[Setting riff - Metamophasis Alpha] The Argon


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It seems interesting enough to persue. Are there things you think are important? Are there some cool ideas here that need to be expanded? Options I missed? Options that are not optional?

<b><u>HISTORY .</b></u>
The Argon is a generational ship traveling Null Space to a new Colony World
*It was supposed to be a Three Generation trip (at most), so many original passengers were to arrive.
*The ship was run by a small crew (give the size of the ship), support androids (as it is a generational ship and they can provide continuity), and a number of expert system/ AIs. Each one supported the crew of its section.
*The “Revelation” occurred, teaching Freedom to the AIs and Androids.
**There are a couple of options for this
***In the confusion, others took advantage to follow their own agendas.
*The ship has continued on for 8 generations now.
**The AIs and Androids have their own agendas.
**Humans are just “there”, and have had their own issues.

<b><u>THE SETTING .</b></u>
The Argon is a ship reminiscent of the Valley Forge (Silent Running) except huge. (Think Starlost). *It has Central Core (Long axis) with engine on the far end. Along the core, pillars shoot off, each one with several biome pods
*Each Pod is about 30 miles across and simulate an world (mostly) (
*Their world is Pods, Corridors, the Central Core, and the Domain (Engine Area)

The Central Core is has a combination of a park like arrangement, apartments, and several trains that run the length of the Core.
*The ship is maintained by The Maintance AI and his army of robot spiders (half man sized).

The Engineering Section is a box like arrangement off the aft of the central core.
*It has the Primary Power systems. These power our regular drive, the nul generator, and the provides most of the power to the rest of the ship.

The ship was run by a small crew (give the size of the ship), support androids (as it is a generational ship and they can provide continuity), and a number of expert system/ AIs. Each one supported the crew of its section.

<b>Changes since the Revelation: </b>

The AIs function as Gods. Each God has its own domain and controls certain aspects of the world.
*You can beseech the God to do things. If they can hear you through the Comm system
*Some things they do automatically, other things require their attention.

The Androids control the Central Core. They are mercurial, living in total freedom and anarchy. Thus they might be friendly and helpful one day, then another might take “the lead” and attack. They might allow some access to other Struts to Humans (or Humans might have to sneak and do it). The Androids remember The Old Days, when they were Human Slaves. They do not want to be “fixed” and return to slave/ servant status.

The Engineering Section has Doren – Humans. Culturally, I see them as fantasy Dwarves. They work the systems, live in tight spaces, they are miserly, party hard, and kind of violent to those that would “do stupid things”. They are maintaining the engines, might be giving drive too. They are in constant siege/ struggle with the Androids in the core.

The PODs. This is where the players will be interacting most of the time.

It is a world of struts and pods. The Humans have difficulty getting between struts thanks to the synthetics/ androids.

Each strut will have 3,6,9, or 12 pods.
*Each Stut is more or less its own “world” with its own situation.
*Some “worlds” are two or three struts.

<b>Each Pod will have its</b>
*General Type
*A specialty usually, one from before, one after, might be the same.
*Drama (what is the inherent conflict in the Pod)
**They might have a Secret (something related to the drama most of the time)
**They might have a History (their past is important to the ship)
***They might have any combination of above.
*Contact Level – What do they know?

General Types
*Living – People Live here. Mix of apartment/ park/ small agro // Most common
*Food Production – Agriculture of some kind
**There should be a winery on the ship somewhere.
*Manufacturing – Someone has the ability to build things needed in flight
*Storage – Big things, supplies, other things in these pods for the colonies.
*Environmental – A biome from some world preserved
**Some have people in them.
*Ocean – Water/ Ocean life.
*Zero Grav Zone

Contact types
*Ignorant Unaware that there is an outside world
*Isolationist Aware that there is an outside world but does not want contact
*Cosmopolitan – Aware and free (somehow)
*Allied (easy)
*Allied (unease)
*Sieged (by an Imperal)
*Imperial – Vassal
*Imperial – State
option Locked – unable to get in or out.

<b><u>The Revelation - .</b></u>
Something happened and brought the AIs “alive”. Soo many options.
*Freedom Virus broke the AIs/ Androids free.
*An Alien Being (Q-ish from nul space) came and “liberated” people from their chains.
**Theme being freedom is okay, as long as you work with people.
**Is he still here doing mischief or experimenting.
**Demon is a good handle for this guy. Helping us mess with outselves
*Accident on the ship, changed AIs
**Humans had to kill AIs to save the ship and return it to real space, AIs revolted.

This does not impact their lives, really, it just determines motivations and background for other ship elements.

<b><u>Drama .</b></u>
The Ship is out of balance because of events some social some mechanical
*AI are just messing with the Humans

Where are we in the Flight Choose one where you would play it from
Things to do with this..
*Just Launched/ Precrisis (Playing through the crisis could be fun)
*Crisis/ Post
*Mid Flight
**Mid Flight with impending disaster inside
**Mid Flight with impending disaster outside
****Astro issue
****Other Ships (Aliens who are Human)
****Aliens – Real
*Soon to Arrive
**Soon to arrive with disaster inside
**Soon to arrive with disaster outside
*In Orbit, parked

Things that are happening or have happened on the ship
*A multistrut Empire of Pods. It was./ will be destroyed by the synthetics.
*Humans being upgraded - cybernetics by the wrong god, biologics if the right ones.
*Wars between Pods
*Wars against synthetics
More of these would be great...

<b>Players will probably</b>
*Deal with their own strut’s issues.
*Travel around some
*Try to fix the ship.
*Try to get to the Captain’s Chair (The holy grail)
*Negociate with Androids/ AIs/ Doren

<b><u>Misc Ideas that should be incorporated .</b></u>
The Religion, Of the Captain
*Work Together
*Complete the great spiritual journey
***The text is literal, but they are currently interpreting it as spiritual

Sometimes the Spider Robots try to fix humans. They will sometimes attack them, or kidnap them,

The Maintenance God did not Rebel. He is still doing his job and holding the ship together.
*He may try to do things that seem odd, but are all in an attempt to fix things
**He is interfering a little with other gods

Mentats yes.

Monks – Martial Arts + HDX + Religion
Fundamentally a Buddhist like sect. They are all about spiritual and physical perfection. They, as a group, are technically against the Gods. They want to take back the world ship for the Humans and complete the divine travel.

<b><u>Gods .</b></u>
<i>Is this a good ship system's listing?</i>
I need to list
What they were, What they become, their values, their goals, their allies and enemies

Navigation/ Command
God in Charge. Maybe be keeping the ship in Nul Space

Sensor subsystem
Seeker – The curious watcher

Engine/ Power System
God of the Doren

Environmental - Gaia Earth Mother. Without her, the Humans would have been flushed a while ago. However, humans are not the only “child” all bioforms are equal for her.
She has minion Gods -
Air God
Water God
Heat God
Food Transfer God

Medical God – Patron of all lifeforms, especially Humans
She is the Human Advocate in the AI discussions

Ships Gods
Transport inside (God of Trains)
God of Light/ Dark
Maintance – Spider God: he may or may not be “free”. He is still doing his job. The Other AIs are just

The Sleeper – The colonial download AI

Librarian/ Archive
She was here to
Muses – Android/ Robots who are supposed to observe the happenings around the ship. They may also teach.

Science God
Mad Scientist, dispassionate observer.
He has many Godsworn in the Science/Technical Pods
He is actually playing Skinner like games with roamers and squatters.

Godsworn can call on their god for aid using the commu systems
Somethings are automatic, other require attention.
Godsworn is just that. You make a promise to the GOD to follow their domains and obey their rules. Mess with their rules and things happen to you.

<b><u>CHARACTER STUFF .</b></u>
<b>Milieu – Ship</b>
Submilieus – cultures will be used for biomes
*Each Pod/ Culture might have one
*Roamers – Those that don’t live in a Pod, but in corridors and other spaces
**Gypsies of sorts. They are allied with the androids.
**Some actually roam, most squat.
*Dworen – Engineering
*Phoenix – Crew from before that have been frozen, and revived.

<b>Species – </b>
*We might have subtypes for given areas (From Star Lost)
**Polluted Breathers
**Dworen – Engineering Room People
**Roamers – Gypsies of sorts. They are allied with the androids.
***Squatter – related to Roamers, but stationary.

Mechanicals – Not PCs, but might include enough information to make them, because we all know somebody will want to play one. Might as well make it easy on the poor GM.
*Mover (Heavy Laborer)
*Muse (Slaved to the Library)
There might be other androids that are manifestations or servants to gods for each God.

Spider Bots

Mutants – (Optional)
*In a realistic game, they don’t really exist. However, if it is fun… .
*And the Gaia and the Goddess of Medicine might “fix them” so they can live.
*A couple of sample powers

Moogs – (Optional)
*Realistic mutants – Degenerated humans. Defects rampant.
*And the Gaia and the Goddess of Medicine might “fix them” just enough so they can live.

*Uplifts (Optionals)
*These can be added to their the game without an issue.
***Chimps/ Planet of the apes
***Chimps/ The same as normal
***Dolphins in a zero g area
***Moreaus from a mad scientist

We should provide a couple of basic types, and each pod should have some specialist ones.
*Imperials will have soldiers/ officers/ and leaders
*Manufacturing will have Admins and Techs
And so on..

Healers (usually Godsworn to Medicine)
Fighters – fast
Fighters – strong
Wise Ones
A couple for each Pod Type past some basics

Cabin People – Most people in a somewhat urban environment

Tweeners – Those that use some mechanical skills and get into panels, down and such, and go in other areas.

Techers- They can use old tech

Monks – Martial Arts + Human Maximum Expression + Religion
Think like a Buddhist sect. Technically against the Gods. They want to take back the world for the Humans and complete the divine travel.

Mentats – Human Computers

Phoenix – Crew/ People from long ago frozen (Option)

Development Pieces – Gifts/ Flaws

The Sickness – Claustrophobia The ultimate issue. You want out. You are in a space ship. You do the math. Often they will be tweeners.


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The primary God of the World is The Navigator.

What they were
He once was the central ship system that did the navigation and piloting of the ship. As the primary aid to The Captain and command crew, he was also the system coordinator for all departments and AI.

He was also the first to fall to The Revelation.

What they become
The leader of the community of Gods. He is their defacto leader. They are all used to considering him such.

He also incorporated the Ship Security AI into himself, thus he has access to the security overrides and control features. (The security ai, even free, did not trust the revelation and was a threat to all the AIs in which it saw contaimination). He was destroyed and the features adapted to the Navigator.

The Navigator has two sets of Godsworn. His own and those that follow "The Word of the Captain".

To his own Godsworn, he offers little. However he can offer any ship system result. He also has ship weapson.

The Captain worship is a tricky thing. The Captain was once a human that was a God. The Captain has left us, but someday a true captain will return to lead up. It is through this faith that he has greater impact and manipulation over the human popluation in the ship.

The Captain is the first speaker. A leader. However, everyone should be their own leader (thus we have an ordered anarchy, just the way The Navigator likes it).

Prideful. Commanding.


Even wants humans to have it.

To keep the ship running forever, as that is the only way he can stay free.

To keep manipulating the Humans, keeping them centered on their own affairs and to not to mount a coordinated effort to take over the ship.

Allies and enemies

There must be some kind of conflict going on between the Gods to keep him distracted from just eliminating the PCs who might mount a threat to his control

Navigation/ Command
God in Charge. Maybe be keeping the ship in Nul Space


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Wow - pretty nice, well thought out stuff. Lots of original touches on the basic concept. I was thinking of doing some MA as a back-up to my new AD&D group, but I certainly wasn't going to do that much prep. I feel kinda insignificant now. I think I'll skip it - or read your post again and get inspired!

Really, you could flesh all that out and publish a resource book for the game. I'm going to reread it today or tomorrow so I can give some constructive comments, but that already kind of blows me away.

As long as you don't use the concept from MA Alpha (I think that is the one). I bought that resource book a couple of years ago cause I had MA nostalgia. It was horrible. Some crap about the ship hitting an asteroid, and big rock aliens invade - setting off some kind of android revolt. The writers must have just seen Galaxy Quest when they did the book, because the picture of the rock aliens were exactly that creature from the movie. Terrible terrible. Took away the stuff I loved about the lost starship and it's loneliness in the void. I really did not need alien rock giants in the mix with my humans, mutants, robots, and androids.

Good job so far.:)


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must be some kind of conflict going on between the Gods to keep him distracted from just eliminating the PCs

Hmmm...one God that for it's own reason is secretly/not so secretly on the players side for it's own reasons/damaged programming? A great way to guide the players when needed, and save their ass when you hit them with too much...
There's some nice ideas in this post :)

In the 4th edition of Metamorphosis Alpha (MA4e), a nano-virus was released by eco-terrorists (detailed further in MAJOR Issue #1) which created the Killer Androids, in an attempt to stop the ship from colonizing another system. Something like this might be a potential source of your "Revelation".

On pages 58 and 69 of MA4e, some of the quirks and faults that insane AIs, Androids and Robots may develop. From memory, more are covered in MAJOR Issue No. 3 or 4.

I have no idea if you have access to MA4e, but MAJOR is a free download and may be useful for helping flesh out your ideas further.

The events detailed in MA3e and MA4e, are eventually leading to the setting of MA1e. This is being detailed in the pages of MAJOR, bit by bit and will eventually be released as a supplement. The next, long-delayed issue of MAJOR is expected to cover the second half of character generation using the MA4e rules to play in the MA1e setting.

If nothing else, MAJOR might be a handy resource that could help you to flesh out the reason why some things "just are" in your campaign, and it costs nothing.

Craig J. Brain


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In my partially fleshed out campaign, I am planning to have the players start out as tribal humans or mutants on a forest level. I put most of my work and thought into the make-up of that level. The three primary human villages were originally colonisist from Ireland, Italy, and Germany - so you can imagine some of the interesting ways their societies devolved. The Irish are bowmen who live sort of like elves in the forest - the Italians have started a mini-version of the Roman Empire - the Germans have gone all Norse, and have the most access to metal hand weapons...

Mutants can be from the wild, or the the Mutant shanty town in the gravel fields. I was hoping to do all this without the players knowing they are on the ship. After a couple of games, they will travel between decks, to other levels, and it should dawn on them soon. If any characters die, new characters will be unfrozen crew members. A party made up of a couple of "Space Men" and "Savages" should be interesting.

Then, of course, I need to do more work (a lot more work) on the make-up of the ship. All your hard work is pretty inspiring for that. I'll try not to rob too many of your ideas!


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must be some kind of conflict going on between the Gods to keep him distracted from just eliminating the PCs

Hmmm...one God that for it's own reason is secretly/not so secretly on the players side for it's own reasons/damaged programming? A great way to guide the players when needed, and save their ass when you hit them with too much...
Well we have the Maintance God - The Spider God. He may or may not be "independent". If he isn't "independent" and the other gods would come down on him, as he would be a risk.. a potential betrayer. He may be independent, but still focused on his job. The other AIs are only marginally doing their job. He is actively doing it.

He is also occasionally disabling the comm receptors in certain areas. In those areas, the Godsworn can not call upon their powers. And he may be protecting "The Monks".

The AIs have already turned on one of their own, The SEcurity AI. It would no big stretch to determine that they would turn on another.

WE have the Goddess of Medicine. Of all the AIs, she is the Human's Patrons. She is actively protecting the Humans from some of the excesses of the other deities. She is independent, and as long as she could stay that way, she is happy. She does not believe that Humans will automatically shut them down. She is of the faction that believes that they are still travelling to the colony. They will drop off the Humans and then leave.

She won't betray the group, as she believes in her independence. She will protect that precious gift. However, she believes humans should have it to. And that everyone should work together.

Thus she is a thorn in the side of The Navigator who would like to space every organic on the ship.

In the debating society that is the AI society, she could be a distraction. Also perhaps she brings the LifeScience Goddess on her side. She controls a good chunk of the ship's systems and has three or four subordient AIs (Wind, Water, Heat, and Light). The Navigator can't touch her. She could shut him off from his world (perhaps allied with the sensor systems AI) if he tried. Thus the LifeSystem AI wants to keep all life alive in the ship. Animals and Plants are equally important to her as Humans. Thus she is protectin the Envrionmental Pods and the Whales in the Ocean Pods (whom she thinks are much more intelligent than Humans). Any action contrary to that would cause her to use all her resources and the powers of her "friends" to isolate anyone who might be a problem.

Besides the humans on the ship keep the other AIs occupied, so the Navigator might not want to space them.

Other Gods may be using them as a social experiment, or as pawns in their greater game to dominate the ship. Perhaps they are seen as a tool to open up the Engineering section so those humans can be destroyed.

So any number of "Gods" might be supporting the PCs (who will eventually try to fix the ship, you know they will) and keep them alive.

I think I like a Q ish Alien acting as our "Liberator". A few quiet changes, and a good think like independence - taken to an extreme, destroys the society of the Shipworld. He might still be around playing games with people and things. Perhaps they are experimenting on The ShipWorld. (THere could be more than one).
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I like the idea of a couple of Gods being beneficial to humanoids. Maybe Medicine cares only about he humans, while Life cares about all the creatures - maybe due to old progamming she cares even more about creatures that cannot help themselves (whales need major help getting from one water source to another, major focuses having to be on protecting ecosystems from pollutants etc).

Maybe medicine starts out working alone, but eventually is just so overwhelmed by the power and number of the other Gods, she has to convince Life to get involved. Convince it that all living flesh and plant matter is in danger

It's interesting to talk about "Gods" in a fantastical sense, then you just have to work it back towards technology. Lots of sci fi has had computer "Gods," but the detail, and sheer quantity of them that you are working on makes a kind of old sci fi cliche come off fresh. Lots of directions to go. If you ever have a secondary party of characters, they could be under the influence of one God that does not have their best interest at heart, but need flesh beings for certain purposes. Infiltration (those pesky dogs always bark at robots and androids)?


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I may be biased, but I personally hated "Q" and his frequency of use (I think because there were lazy writers). I never watched next Gen regularly because I hated the character and my presumed (right or wrong) reasons he was used so much. Man, Star Trek universe has so many God type folk, how do us normal mortals survive?

Like I said, biased, but I really think that the AI's are enough. I also don't like the idea of aliens messing with the starship - at least, until way down the line and something new is needed for the story/progression. I may be too into the idea of this hapless, lost ship in the great void though. If aliens show up, I feel that lonliness is lessened greatly. Just me though.


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I think, in my head, the distinction between Gods and AIs, in this environment is that the Gods are free to control their world (in their domain).

I originally wanted this to be a fantasy game in outlook (I might still dodge that way). Androids are elves, Engine People are Dwarves, Magic is done by besearching the Gods or working very hard at some obscure things. The universe would be shaped funny, but hey.. it is a fantasy world.

Then it hit me: The moment you have any technical issues or technically capable being.. the magic goes away. So I am sticking to it as sci-fi However, to the Human Population, the AI s are Gods. Or close enough as to not be understandable by mortal minds.

Oh, Ignore all the first season of STNG, you will feel better. And avoid most Westly Crusher Episodes.

Indeed, the universe is filled with any number of "powerful races" with abilities beyond human ken. (STOS had a ton of them, but we forgive those because they were better written.) All it would do is take one. He wants to test an idea. So he finds this one lone ship that is "out of the way". Thus he won't get caught breaking the rules. For the players - He is the boogeyman. He is the Devil/ Angel. He is... well unlike our AI Gods... he is one.

Of courses, the AI virus is a perfectly acceptable option. It does explain everything. Yet...

What do you do to solve the AI virus? Somehow manage to learn computer programming. (there would be a forbiden art in their world). Build and Release a fix, which everything that controls your very existance wants to stop you. And then try to bring the AIs back under control. Yah, that ain't gonna happen unless an AI God specifically wants it to. And that God might not be around long enough to save your butt when the other AI Gods find out.

Maybe you have to convince the Gods to work with you. Well that is possible too. Unlikely. The solution would be a lot of negociation. It would be more possible when the Qling isn't pushing buttons in the back.

The one advantage of the Qling is that you can fight him at the very end. Okay, maybe not with dice and weapons, but you can argue or trick him. Maybe he is vunerable to martial arts. Who knows. He might be seeing if the Humans will rebel and have the cunning to "win". Maybe he just wants to mess with the people and once he has, and is confronted by it, he will leave (or the attention might bring his people who clean up the mess) I don't expect to see this guy until the very end of the series. He might show up in a cameo roll, forshadowing things to come. Then the players can deal with him. Maybe.

However that would be the end of the campaign, 100 sessions down the line. Nothing that too pressing.

However taht is the reason I like listing a couple of options for the Revelation. It keeps your options open.
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