There are certain things, people or buildings that makes things Alien. But not only that; this stuff makes something to the game. That is why the head line of this thread is "Narrative tools". I have a few ideas. Here is the first one: the corporate archive. Such an archive should be full of dark secrets. Since dark corporate secrets are cruisal to the Alien setting, the archive must be a really important place – and a potential scenario location. It should be possible for the GM to use the archive for creating new scenarios – or to change the direction in a larger campaign. Here are some thoughts on how a corporate archive could work:
Who is able to enter a corporate archive? It´s probably a high security facility with a very limited access. It might be an entire space station or large scale planet based building. It´s probably hidden in some way. The people who are able to get inside have some kind of formal status within the Company. It could be board members, scientists, or maybe a rich shareholder. Maybe someone very influential could able to let other people enter the building. It might also be possible to get in with some advanced, manipulative technology. The archive staff are probably synthetics, designed to work in this specific and important place.
What is possible to find in the archive? An enormous amount of information is stored in the archive. There are billions of files about individuals, buildings, weapons, spaceships and corporations. Somewhere there might also be samples of DNA, fossilized beings, bizarre metals or even parts of living beings. Some of the stuff might be classified in some way, making it harder to access. There might be several access levels, where the most secret stuff is stored in some special containment. Finding information in a huge archive like this might be hard, even the stuff that isn't classified. There might also be contradicting information or information that is manipulated.
How can the archive be used in game? The PCs could have many reasons to visit the archive. Maybe there are sent there as company representatives, looking for info about someone or something. Besides finding information about others, they might also find files about themselves. Maybe they want to edit those files, or simply delete them. They could also be spies or criminals, who have managed to find a way in. As a GM, you can feed the PCs with any kind of interesting – or confusing – archival information. The files can, of course, be presented as hand outs.
Maybe this can be made into rules in some way (talents or so). But I decided to make this a setting thing. Later, I might post some other narrative tools that I find Alien specific.