First-time poster here and a virgin Alien RPG GM (actually, I haven’t even finished reading the rulebook yet! Still, I was inspired to start plotting my first campaign, heh heh). I wish to share my current plans for a campaign and hope for some feedback and suggestions from all you fine peoploids. Anything from setting specifics (like: where should this campaign take place in the setting?) to rules details are all very welcomed. Here goes. (My campaign doesn’t have a name yet, but will probably be named after the star system where it will take place).
Campaign premise: Everything will take place withing one star system (in the Outer Rim, probably) where several small mining ventures were set up perhaps a generation ago. Other structures exists as well, like the Arkhangelsk Space Station from which the system is overseen and organized, and a network of comms stations (basically a small space station with a radio dish) scattered throughout to facilitate in-system computer networks and tele-com logistics.
Somewhere in this system, an alien is loose. It is still a secret, and the campaign will revolve around the players playing several POV PCs that slowly unravels the mystery. A short rundown of the mystery is as follows: An Xenomorph egg (or several) were smuggled into the system for study and experiment (I haven’t decided yet how or by whom). Some locals (possibly a mercenary team hired to protect the system/installation or perhaps a Marshal with friends) discovered the deadly plot and decided to take matters into their own hands for the good of humanity. Taking no chance on letting the secret out, and not trusting any governments or corporate interests, they have taken it upon themselves to destroy every trace of the secret experiment and their object(s) of study, and they are ready to sacrifice their friends and families in the system to nip the threat in the bud.
As the campaign begins, the premise is that unknown terrorists have seized ships and resources from the system and use it to destroy infrastructure and murder corporate types and such. A team of UA Colonial Marines – the 3rd Battalion, Foxtrot Team (or “Foxies”) – arrive to handle the situation.
We will jump back and forth between various groups of characters – some Marines, some miners, some space truckers some a group of kids handpicked by a corporation as future leaders of the firm on a scholarship study trip to the system, and possibly others – and each group will reveal another layer of the mystery onion. In effect, this will be a series of mini-campaigns revolving around the same themes and premises, rather than one big campaign, and since characters are likely to die off rather frequently, the campaign will have come cinematic play elements, I think.
I have only begun mapping out the USCMC character’s plot arc but I have lots of ideas for the others. Still, we begin with the marines, so here we are.
The UACMC mini-campaign
The UACMC 3rd Battalion, Foxtrot Team (“Foxies”) arrive in system to troubleshoot the terrorist enemy operatives behind all the recent destruction. With interstellar war looming on the horizon, the UACMC are spread out evermore thinly, and as a result a single team has been assigned to patrol this star system and combat the unknown enemy.
Prologue: Upon arriving in-system, the UACMC Conestoga-class starship – the USS Fidanza (it. “trust”) – found a nearby cargo freighter – the Viola – under attack from a small system defense/patrol gunship. The Viola, while still operational, had already suffered considerable damage, and the Fidanza arrived just in time to chase the small patrol craft (nicknamed “the Piranha”) off. As the piranha fled at speed into the depts of space, the Viola limped on towards its Arkhangelsk Station destination, while the Fidanza continued on with its preliminary survey tour of the star system.
Lt. Alexander Phillips, commander of the Fidanza and her mission, deemed pursuing the fleeing piranha too time-consuming and not worth their efforts. “At her current vector and velocity,” he declared, “it will take us weeks to catch up with the piranha, putting us severely behind schedule even before we begin our mission. Instead, we shall keep an eye on the rouge craft and, once it decelerates and changes heading, we’ll have ample opportunity to interrupt the piranha on her approach back in-system.”
Making the most of his small combat force, Lt. Phillips has divided half his men into smaller response units, which he drops off at priority locations on their journey in system. These response teams, often just a pair of marines, are charged with protecting, recapturing, and/or repairing these installations – whatever it takes.
Scenario 1 – Hear No Evil
The current scenario revolves around a two-person TechSpec team sent to restore a dead communications platform in deep space, the Siren Dish 7, one of several built to ensure reliable comms within and out of the system. The installation appears dead but there are no visible signs of damage from the outside; scanners confirm the unmanned mini-space station’s temperature is within expected range so there should be power onboard.
Scene 1: After a long (one shift) spacesuit EVA flight from the Fidanza to the platform – yes, they jumped off at a distance and flies over with gas-propulsion spacesuits steering by and IR guidance system – the marine pair finds the Siren Dish 7 locked down. They must either cut their way in or look for an emergency hatch to enter SD7 through.
Scene 2: Once inside, they find SD7 dark and the main entrance airlock welded shut from the inside… There is atmosphere and heat, but no power to doors, lights, computer panels, etc. (Note: While an unmanned installation, local regulations demand that all relevant space facilities must maintain systems capable of supporting human life in case of emergencies. So, the SD7 is basically an “oasis” in the cold “desert” of space). To get the SD7 up and running again, the team has to get the power working properly, and starts checking the reactor and systems.
Scene 3: With power more or less back on line (although curiously, there are lots of systems still not working and there seems to be indications of sabotage), the team heads on to investigate the radio systems and dish. In the dish control room, they discover that every electric circuit board has been removed from their systems and smashed to dust on a nearby table (i.e. obvious evidence of sabotage). This system cannot be brought back on line without major refurbishing efforts, although, the marine pair might be able to hook their personal coms up to the giant dish and send a signal to the Fidanza. As they work on this, the power suddenly dies. Before long, the marines’ rad-counters start to climb and the air grows heavier with every breath. Somehow, the life support is down and the radiation shielding around the reactor core must have been lifted. Heat starts slowly building, as well.
Scene 4: Back in the SD7 reactor, the PCs encounters a single Working Joe who has been lurking out of sight all this time. He wears the uniform of a different installation altogether, and upon seeing the marines he declares “invasive hostile organisms detected” and rushes to kill them. There’s a fight, the marines will likely win.
Scene 5: Having rid SD7 of its lurking threat, the PCs are free to try and solve their mounting problems as best they can.
Secret: The Working Joe was reprogrammed by one of the beforementioned terrorists and sent to SD7 to destroy the communications there. This to prevent the various system colonies from calling for help or any scheming corporate agents from contacting their handlers and bosses. Re-programmed terrorist Working Joes will be a common threat in the campaign, which will be juxtaposition with some scenarios or scenes where the PCs have Working Joes on their sides (the kids being chaperoned by one, for instance).
Scenario 2 – Speak No Evil
Another Foxies team find themselves on a system communications control satellite over one of the many moons in the systems. This is basically a small radio operations station tasked with managing communications and keeping the local computer networks online, and they have had serious problems with failing systems lately. Possibly armed with information from the SD7 team (presuming those PCs survived and/or managed to send their report to the Fidanza), the present Foxies team arrives to investigate and help out. They quickly learn that several Working Joes have recently been stolen from the station, (the one at SD7 came from here), and that comms systems keep failing regardless of their efforts. In other words, there are saboteurs in our midst! The scenario will revolve around the PCs figuring out who the badies are and dealing with them. There will likely be a confrontation towards the end with a few suicidal terrorists-for-humanity and at least one reprogrammed Working Joe, who, again, were working to prevent communications in the systems.
Scenario 3 – See No Evil
The terrorists from Speak No Evil carries clues that they originate from one of the mining bases in the system. The mine (for which I will use the brilliant fan-made Mining Outpost Dapheus’ Lyre map – thank you Mr. Anders Scisco Karma [??] for a fantastic map!), has gone quiet... The Fidanza arrives to look into the matter and find the place abandoned, although there are definite signs of violence and fighting having take place. This is one of the terrorists main strongholds, and possibly the site of one of the Xenomorph experiments, and the marines will go toe-to-toe with dug-in terrorists and possibly also with a lurking alien… (we’ll have to see where this fits in the overall campaign structure when we get to it). In any case, this will be the finale for the UACMC PCs in the campaign, and they will likely all die. (If I get my way, the terrorists will also seize the Fidanza and turn it towards their terrorism-to-save-humanity scheme).
These three scenarios are just one part of the overall campaign, and there will be other stories sprinkled in between these. For one thing, the mining out post in See No Evil will be the site of one or more non-marine scenarios earlier in the story. We’ll see how this develops.