Here’s how things look by the end of January:
I roll a d4 (that being the smallest die with at least as many sides as I have factions) and get a 2; the Archive is up first.
Great Archive: New goal – Expand Influence on Kov. Action – build Surveyors at Mizah. Ends the turn with 2 FacCreds and 0 experience.
Mizah Combine: New goal – Expand Influence on Kov. Action – build Surveyors at Mizah. Ends the turn with 1 FacCred and 0 experience.
Solomani Confederation: New goal – Peaceable Kingdom (it’s starting by placing a Base of Influence on Hasara then working its way back towards Gazzain, but it can’t do that until turn 5, so it may as well be making progress towards another goal). Action – build Surveyors at Gazzain. Ends the turn with 1 FacCred and 0 experience.
Aslan Hierate: New goal – Expand Influence on Enjiwa. Action – refit Blockade Fleet at Panas as Blockade Runners. Ends the turn with 3 FacCreds and 0 experience.
There will eventually be more than one party, but for now it’s just the crew of the Collateral Damage.
- 3 January: Collateral Damage – Back in Black.
- 25 January: Collateral Damage – Stasis Pod.
And now, here is the news… items in italics are for the GM only, items in normal text can be read out to the party. One of the challenges that would be avoided by FTL radio is the time lag between events occurring and becoming apparent to the PCs, which may partly explain why The Last Parsec has FTL communications; but in this setting, news can only travel by ship, so I need to record when the news occurs, and when it reaches the base worlds for each party; at the moment that means Mizah for my PCs, and Valka for Nick’s.
Mizah, 03 January 3201
Yesterday evening, the Erdemir clifftop mansion of Barca Tekin, CEO of Kıçmetal Mining, was assaulted by a team of hitmen in a stolen gravsled. Barca Tekin was killed in the attack along with Olus Togan, the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer. Cagatay Ilhan, a representative of the Balkan Group, was later discovered lost in the nearby Erdemir Nature Reserve, claiming to have been rescued by anti-terrorist Special Forces operators acting on a tipoff.
A spokesman for the President categorically denied that any such Special Forces unit had been involved in the incident.
The Zonguldak Police Department continues its search for those responsible. The wreckage of two gravsleds has been recovered from the Nature Reserve, along with several as-yet unidentified bodies. Investigating detectives have appealed for any information relating to the group which appeared unexpectedly just before the attack and ransacked the gravsled hangar before shooting the Kıçmetal Mining mascots, genetically-engineered dinosaur retroclones, with a nailgun. They are wanted on suspicion of aiding and abetting the attackers, Grand Theft Gravsled, and animal cruelty charges.
Collateral Damage episode 0: Back in Black. Occurs on Mizah on 3 January; news reaches Mizah immediately, and Valka on 14 February.
Mizah, 07 January 3201
The President of the Republic of Mizah stood side by side with the Grandmaster Adept of the Great Archive today, as they made a joint announcement that Mizah would expand its surveyor fleet and reinvigorate the fair trade and foreign aid provisions of the Zonguldak Accords.
A spokesman for the Mizah Combine condemned this as unfair, stating that the Combine’s similar programme is hampered by a lack of government subsidies and restricted access to the Archive’s naval architecture database. ‘Yet again,’ he said, ‘We see our tax Credits used to fund the Archive’s obsession with giving away our most precious asset, the technical knowledge we have preserved for centuries when other worlds cast it aside – an asset which could be a source of enduring revenue for us all.’ Despite this, Erdemir Spaceport – where the ships will be built – issued a statement welcoming this renewed commitment to the industry.
Faction turn 1. Occurs on Mizah on 7 January; news reaches Mizah immediately, and Valka on 18 February. There should also be news from Panas and Gazzain.
Gazzain, 21 January 3201
A spokesman for the government of Gazzain announced today that following a recent budgetary review, the Confederation Council has authorised construction of survey vessels to explore the regions beyond the Solomani Quadrant. These will be built at Gazzain’s orbital spaceyard, bringing a welcome boost to the economy.
Faction turn 1. This occurs on Gazzain on 21 January; the news reaches Mizah on 4 February, and Valka on 11 March.
Mizah, 25 January 3201
Collateral Damage episode 1: Stasis Pod. Newsfeed item pending scenario completion. Occurs on Mizah on 25 January; news reaches Mizah immediately, and Valka on 8 March.
Panas, 28 January 3201
Hierate authorities have announced an amnesty for smugglers and pirates whose vessels are currently impounded on Panas. This will apply to any ships and crews willing to enter Hierate service as fleet auxiliaries; their sentences will be commuted to time served, and they will be required to decommission their ship’s weapons and become subject to Hierate Navy orders.
Faction turn 1. This occurs on Panas on 28 January; the news reaches Valka on 11th February, and Mizah on 18th March.
The initial setup for the factions took me quite a while, but the first faction turn took only minutes – it took a little longer to write out the newsfeed items, but no more than an hour, and that will probably improve dramatically with practice.
I’m deliberately throwing out a ton of newsfeed items to start with, in the hope of stimulating the players’ own plans and shifting them from scripted adventures to sandbox exploration at the stellar level, rather than within the scope of a single mission as they have become used to in recent years. Let’s see if they rise to the bait.