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Old 10-30-2015, 09:50 AM   #31
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Albuquerque
Default Re: Building the X-Com inspired campaign

Originally Posted by PTTG View Post
That's a good point about the strategic simulation. What I'm looking for is a way to turn PC actions into some kind of large-scale results. As far a simulationist/abstract/ad-hoc approach, I'm mainly looking for a comfortable compromise that lets me focus on the PC action in detail and quickly determine actions occurring at remove. I'm kind of curious how others have approached geopolitics as something that PCs can influence.

So... some information about the aliens. Again, if I know you in person, major spoilers...

Let's see. First off, they are dimention-jumping life from a distant alternate earth - let's call it Alpha. In their home timeline, native life developed the ability to manipulate certain components of dark energy, which in game terms is effectively mana ("ambient dark matter level," replaces mana level). A few million years ago, the sentient Alphans encountered several different high-tech crosstime civilizations, all of which attempted to subjugate them (biological low-energy subatomic reactions being remarkable even in an infinite universe).

The Alphans eventually overcame and subjugated the other civilizations, and adapted their own culture to focus on defending themselves from potential future threats by controlling or destroying developing species.

The cosmos, in this setting, consists of a matrix of compartmentalized universes. Imagine that each universe is a bubble in a mound of foam, (of course, its a 9-d bubble with infinite internal dimensions floating in a 14-d foam, but this will do for now...) and that universes form and split and even merge over multiple millennia, resulting in a slow flow amongst the bubble universe.

Interdimentional travel consists of moving between adjacent bubbles by making use of parts of dark energy and dark matter.

Jump forward to a mere 250 thousand of years ago. Alphans (and members of their subjugated species) made early visits to our Earth- and let's just call it Earth for ease of reference- and saw a primitive sapient/sentient tool user with culture. They estimated that this species could discover dimension-crossing technologies, so they set about refining the potential threat into a useful tool. They made small changes (getting rid of excess body hair, a slight enhancement to symbolic thinking, and an integration of dark-energy catalyzing genes so they could control and power Alphan technology), resulting in the creation of modern humans at about the same time Neanderthal appeared.

However, shortly after establishing modern human breeding populations, a long period of low dark-matter (mana) levels set in on Earth, preventing travel between the earth and Alpha. This was not unprecedented- but Alphans expected to return to Earth and find it mostly as they left it. Their time horizons are... broad.

In the latter half of the 20th century, DM started reaching critical levels allowing brief or remote contact to earth - visions, visitations, dreams, impressions... even hallucinations, caused by attempts to examine earth remotely from Alpha.

In 1993, gradually-increasing Dark Matter levels allowed for a small apparition of some kind (The Beowulf Incident). This highly-controvertial event was widely considered a hoax.

So, in the present day of 2017, the big incident happens. The first stable return of Alphans to Earth, and it obviously caused some problems.

The Alphans' goals are to, if possible, eliminate modern human culture and reduce them to thralls. Happy, comfortable thralls, true. Nonetheless, all human culture would be erased and they would live as subservient members of the Alphan hedgemony. We'd probably be useful as high-endurance scouts and wanderers, because we have fairly minimal life support requirements relative to other slave species, we're accurate throwers, and we are good at improvising. Our technical aptitude is a surprise, but a welcome one that Alphans plan to integrate into our fate. Our Dark-energy manipulating genes are poorly exercised- they've been inactive during the long low-energy period consisting of our entire history- but that's just a tactical advantage they will rectify after the war.

However, they do not need us, nor do they need Earth. We're useful, and Earth is not terribly common among the uninhabited/uninhabitable parallels, but if a war with humanity goes poorly, they may consider drastic measures.

Finally: They want to keep the war quiet because they have limited resources and crossing the border is still difficult. A full-on attack now would weaken them and strengthen us (by uniting us and sacrificing the element of suprise,) forcing them to result to more expedient measures. They'd rather drive earth to surrender by using surgical strikes, then pervert human society over carefully-controlled centuries.

On the other hand, they want to stop humans quickly because they are unsure as to how fast humans are advancing and fear that we might leap forward again.

The humans are keeping it secret because a panic would definitely damage human civilization, and starting out, they don't know ANY of this. All they know is that there's some definite truth to alien invasion rumors.

The best-case endgame for humans is going to end with us keeping our independence but finding a way to co-exist; there's no way we could overcome the aliens alone.
As suggested before, GURPS Black Ops is a ridiculously good supplement that would fit in well with what you have generated so far. I wish I could play in it =D
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Old 07-24-2016, 02:22 PM   #32
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Default Re: Building the X-Com inspired campaign

Ok, I finally got Black Ops. It's a great setting, and there's a few things I could see using, but here's the thing: Ops in Black Ops are, well, OP.

What I mean to say is, they are actually somewhat more powerful than I intend grunts to be in my setting -- as a matter of fact, I intend to provide multiple PCs per player and a template for rapid PC production simply to keep up with combat losses.

On the other hand, the book does a fine job of laying out an organization that hits far above its weight class. The Argus organization works well as the top-level PCs to compliment the grunt PCs.
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mass combat, organisations, world building

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