My first new project is a subsector setting for the Cepheus Engine sci-fi game system, which I’m tentatively calling Xiangong, after one of the worlds.
I recently read a series of articles about the sources and inspiration for CE’s 1977 ancestor game, in particular a bit about how The Man Who Would Be King is an ideal example of an adventure for the game. A couple scoundrels with guns head to a backwater country with a scheme of getting rich. Put that next to the stories in the Dumarest Saga, and you have a rough, dangerous, largely amoral setting that sounds a lot more like Conan’s Hyperboria than the Third Imperium. Like sword and sorcery, but in this case, sword and spaceship!
Instead of ships filling the skies and million-ton dreadnoughts, I want isolated worlds, small ships, corrupt magistrates, petty and scheming nobles. I want a setting where the characters can mess up the status quo, set things on fire, start a war, win a war, get rich or die trying.
So here’s Xiangong subsector as a response to that. Once a province of the Federation, now it’s an isolated cluster of worlds struggling to get by.
- Xiangong, a polluted factory planet, where life is cheap and the wealthy live in shimmering spires that tower over the toxic clouds. Side with the uprising, or get paid to infiltrate and suppress them.
- Lofoten, clans of nomads fighting over the resources of an asteroid belt. Get into a knife fight and take over one of the clans!
- Rhiannon, a deadly world where nearly everything can kill you, but the lure of mysterious alien artifacts brings a constant flow of fortune seekers. Hire a team and see how far you get.
- Boudica, where the terraforming machinery has been disrupted and the environment is slowly failing, while petty warlords fight over the scraps. Play them against each other like Yojimbo, or become a warlord yourself!
… and many more!
Most of the worlds will be fairly low tech, so an enterprising individual can show up and get into all kinds of trouble.
My vision right now is to focus on a cluster that’s J-3 from Xiangong, and give each of those worlds a writeup with locations, factions, patrons, trade info, and rumors/encounters. Stuff that a GM can use to run a sandbox.
Expect updates as I go.