KOLONY – A Campaign Framework

“KOLONY” is a campaign framework for Starfinder, and any other rpg you care to adapt it to.

Matter, it turns out, simply cannot exceed the speed of light. However, a sufficiently advanced civilization can rotate artificial wormholes around one another in order to transmit data at vastly greater speeds. This being the case, with only data able to leap between stars in less than centuries, it might be thought that interstellar empires and hostile takeovers of alien worlds are impossible.

It might be thought… but it’s not true.

In 2047, the first transmissions from the Kastellan Collective were received from an artificial wormhole array in orbit of Mars. Though there was a delay averaging from 5 to 20 minutes for signals to move back and forth from the Martian Orbital Wormhole Array (MOWA) to Earth, there appeared to be essentially NO delay from MOWA to wherever the Kastellan Collective is. The Kastellanians claimed with was due to ftl communication, though numerous theories suggest that in truth some intelligence, real or artificial, is physically present at the MOWA.

It doesn’t really matter.

Though unable to physically affect Earth at all, the Kastellians immediately set about being power brokers and empire builders. They could focus MOWA transmissions so tightly that only one receiver on Earth would pick it up. They began making promises, cutting deals, and handing out schematics for advanced technology as their currency of choice. Strong AI. Antigravity. Cold fusion. Genetic engineering. Cloning. Quantum flux manipulation so amazing that to a casual observer, it is indistinguishable from magic.

Major corporations, world governments, and various individuals the Kastellians found useful suddenly had vast knowledge, science, and power. And as long as they did what the Kastellians wanted, they got more. The “Kaste System” quickly went into effect, with those willing to vote for politicians who promised to abolish local government and law in favor for the miracles of the Kastellan Collective getting the best of everything, while everyone else was a second-class citizen almost overnight.

A generation has passed. Upper Kaste humans claim they are still the ruling class, that the Earth is still a Human world for Human habitation.

But it’s a lie.

(Art by grandfailure)

Genetic modification has created dozens of substrains of humans, built to Kastellan specifications. Lashunata. Shirren. Vesk. Ysoki. Kasatha. Brethedans. Genetically still 95% or more human, but so clearly designed for something else. Many are Upper Kaste… but some show more loyalty to their ancestors than theowners of their breeding tubes.

The world is being molded to suite the Kastellians, who claim they’ll send just a few observers, via cryosleep, who will arrive in 5,000 years. Nothing to worry about…

But already Earth culture is being wiped out and replaced by the Kaste. Cemeteries are dug up and the remains and artifacts scanned, so data about them can be sent via MOWA to curious Kastellians… and are often scanned at a molecular level which destroys the original. As Kastellian language and ethics and art begins to dominate culture, old Earth languages and art is lost, and sometimes outlawed. The United Nations is a pale vestige of Human power. Even where they should be contrained by local law, those who call themselves Kaste look down on anyone who does not serve and swear allegiance to the Kastellian way of life. Robotic soldiers and overseers built to Kastellian specifications control more of the streets, and answer only to commands from MOWA.

Sure, the air has begun to smell acrid, but the water is safe. Yes, most of the world’s power is taken up running calculations on Kate computers designed and built for the Kastellians, which spit out answers to the MOWA without any Human ever even knowing what the question was. But that’s a small price to pay for progress, isn’t it? Who cares if we are slowly losing what it means to be human, since we have androids, regeneration machines, and 100,000 years of Kastellian art to catch up on.

And yes, of course, now other interstellar powers have begun to make inroads. The Mygus offer alternatives to Kastellian service… for those who swear obedience to the Mygus. The Chardalos are happy to give even greater scientific advances, in return for human minds to be digitized into pure data and send through their own Wormhole Array to power Chardalos machines. The Favirzon just want to encourage rebels to damage and slow Kastellian servants, especially upper Kaste.

It’s 2080. Alien collaborators control every major nation, and to one degree or another ever big city, major corporation, and even most churches. The idea of humanity, and every art, culture, philosophy, and language of terrestrial origin is at risk of being wiped out. And anyone who doesn’t bow to one or more interstellar information empire is seen as a second-class citizen at best, and a savage or even vermin at worse.

And you?

You realize there’s not much time left to save the Earth from being nothing more than an alien Kolony.

(Art by Melkor)

Resist. Preserve. Rebel.

Kolony is a game of conflict against an alien culture that has opted to consume and reshape Earth to match its own wants and desires. None of those aliens are physically present, but enough Terrans have chosen to become Kaste that they have the upper hand. No one is you enemy because of the species they were born into, or even the nation they hail from. Instead, you oppose members of the various Kaste because of the choices they have made, to prioritize gaining the wealth of alien tech and data at the cost of selling out everyone else on the planet. The Kaste all know that eventually there will be nothing left of humans but museum exhibits, but as long as that happens after their own long life spans, they don’t care.

You do.

As a Starfinder campaign, all magic is presented as quantum manipulation, a form of technology so advanced that even the Kaste who use it don’t understand it. Most regions have laws restricting such quantum tech to approved Kaste members – no one else can legally use any spell, spell-like ability, supernatural ability, or magic or hybrid item. Of course, as rebels, the players are likely to flaunt such rules, but must do so cautiously. Casting a spell while in disguise raiding a datacenter is one thing—it’s worth the risk to prevent people’s minds from being digitized so they can serve as virtual assistants in some distant system, or ancestral relics be put behind paywalls so only Kastellian virtual tours can see them. But in day-to-day life, such displays will bring visits from the automated Patent Police, or Kaste Commissars.

(Art by Kit8 D.O.O.)

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It supports the time I take to do all my blog posts, but especially longer and more experimental ones like this. If you’d like to see more game-bending rule options (or more fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on December 3, 2020, in Microsetting, Starfinder Development and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: