Starfinder: A FATE-ful Campaign

From my private Facebook group:

While you folks are contemplating your PCs, I’ve been noodling away in the background on campaign ideas. Thing is, I kind of like the idea of sharing what I’m up to, for two reasons:

  • If you’re into the campaign idea, you’re more likely to stick around / have fun.
  • I might be a good GM, but sometimes doing the idea-makey thing gets a bit hard – and who’s as creative as you folks? (Not to mention, who else is going to tell me what you dig?)

So I want to do a little campaign building with you, and I’d like to use a framework provided in another RPG, called FATE. It’s free to download on a pay-as-you-like basis and it’s got a great section on coming up with a campaign as a group.

On Saturday evening I talked about some of the big deals of the Starfinder setting – the Gap that erased recorded history up until 300 years ago; the missing planet Golarion; Near Space and the Vast; the weird hyperspace realm of the Drift and the mysterious Drift beacons that make it navigable; the Starfinder Society; the uneasy truce between the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium as they combat the ravaging Swarm.

Now I want to go into a little more detail about the ideas I’ve had (so that they can kick ideas of your own off), FATE-style. None of these ideas are set in stone, so feel free to pitch in.

GENERAL CONCEPT

The hired crew of a company starship, tending to the needs of a group of colony planets whilst also venturing into the Vast to discover strange new worlds to colonise / exploit.

THE WORLD AROUND THE PROTAGONISTS

Talfarr Sector: The Lord of the Rings meets Firefly. A collection of frontier planets out in the Vast, around fifteen days’ travel from the civilised Pact Worlds. The sector is being settled by prospecting companies like Kel’Thrannki Colonial, but it’s still somewhat wild and lawless – a space of opportunity, or a good place to run to.

SCALE

Medium. Talfarr Sector is a cluster of communities relying on each other across the distances of the Drift, with opportunities to encounter strangeness at every corner. More than single-town small-scale, but not galaxy-shaking, epic-scale stakes – yet.

ISSUES

In FATE, if the group isn’t involved already, it should be now. We decide upon two issues that the characters are involved in; either two immediate issues or one immediate and one impending. Our job is to make them fairly concrete; give them names, personalities, locations, faces. Let them inspire more ideas and even hooks for your PCs.

FATE has this to say:

Current Issues

These are problems or threats that exist in the world already, possibly for a long time. Protagonists tackling these issues are trying to change the world, to make it a better place. Examples: a corrupt regime, organized crime, rampant poverty and disease, a generations-long war.

Impending Issues

These are things that have begun to rear their ugly heads, and threaten to make the world worse if they come to pass or achieve a goal. Protagonists tackling these issues are trying to keep the world from slipping into chaos or destruction. Examples: an invasion from a neighboring country, the sudden rising of a zombie horde, the imposition of martial law.

For a current issue, my thought is competition of some sort. Kel’Thrannki Colonial aren’t the only firm settling Talfarr Sector, and competing companies can be pretty cut-throat when it comes to ensuring they get the profit from selling settled land to migrating families and communities. The subdued tension between the Pact Worlds and the Veskarium could even spill over here.

A possible impending issue is the Swarm. This is the Big Bad of Starfinder, a hive-mind insect race (think preying mantis / locusts on steroids) sweeping form planet to planet and consuming everything biological before moving on. Sooner or later, the Swarm will hit Talfarr Sector. Who will get in the way of mounting a defence – and who might be leding the Swarm here?

Another thought is tied into the exploration of Talfarr Sector. What dark secret lost to the Gap is someone about to stumble across? What clues could be scattered across the stars, hinting to those curious about the darkness that lurks waiting?

Okay, gang – have at it!

Featured image artwork by Remko Troost; sourced from the Paizo website. FATE Core cover art sourced from the Evil Hat website.