The Terran Insterstellar Marine Force is the toughest branch of the Unified Earth Military Command. In their storied 200 year history as the infantry arm of the Terran Expeditionary Fleet, the Leathernecks had battled the feral xenomorphs of Rigil Kentaurus, stormed the asteroid fortresses of the Void Pirates and eradicated an uprising of the savage native Vrish who threatened the Pleiades Colony. But they had never faced a foe like the Fyr'Toll
Background: It is the year 2268 and mankind is locked in a bitter war of extermination with the Fyr`Toll, a frightening, inhuman blend of man and machine. Their first attacks came without warning and decimated the most powerful nations on Earth. The United States of Africa, the Indian Conglomerate, the Pan-American League and the Asian Coalition all lie in ruins.
Earth refused to surrender and after a desperate first year of conflict, managed to match the Fyr`Toll’s technological advantages through a series of daring boarding actions, capturing and reverse engineering enemy vessels. Once parity was achieved however, the war seemed to drag on indefinitely and has just entered its 25th year.
On a deep-space survey mission thought to be far away from the front lines, the player characters served on the UASS Johannesburg, searching out resources vital to the war effort. It is then they run across a Fyr`Toll survey ship, the Kra`Tep. After a brief, vicious firefight, both vessels crash on an uncharted planet below.
Two enemies, stranded on one planet on the edge of space. Neither able to overcome the planet’s natural magnetic field to call for help and watching as a fast-growing jungle constantly threatens to overrun their ruined vessels, as predators kill their crew one by one.
After several firefights, their numbers dwindling, the captain of the Kra`Tep meets with the senior surviving officer of the Johannesburg and suggests the two sides join forces to get free of the deadly planet. When the pact is announced, approximately 25% of the humans and Fyr`Toll strike out on their own, unable to overcome the hatred each feels for the other.
These attack each other, the opposing side and even their fellows, all in an attempt to “convince” them that cooperation with their worst enemy is pointless at best, dangerous at worst.
A game of exploration: This is the campaign of “stranded on a different star”. A hostile alien world must be explored and possibly tamed, at first for simple survival but eventually with the monumental task of pooling resources for a return voyage.
A game of character interaction: But the planet isn’t the only challenge players in the game will face. Can they manage to hold their unstable coalition together and overcome the hatred bred by decades of war? Can they bring their dissidents back into the fold?
A game of discovery: And even when the planet has been explored, there are mysteries left to solve. What about the planet hinders technology? What secrets wait to be discovered in alien ruins? And how closely will each side honor their agreements? If a powerful alien weapon is discovered, will its secrets be shared or will the discovering side try to hide it for return to their side in the war above.
A game of community: Stranded on a Distant Star will be financed by the “ransom” system, where gamers interested in the game will finance it and guide its direction.
If the $1,500 donation threshold is achieved, patrons will gain access to a special discussion group, where they will see advance drafts of the game and comment on its direction. The game will be designed by veteran OGL designer Charles Rice and its mechanics will be 100% OGL, though the setting will remain the property of Vigilance Press/Charles Rice.
Once the game is completed, the game will be made available for free on RPGNow in PDF form. All contributors will be credited in the final PDF copy.
Contributors of $20 or more will receive a POD-print copy of the game.
About the author: Charles Rice is an Ennie-nominated writer with over 100 credits. His books currently in print include: Modern20, Supers20, Darwin’s World (True20 Edition) and the Two Worlds RPG, included in the collectors edition of the Two Worlds X-Box 360 game.
Learn more or donate at the Vigilance Press blog, RPGDesign.