Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 116: Let’s Build a Campaign Part 1

Main Topic

So we are going to be working on a bit of how to build an actual campaign. The First thing we decided on was the timeframe of the game. So we choose to go with a sci-fi setting as a general thing. Then we also had to have another question answered and that was do we go with a harder science based or a pulpy setting? Well we choose to fall more on the science backed and less pulp. Once you have those two questions answered there is only one other and that is can the ships fly at FTL (faster than light)? Yes, there will be an FTL or unrealistic travel component, but we will discuss the specifics in a later episode!  

The first part we are going to talk about is the Theme. We are going to be creating a campaign that is going to touch on the major themes of The Search for Truth and Hope Doesn’t Come Free. 

The Search for Truth is a good theme for games in general. Truth can be any number of things that the players can be looking for. 

Hope Doesn’t Come Free is a great double edged sword of a theme. To win comes at a cost and what is the cost that you are going to be ok with paying. 

We had a big list And you will see that we hit on similar themes which is interesting. 

Hope Doesn’t Come Free

Collective Action

Good Intentions Lead to Bad Results

Come to Terms with Dark Past

Search for Truth


Nature as Beauty

Quest of Discovery

As you can see there are a few themes that are similar in nature. 

Stat Blocks


The Dark Drive

The ship’s navigator dodged the incoming barrage of railgun fire. All the while the main navigation system was running the math to make sure they could bring the Dark Drive up. The toughest part of firing up the dark drive was that they have been known to start and not shut down. The drive had only done it a handful of times since they became standard on ships from the America’s. The German-Turk ships used a different drive. 

The Dark Drive pulls Dark matter from its environment and compresses it into a form that the drive itself can use. While the how might be interesting the product of that drive is even more interesting. Once the Dark Drive is on and running it lets you slip between light and dark matter. What does that mean? Well it allows you to cover great distances at a speed that seems ridiculous. You can make the trip from Earth to Mars in minutes instead of months like the newer engines. But How does it work? The inside of the Dark Drive is sealed away from prying eyes. 

How to Use Dark Drive in Game:

The Dark Drive is a plot item more than anything that has to be worked on. Unless it breaks down and then what is the interior of the sealed compartment? Is it an alien drive or is it just hypertech that pushes the boundaries of known science? I would make it be the heart of a dead star laced with a lost technology from before men could travel the stars. 


Quietus Quartet

There are no mortal stories about the quietus quartet. Demons and angels bicker about the details, but consensus is that these chthonic instruments manifested during the instant of creation.  Four tools to unmake existence.  And during the battle between light and darkness, all but one disappeared.  And due to their nature, they were hidden from celestial and infernal beings alike.

They eventually fell into humanity’s hands.  And to this day they have yet to be united.  But evidence of the individual instruments can be glimpsed throughout history.

The drum has the greatest presence.  It was played at some of the bloodiest conflicts in history.  Antietam, the Qi and Lu war in China, and the crusades.  

Though not directly attributed, a lyre was responsible for the conflagration that consumed antiquity’s greatest city.

Legends of a horn that causes rampant destruction to things organic and inorganic have been around since ancient times. But modern wave based weaponry (Both sonic and infrared) draw inspiration from the horn’s destructive power.

The last instrument is still a mystery.  History provides no clues and the angels and demons aren’t forthcoming with information.  Only warnings.  For if the instruments were brought together and played, reality would be unmade, returned to the nothingness from whence it spawned

How to Use The Quietus Quartet in Game:

There are a bunch of ways it can be introduced.  There could be a mysterious cult that surrounds the instruments.  Or an instrument can fall into the hands of one of the players and they have no idea what it is or what they have.  Or they could have an epic quest to stop the instruments from coming together.


utopia noun uto·​pia | \ yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə  \

Definition of utopia

1often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions

2: an impractical scheme for social improvement

3: an imaginary and indefinitely remote place

First Known Use of utopia

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for utopia

Utopia, imaginary and ideal country in Utopia (1516) by Sir Thomas More, from Greek ou not, no + topos place

Look-up Popularity

Top 1% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – Equinox is a very Interesting series that you can use to draw inspiration for either a kidnapping or an alien abduction to any number of things. The Dutch have a much different sensibility from Americans so that is also a reason to check it out. 

Joules – Try a new skill. But do it for enjoyment. 

Guard-a-Manger – WandaVision.  The MCU’s miniseries on Disney+ is a masterclass in the use of nostalgia, technical production, and trusting an audience to accept the more fantastical beats of an expansive universe.  

Music is courtesy of Sim on Twitter you can find him at @TheSimulacrae

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And Thanks to Merriam-Webster  and Online Etymology Dictionary for our Lexicon segment

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