Shock:Human Contact is a stand-alone focus of the rules of Shock: Social Science Fiction designed for the galaxy of the Academy. With powers of reason and democracy forged in the fires of a brutal sectarian past, the Academy has become a peaceful, powerfully inquisitive people.
Their first steps to the civilizations of other solar systems are the Contactors — institution-starcraft (such as the one on the right) sent from Earth and filled with a hundred eager and self-organized individuals. Their long lives devoted to the study of language, religion, archaeology, anthrozoölogy, and a million sub-fields of the sciences of people, they are swarming the galaxy looking for their long lost siblings, cousins, and parents.
Their faith in reason and their own intellectual prowess is challenged at every colony they encounter as they learn about the ethics, histories, and biologies of the rest of homininkind. Where they go to find friends and relatives, they invariably find something much more complex — lovers, challengers, rivals.
Sciences and technologies in Human Contact are based on real-world sciences, from physics to linguistics, zoölogy to archaeology, computer science and nanotechnology. Those sciences, though, are the tools of the players, not the core of the fiction. The core is in the one-to-one relationships — what people want from each other, what they demand from each other. From politics and religion to fist fights and marriages, the crashing together of desires forms the basis of the game.
Decisions about those first interactions are critical. That’s why Contactors often opt to use black ops anthropologists, sent to reduce the impact of their arrival. Given seven years, three lonely Contactor Envoys will subtly alter both their own perceptions and those of the host society until the eventual meeting will be better than catastrophic. They can only hope, though, that the Contactor itself will survive the long trip, their comrades adding years to their expedition inside their craft.
Use the setting material to make civilizations of your own and dive deep into them as they evolve from session to session. Discover what effect the conflicts and synergies of the cultures have. Determine what you can take back to Earth, or what you can keep on Earth, and what will come of the people of Earth.
Because everyone calls their home “Earth”.