Stuck for a situation for your game? Here's a quick way to make one. You'll need some ten-sided dice, and a willingness to re-roll if what you see doesn't fit your party.
Note that the briefing the Transcendentals give the team might be all but unrelated to what they're actually supposed to do. If you need a good briefing, check out the Briefing Generator.
This method is blatantly ripped off from the game Reign. Consider it a work in progress - it will improve as it gets tested more thoroughly.
Step 1: Get Some Dice
Pick up a number of ten-sided dice equal to twice the number of people in your team. More team members means more plot that they can chew through using Twists and their regular Capabilities.
Roll them all at once.
Pick at least one die to use on each of the following tables. You don't have to go in any particular order. Make sure to use all your dice. Some tables are optional, but others are nearly required - it would be strange to have a game with no consequences.
You don't have to allocate all your dice right away. You can always put a few in, come up with a little bit of a situation, and then work from there with the remaining dice. That's what we did when making the example at the bottom of this page.
The Source of the Problem
- Runaway technology
- A lone lunatic
- The Darwinians
- The Aia or the Skotadi
- A Civilization or Civilizations that some of the PCs are from
- A Civilization or Civilizations that none of the PCs are from
- A Society or Societies that some of the PCs are from
- A Society or Societies that none of the PCs are from
- An entirely new faction - an unknown Civ, Society, or alien species
- Well-intentioned fools
The Problem Itself
- Runaway technology
- Serious misuse of technology
- A patent violation
- The presence of human beings in this region
- A major misunderstanding between groups
- Long-running disagreements come to a head
- A personal feud with supporters on both sides
- Potential devastation
- A new Transcendental
- One of the Inspectors is the problem
Things that Seem to Be the Problem, But Aren't
Use the previous list.
- Dangerous conditions. Examples inlude superhot planets, open vacuum and hard radiation.
- Fragile environment, such as underground, a starship, or an undersea city.
- Time limit - days, weeks, months or years.
- Cosmic disaster - supernova, gamma ray bursters, pulsars, etc.
- Nearby alien presence - Aia or Skotadi
- Total power outage
- Relics from an ancient alien civilization
- Planetary/Stellar destruction - intense solar flares, widespread vulcanism
- Hostile alien activity - Aia or Skotadi
- Ecological problems - new phase in life cycles, plague, emerging life form, natural pollution
- Wartime conditions - bombardment, autonomous war machines, phage blooms, infosphere denial, memetic virii, martial law.
- Innocents caught in the middle - stranded travelers, an ill fated love affair caught between the sides, etc.
- Tremendous (and fragile) egos
- One or both sides outright lying about what they want
- Law enforcement conflicts with humanitarianism
- Heavy spying going on (e.g. a Roamer encampment nearby, rivals stepped up spying, unknown third party)
- The infosphere has problems - connectivity off world, its down, intermittent access, surveillance, censorship, I-war attacks or hostile a-life
- Inspectors lack legal authority here
- Unknown third party attempting to sabotauge all others
- Total incompetence from someone the Inspectors must work with
- An Inspector's Core Value supports the mission
- An Inspector's Core Value opposes the mission
- Inspector's family or friends involved
- Mission takes place in an Inspector's home Civilization
- Mission takes place in a Civilization that is an enemy of an Inspector's home Civilization
- Mission revolves around an Inspector's Society
- Conflict between major NPC core values and an Inspector's
- One of the Inspectors is an expert in a particularly relevant Profession, and has been asked for by name
- Two of the above at the same time
- Two of the above, bait-and-switch
If you choose one or more of these, choose a type (Bio, Cog, etc.) or roll on the next table for the type.
- Quality Of Life
- Auxon - roll again, but it's also self-replicating
- Seed technology - not useful itself, but with many possible applications
- Utility - multiple uses
Don't use up your other dice on this table - roll once separately if you want to get a random tech type.
- A combination of 2 different kinds
- A combination of 3+ different kinds
- The broken kind - see SA p159 for ideas
- The nonfunctional kind
- The beginning of a completely new kind of technology
Consequences of Failure
- Massive death or destruction
- War between Civilizations
- One single very important person dies or loses their way
- Economic collapse for a particular Civilization
- Fragmentation of a particular Civilization - into 2 major Civilizations, minor Civilizations, civil war, etc.
- Rise or fall of a Society
- Rise or fall of a Civilization - ascent from minor to major, descent to a society(ies), civil war
- A Civilization rejects the Transcendentals
- Distant, undefined consequences for the Desired Future
- Transcendentals incommunicado for X days/weeks/months/years
Let's say you've got five characters in your group, so you roll 10 dice. You get 9,5,10,6,10,7,7,1,6,8.
- You choose an entirely new faction as the source of your problem (9 on the first table).
- The problem itself is long-running disagreements coming to a head (6 on the Problem table)
- There are three false problems: some runaway technology (1), a major misunderstanding between two groups (5), and one of the Inspectors (10).
- You'd rather concentrate on human complications than environmental ones, so you pick three: total incompetence from someone important (10), the local Infosphere has problems (7), and major amounts of spying (6).
- As a hook for one of the players, you choose a Core Value conflict. (7)
- For the runaway technology, you pick "the broken kind." (8)
- The consequences of failure is massive death or destruction. (1)
Let's combine these into a workable situation. The new faction could be some sort of Society or Civilization. Given the major misunderstandings, it sounds like this is happening in the existing civilizations, so a hidden Society makes sense. They're probably the ones doing the spying. The broken technology running amok could be a set of replicating spy meshes. When those started failing, and spies started being caught (possibly with no recollection of what they'd done), two Civilizations started blaming each other for what happened. The team will probably need to talk to one of the people in charge, who could be in the Society. They won't want to help at all in the investigation - thus the faked incompetence, and the attempt to pin things on one of the Inspectors. We can pick one of the Civilizations such that a Core Value goes against one of the Inspectors' - and we probably want to pick the Civ that doesn't have the Society plant. The Infosphere problems are a consequence of the spying as the local authorities clamp down. The massive death or destruction could come if the two Civilizations can't get along and someone does something drastic. It won't lead to outright war, but there could still be serious loss of life.
There are still quite a few details we don't have here, such as what exactly the secret Society wants, or which Civilizations are involved, but it's a framework to build from.