Given that it’s currently all about elections in the USA and Australia, I thought it only appropriate to do something similar with the new games I will be starting soon. I’ve had a bit of a prolonged break from roleplaying, for various reasons, so I decided to experiment with some different ideas. After much thought, I decided that it would be best to let my players decide what they wanted to play – after all, I love most of my campaign idea’s pretty much equally! I decided to put things to a vote and see how my players felt and what they might want to play most. These were the options I gave them.
Star Wars: The Ancient Hyperspace Lane
This is an heroic space opera, which is designed to capture the feeling of the original trilogy with a bit of the darker tone – in places – of Revenge of the Sith, Empire Strikes Back and The Force Awakens. Initially the characters start on a semi-forested world Iokath, which is notable for its massive orbital debris cloud and the substantial strip mining of half the planet. The mines have long since been abandoned, after an unknown disaster forced them to close over a hundred years ago. Numerous scavengers still go to the surface to retrieve precious junk, minerals and even to dive into the old mines themselves for riches. Not that many of them come back, as rumors abound of murderous mining droids and a mysterious cult lurking deep within.
Of course, the latest rumors on board Junkyard Station is that someone with plenty of credits to throw around wants to get a team to go deep into those mines. Claims that there is something in there more valuable than any mineral or similar, but an old lost Jedi temple. Within that temple it’s said there is an artifact carrying the coordinates and star charts for hyperspace lanes long since lost and forgotten.Information that could be of extreme value to a group who wants to hide where the Galactic Empire can’t find them…
Trail of Night’s Eldritch Agents: Contamination
This is a modern high tech spy thriller, in the vein of Mission Impossible or James Bond, but mixed with the strong investigative horror theme of Trail of Cthulhu. At the start of 2016 a simple of mistake caught out the existence of a Russian sleeper cell in New York City. One of their agents was found on a routine check accidentally giving strangely contaminated blood to a donation center, which tripped alarms in the CDC. Why the Russians were so keen to interfere with the blood supply wasn’t certain to the NSA, CIA or FBI just yet, but all three groups knew they had to pool their efforts to find out. Whatever they were doing though, it had dire consequences on the people who were accidentally transfused with it. Some went crazy, jumping out of buildings and others flew into a homicidal rage, becoming utterly destructive.
The problem is, there doesn’t seem something right with this situation at all. Why would the Russians bother with interfering with donated blood? Isn’t it strange how this cell was exposed trying to take out the infected targets and get back the contaminated packs? It’s also odd how utterly nobody in the Russian intelligence agencies, past or present that people “in the know” have got in contact with know anything about this operation. There is something else going on in New York right now and some feel it goes well beyond international politics…
Trail of Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Fate Engine
A desperate struggle for survival in the ruins of the United Kingdom, sometime after the apocalypse has already ravaged the entire world and annihilated the majority of humanity. Most people survive by the skin of their teeth, barely making it through every day as monsters, cultists and terrible bands of cannibals roam the countryside. One day, a mysterious stranger crawls forth from the darkness, clutching to his hands an extremely old book. Exhausted and delirious, he presses the bloodied tome into the hands of the first survivor he comes across and says “Build the Fate Engine, it is our only home to reverse… this mess”. With that, he is dead and the secrets of a terrible machine are revealed to those who read the tome.
Unfortunately, things are not so simple as many others pursue the secrets of the Fate Machine and it is a desperate race against time. Is it possible to build this machine and reverse the course of time, sparing humanity from their terrible apocalyptic nightmare? Or will someone else pry its secrets from their heads and build it for their own sinister purposes? Perhaps they already know how to produce it and it’s simply a race against the limited remaining time that is left? Or maybe in the end, it’s all a fools errand and the apocalypse was always meant to be. It is possible the past simply cannot be changed, but maybe it could be diverted to a new direction for a privileged few.
Trail of Cthulhu: Lost Explorers of the Forgotten War
This is a pulp adventure game, rather like Indiana Jones but with Cthulhu mythos monsters, set against the impending backdrop of WW2 beginning in 1936. British, French and American intelligence services realized occult groups within the NAZI party were gathering mythos related weapons and artifacts. Teams of NAZI archaeologists had already begun a deadly game of cat and mouse with their western and Soviet counterparts across the middle east. One place remained relatively unexplored and often highly inaccessible, even with more modern technology: Africa. Many secrets remained buried in the thick jungles, extremely arid deserts and vast cities of this place, which quickly gained the attention of all groups.
But some secrets were never meant to be interfered with and numerous years of colonialism, civil war and tensions between different colonial powers makes Africa a dangerous place. Those who enter into those forbidden places are rarely seen again and another menace, perhaps one even as dangerous as the threat posed by NAZI Germany, begins to stir in the heart of the continent of Africa. Old rituals and spiritual customs were increasingly destroyed by colonial beliefs, especially the spread of Christianity, but sometimes old practices have a higher purpose. A purpose that is no longer being fulfilled…
Promethean the Created: The Long Road Home
This is a Gothic horror game, focused around the journey of stolen souls finding their way back to a mortal existence. Deep in the south of the USA in 1980s Louisiana, a series of strange and unfortunate events is underway. A mysterious creature, a Pandoran of immense power and thirst for Promethean flesh, has emerged to much fear. Already the creature has cut a bloody swathe from Houma to only 50 miles or so outside of New Orleans itself. It’s said that anyone who has encountered this ferocious creature has not escaped their encounter in one piece at all. Rumors abound of mysterious attacks at night and sudden disappearances during broad daylight.
Normally reclusive and not happy to wander in groups, due to the particular effects of the Promethean condition on the world around them, most Prometheans now gather together in fear. Many now go on their pilgrimage in the South, should it take them there, as a group for protection. In the case of one particular group of Prometheans, riding in to New Orleans on their own journeys together by train, their grouping together would prove to be the only thing that saved their stolen existence. Soon they would be on the run from an opponent they could never hope to defeat, but there is hope: For the secret to their enemy is also key to their own mortality. At a terrible price, of course.
13th Age: The Mark of War
High fantasy swords and sorcery game, involving political intrigue and moral choices that may decide the fate of a nation. Eberron has twelve powerful houses, each bearing one of the normal dragonmarks from the Eberron players guide that essentially are major powers behind the nations of Khorvaire in their own right. This is due to the economic advantage their marks give them in the production of everything from magic items, to better infiltration skills to control over major resources like healing magic. These original houses of course were forged in blood, from a war that united each ‘pure’ dragonmarked bloodline together against aberrant marks – marks that arose from the interbreeding of dragonmarked members between the houses. The war began some 500 years before the formation of Galifar – basically the “Super nation” that all the other countries in Eberron splintered out of during the Last War into their current state.
The War of the Mark was a long, bloody conflict and primarily was an inquisition to exterminate anyone with an aberrant mark. They were inevitably successful in this endeavor and in doing so solidified their position and formed the original twelve houses (there are thirteen now after a group split off from House Phiarlan and formed House Thuranni). This consolidation of their power and willingness to work together for a common aim is what gives the dragonmarked houses their power today – and why it is likely in future it will not be a king that reunites a potential second coming of Galifar, but one of the houses dragonmarked heirs. Although the scars of the War of the Mark have long since healed, the propaganda and fear about the dangers of aberrant marks are still kept up in the populace to this day. As a result, people are not readily going to accept you if they notice you have an aberrant mark and houses reactions may range from horrified to outright assaults upon you.
And some claim that aberrant marks are beginning to reappear again in greater numbers than even during what was recorded during the war of the mark…