This is a regular column where I share the experiences of my sci-fi RPG campaign.
This week I thought I would share some details of the setting in which we are playing. I wrote the following notes for myself, as game master. I wanted to know just enough about the setting that I could improvise as necessary. I have learnt from experience that without this “crib sheet” I am likely to make up a detail on the fly that will later mess with something I have actually planned for or put in place. I don’t typically share these notes with the players, unless it comes up through play. For example, the characters have met with Preston Adams, Dr Ana Castelo Branco and Chen Hao, so I gave the players a very brief run-down of what they already knew about them through rumour and gossip, and revealed anything else through roleplay.
When creating the “people of note” I thought about the people the characters were likely to encounter (a doctor), characters they might seek out (the fixer), and someone in a position to give them “missions” (a leader). I then threw in a couple of other characters that would make life in the colony interesting. It was the same when devising “places of interest” – I just asked myself “Where are the characters likely to go?” I came up with (a) A head quarters, (b) a water cooler, and (c) a bar!
Why don’t you send me some ideas for people or places to include in the colony (or further afield) and I will see if I can incorporate them into our adventures!
The Second Wave colonists have established a small base of operations on the promontory of a small harbour. Wilson’s Landing is named after Captain Edward Wilson, who managed to escape the ill-fated first contact with the Alphas and land his damaged shuttle on the beach at this location.
Wilson’s Landing is a small settlement established on one side of the Bay of Plenty. It is home to the first group of scientists, engineers, horticulturalists, security forces and necessary support personnel that were awoken from cryosleep. They have been charged with preparing a new colony for the thousands of colonists still in cryosleep, in orbit around New Eden.
The Wilson’s Landing colony currently has a population of about 800 essential service personnel and their families. They are predominately housed in 380 prefab accommodation cubes, though single personnel have only been assigned berths in the high-density barracks. One of the fleet’s heavy cargo dropships has been seconded as the primary administration hub.
While the colony has much in common with a military base, particularly with the armed Vanguard security forces wandering about, the Counsel has attempted to create a sense of normalcy for the colonists. An early decision was made to issue rations over provide a mess hall for meals, and as many family groups as possible were provided with private accommodation. Everyone is expected to assist with labour crews to prepare the accommodation for new colonists, and tend the fledgling crops in the horticultural precinct. Family of essential personnel have also been encouraged to start market stalls, grow private gardens or find other ways to contribute to the new community. A school has been established for the colony’s children.
The Second Wave expected to find a world with a firmly established population centre governed by a fledgling democracy based on successful models from Earth. It is hoped to one-day achieve this on New Eden but for the time being the Wilson’s Landing colony is maintained by a counsel of colonists. The Counsel is responsible for the running of the Wilson’s Landing colony and the preparation for the arrival of more colonists.
People of Note
There are several important figures in the new colony.
Male | 47 | Reunified States of America
Tags: Ambitious, charismatic, politician
The “architect” of the Second Wave, Prescott Adams oversaw every important decision in the preparation of the colonisation. Now on New Eden, he is the closest thing to a leader the colony has. Adams chairs the Counsel and attempts to participate in as many aspects of the colony as he possibly can.
Hooks: Is Adams just driven to see the colony succeed and not have his hard work undone, or is positioning himself as leader? Rumour has it that Adams has a data slate of instructions from Earth, though what they pertain to, no one knows.
Colonel Robert Braddock (Retired)
Male | 62 years | Great Britain
Tags: Natural leader, confident, battle weary
Tall and muscular, with silver hair and a pencil moustache like some early 20th Century movie star, Robert Braddock is as fit as any soldier in the Vanguard security forces. He was a war hero, and given a place in the colony as reward for his service. He was looking forward to a long, quiet retirement on New Eden with his wife. When the problems on New Eden were revealed Prescott Adams offered him a place on the Counsel, which he reluctantly accepted.
Hooks: Braddock’s wife is still in cryosleep – at his request, or Adams’ command? Though retired, Braddock is nominally in charge of the Vanguard forces – how does the ranking military officer feel about this?
Dr Ana Castelo Branco
Female | 36 | Brazilian Hegemony
Tags: Compassionate, dedicated, consumed by work
Dr Ana Castelo Branco is Senior Medical Officer of Wilson’s Landing. She is an exceptional physician, though her time is divided between being the colony’s doctor, administration of the medical centre, and being mother to 12 year old Carlinhos (“little Carlos”). Ana’s husband, Dr Carlos Castelo Branco, was part of the first contact team that met with the Alphas – he has not been seen since that ill-fated mission and is presumed dead like the rest of the delegates.
Hooks: Dr Castelo Branco is looking for ways to supplement the colony’s limited medical supplies with local resources. She spends much of her spare time wandering the nearby wilderness with Carlinhos, cataloguing plants.
Anton Sergeyovich Chernekov
Male | 33 | Cossack Alliance
Tags: Arrogant, self centred, corpulent
Anton comes from a long line of wealthy industrialists and is one of the few paying passengers of the Second Wave. His great grandfather was with the first wave of colonists and Anton expected to arrive on a world where his family was at the centre of power. Instead, he finds himself in a primitive backwater with people that do not fully comprehend his importance.
Hooks: Anton is convinced his great grandfather’s descendants are “out there” somewhere, and he just needs to find them to claim his birth right. Anton feels the Counsel should be paying more attention to him, perhaps even fall under his leadership – perhaps he should do something about that?
Male | 22 | Chinese Protectorate of Australia
Tags: Fast talker, out for a buck, unhappy
Chen Hao is the son of geologists Dr Chen Dōng and Dr Lin Xuĕ. He didn’t want to immigrate to New Eden, but felt forced by his parents. Since arriving in Wilson’s Landing, however, he has found a niche for himself as a market stall holder and fixer, trading and selling hard to procure items and information.
Hooks: Chen Hào is always looking for an angle, trying to get some piece of information or gossip that will give him an advantage over one person or another in the colony. This is bound to get him into trouble.
Place of Interest
While the colony is small, it is lively, and full of interesting locations.
The heavy lift cargo dropship has been reconditioned as the central administration building for the colony. It is where the Counsel runs the day-to-day operations of the colony and as well as providing a communications centre and meeting room, it also houses the colony’s medical centre. The dropship is 80 metres long and three stories high, towering over the other buildings in the colony. Its massive wings provide shelter for an open-air market on one side and an assembly area on the other, truly making it the hub of the colony.
This small fresh water creek is a minor tributary of a much larger river deeper inland and is one of the primary reasons this location was chosen for the new colony. It tumbles down the heavily forested Branco Valley and into the bay. It is the colony’s primary source of fresh water.
Second Wave Saloon
More a makeshift bar than an actual saloon, this place offers the closest thing to a nightlife the colony has. The use of an entire habitation cube for a bar was objected to by several members of the Counsel, but it provides an important community meeting place and recreational facility. The local beer is brewed from a native bush that gives the drink a particularly bitter flavour.