I wonder if anyone have done anything interesting set-up/prologue-wise for DoW and/or FW? I’ll soon be GMing DoW, and have decided to pre-establish Ariarcus for my players with an FW prologue set there to give them (the players) more context for the Ariarcus Colony/Fort Nebraska. In other words, we made characters for the coming-later FW campaign, and use those to run a couple of missions & encounters on Kruger 60 before those characters are set to leave on the Tamb’Itam, just to eventually return to Kruger 60 just in time to witness the aftermath of DoW, which kick-starts FW.
On important thing to note is that I’m trying to tie all the official Alien RPG scenarios as close together as I can. For instance, while running CotG, the Sotillo mercs did show up but ended up, due to clever PC negotiations and reasoning with them, to rescuing the surviving PCs. This gang, the Sotillo crew, is therefore established in my running of the official stories, and I have decided to introduce them into the DoW story, as a side-plot at first only to have them at hand if the players need more replacement characters than what’s provided in the DoW scenario; in other words, the Sotillo crew will be present on Ariarcus and may become PCs in this scenario since they weren’t used as such in CotG. (There are more connective tissue between the stories, too, but I shan’t babble; you get the drift).
Here are summaries of the FW-prelude missions I’ve run thus far:
Mission 1 – Homo Superior
Elsewhere, the Tamb’Itam is out flying on some secret need-to-know-and-you-don’t-need-to-know mission to assist W-Y reps with something. One whole section of the Tamb’Itam crew has gone with the ship, while the other section is stationed at Fort Nebraska on regular base rotation. It is this, Ariarcus-bound, section that include the PCs.
In this mission, someone is knife-murdering big, beefy guys with a violent reputation around town, and the Marshal asks the CM to help out. The murders are weird as the victims seem to have been captured (possibly at gunpoint), tied up, then released/escaped to fight their assailant with steel pipes and such, before eventually losing the fight and their lives. After much investigation, the players concluded (correctly) that it’s an Artificial Womb soldier going around killing “worthy” opponents for macho reasons. "You think you're though? Well, I'm a superior human being, so come fight me, broh!"
Basically, I stole Billy the Kid's mantra from Young Guns – “The moment you stop testing yourself is the moment you start dying” – as motivation for the AW bad guy in this one. There was no big plot or anything, just a screwed up dude who needed arresting. (Actually, my players – being sensible – just presented the evidence to their superiors and let the Fort Nebraska military police, or whatever, deal with it. The AW soldier was caught, cryo’ed, and sent off world to fight somewhere… ‘cause you don’t put a billion dollar man in prison when he can die on the front while accomplishing some goal, right).
This mission previewed the AW concept to the players, as well as familiarizing them with Ariarcus (especially the Marshal Station, San Rocco Medical Hospital, and the Eye of Oblivion bar).
Mission 2 – Oil Stealers
Before starting up, the players learn that their Tamb’Itam “sibling” section has returned safely to Ariarcus. While they’re not at liberty to say where they’ve been, rumors nonetheless fly that they were on a boring non-mission to chaperone the W-Y reps while they scanned an empty stretch of deep space. At one point, a signature masked ship (actually the Sotillo although nobody learns that yet) showed up, but was chased away. The W-Ys found what they were looking for, space-walked to retrieve whatever it was, and the Tamb’Itam set course back for Ariarcus. (In actual fact, the W-Ys retrieved Clayton’s EEV that had escaped USS Cronus in CotG, with a nice catch of black goo and everything – it is this black goo that forms the basis, in my running, for the Xeno vaccine sub-plot in DoW. Also, the Sotillo crew showing up in DoW is a continuation of the deal the players made with them in CotG; they’re basically looking for Clayton to destroy the black good and such).
In this one, the Tamb’Itam PC marines accompany the Sin Eaters as they (the SE) lay an ambush to catch some oil thieves in the act. Basically, someone have been stealing oil, possibly stockpiling it for the UPP and/or Ariarcus Insurgency, and the CM won’t have any of that. The Sin Eaters, of course, are SpecForce Marines while the Tamb’Itam gang are described as reserves, so the PCs’ job is basically to make a perimeter around the Sin Eater’s APC while the heroes are out heroing. Of course, things doesn’t go according to plan, and the APC is attacked while the SE are away, giving the players a chance to fight some bad guys. As the fight wounds down (the stalking insurgents are no match for even my PC marines), the sounds of speeding trucks are heard and Captain Silva of the SE orders the PCs to grab the APC and chase after fleeing oil tank-carrying pickups. In the end, the PCs stops the thieves and even captures one a live – interrogating the insurgent soldier, the players learn about this mysterious boss who’re organizing the Ariarcus Insurgency (i.e. Imre Botos) and how he has made overtures to the UPP.
In this one, we explore the insurgency and learn about Botos (but not his name or ID). But most of all, we’re introduced to the Sin Eaters – including possible DoW player character, Cpt. Silva, and the 4 AWOL NPCs at the center of the DoW story.
Mission 3 – Contraband
This mission sees the PCs playing customs officers up on the Counterweight Station (thanks, _ArthurDallas_ for the great map of that place!).
The PCs spend their time interviewing new arrivals, which includes the Sotillo mercs (see above) who claim to be there to ferry refugees off of Ariarcus (but they’re actually there looking for Calyton from CotG). Another group the PCs intercept are actual arms smugglers; this goes well, and a shipment of UPP 4047 rifles are confiscated. But… that was all a decoy; while the PCs check luggage and interviews people, the real “contraband” walks right past them, an UPP agent who sets up shop and signals, semaphore style, through a window and down to the surface, using a laser/IR light thingy. What he’s doing is relating strategic Intel to the insurgency in preparation for the UPP invasion to come in DoW. The players finds and stops the UPP spy, but not before they have relayed much data, and the CM never learns what is communicated. The players are left with a sense of foreboding that something is building behind their backs.
Mission 3 introduces Counterweight Station & the Space Elevator, which, of course, will feature importantly in DoW’s 3rd act; the Sotillo mercs again (=anti-W-Y sideplot and possible replacement characters in DoW); and buildup for the UPP invasion.
So, in broad strokes, that’s where we are currently at in my multi-story campaign. I’d love to hear other suggestions or experiences that people have setting up DoW and/or FW.