As we continue to develop the Beta RPG materials, I've been toying with ideas for a campaign that the development team have kind of injected into my imagination.
Phobian Nights is a sub-setting for our Serene Dawn science-fantasy imaginings. Set under the surface of Mars' most notorious moon, the theme is one of urban despair, dark intrigue and gumshoe investigation.
Inspired by Scott and Jon's initial character ideas for playing a game on the Martian moon, the sub-setting has begun to morph in my mind into something slightly more sinister than I perhaps initially imagined.
Phobos is a Special Economic Zone within the Chinese State. It has a status similar to that of Hong Kong in recent Earth history.
Phobos is, in the greater organisation of the Sol system, the most important way-station. It is said, with some truth, that everybody passes through Phobos on their way through or out of the Sol system. As a consequence there are Corporate offices, significant orbital and port facilities, and all the attendant commercial support infrastructure you might expect.
A Moon Divided
Phobos features two types of colonial structures: Starsides and Underdeeps.
Starside structures are either domes (rare) or towers (usually) which face the stars; in other words, these are surface structures with extensive solar-collective glascrete panels which allow citizens to see the stars or Mars, depending on which side of Phobos the structure faces.
Underdeep structures are the more traditional extra-terrestrial dwellings which are constructed underground. This is simpler and allows colonists to take refuge within the easier-to-heat and maintain subterranean caverns. Underdeeps tend to feature massive caverns, filled with highrise and other close-proximity housing, connected by wide tunnelled "boulevards".
What really got me interested, however, were the almost throw-away ideas that the players came up with over the course of a video chat some weeks ago. It was all about the crime.
Crime on Phobos is dominated by the Chinese organised crime syndicates, usually referred to as the Triads.
The dominant crime syndicate is the Sun Yee On Triad ("New Righteousness and Harmony").
Adding to this, the guys suggested a couple of characters who act as private investigators. They were into the idea that they might know some Triad members, even have to fend off their pressure, but that they would nonetheless pick up the odd-jobs that arise from a corrupt and thriving port-settlement.
For me, the feel has steadily become darker and darker until I realised that this is exactly right. It seems to me that the inhabitants of this "brave new colony" would be... less than excited about the reality.
Grey, grimy and grim. Phobos as the waystation to the stars... and the ghetto of the lost.
I don't know whether the guys will mind but, in truth, I kinda fancy a gumshoe-meets-futurepunk setting.
Labels: Beta, Phobos, settings, SF