Bengt Petter
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Future sourcebooks - brainstorming new concepts

Sun 01 Aug 2021, 15:34

As you probably know, sourcebooks about explorers and colonists are already in the pipe line. To develop those career paths makes totaly sense - we know them from the movies. And from a game point of view, they point to something cruisal: what you are supposed to do in the game.

However, it’s also possible to look beyond the most obvious career paths and find others that could be just as true to the setting. In this thread, I will present some ideas for possible future sourcebooks. I’ll start by reposting two slightly edited concepts from another thread (I felt I was getting a bit off topic), and after that, I’ll continue with some additional, new stuff.

I have no intention of writing Alien sourcebooks (even though I have written quite much for Mutant Year Zero a couple of years ago), but I love brainstorming. Of course, you are most welcome to post your own sourcebook concepts in this thread. If something gets popular, I guess Free League will take it into consideration.
Last edited by Bengt Petter on Sun 01 Aug 2021, 16:15, edited 6 times in total.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Sourcebook concepts - brainstorm whatever you like

Sun 01 Aug 2021, 15:42

Criminal Syndicates and Law Enforcement

There must some kind of of underworld in this setting. An underworld supplement could describe some major crime syndicates. I imagine organisations like the Japanese Yakuza, the Hongkong Triad, and the Russian/Ukrainian Mob. Such real world syndicates could be twisted just a bit to fit the Alien universe. Most likely they will have some kind of corporate connections. And you could add some kind of organized crime within the U. P. P. territories too (with or without corporate connections).

To this I would also add stuff about prisons and penal colonies. Such sites are a possible part of a criminal career path. And of course, there are many hidden connections between the corporate world and the people in such locations. In an underworld supplement, I think there should be descriptions of some large facilities, and tools to create your own. I’m sure you can run an entire campaign set in a prison or penal colony.

An underworld supplement could also include bounty hunters and law enforcement, since they are obvious counterparts to the criminals. I would build some kind of plot hooks or rules for how corruption works in this specific setting. The cops are in it for the money, just like the criminals.

All this would be a different and new take on the Alien universe. It would make sense that there is some kind of underworld, not only on Earth.
Last edited by Bengt Petter on Sun 01 Aug 2021, 18:12, edited 1 time in total.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Future sourcebooks - brainstorming new concepts

Sun 01 Aug 2021, 15:50

The Corporate Elite and Their World

Most of the people we know from the movies are people who work for The Company. They are sent to remote places to do dangerous work. I think it would be interesting with a sourcebook about the rich. They are most likely the people behind the big drama we see in the movies.

In a system of dystopian capitalism there must be some people who are very rich. Most likely they are able to access knowledge that is far beyond reach for the ordinary blue collar workers. Of course, the super rich in a corporare world usually don’t need to get their hands dirty. That’s their big advantage: they have people who take risks for them. But they are for sure involved.

So what I suggest here is a corporate sourcebook, with a focus on the rich and powerful and their dirty secrets. There are already several corporate factions in the basic rules, but the descriptions aren’t very detailed. In a new sourcebook, I imagine a focus not only on the rich and powerful, but also on the people who work more directly for the rich: mercenaries, spies, researchers, servants, corporate diplomats, heist crews etc. They would probably be able to access things that people like the marines or the truckers usually don’t.

A cruisal part of a corporate sourcebook would be corporate secrets and conspiracies. You should both get a number of interesting examples, and tools to create your own. It’s kind of already in the game, but the focus could be more corporate. How money and corporate secrets matters. You can also add some high security corporate facilities where the secrets can be explored. A couple of examples of sites: hidden labs, experimental android factories, newly discovered Engineer ruins and/or spacestations, hidden corporate archives with bizarre alien specimens etc. I would also love to see descriptions of the dystopian version of gated communities: well protected and luxurious residential areas with a comfort others could only dream of. A bit like Elysium in Blomkamp’s movie (I know that it’s not set in the Alien universe).

And in a a corporate sourcebook, I would also like to see some kind of mechanic to deal with an obvious core theme: money. The rich can buy and sell basicly everything. Not just spacestations and corporations, but also secrets, specimens, people and entire planets. Top level capitalism should matter in a setting like this. I think it could be possible to create some kind campaign engine to make money matter also from a game point of view. A huge investment could be a true game changer or a start of a campaign. From a game point of view a fortune or a company could be a kind of ”base”, much like the ark in Mutant Year Zero. You build stuff to expand and get to the next level. And while you expand, there will be more problems to solve. You could go from owning an asteroid mine to running something much bigger - or maybe end up in huge debts...

So, just to wrap it all up: the corporate aspect is already there in the game, but not really from an hands on point of view. It’s more like a couple of Wikipedia articles. But I’m not suggesting a full description of The Company, just parts of it. Perhaps a few subsidiaries that are involved in stuff that’s interesting from a game point of view. I can also imagine something similar about companies like Seegson. Not the entire company, but just some interesting parts and some corporate representatives that could be useful.
Last edited by Bengt Petter on Sun 01 Aug 2021, 18:21, edited 3 times in total.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Future sourcebooks - brainstorming new concepts

Sun 01 Aug 2021, 17:44

The Mercenary Crew

In Alien Resurrection there is a crew of mercenaries who arrive with The Betty, a resupply ship. The crew members are quite rough, and you can imagine that they all have a somewhat troubled past. Maybe some of them have a military background and/or underworld experience. Such a crew could also be great premise for an Alien campaign: you work together and take on well paid but dangerous missions.

A sourcebook about mercenaries would have a slightly different approach than other sourcebooks. Instead of being an employee, you work as team of freelancers who get their payments from more or less shady people who are willing to pay you for a job or two. It could be a powerful representative from The Company, a ruthless millionaire or a boss from criminal syndicate. I imagine an entire chapter about the people (described NPCs with stats) who would hire mercenaries. They all have substantial resources and most likely dark, hidden agendas. Of course, they could also end up as your enemies. Fighting such a person, could be a good scenario premise.

A mercenary crew would most likely spend most of their time travelling with their ship. Probably the ship is their most valuable asset. During a campaign, you should be able to upgrade it - or buy a new ship. Through your mercenary network, you should also be able to recruite new crew members when you take on new missions. You probably have a couple of favourite locations - maybe a space station or a lunar base - where people like that could be found. Since you are not the only mercenary crew, you also have some rival crews who may show up and cause trouble. In a sourcebook I would include a description of such a rival crew and perhaps some tools for creating others.

A mercenary crew could fit both a cinemamatic scenario and a larger sandbox style campaign. It’s easy to imagine a list of missions they could take on, and some larger locations where they could go. The types of missions I would suggest in this case are bit rougher: heists to steal something valuable and/or dangerous, kidnapping an important NPC, getting someone out of prison, killing a powerful crime lord, destroying a secret corporate location etc. It would be missions that involve huge payments and big risks. And afterwords, someone will come looking for you...
 
Arnie100
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Re: Future sourcebooks - brainstorming new concepts

Sun 01 Aug 2021, 23:35

Xenomorph book, obviously.
 
Bengt Petter
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Re: Future sourcebooks - brainstorming new concepts

Mon 02 Aug 2021, 18:13

Xenomorph book, obviously.


Well, is it really that obvious? If you listen to Andrew Gaska, who is the lore master of this game, he recently said in an interview (it’s on Youtube) that the various xenomorphs will be spread out in several supplements. So I guess there will not be any bestiary for this game - at least not in a traditional style where you see long lists of described creatures with stats. Personally, I think that kind of supplements often turn out to be quite boring. Just adding slightly different breeds of goblins or dragons doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. To me, a xenomorph bestiary with blue or green versions of the original creature would just risk to kill the mystery. However, I do think that the xenomorphs are the stars of this franchise. A xenomorph/Engineer sourcebook would probably sell. But I think it should be something more than just a traditional bestiary with stats and illustrations. PLEASE, can we avoid to make this a thread where we just say NO or YES to a xenomorph supplement? Thanks! And I’d be glad if you read my posts before writing a comment.

So lets go on. Below, you find my take on how to deal with the xenomorphs and the Engineers in a way that I don’t think would kill the mystery. It’s also in line with what Gaska said about the Engineers: there will never be detailed and definite description of them. And, obviously: I’ve based this on my own views of the Alien universe (and more specifically what the UPP really are). You might have other views and that’s just fine.

The Classified UPP Files
The UPP may have slightly more primitive technology than their capitalist rivals, but they have travelled further out in space than any other faction. Their explorers have seen many distant worlds that are yet unknown to the rest of mankind. A lot of their profound knowledge - bizarre specimens, unique alien artifacts, and other kinds of information - are kept in a large secret facility, hidden somewhere within the UPP territories. However, recently a spy from The Company was able to steal a quite substantial number of classified files from the UPP Archive.

This is sourcebook consists of those stolen files. They are not definite descriptions of various creatures or locations, it’s more a collection of secret documents, lab reports, star maps, and other documentation that UPP representatives have been able to gather over the past 100 years or so. Some of the information may even be false or just partly true.

I imagine a chapter about bizarre xenomorphs as the UPP see them. Some might still be kept in secret UPP locations, while others have only been observed on some remote planet. You could include some creatures from comic books or novels here, or you could add some new creatures. Personally, I think it’s important to be more creative than just making a known creature blue, glowing or bigger. Some creatures may even be so strange and alien that it’s hard to even grasp if it’s even a living thing or not. Some of the stuff can also be millions of years old, perhaps just found drifting in space...

I also imagine an entire chapter about the experiments the UPP have done with various xenomorph specimens (tissue, blood, bone, or just DNA or other genetic data). Those might actually be the real discovery, even more interesting than the creatures themselves. And of course, some of the UPP experiments have gone terribly wrong, perhaps in ways that could potententially be a threat to all of mankind. Or just in ways with very unpredictable and strange concequences.

A third chapter would describe remote star systems and locations that have been explored by UPP representatives over the years. It could be anything from Engineer ruins to strange eco systems and secret UPP colonies. Some of the information would come in the form of maps - or maybe fragments of maps. Among the maps, I imagine a huge UPP star map, not as reliable as the one in the basic rules, but five times bigger. It will give you a sense of the universe as the UPP elite scientists view it.

A fourth chapter would focus on secret technology - some of alien origin and some UPP produced but more or less experimental. There are probably also stuff that UPP scientists have created with parts or ideas from Engineer (or other alien) technology. Most of the stuff is really bizarre and very different from corporate technology. It might even be living technology - perhaps biomechanical or living in other, previously unknown ways. It might for example be a more or less divine AI with the ability to predict the distant future of the universe. Or a biomechanical super size solar panels. Or a very small black hole that is more or less possible to control.

A fifth chapter could be about the corporate world - as it’s seen from a UPP point of view. There could be reports from secret corporate labs, corporate spy organisations and android factories. A number of important corporate people are described, with their contacts and personal flaws. Some of the information might be false or just outdated.

In the sixth chapter, I imagine descriptions of planned UPP projects (a part of future five year plans?) that might soon become real. It could be military plans, scientific projects, new spy organisations, expeditions to remote star systems or plans for building a new, large scale Gulag style facility. Of course, all those plans are meant to be be used for scenarios or even campaigns.

(And yes, I know it’s slightly strange to answer a very short comment with a long essay, but hey, that’s me...)

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