Thursday, January 7, 2016

Strange Stars A-To-Z: "V" Is For V&V

Illustration by David Lewis Johnson

"V&V"? That's Volkun & Voidgliders of course. But it could almost be the name of a roleplaying game - or at least a campaign using the Strange Stars setting!

These two races are tied together inextricably in Strange Stars.

The Vokun have an entire empire named after them. Their young are lean, aggressive, impusive, and ambitious. Their elders are corpulent, conspiratorial, and ambitious. But the Vokun are an empire in name only. The reality is one of clan elders vying against each other for commercial dominance and political power.

Think the Great Houses from Dune, but with no Emperor.

Every clan elder is a Harkonnen.

Which leads me to a new campaign idea. I'm currently rereading Dune for the first time since high school. I noticed someting in the text that had never registered before:

"We must not, however, ignore the possibility the Duke has contracted with the Guild to remove him to a place of safety outside the System. Others in like circumstances have become renegade Houses, taking family atomics and shields and fleeing beyond the Imperium."

So the Imperium has an outside? How had I missed that before?

Now, the Strange Stars setting has many outsides. The core setting we know through the Strange Stars Game Setting Book is just the fragments of what was once a much, much larger civilization. Many hyperspace nodes are now quiescent, hiding connections to long-lost systems waiting to be rediscovered. There are many systems out there in which to run, hide, and explore.

This is very useful game-wise. One could imagine a Vokun clan that has lost big in the political game. They might decide that their only option for continued survival is to strike out on their own.

Maybe they had time to assemble a clan flotilla. But maybe the elder only has time to evacuate with a single huge clan ship.  Alternatively, the elder might only have at his disposal a single modest space yacht.

Desperate times.

But no matter how desperate the times and how limited the resources, that evacuation will soon need to transform itself into an exploration and surveying mission. And eventually of course trade and commerical exploitation.

Because that's all the Vokun really know how to do.

So that clan elder will need at least one Voidglider, the sleek, space-skinned clade that serve as the Vokun's space scouts. The Voidgliders are expert at "sniffing out" hyperspace nodes. Perhaps the Vokun elder has a Voidglider who serves his clan already. But perhaps he doesn't, and the elder will need to mount a raid on the Voidglider space-reservation in order to get a scout or better yet at least have a breeding pair of the species.

An entire tribe of Voidgliders might be persuaded to come along with the Vokun evacuation fleet in exchange for a "better deal" in the future: no reservation.

There could be a whole Strange Stars campaign here: V&V.