Saturday, May 31, 2014

Star Apocalypse

Image by NASA via Wikipedia
The universe (or should that be Universe) is going to die someday. Well, maybe - I'm no physicist - I don't even play one on TV. But let's assume that all the stars in the sky will someday cool or collapse, and leave a universe very short on energy. All the star empires and rogue traders will be left to scavenge what they can from self-sufficient star bases and colonies, plundering once fertile planets that are now cold and almost lifeless, etc.

In other words - Star Apocalypse.

The idea here is to combine the two gaming genres of Traveler-style sci-fi and Gamma World-style post-apocalyptic gaming. The main point would not be the gathering of power, but of just keeping ahead of the cold, entropic embrace of Death. Every alien species and human star empire and god-like superbeing in the universe is dying, and the players are just trying to outlast them.

The best rules for such a campaign would probably sci-fi rules modified to allow for scarcity and the idea that the best and brightest are gone and those who remain maybe do not understand the technology they use quite as well as they should.

Where would the adventures take place? Isolated colonies (under glass domes, of course) and star bases eager for trade, but wary of strangers (think in terms of isolated towns in Westerns), ruins of ancient civilizations, and drifting hulks (as in spaceships) in deep space. The play would often be dungeon-style - exploring a physical space and battling monsters and traps, but the drivers would be the need for supplies - energy, fuel, food and water, replacement parts for the spaceship. Of course, there could also be a meta-driver - the belief that some super-scientist somewhere built a portal that allows one to leave the dying universe for a parallel universe that remains young and vital. This Shangri-la could be the overall focus of the campaign - something akin to Battlestar Galactica's plot of a caravan of spaceships seeking Earth.

Just a thought - and probably not an original one at that.


  1. Neato but a big problem with a campaign near then end of the universe will be how gosh awful far apart everything is going to be. Sure cool embers of stars will still have cold worlds drifting around them but the night sky will be so incredibly empty as the observable universe will have so little to observe. At a point in the history of the universe the vast majority of the universe will be so far away from any given point most of the energy emitted by future stars will never be observed as it will never reach somewhere to be observed as expansion carries on.
    There may be isolated spots in the universe where many billions of years from now the conditions are ripe for a world to birth life onto a world where the life forms will never see a sky full of stars, there will be an absence of constellations, no evidence of solar evolution, no big super novas to light the sky, their world will be virtually the entire observable universe and the limit of everything they will ever reach.

    1. Yes, but a campaign set in a single solar system of black skies, jam-packed with six billion years of exhausted science projects, blind vampiric mutation, dozing Titans, and UFO detritus would be extraordinary.

    2. Thus the initial neato, In 600 million year or so life on earth (as we know it) is likely doomed and that's still billions of years before the sun enters the red giant phase.
      If humanity makes the great escape even ot our outer system there's goign to be so much stuff to exploit and be part of. If by strange fate or genetic manipulation people are around long enough we might see when liquid water can run on the moons of Jupiter or Saturn because the sun is swollen and emitting enough energy for several hundred million years to possibly make some of them habitable, at least with a little super-science manipulation.

    3. I'm thinking more fantasy than hard sci-fi. Like Zothique in space.

    4. Definitely the way to go and if there were sentient beings we could care about in such an epoch it would be fantastic.


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