Human Contact

Academy Starship
A starship of the Academy, crewed by tens of researchers. When it arrives, its crew will spend years studying and learning from the hominins at its destination who have been separated by thousands, or even tens of thousands, of years from the rest of Homininity. While they do that, the engine module will be on a months-long mission to the Oort Cloud of the solar system to refuel reaction mass. Upon launch, 90% of the mass of the ship is the massive sphere of "smart ice" you see here. Thrown down the vectoring needle with fantastic force, it can maintain an acceleration of .1G for months on end, taking as little as 100 days to get to a wormhole from a planet in the Goldilocks Zone of a solar system.

Human Contact is a version of the Shock: system, focused for a far-future, spacefaring setting. Its science is as hard as I can make it while still having fairy dust things like “interstellar travel” work, while at its core, the setting is about culture clash and the moral challenges of being an explorer and being explored.

There’s an interesting tweak to the system that has to do with interpersonal relationships, and I’m curious to see how it works. It’s untested but in theory doesn’t break anything. It should mostly tell you who should be in future episodes of the game, a bit like the Owe List in In a Wicked Age, but it also gives a little oomph to interpersonal challenges that I often find lacking in games of Shock:

I’m running it a couple of times at Dreamation. Sign up if you want to be a researcher on a starship! I promise the locals will be friendly and grateful for the civilization you’ll bring*.

I’ll have a handful of copies of the preview edition of the game and its alternate rules at the con for players at the table. Sign up! Shock: always overbooks (usually by a dozen or so people!), and I won’t be able to run multiple tables at once this year because of this experiment.

*Promises will not be kept.
Because you know who’s going to be playing the locals: You are. And I know how you are.

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