View Full Version : New Frontier

12-15-2010, 06:07 AM
Notice - There is a lot of text below, I know it hurts. You don't have to read it all.

Allright eveyone, I almost never use forums so please forgive me if my language seems a little stiff. With that awkward excuse over with, let's talk about a game.

First of all, the basics. We will be using Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition (Originally released as DC Adventures). Since I live out in the middle of nowhere, we will be playing via Skype. Those are the two basic requirments: M&M 3e and Skype. Skype is free, by the way.

The game will begin some time in January. Due to the open-ended nature of the campaign, I will need a good amount of set up time. Plus, my wedding takes place on the 17th, and my wife and I are going to need some time to get adjusted to our new living conditions. I bet your sick of hearing about my life, so back to the game.

Basically, I was inspired by Gabe over at Penny-Arcade to begin my own sandbox-style game. What we're looking at is a Science Ficton/Survival RPG set in a giant, detailed world. The gist of it is: The players drive everything! This is going to be a non-linear game. You, the players, will determine what to do and when to do it. Pasted below is the summary I sent my local players.

New Frontier

The Premise: A persistant-world tabletop RPG, driven by the players rather than the GM. By this, I mean that rather than forcing the players to follow a completly linear, pre-determind plot-line; player action alone will determine the games content. I'm aiming for a true sandbox type game here.

The System: I'm going to use a modified version of the Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition rules. My group and I just recently purchased these books, so I would like to get more use out of them. More importantly, these rules offer plenty of depth and flexibility while remaining simple and fun to use.

The Setting: Science Fiction! As colonists on an unexplored alien world, there will be plenty of exciting discoveries, dramatic encounters, and dead alien scum! Here is my semi-official introduction to the campaign:

In the distant future, Earth is in ruins. Overpopulation has driven humanity to the brink of extinction. In a desperate bid to save the species, the nations of the world unite in an effort to colonize a distant world.

An entire fleet of colony ships is assembled, and tens of thousands of man-kind's best and brightest leave for the stars.

The ships are piloted by computer, as the colonists must sleep away the long voyage.

However, one ship veers offcourse and passes near a black hole. Mere seconds before the ship and everyone on it is crushed into a single point, the ship A.I. Manages to correct the vessel's course. However, the gravitic forces of the black hole nearly destroy the computer. It is forced to set course for a crash landing moments before it shuts down for good.

The ship collides with the planet, plowing a large crater into the ground. Luckily, the sleeping cells containing the colonists are very well designed, the only casualty is the ships captain, who was to lead this particular group of colonists.

As the men and women aboard the ship rise from their long slumber, they notice something strange.... something very strange. The planet is green, verdant, and lush with life. Yet all previous images and scans depicted a barely habitable world, almost a desert.

And that's not the strangest part. The ships logs indicate the near miss of the black hole. That data, combined with stellar radiation measurments, indicates that the few hours spent in proximity to the black hole were actually a few thousand years! As the black hole stretches matter, so does it stretch time...

That explains the abundance of life on the planet: the terraforing has had thousands of yeats to advance! However, this event has an unfortunate side. All attemts to contact the other colony groups are in vain. As there were hundreds of colony ships, your leaders reason that there must be a human settlement nearby. A scouting group departs in search of your brethren.

Months later a single, dying scout stumbles back towards the ship. As he breathes his
last, he presses a data-unit into an officers hands and whispers "... no one.... there's
no one... we're the last..."

The hundreds of people aboard the ship crowd into the media room to view the data. The scouts found decaying ships, ruined cities, and overgrown streets. But no
humans. Not a single soul was to be found. The last bit of data was downloaded
from an ancient computer core, left here by the missing colonists. It reveals
that the colonists began dissapearing, whole cities at a time, about five-hundred years ago. The city the scouts discovered was the last to stand, alone. One can only
imagine what its people felt, all those years ago, knowing they were next.

So that's it. Your ship, your crewmates, are the last remaining humans on the planet.
About a-thousand men and women, that's it. Your alone on an unmapped world, dotted with the bones of dead cities.

Several years later, your people have adapted to life on this world. The ship is your home, your fortress. It will never fly again, but its nuclear generators will provide power for years to come. A nearby lake provides all the fresh water required. Nearby, fields of wheat have been successfully planted. To the south lies a vast ocean, and a small dock town harvests the bounty of this alien sea. To the east lies Fort Hope, built in the style of an ancient castle. To the north lies a great forest, teeming with alien flora and fauna. No one who returns who ventures that way.

Life here is simple. Everyone has a job to do, and they do it. You, you are different. Your brave enough (or crazy enough) to have volunteered for a dangerous mission. You will go forth and explore this new world. It will be neither safe nor pleasant, but you will be greatly respected by your people.

Now pick a direction, load your gun, and go have some fun!

The Gameplay: As stated before, everything will be 100% player driven. The players will where to go and what to do. My job is to provide a detailed and consistant world for us to play in. I've got a fairly large map, detailed plant and animal life for different envrionments, a weather system, and all sorts of goodies. What I don't have is a linear plot or a set antagonist. You guys can do anything you want, when you want! Three of you want to meet up on Thursday and go explore that distant tower? No problem. Mabye you want to call me up and do some solo work on the phone, sure! You can go hunting (for food and profit), rob someone's home (for.... profit), or go scouting by yourself. Then, you can report your results to the rest of the group (or not!).

Example: Tim is bored one evening, so he calls Dan and they decide to play a bit via Skype. Tim hunts and skins a several small, weasel like creatures. Then he ventures into the nearby forest. After half-a-day (Game Time, not Real Time!) Tim stumbles upon the massive ruins of a collapsed skyscraper. After some investigation, he finds an entrance to the still intact sub- levels. Venturing inside, he finds a cache of guns: too many for him to carry. Suddenly he hears crashing and banging noises from the deeper levels... Tim decides to beat it. He grabs a gun, then puts it back and grabs a bigger gun. He leaves this creepy place and decides he will NOT tell the rest of the party about his gun stash... unless he needs their help dealing with what-ever-that-was in the basement.

As you can see, this has a good chance of being a very dynamic and entertaining system. I'm going to try and gather a larger pool of players than normal, mabye 10-12. It's important to note: not everyone will play every session. I'm going to create a Facebook page that we will all use to co-ordinate and plan. It will be up to the players to communicate with each other, and decide what to do (and when). We won't need a set play-day, since you guys can determine that on a case-by-case basis (as long as I am free during that time). And you don't have to worry about making it to every game, in fact I think that some people will prefer to stick to their own, smaller groups. It's almost like we will all be playing our own little MMO, but much more detailed.

The Rules Changes: If you plan to join our little world, you are going to need Mutants and Masterminds: Third Edition. Or, you could get a copy of DC Adventures. They are both the same game, one just has DC wrapping. I know it may seem a little weird using these rules for a serious, survival oriented Sci-Fi game, but oh well. I like the system, I know it, and that's what I'm using, however, we obviously can't have a buch of Supermen and Batmen flying around, so here is a list of Houst Rules. If I forget to mention a rule here, I will still enforce it. I don't intend to be mean, but I want to preserve a fair and fun environment for everyone.

Rule 1 No Powers! That's right, no powers! You will build your characters with ONLY abilities, advantages, and skills. Here are some things we are dropping because they make no sense in this setting: Artificer, Equipment, Minion, Ritualist, Sidekick, Well-Informed.

Rule 2 No Levels! We're dropping the level mechanic, and anyway it only has a slight effect in M&M 3e anyway. Instead, players will distribute gained points as they wish.

Rule 3 20 Points! By this I mean that new characters start with a mere 20 points! I know it seems like a tiny amount, but remember you are pretty ordinary people. Besides, skills and advantages are super cheap! You are allowed to decrease abilities below 0 to gain extra points.

Rule 4 Thematic! Try to be thematic in your character builds. Min/Maxing is discouraged, and power gaming will force me to kill you. It won't be pretty, probably a giant brain-sucking leech or something. Don't do it.

Rule 5- Gear! That's right! You can get stuff! What fun is exploring without loot to find? In fact, almost every power present in the rulebook will be present in out game as equipment! Ranged Damage = Gun, Protection = Body Armor, and Flight = Jetpack. Of course, the real equipment will be more detailed and interesting. Plus, you get to start with some!

Rule 6 Hero Points!These will remain in the game, and you are going to want these, believe me. They remain identical to the original version, except we call them Survival Points. Also, they will not reset, ever. You are going to want to horde these; they will be very hard to earn.

Rule 7 Complicated! No complications (for new characters)! Exploring this planet is already complicated enough! Without these, earning survival points will become very tough indeed. That said, if you are able to role-play a complication very well... I will probably let you add it to your character.

Rule 8 I am the law! I'm going to review each new character to make sure everything is in accordance with Da Rules. Also, I tend to keep track of everyone's gear and status... so no cheating!

Well, that's everything I can think of at the moment. If you have any questions, ask.

Finally, just because I like you, here a couple of the in-game items you might find.

Firstly, a standerd starter weapon.

M-19 Protection Rifle
Ranged Damage 12, Multiattack, Accurate when Prone, Extended Range x2

A.P. Rounds Penetrating 4

Second, something middle of the road.

Phase Field Inducer

Insubstantial 4, Precise, Triggered (When Attacked)


Finally, something epic...

Mag-Rail Cannon

Ranged Damage 26 LINKED TO Instant Move Object 12, Only Away from User and only full effect (Bye!),Accurate x2 when Prone, Provides Improved Aim advantage, Extended Range x6, Penetrating x20

Activation x2 (Set-Up and Reload), Check Required: Expertise - Firearms DC 15, Tiring

If the MR Cannon is fired while NOT prone, the user suffers a -5 attack penalty and also

takes 5 recoil damage (DC 20).

You will notice that the last weapon requires Expertise Firearms to use. Don't worry, there are not many items with such strict requirements. However, while on the subject, it is probably a good idea to give yourself a few points in an Expertise Skill, if you want to be able to create items for trade.

That said, every skill will come in very handy, I promise. There will come a time when you wish you had every skill maxed out they are that handy.

Well, that seems like enough info to get everyone started. Come join us, won't you!

End Document

Well, there you have it. It may seem strange, but I think we can have fun.

Oh, one final note. As I said earlier, the more players we have the better. If you know anyone that might be interested, direct them here. Also, if you have any tips to help me gather more players, they will be appreciated.

See you soon!

12-20-2010, 08:57 PM
Hey there Smiley,

Suffice to say I am very interested in this campaign idea and play style. I am a big advocate of player driven games. I could go on and on here with my questions and ideas, or I could go ahead and give you my Skype name.


I would be happy to discuss any pre-game preparation with you anytime. Hope to hear from you soon.

01-03-2011, 07:35 PM
Hey Bishop, great to hear that! So far, I have 5 players confirmed, and three or four that are interested, yet undecided. However, I think 5-6 is enough to get this thing going so I'm going to get some final things set up and get it started.

If anyone else is interested, post here or send me a Skype invite (Username: Daniel Simmons). With our unique format, anyone will be able to drop in anytime (after character creation, of course). If you don't enjoy our game, no problem: You can drop out at anytime as well without disrupting the game for other players.

01-14-2011, 07:21 PM
In order to make use of an infrastructure already in place, we will be cooridinating our play-times via Facebook. Now don't worry, I'm not trying to suck anyone into Facebook (I don't like it much myself). If you don't have a Facebook account, or don't want to use the one you do have, then just create a throwaway one. You don't even have to use your real name.

Anyway, the Facebook account I created is called New Frontier Gaming Group. Just send me a message or a friend request.

To people from other forums who have been directed here by my links: it's actually getting kind of troublesome to keep track of half a dozen different forums, so I was thinking we could stick to the Pen and Paper ones, here. They seem decent and clean, and posts are not buried as quickly.