It was the year 2111 when The Disaster happened. What remained of humanity had no choice but to leave Earth behind and travel out into the depths of space to find a new home. Deep-space telescopes had long since pin-pointed several worlds orbiting distant stars that were likely to be able to support life. The first wave of automated vessels left five months before The Arks. They were designed to break up into collections of satellites equipped with communication and sensor arrays, when the colonists arrived they would be given detailed maps of their homes and enough information to rapidly set about establishing a foothold.
Faster than light travel is impossible and so each Ark would take hundreds of years to reach its destination. To this end, they were outfitted with thousands of suspended animation pods. At fixed intervals of a few years, a revolving skeleton crew would be awoken to complete basic maintenance.
No two Arks were the same, being literally thrown together as quickly as possible. The President Palin was a very simple design, a long spine with the Orion engine at one end and the Command centre at the other. The Orion engine spat countless nuclear devices out behind it and used the force of their explosion to accelerate the ship outwards into the deepest reaches of space. Around the spine were six discrete colony pods, each was detachable and filled with a thousand able bodied survivors, along with a food and other basic supplies.
Each pod also contained something unique:
Pod 1 contained genetic samples of as many plants and animals are could be gathered at short notice, along with a few live specimens kept in suspended animation.
Pod 2 contained a mass of industrial equipment beyond that which the other pods carried.
Pod 3 contained an array of specialist science and medical equipment.
Pod 4 contained extra supplies. Beyond the water and foodstuffs however, these extra supplies largely took the form of arms. A fact which only a select few of the ship’s crew were aware.
Pod 5 contained a library of cultural materials. Historical artifacts, texts, art objects, as much as could be gathered to preserve the history and culture of Earth.
Pod 6 contained a penal colony. The entire population of Strangeways Detention Centre, 1500 inmates of all genders and backgrounds, were saved from their own extinction.
Suspended animation terminated six hours before planetfall was to be made. The plan had been for the Loki Satellite Network (LSN) to relay its planet survey to the whole ship population. Following this the Captain and his crew would select the best colony site and each pod would be deployed in turn, detaching from the President Palin and being guided to its destination by the LSN. When members of your pod awoke though, they found the pod to have been sealed off from the rest of the ship and there was no word from the LSN, or the ship’s crew. All communication attempts with the other pods, the satellites or the crew failed. A team set about forcing the bulkhead doors and airlocks connecting to the ship’s spine, but either this triggered this deployment or it was an automated process.
The colony pod detached and plunged down toward the planet with no guidance system and no idea what was waiting for it on the alien world below.
II. What is this?
This is a Choose Your Own Adventure
(CYOA) game. It’s sort of like a Play By Post
but more freeform and with no defined player list. Every turn I’ll post an update, with a few options and then you lot get to decide what you would like to happen. With your choices determining the fate of our luckless colonists. Anybody can jump in and have their say on the direction taken by the colony in a given turn. I'll go for whatever gets a majority.
I also encourage you guys to post little side stories, or drawings or whatever. I’m just arbitrating. it’s your colony to run (as a valiant and terrible democracy). Also, it helps me to know what you guys want so I can swing my options to fit that better.
This idea is something certain forums used to do quite a bit, but most recently you can look over at what hoodie13 did in SE++ recently, where the forum guided a group of tree people in their conquest of the world
III. The Rules
Here's a brief explanation of the skeletal system I've knocked up. It's not hugely important, but there will be some method to the madness. Beyond this there will be various events as you explore and interact with things (again driven by what you guys want - for an example, whether or not you care about finding out what exactly happened on the President Palin
IV. Can I play?
Sometimes, we’ll want chance to play a part in what happens. In such cases, I’ll roll dice (3d6). That gives us a nice shaped curve between 3 and 18, where the extremes are pretty unlikely but you’ve got a solid chance of beating a 10. Situations will make that target number higher or lower, and you may get bonuses to those dice.
Supplies are split into Food, and Resources. One man needs one food per turn. Building things will take generic resources (you may also need specific types of resources to do certain things, I’ll just list these after the number “Resources 1000 [Uranium] [Oil]”, and these won’t be exhausted).
Population is sort of a resource, in general it slowly increases each turn (I’ll roll 2d6 and take the first from the second, and you gain that many hundred people, with negatives just being zero growth). There’s a max population too, which is the number of people you can house.
We also have energy. Generally new buildings and projects will need an amount of energy units to support them. Power plants and technology will increase this number.
Beyond this there’s also Morale. This goes Riots-Unhappy-Fine-Happy-Bliss. Riot gives you a -4 on most rolls, Unhappy a -2, Fine is no modifier, Happy is +2, Bliss is +4. Events will move you up and down the morale track. If you have positive morale, you have to pass a difficulty 8 check to avoid slipping down a level.
I have a map with a hex grid overlayed on it, so we can keep track of various things.
Yes, just look at my latest post and tell me which option you want. Even better, do it in bold and red so I can see it.
For instance, if the last post ended with:
A - Explore [see the map, give a direction]
B - Build Housing [+0.5k population cap, needs 1 energy, costs 500 resources]
C - Build Expanded Hydroponics [+0.5k food per turn, needs 2 energy, costs 1000 resources]
D - Build Communication Array [needs 3 energy, 2000 resources]
E - Train military [needs 500 resources, produces 100 militia[level 1 soldiers]
F - Research Planetology [Xenoalgae]
G - Research Industry [Autonomous refineries]
H - Research Fundamental Science [Ion storm prediction]
J - Research Military [Heat ray]
You could say something like:
V. How do we start?
A[North]: We need to explore those hills! At best they'll be full of diamonds or uranium, and at worst we could spot enemies before they get near the city
Well, you need to decide which of those pods survived. The default package for each pod is 1k Population [with housing], 5k Resources, 5k Food, a nuclear microreactor [Produces 5 energy] and arms for 100 militia [level 1 soldiers]. You also get a special ability based on which you choose. It may also have some other effects as things develop.
A: Pod 1 - Biological Archive [Start with a small hydroponic farm (+750food per turn), all food production is at +50%]
B: Pod 2 - Industrial [Start with 10k Resources, all resource production is at +50%]
C: Pod 3 - Science and Medical [Chance of a breakthrough each turn, I’ll roll 3d6 and if I get an 18 I’ll give you a free tech! Roll an extra 1d4 on any medical challenges]
D: Pod 4 - Supplies [Start with 10k Food Supplies, and enough guns and equipment to arm a total of 200 troops [level 2 soldiers]]
E: Pod 5 - Culture [Start with a Happy population, and you gain an extra 1d4 to avoid slipping down the morale track]
F: Pod 6 - Prison [Start with 2.5k Population and enough housing for them]
And then we'll need to name this planet and your group too. We may even need a flag.