Alpha Centauri: Chronicles of Chiron

Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri: Chronicles of Chiron
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Open Datalinks. Subject: Honest Assessment of Earth in 2100. Result:

The few billion people and perhaps half as many kind souls don’t agree on much, but they do agree that Earth is ruined. The environment. The politics. The war. The Mistake. Sure, there are pockets where things are mostly okay, if you’ve got the credits. But you know it’s gotten real bad when even the rich people want to leave. Of course, with everything so fractured, no one person or state was rich enough nor smart enough to figure out how to get away on their own. So despite all of humanity’s failures, we came together for one last job.

Mars is a fool’s errand; we shoot for the stars! FTL is a myth. We designed cryosleep pods to last us the 100 year journey at 5% the speed of light. We took what readings we could remotely. The new planet seems to be habitable, but we’re bringing extra resource pods to be safe. Who knows, maybe one day the colonists will be able to come back and fix Earth. Or heck, maybe we can learn from this project to fix our own house rather than ruining someone else’s. What’s more likely, though, is that humans never change, and they ruin the new planet before too long.

Copy Editor Syd Meijer (under pseudonym, Dequiem), Don’t Let The Door Hit You

Open Datalinks. Subject: Informational Brochure on Habitable Alpha Centauri Planet. Result:

Earth is the past, but Alpha Centauri holds the future! Be one of the select 100,000 colonists to a new world! Relax in our patented Peaceful Cryosleep™ pods and wake up to a planet of limitless possibilities! But it’s a one-way trip, and cellular service is limited! Remote lifescans, however, show a pristine planet brimming with flora, fauna, fungi, and fun! Perhaps you’d like to generously help fund the project, and thereby secure your place as a founding colonist. Or are you a driven scientist? Then there may be room for you in the Academy or Biogenetics modules. We want the best in many disciplines. There are many ways to join and contribute to Humanity’s greatest achievement! Competitive positions are limited, so act now!

Copy Editor Syd Meijer, Firaxis Marketing Brochure #3

Setup

Welcome to the newest campaign by Dicey Stories! Alpha Centauri: Chronicles of Chiron takes place in a sci-fi setting exploring humanity’s attempt to escape Earth’s problems on a new planet. While the focus is on our two PCs, the overall story is also at times political. Where my StarCraft campaign was more on the sillier side, I’m trying to grow as a GM by running a more narratively-driven dramatic campaign. Some concepts we address head-on are finding a place to belong, duty versus obligation, the environmental impact of human expansion, cycles of wealth inequality, and revenge.

Alpha Centauri: Chronicles of Chiron is played using the Genesys roleplaying system now published by Edge Studio. We also occasionally reference the Mythic Game Master Emulator’s event meaning tables for inspiration. The release of each episode’s audio will be accompanied by a serialized, narrative write-up of the adventure. This time, they will primarily be written first-person from the point of view of one of the PCs.

Background

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri and its expansion, Alien Crossfire, are the most direct inspirations for this campaign, but we also draw on elements of the more recent Civilization: Beyond Earth. If you know nothing about these, that’s fine! Neither did the players prior to starting this campaign. I enjoyed both video games, the story more in the former and the gameplay in the latter. But they both have a wondrous mix of flora, fauna, and fiendish folks. Characters from the video games contribute varying degrees to their TTRPG equivalents. Some are very direct lifts, while others only borrow a few traits. And regardless of where they started, once they are living NPCs, they diverge from their video game personalities.

Session Zero

Before planning the first arc, I asked players a series of questions about their characters. This was helpful in both designing the characters and building a narrative around them.

  • What’s something or someone your character is leaving behind on Earth?
  • What’s the best way to honor Earth? Forget it? Don’t repeat it? Liberate it? Memorialize it?
  • Technology is both a cause and solution to the problems of old Earth. What priority should it have on the new world?
  • Is your character on the ship legitimately, or did they sneak aboard somehow?
  • How does your character feel about possible aliens? Sentient vs non-sentient?
  • Who are some NPCs they know who were definitely on the ship? Friends or rivals? And how did the last 30 years treat them (unless they’ve also been in cryosleep)?

Of these questions, asking for NPCs they already knew was the most helpful for adventure development. It gave the PCs someone to immediately care about—whether that was out of concern, fear, or something else.

Arcs

Season 1

1. Planetfall – A hundred thousand lucky humans leave Earth to settle the planet Chiron in the Alpha Centauri system. Among their number are O.A. “Cleve” Cleveland, a survivalist hired by the Santiago conglomerate to act as a wilderness guide, and Mariah Esteban Thorne, a stowaway eager to see the new world but unable to talk his way into a legitimate spot in the expedition. Due to unforeseen events, Mariah and Cleve awake from cryosleep separated from the rest of the explorers. What they find when they venture out into the wilds of Chiron is an exciting new planet to which humanity has brought all its old flaws.

2. Network Node – With wireless communication impossible on Chiron, the only way for Data Haven to acquire information on Morgan Industries is physically. Mariah, Cleve, and Corazon undertake this task, encountering many dangers along the way, both natural and manufactured. Unbeknownst to the others, Mariah has a side job for Dr. Citali on behalf of the Stepdaughters of Chiron. And unbeknownst to everyone, he also has a condition that could both help and hinder the mission.

3. Defragging Data Haven – Having completed their first job for Data Haven, Mariah and Cleve spend some time in their new home contributing locally however they can. But once Roze has processed all the new data, they begin preparations for their next trip out.

4. The Cryopod Caper – Cleve and Mariah return to the crash site where they first awoke. But they are not the only ones interested in what’s buried under the ground there.

Now Playing… 5. Excising Arx – Mariah, Cleve, and Takuto head into the main Morgan dome to rescue Arx. While the teenager has eyes only for his lost partner, the adults forge connections with new contacts and get a fuller picture of the state of affairs on Chiron—including the ripples that they themselves are making.

Coming Soon… 6. Reformatting Data Haven – Cleve takes charge of organizing Data Haven to repel—or at least slow—Morgan’s Planetary Security Force, and Mariah convinces the disparate factions to work together. Then key Data Haven personnel enact the plan.

Season 2

Coming Soon… 7. The Monsoon Jungle – Cleve, Mariah, and Dr. Marina Citali journey through the Monsoon Jungle to the Garden of Chiron. On their way, they encounter new lifeforms and more mysteries of the Progenitors.