One More Star
Nobody’s really sure how it began, not anymore. It was so many generations ago. There was a homeworld, our Earth, in another galaxy, millions of lightyears from our own. The tales differ – sometimes there were too many of us, and too few resources. Sometimes there was a great civil war that threatened to exterminate our entire species. Sometimes the war was with alien species, or artificial intelligences. But in all the old stories, it’s always a catastrophe that drove us away. We didn’t leave peacefully: we fled into the night.
The Great Arks left Earth centuries in the past, vast and swift colony ships, each a nation-state unto itself, each equipped to survive and thrive wherever they could make landfall. We escaped into the empty black, and generations of our ancestors lived their lives aboard these ships, passing on stories of the home that was – and the home we hoped to find. We parted ways, sent the seed of our people in every direction, to every galaxy we could hope to reach – Triangulum, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pegasus, Tucana, Cetus, Pisces, Setans, Antlia, and of course Andromeda.
I couldn’t tell you how many Arks are still out there, how many never made it, how many found a home too far removed for us to ever know. Aside from our own, we’ve found two others near enough for contact. Negotiations are… complex, but ongoing. The search for the others continues, even after all these centuries. It must continue, until we know the fate of every Ark bound for Andromeda. Yggdrasil, Seine, and Diana were not alone. We won’t abandon our sisters to the void.
There are more than one trillion stars in the Andromeda galaxy. Nearly a millennium after our arrival, we’ve still seen only a bare handful. Keep your eye to the black. There’s time for one more star.
What “Open-Source Space Opera” means…
In a few words: I, as the MC (‘cause using the term ’GM’ is so mainstream), will present a skeleton of a setting, with some strong themes and basic realities but few of the details actively sketched in. I will then leave those details to communal development. Do you have an idea for an alien species? A splinter faction? A derelict starship from a long-dead civilization? A strange new world? Then I want to integrate it into the setting! In fact, I’ll even be incentivizing your additions with delicious, delicious experience and delicious, delicious bad candy.
Why am I doing this? Well, because I have plenty of ideas for the setting that I can make happen, but space is big, and as long as the core themes and flavor are adhered to, I think a whole lot of people adding their voice to the universe is a little bit cooler than just me. Also, I like the idea of using this setting for numerous games over an extended period of time, and watching how it evolves with new additions and permutations. Bam.
As a final note, I’m also totally open to people who aren’t playing offering new ideas and new elements to the setting! I might even bake cookies if you write something totally awesome for the game!
So, about those core themes, basic realities, and bits of flavor! Let’s establish the nature of the setting up-front. One More Star is a space opera setting, falling on the soft side of sci-fi. Not necessarily full-blown space magic, but the Rule of Cool is more important than the Laws of Physics, and the character drama is more important than anything peripheral to it. Some additional things to consider while creating new pieces for the universe:
When humanity fled the Milky Way, there were a fuck of a lot of Great Arks, and humanity settled hundreds of new star systems in a dozen or so different galaxies. In the Andromeda galaxy specifically, at least twenty Arks – and possibly many more – found a world to colonize.
This means there are a lot of human civilizations out there in the Andromeda galaxy, most of them yet to be (re)discovered by the ‘main’ remnants of humanity (those from which the main party is drawn).
This also means there’s the potential for lots of civilizations that might have evolved from humanity, but are no longer necessarily ‘human’ – it’s been thousands of years since the Arks left Earth.
Psychic powers are totally a thing. But I reserve a certain degree of veto power over them.
Space Is Big, and it’s a long way between stars. On the other hand, Ships Go Fast, and travel between stars is not especially difficult. The Andromeda Galaxy is roughly 220,000 lightyears in diameter; a ship with top-end modern Faster-Than-Light capabilities could make a journey straight across in around 382 standard days. Granted, that’s assuming no stopovers for exploration or communication or tacos.
Human (and descended-from-human) civilizations aren’t the only game in town! Note that Aliens Are Not Human – if you want to make a human-y civilization, they’re probably actually humans (or something closely related).
There were civilizations in Andromeda before humans arrived. Not all of them are super-thrilled about the amount of power humans have exerted in a rather vanishingly short amount of time.
There are horrors in the dark places of the void. Most starfaring civilizations know that sometimes, ships venture out and don’t come back. Sometimes, inexplicable things happen. Sometimes, all one can do is pray. And most starfaring civilizations choose not to think about that too much – unless they choose to worship the nightmares, instead.
Where you all fit in…
For now, in this inaugural campaign, the player characters are a crew on a spaceship! Specifically, the crew of a midsized vessel of type and abilities to be determined later in the employ of the Dianan 4th Expeditionary Fleet. Officially, the purpose of the 4th Fleet is to seek out and make contact with the other Arks that came to Andromeda. Unofficially, the 4th Fleet also deals with a great deal of diplomacy, trade, police work, and covert operations.
This means players can expect a wide variety of goals and opportunities to come into play, but at the center of it all will be exploration. The 4th Fleet is looking for other branches of humanity, and there’s a hell of a big galaxy to explore while looking. Discover new things! Meet new people! Eat their foods, drink their boozes, and curse in their languages! Or possibly cause diplomatic incidents and war! As freelancers working for the fleet (rather than primarily military peeps), players will have broad authority to handle things their way, so long as they get good results.
It generally works best if players discuss amongst themselves what sorts of roles they want to play. It is probably important to have – for example – a clear chain of command. And covering lots of bases with your capabilities is never a bad thing.
If you want to play a character that isn’t human, that’s also one hundred percent okay! The catch is you have to provide extra details about the race you want to play, and how you came to be aboard the ship with this particular crew.