Tenuous Tie-In or Original Universe?


  • Pitcrew

    So I have my Digital Ocean droplet and I 99% sure that I want to go with Ares and FS3 for my first mush because it just seems like it would take less effort than any other option and I'll have enough learning to do, already.

    My strongest inclination for that rules set is to run a sci-fi game set on a distant colony world with little or no outside contact. I'm thinking kind of Pitch Black or Aliens feel to things. Survival, group politics, alien threats and exploration. Not to mention a good way to introduce new characters at will as more colonists (willing or not) are decanted from cold storage at the whims of an AI that doesn't listen or answer to the humans.

    I could really easily tie this into the Aliens/Prometheus universe, but it would probably lack most of the things people associate with that universe. Space Marines, sure, but probably not Xenomorphs, because those seem (based on the movies) to be an unstoppable and escalating threat and having them would foster a bunker mentality I don't want people to have.

    A little twisting around of the background could even make this work for anything from Stargate to Babylon 5 to just about any sci-fi property that dealt with space travel and alien worlds.

    But should I? Obviously, slapping an 'Aliens' or 'Predator' or 'Stargate' in the title and the set dressing would generate more initial interest, but as a player, would you feel robbed if your character was in that universe but grounded one one planet and facing threats other the main adversaries in those franchises most of the time?


  • Pitcrew

    @bad-at-lurking I think that there are benefits and downsides to both choices, but if you're just going to slap a label on it and not build what people would actually expect from a franchise, I wouldn't go with a franchise.

    This does mean that you'll have to be explicitly clear about the world that you're creating (probably both what's available on the colony and what life was like back wherever they came from, so that people know who their characters were before they went into cold storage, and why they went into it). Daily tech, limits of tech, state of the world around them, all that's going to be very important to write out clearly and concisely.



  • Don't label it as something that it doesn't actually contain. You'll get initial interest - and then an enormous drop off and probably way more drama than you want when people see that the inside doesn't match the cover. Go all original.



  • And do not shoot for teen/school/training oriented, seems the masses are teen/schooled out, lesson learned.

    I love the idea, cold storage, group politics, threats and exploration. Just before we tried Rise of Legends/Ephermeris Erudition, we'd discussed a similar original sci-fi idea. It was cold storage concept like you have there, but it wasn't random people. It was famous historical figures waking up and having to figure out where they were. It included a wall around the city to protect from others (similar to the alien threat you have up there), something like Wayward Pines. The historical figures sounded fun. Instead of Joe the Engineer pondering how to fix generators after mad Tim blew it up, would of been like Alexander Graham Bell arguing Kalpana Chawla on how best to conserve resources and provide sufficient energy or something. And they didn't die, they were preserved for mysterious reasons or something, part of the meta was figuring that out and then having to deal with the 'new world' and other threats/reason for that wall. CG would of been very easy, chars could be stated, but BG could of just pointed at wikipedia. We thought to make everything else secretive and allow the theme files and wiki to develop more as it was discovered rather than all up front. We vested more in the secretive expansion idea but then decided too much OOC playgroups would share info off site with friends rather than discovering as community build/exploration.

    That's to say, go original. For the reasons mentioned and for some of us, we don't have the time to get detailed in franchise/canon things; like KOTOR SW, it sounds fun but I wouldn't play because too many others know the canon and I don't want to read a ton to catch up.



  • @bad-at-lurking said in Tenuous Tie-In or Original Universe?:

    My strongest inclination for that rules set is to run a sci-fi game set on a distant colony world with little or no outside contact. I'm thinking kind of Pitch Black or Aliens feel to things. Survival, group politics, alien threats and exploration. Not to mention a good way to introduce new characters at will as more colonists (willing or not) are decanted from cold storage at the whims of an AI that doesn't listen or answer to the humans.

    The Aliens RPG has some fantastic lore that I really wanted to use when taking a swing and opening a mush (before I was distracted by other things).

    I'm a big fan of how it takes 2 weeks to charge up the capacitors for the FTL drive, so leaving a system is a big commitment, and you've got an in universe reason for not leaving a particular solar system for RP.


  • Pitcrew

    I mean you can always use everything in the aliens verse except the xenomorphs. I mean as long as you dedicate it to the tech and the world I wouldn't personally mind it being in the same verse just not having first contact with the Xenomorphs yet. Could even have Wayland corp be a nice fun antagonist.

    Edit: Basically what I'd suggest is instead of annihilating the xenomorphs entirely from the canon just having it so they exist, they just aren't where your game is set yet. This could give the potential for encounters down the line if you so decide or not. I mean the Aliens verse is a great big one with plenty of universe. It doesn't NEED xenomorphs to be the aliens universe so long as everything ELSE is accurate as possible. Long as you do that? No issue with it being a prequel or even just being a different sector of space disconnected from the Xenomorph threat. Maybe even have an event or two where the Predators show up. Who knows could be fun.


  • Coder

    @mr-johnson said in Tenuous Tie-In or Original Universe?:

    No issue with it being a prequel or even just being a different sector of space disconnected from the Xenomorph threat.

    Well, the only issue is if you label the game as "Aliens: Whatever" and there are no actual xenomorphs in it, people are going to be some degree of disappointed and/or mad. I think it would be fine to use the universe as long as the theme descriptions say: "This is set in the same universe as Aliens but there are no actual Aliens" but I wouldn't play that up in the ads and name and stuff. But then again, if you're not using the actual selling-point of the world, why not just make it original. Draw from the source but give yourself freedom.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday I would use it as opposed to an original universe outright not as a selling point but so people have an idea of what is available in the universe from the word go. No need to put it in the name but if I know "This is in the Aliens Universe" I instantly know exactly what to expect from the technology, and the setting at large. It makes it a lot easier to get into because you don't need to comb the wiki beginning to end in order to understand what you're getting into. And even if you just use the Alien verse as a jump off point there's still that anchor of what people can expect from the world you can work with. There are recognizable faces and elements that still remain. Just you know DON'T call it "Aliens: whatever" Don't put that stuff in the title since you're missing the xenomorphs.



  • How about Aliens meets Event Horizon meets Doom?

    Set in New Chicago, a terraforming/mining system, a research outpost, our good friends Weyland-Yutani are experimenting with new space fold systems, which (obviously) have awful implications for the colonists.

    Looking at the starmap from the game, there's also a system called 'Eyesore,' that could be a lovely locale to set the game in.


  • Pitcrew

    @sg If I could figure out how to make a space horror game sustainable, I'd go for it in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, I think horror is probably the most elusive of themes to sustain in a MU* environment.


  • Pitcrew

    @bad-at-lurking Don't go for it. Just set up the pieces to one. Put everything together so it has the opportunity to BE one without enforcing that it has to be one and the players will take it where it goes. Build it as the best damn horror game you can throw it in and make the world utterly bleak and horrifying. Then let the players handle it. If it stops being horror so what the important thing is that people are having FUN. Even the later alien movies and Alien Vs Predator stopped being horror after a while. I mean sure the world was basically the same but they shifted into a bit more action. Build it the way you want, then let the playerbase take it where they want. There's your sustainability. Be adaptable.



  • @mr-johnson said in Tenuous Tie-In or Original Universe?:

    It makes it a lot easier to get into because you don't need to comb the wiki beginning to end in order to understand what you're getting into.

    I think a lot of folks share the sentiment for worlds they are familiar with, but I want to offer the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm through with cannon verse when I'm looking for a new place to play. I might be familiar with Star Wars in having seen the films and avidly playing WEG SW in the 80s and 90s, but any place now I have zero interest in because canon includes X number of books from the literature, Y number of games, Z number of TV series, etc. Sure they have some hodge podge guide saying what is/isn't cannon, but its usually more than I care to learn. Instead of SW with this, minus that, mix the other, I'd just be as happy with space opera game Delta, evil tyrant, conflicting races/civilizations, and some nod to the tech level to help with things as pointed out (space ships travel so fast, teleportation works, neural networking doesn't or whatever). Aliens verse has just as much culture in its cannon, numerous movies, comics, other sources. Could even be 'our technology is like canon universe, but instead we've ... Just, make sure the 'comparison' is something popular enough that people understand it.

    For me, it is much easier to read original theme then to try and get caught up on a wealth of cannon that I either had no time to get into since the inception of the canon universe or wasn't interested enough and won't be to play a MU. Then again, I'm more after storytelling when I play and I appreciate the creativity of an original world over canon MU/game. And with original theme, I know if I ask the main creator of theme a question that wasn't in the files/wiki, they'll have an answer that isn't 'we must check the cannon' or some long explanation of how the canon conflicts and then a determination of how the joint is going to deal with that question.

    That said, either is good, canon-verse or original theme, just different stroke and different folks.


  • Coder

    @lotherio

    I'm with you 100%.

    But if I can still get into the game with basic (e.g., movie) knowledge, then this is a wonderful compromise: Something made for light and heavy fans alike. A light touch on the game wiki should provide a lot of help. "Hell's Kitchen is where the downtrodden of Metropolis live; even under Superman's watchful eye, small crimes affect small people, and organized crime lives for this."

    Clearly I don't know my comic book lore, but you get the idea.


  • Coder

    Think it's been said pretty well already, but why not say it again... Original world. Borrow as heavily as you like from one of those other settings, but make clear that it's not that thing.

    I know it's not a great example, but when we ran BITN (a WoD MUX), we said "there are vampires, and we might borrow from WoD vampires, but they are not WoD vampires. They are original vampires." and everyone was happy with the response. Something to orientate yourself helps. Keeping it original otherwise seems to interest players.