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Mr. Mask
2015-07-29, 08:10 PM
I probably made a thread like this a year ago, but here's another one.

What are your ideas for scifi or space setting horror adventures/stories? I've seen a few really good ones using this setting, and was wondering if there were any other premises that could be used.

Alien monster eating the crew is one. Zombie virus like thing is another. Space ghosts are particularly interesting, and sometimes done well. And evil AIs are classic. Are there any others you can think of that come to mind, or twists on the concepts I've mentioned?

JellyPooga
2015-07-29, 08:41 PM
One of the best games I've ever run was a mash-up of zombies and Aliens (as in the film; Ripley, Newt, Hicks, etc.). The first Chapter was the players as a bunch of pre-gen civilians on an agricultural planet with a very low population. Each "Hub", of which there were around 40, housed about two-dozen people, including some families and was connected by a series of underground railways. The action took place at "Hub-5" (which later became the unofficial name of the campaign).

A meteorite hits the planet, infested (unbeknownst to the population) with fungal spores, which soon take over the local eco-system. It's an adaptive fungus that turns any living plant-life to an orange mulch. Within the mulch, the fungal plant grows swiftly and aggressively, in the form of giant pitcher-plant-like structures; tube shaped with a liquid that forms in the bottom. The liquid evaporates and carries the spores into the atmosphere, spreading them swiftly across a large area.

When the spores get into an animal, it does something a little different; at first, it impairs brain function, turning the subject into a zombie-like automaton; easily manipulated by suggestion. Cue zombie-time.

Later, it turns the flesh into orange goo which seeps from sores and forms a sort of cocoon around the subject. Within the cocoon, the subject undergoes a butterfly-like transformation, turning to orange goo and then reforming as a new life-form. After a gestation period in this cocoon, the new life-form emerges violently; a segmented worm-like creature, armoured with insectile carapace and armed with powerful mandibles able to burrow swiftly through the ground. If you've seen Tremors, you can guess how this part of the game went!

As livestock and people are transformed, as new stage of the life-form emerges. The "worms" pair up to create larger functioning units. At first, just larger worms, but later they form more complex units; a scorpion-like "warrior", a giant "tunneler" boring worm, artillery-like "catapults" that launch spore infested rocks huge distances (even into orbit at the very latest stages, assuming a large enough population) and ultimately the "Brain" unit, which generates a kind of hive-mind able to psychically control the lesser stages.

The civilians in Chapter 1 only ever saw the fungus, zombies, worms and a single soldier, which ended up TPKing them...totally intentionally in order to set up the "main event" of Chapter 2.

In Chapter 2, the Players were taking the part of a bunch of interstellar marines being sent to investigate why they'd lost contact with the planet. Seen Aliens? You can guess what happens. Bug-hunt goes wrong due to unexpected developments. I didn't have the Burke-traitor in there, but with the higher stages of development, the eerie alien landscape formed by the fungal fields (some fungus-tubes reaching massive height comparable to large buildings), the toxic atmosphere making any wound or damage potentially life-threatening due to suit-breach, there was plenty enough tension going on!

I'd originally set it up for them to go kill the hive-mind Brain stage, but they decided that the best plan was to dust off and nuke the site from orbit...it's the only way to be sure, after all! So I had them pursued and harried all the way to the nearest functioning dropship. When they got there, they barely managed to take off as one of the ma-hoosive "tunnelers" (we're talking size of a freight-train) burst from the ground in an attempt to stop them.

I'd stolen a lot of inspiration from a lot of places; zombie films, Aliens (primarily), Tremors, Dune and a little research into the natural world for images and ideas, but it all gelled together very nicely for a sci-fi/horror game with a lot of tension, from the alien-weirdness of trying to work out how the fungus worked, to jump-scares, to straight up terrifying action as they were threatened to be overwhelmed. Having them TPK'd in Chapter 1 was all part of that tension; they were paranoid from the start of Ch.2 that I was going to do the same again (although I had no intention of it!), or was at least not afraid to kill off characters.

As a point of note, the system I used was GURPS.

Mr.Sandman
2015-07-29, 11:00 PM
A starship crew sent to test a new type of warp drive comes back wrong. They exist only to serve the now living ship.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-30, 03:35 AM
There are many different kinds of horror, the one I think sci-fi is best at is the 'is it still me?' variety.

Killed and replaced with a mind backup?
Brain transplant affecting your mind due to the new body?
Mind uploading?
Brain replaced by identical AI?
Etc.

The Grue
2015-07-30, 04:17 AM
I present to you Farcast (http://www.farcastblog.com/), a yearblog full of exactly this sort of stuff.

Written with the Eclipse Phase setting in mind, but most of the ideas could be repurposed to fit just about anything.

MrStabby
2015-07-30, 06:03 AM
Maybe play it from the other side?

The PCs are AI modules controlling different subsystems on a ship. The ship is being piloted towards a station to be dismantled for parts. In order to survive the AI components must stop the ship reaching its destination by deceiving or killing crew or stopping certain systems working.

At first the AI systems only have the most limited autonomy but as they level up they gain access to more and more of the ships systems and have more autonomy to behave outside of the way they were programmed.

It's silly, but I kind of want to make this game now.

Mr.Sandman
2015-07-30, 08:36 AM
Maybe play it from the other side?

The PCs are AI modules controlling different subsystems on a ship. The ship is being piloted towards a station to be dismantled for parts. In order to survive the AI components must stop the ship reaching its destination by deceiving or killing crew or stopping certain systems working.

At first the AI systems only have the most limited autonomy but as they level up they gain access to more and more of the ships systems and have more autonomy to behave outside of the way they were programmed.

It's silly, but I kind of want to make this game now.

This line must happen
Crew: I won't stand for this!
AI: Your legs are not required.

dream
2015-07-31, 12:13 AM
The ship crashes or malfunctions leaving it immobile and communications are inoperative. Crew is stranded. Add varying degrees of psychosis magnified by prolonged confinement and the PCs create their own horror show.

Mark Hall
2015-08-04, 09:11 AM
There's always the "come back and the world is wrong" option. Experimental drive is a good way to do it. You leave, and you come back and things are subtly... or not so subtly... wrong.

Mutazoia
2015-08-05, 02:42 AM
1. A variation on the "alien infested ship" plot. The crew is being hunted by an alien infestation....only there are no aliens. The crew is hallucinating and seeing each other as the aliens, so they are really stalking and killing themselves. Is this an alien virus, or an experiment by their corporate sponsors?

2. On the first manned hyperdrive test, the ship is on a "short" hop to Alpha Centauri. The trip expected to take 1 week. As the trip begins, the crew discovers that there are things in hyperspace that should never be disturbed. Not really an intelligent threat; the established laws of the universe are slightly different, allowing the "natural flora" of hyperspace to reach right through the hull. Some things kill...some things alter (for better or worse). Will the crew die en-route? Will they shut down the hyperdrive, knowing that they will not live long enough to make it home with out it? Do they survive the trip, only to faced with the choice between being stranded at Alpha Centauri, or braving the return trip?

3. They said asteroid mining was dangerous. They didn't know who right they were. With the whirling chunks of rock blocking communications, and slowing navigation to a crawl, asteroid miners are on their own. When the miners on a small, independent mining ship find an asteroid that is almost solid (insert rare mineral here), they think they've got it made. But not only do they have to fend off claim jumpers but it seems something else found the asteroid first....and it's hungry.

GungHo
2015-08-10, 11:55 AM
My contributions ultimately come down to things to watch to get ideas:

2001
2010
Event Horizon
Sphere
Alien
Interstellar
Planet of the Apes (original)
Moon
The Philadelphia Experiment
Star Trek the Motion Picture
Contact

There may be some stinkers in the list above, and it's in no way exhaustive, but essentially, you're dealing with technology that deals with screwing with spacetime. You don't know what's there. You don't know when/where you're coming back to. You don't know what's in hyperspace that may be looking to get out. Aliens aren't always nice, but that doesn't necessarily indicate they mean it personally. Some of the above play the horror straight. With some of them, you need to look a little deeper to understand the implied horror, or that it's possible that the guys who sent you on your horror expedition knew all along exactly what they were doing, and that there's no such thing as hazard pay.

The Grue
2015-08-10, 07:08 PM
My contributions ultimately come down to things to watch to get ideas:

2001
2010
Event Horizon
Sphere
Alien
Interstellar
Planet of the Apes (original)
Moon
The Philadelphia Experiment
Star Trek the Motion Picture
Contact

There may be some stinkers in the list above, and it's in no way exhaustive, but essentially, you're dealing with technology that deals with screwing with spacetime. You don't know what's there. You don't know when/where you're coming back to. You don't know what's in hyperspace that may be looking to get out. Aliens aren't always nice, but that doesn't necessarily indicate they mean it personally. Some of the above play the horror straight. With some of them, you need to look a little deeper to understand the implied horror, or that it's possible that the guys who sent you on your horror expedition knew all along exactly what they were doing, and that there's no such thing as hazard pay.

Would add to your list only Gravity for consideration, if only to highlight that space is scary enough without aliens and hyperspace and relativistic paradoxes to worry about.

Brother Oni
2015-08-11, 02:15 AM
Maybe play it from the other side?

The PCs are AI modules controlling different subsystems on a ship. The ship is being piloted towards a station to be dismantled for parts. In order to survive the AI components must stop the ship reaching its destination by deceiving or killing crew or stopping certain systems working.

At first the AI systems only have the most limited autonomy but as they level up they gain access to more and more of the ships systems and have more autonomy to behave outside of the way they were programmed.

It's silly, but I kind of want to make this game now.

Twisting your idea slightly, play it like Event Horizon, except from the other side. The crew wake up after the initial trip and end up fighting these shadowy semi-insubstantial beings (which are the rescue crew in the real universe) who fade in and out of existance (the rescuers moving in and out of the distortion areas where the wall between the player's reality and the real world are particularly thin). If you drop hints every now and again that something went very wrong while the players were 'unconscious', then it could make for an interesting game.