Dark Star on the characters?
What are the effects of the Dark Star on NPC who were on the surface of Mars and living after the bomb?

Is this just a lot of detail for another zombie game?


  • What are your goals with this game?

    Will it be a one-shot or an extended campaign?

    Do you have a genre? The mention of a zombie-game in the end makes me guess it is some sort of horror involved?
  • Hi Wilhelm, The goal of the game I thought might involve correcting the Dark Star, and getting it to ignite and burn clean.

    The bomb has set civilization back,,,, travelling outside the protection of Earth's magnetic field is difficult.

    Will it be a one-shot or an extended campaign? Campaign

    Do you have a genre?

    No its open, this is were I'm struggling to finalize,

    Another detail involves the orbits of Jupiter Mars Earth certain alignments reduce stop or heighten the effects of the Dark Star, The rotation of Mars protects as well, the Dark Star's biggest influence effects Mars when it in opposition to the Sun and Jupiter and the rotation of Mars is facing away from the Sun. This would be night time and the Dark Star would be high in the night Sky.
    So the character have to retreat to the Body bank for protection at these times.

    Possibly out come the effected inhabitants basking in the Dark Star and hiding in the Day time, the opposite of the characters.
  • It's a very cool apocalyptic idea. I'd pitch it to your players and get their contributions and run with the stuff they invent. You could even "pre-play" a game that helps you build situation up.
  • In our group such open discussions wouldn't be the norm. Possibly because its left to the GM to create and keep hidden, but I like your idea and think I will try it.

    Might lessen the load on getting game going and keep going. Cheers
  • Posted By: Paul88Hi Wilhelm, The goal of the game I thought might involve correcting the Dark Star, and getting it to ignite and burn clean.
    That's a PC goal. (I'd generally prefer PC goals be defined by the players, but that another matter.) What are your goals as GM and/or as player? Do you want to frighten the players? Show them wondrous scifi vistas they haven't seen before? Make them question the morality of human progress? Investigate mysteries? Just have fun in a beer-n-pretzels zombie killing spree?

    You might want to read some news reports of this recently discovered Class Y brown dwarf that is cool and bizarre: it's temperature is in the range of 100 degrees Celsius, so about the temperature of a hot cup of tea. Like, "Liquid water on this not-quite-a-star" temperature. It could be useful as inspirational material, even if the Jupiter/Dark Star would function entirely differently.
  • Posted By: Mr. TeapotThat's a PC goal. (I'd generally prefer PC goals be defined by the players, but that another matter.) What are your goals as GM and/or as player? Do you want to frighten the players? Show them wondrous scifi vistas they haven't seen before? Make them question the morality of human progress? Investigate mysteries? Just have fun in a beer-n-pretzels zombie killing spree?
    Yep, this.

    Or to put it differently, if igniting the dark star is a goal, what are you playing to find out:
    -you're all playing to find out if they can reignite the dark star, using their wits, skills, and strategy, perhaps shooting a bunch of zombies in the process
    -you're all playing to find out what badass characters the players will make are and what a cool world you have created
    -you're all playing to find out what it would cost them to do so, will they pay the price and what will happen

    I mean, the setting sounds great, but if you want to know whether to wake them up at one point or another in the setting's timeline you need to know what you're trying to achieve with the game and make it fit.
  • Teatine's questions are very good. It turns out it's very hard to satisfy all those desires (read: I've never seen it done effectively).

    I don't understand why people keep saying "zombie". I don't infer any zombies from your setting, and zombies are boring anyway. They look like people, but aren't, so you get the fun of shooting a person without the moral question.

    Instead, what you have here is a huge natural disaster. How do people act during natural disasters? You might want to as the players that: ask them what their characters do. Do they make family communities and hole up, hoarding iodine and water? Do they join together the best minds of their generation to build a sun-starter?

    Some fun science to play with:

    What you're talking about with Jupiter is a brown dwarf. Jupiter is about 1/15th the mass of a brown dwarf, so it means that someone learned how to generate a lot lof mass. In order for it to ignite, it would need 60-80 x what it currently has. So let's say that the engineers learned how to generate mass and managed to get Jupiter to 60x, which they figured would be enough, but it just made this brown dwarf instead. Anyone wanting to increase it to real star level will have to push it past a thresholds by adding multiple Jupiters to the equation. Maybe it so happens that the threshold is really close — Uranus and Saturn together come close to one Jupiter mass.

    Let's talk about how you can "make" mass. Because if people can make multiple Jupiters, the kinds of technologies in the world are going to be a long way from shotguns and wide automobiles. You're talking about a major effect that would literally move the entire solar system.

    • You could borrow it from the sun — some sort of giant particle ray that funnels sun into Jupiter. Thats a stream I wouldn't want to cross. You could have an array of mass pumps in solar orbit, shooting stuff to Jupiter. I can't conceivably calculate the amount of time this would take, but for the sake of human-comprehensible grandiosity, let's say centuries. (I like this idea, by the way. It fits my "plausible but not possible" criteria for big-scale science fiction)

      • Implications:

        • Energy is cheap! We know how to move it around the solar system! Maybe there's a power array around the whole sun that powers all the comet-spacecraft, too.
        • Space is even more full of radiation! Crossing those streams in a spacecraft would be like getting microwaved.
        • Maybe the pieces of the array are privately owned? Maybe someone decided to start feeding their own purposes instead of feeding Jupiter? That would make the solution sociopolitical instead of technical. I like that, myself.
    • You could build a wormhole in the center of Jupiter, connected to some larger mass — say, another brown dwarf. Wormholes are the kind of theoretical constructs that we like to talk about in science fiction because they don't break any laws of physics, but it's unclear just how one would go about producing black holes, then holding them open at either end. It's fun to think about the implications, and for all we know they can occur naturally, but they rely on making mass, which doesn't resolve our issue. So let's say there's a way to induce it to happen naturally that we won't explain.

      • Implications:

        • You can build wormholes! Maybe it's a big deal to make one so you can't do it anytime you want. Maybe Jupiter is the first one. But that means you know how to travel the stars! ... if you can just get people to agree to build another one, since the first one was such a disaster.
    • You can "make mass". If you can make it up from nothing, the whole universe doesn't make sense, so let's say you have to make it from energy. Converting energy to mass is something we don't know how to do, but can apparently do.

      • Implications:

        • On a small scale, you can have artificial gravity, which means, if nothing else, you control your comet-ships by making them fall the direction you want. That's pretty neat. It might also be the kind of thing that you don't control from within the comet itself; maybe they're like elevators: you tell it where you want to go, it tells the machine where it wants to go, and the machine pulls you to it.
        • Maybe the big issue on Mars is keeping the gravity generators working so supplies and help can come from Earth. Maybe one clan controls the gravity generators while another controls communication with Earth and they're in a disagreement about who gets first pick of the Martian goat herd each year.
        • You can teleport at the speed of light, at least theoretically! You can make objects out of sunlight! You don't have an economy at all!

    What I'm proposing is that you consider the implications that such a huge event would have, then figure out what the human interests are in that event. As the players, well before play:

    • What does your character want?
    • Who does you character know? Family? Political Allies? Just one or two.
    • What does each of those characters want in a sentence?

    Take a look at everything they've given you and figure out what characters want things that are incompatible with what the characters want.

    That's where the action will happen. No zombies required.

  • edited March 2011
    Thanks for the feed back, Maybe I could have headed this post Finding the Drama in my game ?

    Joshua the social political solution I like, the particle array sounds great, might fit in a treat.
    In the game Gravity is created by using nuclear energy but this is Ok for local areas like spaceship gravity or land travel.
    Your idea You could borrow it from the sun is used for larger areas like Comets? and or turning Jupiter into a Sun.
    The initial Gav-bomb sets up a ignition spike which then needs feeding by the particle array, sorted!

    The game as it stands has a Technical solution which seems boring. Adding Zombies is a cop out to spice things up.

    I have lots to think of now social political I mean.

    Mr T thanks for the link to that Brown dwarf mind blowing, its on my favourites list for cool ideas.

    Teataine what are you playing to find out: I think its looking clearer now my side anyway, The DarkStar is the uniting goal with the social political stage the problem.
    This looks a lot more constructive than just zombies, maybe more work but hopefully what the players might want to try?
    will put this on the table for discussion, cheers.
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