Monday, February 26, 2024

The War for Earth

Thinking about Armageddon 2419 A.D. (Nowlan's 1928 novel that introduced the world to the character later known as Buck Rogers) while listening to the audiobook of the first novel in The Expanse series, I think it would be cool to run a rpg campaign in a sort of updated version of Nowlan's world. Of course, TSR helpfully already updated that world in Buck Rogers XXVc in the late 80s, so that's a resource, but I think I would tweak things in a slightly different direction.

The basic idea is the same, though. Civilization on Earth is pushed to the brink in the 22nd century by climate change and the political and social upheaval that follows it. Eventually war breaks up, and the Western world essentially collapses.

While all this was going down Silicon Valley and other wealthy futurist types had been developing their exit strategy by pushing space colonization through private companies to orbit, the Moon, Mars, and Venus. The forward-thinking government of China gets in on these efforts, and eventually a hybrid, corporate culture emerges on Mars.

So we fast forward a bit to a time where Mars has colonies established in Earth-Luna Lagrange points and is the colonial power seeking to rebuild (and exploit) the backward Earth. Martian colonial types and the Earthers that get with the program live in arcologies (like the Plexmalls of American Flagg!), but outside of those it's all warlords, mutants, and dangerous left-over bio- and cyber-weaponry from any number of wars.

There are also rebels out there. Earthers, sure, but also bioroid and cyber beings trying to escape exploitation by the rapacious Corporation of Mars. The Earth independence forces have secret bases in orbit and if not friends, at least allies on other worlds who would like to check Martian power--through proxies, naturally.

Anyway, beyond the influences mentioned about, others might be film/tv like Andor and Rogue One, Blakes 7The Creator, Elysium, and games like Transhuman Space and Jovian Chronicles.


JB said...

This is a pretty cool idea. Also, I just love the term "bioroid;" most (all?) games need more bioroids.

But I think it would be a downer for long-term play.

You know, the thing about revolutions are: they're really hard to pull off, especially if they're on 'home soil,' unless and until the rebels receive some sort of outside help. And often the successful revolution becomes the puppets of those "outside helpers."

It might be more interesting to set the game AFTER the successful revolution against the Luna-Martian coalition: the ceasefire has been signed, but there are still border skirmishes, there's still rubble being picked through by the fragile new "Earth Government," forests are still full of mutants and outlaws, etc. In this environment there's a lot for a group of adventurers to do...a lot of ways for ex-soldiers to find work, and make a place for themselves in the New World.

BTW: I've never seen The Expanse. Is it worth watching?

Trey said...

My wife and I enjoyed it. I think it's good on it's own right, but a lot of its appeal may just be a modern sci-fi show that is relatively high budget and isn't Star Wars or Star Trek.

JB said...

Yeah, that's kind of what I have a taste for. MY wife is NOT into science all. But she DOES like good television and enjoyed both Firefly and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. If the stories and characters are good, she's in. But alien beings and alien relations are a bit of a turnoff.

Trey said...

This is (almost all) humanity and human's inhumanity to other humans. The alien stuff isn't zero, but it's very backburner.

Picador said...

"Ming the Merciless" is just Terran insurgent propaganda. Ming Hao (he/him) is actually a well-regarded Senior VP in the Mars Terran Development Corporation's New Projects division, and he heads up the company's ESG program!

Trey said...

Ha! There you go.

Dick McGee said...

@JB: "You know, the thing about revolutions are: they're really hard to pull off, especially if they're on 'home soil,' unless and until the rebels receive some sort of outside help. And often the successful revolution becomes the puppets of those 'outside helpers.'"

I live in the United States, and would like to point out that we have never been puppets of France, which was definitely our main source of revolutionary assistance. For that matter, we inspired the French to hold their own revolution with minimal outside aid shortly thereafter, and while that may have gone badly awry the problems that arose were largely internal ones rather than the result of foreign puppet-masters. And later on the Soviet revolution succeeded despite foreign interventions, for better or worse.

Really not that hard to find examples of revolutions that succeeded largely on their own, and others where the "help" wound up with no control over the new regime at all.

Deadstop said...

If the fish-out-of-water character should still be an option, I like the approach of Christian Conkle’s Overlords of Dimension-25, an XXVc retroclone in which an entire section of Pennsylvania (Rogers County, home to the town of Buck’s Head and its associated Gerard Air Force Base, ahem) is transported into the setting instead of one famous NPC.