Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stranded on a Distant Star: alien graveyard

Chariots of the Gods is a book that had a huge influence on me as a young man. I remember watching the classing "In Search Of..." and hearing Leonard Nimoy's dulcet tones make the whole concept sound so ominous and mysterious.

The idea of aliens visiting ancient cultures is my own personal peanut butter-chocolate combination, since I love sci-fi and I love ancient history.

This idea has shown up in Prometheus Rising and Mecha Omega and it will show up in Stranded, at least in a way.

I'm not sure if I'll address whether ancient starships visited an ancient Earth but there will be ancient starships aplenty to explore and be killed by in Stranded.

The planet itself is a sort of interstellar sargasso sea, where starships have been crashing for centuries. Discovering the secrets of why ships malfunction near the planet, as well as cannibalizing countless alien starships for technology, will be critical challenges if players are to ever escape their prison.

Even communications are affected, which might actually be one of the first serious challenges. With no way of communicating with scouting parties, the entire settlement will be in much greater danger from the world's many hazards.


Darth ObiWan said...

Heh. We're a lot alike in this one.

I ran a near-future Traveller campaign several years ago that had an A plot and a B plot. It was set in late 21st Century Earth.

The A plot is that the Earth were suddenly being beamed messages from a long dormant, secret Mars base in an unknown language.

The B plot was conclusive proof that alien (actually, non-Terrestrial human, in line with Traveller's normal setting) life had arrived on Earth roughly 15,000 years ago, setting themselves up in the fertile crescent first as a hated overlord, and then, as their technology failed and was forgotten, as the impetus for the ancient Mesopotamian civilization.

This led to discovery of ancient artifacts in the Fertile Crescent, ultimately leading to the equivalent of the Rosetta Stone to translate the Martian transmissions.

The campaign wrapped up with a mission to Mars to discover the base.

Vigilance said...

I think in a lot of ways this is an idea that is gaining traction in the collective consciousness.

Mass Effect, for example, posits that humans discover alien FTL technology in Martian ruins, which thrusts them into a larger intergalactic community of aliens who did the same some time in the past.

Darth ObiWan said...

I know you did Prometheus Rising quite a while ago. (I picked up the softback of the collected Blood and Space stuff about six months ago).

I ran this game around the turn of the millenium, back when I was freelancing for Traveller 4th Edition.

Interesting that this stuff has gone full circle. Sci Fi got its real beginnings out of Pulp with its aliens and superbeings among us (the impetus for both superheroes and more serious Science Fiction) and now it seems to be coming back around to that, but this time with a twist.

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