Saturday, October 10, 2020

'Other Man' - A Thought Experiment in Campaign Creation for The 'TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!' Campaign Setting - 'The Space Dwellers'

"For decades, maybe centuries – even millennia – they have visited us. Short, thin gray beings bent on exploring – or maybe conquering and exploiting – Terra. They pilot starships that are technologically advanced beyond anything Humanity had in the 20th and 21st centuries"

 Earlier this month we put out a review of  UFOs From Stellagama Publishing & what's been weighing on my mind is what have the Reticulan empire  been up too. The empire has existed for centuries & they've been kidnapping & abducting humans for all of that time. This is a vital part of TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!  setting by Stellagama Publishing.  And yes mankind would throw off the shackles of the Grays. But there has to be more too it then just simple warfare. There's a lot of history between the Reticulans & humanity within the setting. 

We're given this deep dive into the background of the various aliens but what about the interstellar place of humanity itself? Would the Reticulans mold humanity to suit space?! The answer came to me as a thought experiment. There were two books that were immediately in my hands from book shelf. The first one came out in the middle  Eighties called "FUTURE MAN Brave new world or genetic nightmare?" This book proposed complete genetic changes & genetic engineering for humanity. We find the usual Chinese menu of changes for humanity adopted for space. Thickening of the skin for the vacuum of space, adjustment of the eyes, etc. It's an interesting & solid foundation. 

This sort of adapting mankind to the stars isn't new at all & goes all of the way back to  Astounding Science Fiction in April 1957 with American writer Poul Anderson's story ' Call Me Joe' considered by many of us vintage science fiction fans a classic. As a dungeon master when your dealing with aliens in science fiction especially the Greys or Reticulans your walking a fine line. What I don't wanna do is fall into the 'Star Trek Trap' that is making the Grays so human like that they become just another alien race of humanoids. The Klingon race within Star Trek have lost their masque because of this. 

But where's the marrying campaign point within a game that allows one to really hit home in a campaign setting such as 'TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!'?  Well that's where the work of Dougal Dixon comes in and specifically his book 'Man after Man'.

 Man after Man speculates about the future evolution of mankind millions of years in the future.  And the Vacuumorph race of humanity is mankind genetically engineered to survive in space completely. You can get a good slice of what's going on in 'Man after Man' from infamous Monster Brains site. Such good stuff over there. 

Let me say that anything written by Dougal Dixon is absolutely pure campaign gold & nightmare fuel. The man's work is killer idea fodder & I've been a huge fan of his for many years going back to when I first discovered him back in the early Eighties on an American television show called 'That's Incredible'. It took me the better part of 5 years to track down that television episode back in the days before the internet. 
Now back to these genetically engineered space borne humanity race. These 'space dwellers' might be a hybrid between Grey biological technologies & humanity's capabilities: 

  1. They communicate with regular humanity using radio or other means such as lasers. 
  2. The 'space dwellers' have been adapted to service the Grey's ships but rebelled. 
  3. 'Space Dwellers' consider themselves a 'forgotten' race of humanity by normal homo sapiens 
  4. Equipment, housing etc. are all specially adapted by the 'space dwellers' for their new home. 
  5. This should be considered an NPC race in my mind.
  6. Psionics could be a must for the 'space dwellers' but rare because of genetic tinkering by the Greys. 
  7. The 'Space Dwellers' are key to understanding several unique space phenomenon that they have key knowledge of. 
  8. 'Space Dwellers' as a whole don't want to return to homo sapiens status at all. They do want their own representation within the human empire however. 
  9. Because of their unique status among humanity they are capable of jobs in space & interstellar commerce where they are in high demand. 
  10. Their sciences & grasp of physics is unique & very much suited to their environment. The Space Dwellers are not any more advanced then normal humanity within the Cepheus Engine rpg. 
In my mind the Space Dwellers are a perfect blend of NPC & adventure potential resource. The can easily be ported over into the Cepheus Engine rpg or even the  Stars Without Numbers rpg. This is only me screwing around with some of my favorite books. 

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