Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 117: Let’s Build a Campaign Part 2

Main Topic

In the prior episode we decided on a science fiction setting for the game. Here we go looking into the next step for things we are going to do for this campaign. Locations are a very important part of any games setting. Thus locations in this will need to be both old and new. Those are pretty basic ideas in almost every sci-fi story.  Here we are only going to touch on places that should have a recurring role in the game. Let’s pick three to start with and as the players gravitate to these or others you can build them out more. We started with a list that included all of these. 


  • Smithsonian
  • Grecian Ruins
  • Alchemy/ Chemist Lab
  • Old Library
  • Derelict Ship
  • Asteroid Belt
  • Newly terraformed Planet
  • Old worn out world
  • A crashed Alien ship
  • Spacestation
  • A Drinking establishment

These are just ones that we came up. You know your players make things that they would like to see. In the previous episode episode we choose the themes of; The Search for Truth and Hope Doesn’t Come Free. Finally each one of the locations we pick will have a tie in to one of the themes.

Designed Locales

Zen- I like the idea of a Derelict Ship. The derelict ship can be tied pretty easy into both of the themes. I am going to go with the Hope Isn’t Free theme. This ship was called an Arkship. It was going to be the hope of mankind getting away from the Sol system. Now why is it derelict and not that far from home? This can be just the beginning of the questions that a ship like this can raise. 

Guard-a-Manger – Spacestation.  There needs to be one.  In particular, I am going to focus on the idea of the main space station that hosts the Democratic Polis of Asteroid belt inhabitants. Aside from being able to incorporate other locales as needed, the ability to draw inspiration from a myriad of other science fiction properties is always helpful – from The Expanse to Babylon 5 this station can have it all! With the need for a physical presence to make binding votes and the political intrigue involved there to be the staging platform for future commercial and exploratory ventures, the Hope Isn’t Free and The Search for Truth both are readily available. 

Joules- The Smithsonian.  The smithsonian contains a veritable treasure trove of scientific history and samples.  This is a perfect setting in searching for truth.  Experts of various disciplines work there.  Players can bounce ideas off of experts.  The party can compare/contrast data that they’ve discovered.  Best of all is that the Smithsonian is a part of a huge network and has many connections. 

We are going to talk about the major beats we want to have in the campaign in the next episode. 

Stat Blocks


The Elpis

The year was 2194 and the launch of the Elpis was on track to make history. Mankind had never thought to send a ship out past the edge of our solar system. Elpis was that ship, it would carry the hopes of making mankind a true starfaring race. Meanwhile scientists figured that by the time the ship got to our closest neighbor they would have found a way to get to them faster. 

Not long after the ship got to Jupiter communications where lost. With the crew in a state of suspended animation it was just figured that maybe the radiation was playing havoc. After the ship was out of the range of Jupiter’s radiosphere communication was never established again. The massive programs that tied all these counties to this project started to accuse the others of sabotage. This lead to the Elpis project was written off as a derelict ship with all hands on board lost. That was 60+ years ago and just as a satellite was coming out of the dark side of Jupiter the signal for Elpis was detected as a distress beacon.

What do we do now?

How to Use The Elpis in Game:

The Elpis is a locale that could be a ship from the past that just mysteriously shows up after years and what has happened with the crew and the ship itself. This could be ancient to futuristic. The mystery surrounding it is something that can go on for a long time.


Library of Ash

If you control the information, you control the populace.  Horrible acts done in the name of law and order.  The burning of books.  Defacing monuments and statues meant to chronicle history. The enactment of damnatio memoriae.  

What happens to what has been learned, yet forgotten.

Its remnants become a volume in the library of ash. A fragile reminder of what was once achieved by great minds.  And that knowledge may be lost forever with but an errant breath.  Hard won insight that may crumble with the whispers of a sycophant

How much has been lost already by the hubris of the foolish or the ambition of the wicked?

And what fool would be willing to visit the library to return these fragile bits of knowledge, knowing they most likely will suffer at the hands of the same ignorant and violent masses 

How to Use Library of Ash in Game:

It can be a place for the players to try and research some forgotten lore.  It can also be used as a plot location.  They can also accompany a beaten and broken scholar, providing protection and insight.



Stevedore’s know the best gossip.  It is true and the good news is that Steerf is always up for spilling the beans.  Whenever a ship docks, something has to come off the ship and something is usually loaded on, and it is the Stevedores who do that.  From a long line of blue collar Zero G laborers, Steerf is as salt of the asteroid as they come, and twice as loyal. 

How to Use Steerf in Game:

Steerf is equal parts plot device and plot hammer – providing the rumors needed to steer players in the right direction and also getting embroiled in organized labor disputes to drag the players in the other direction. 


Offing noun off·​ing | \ ˈȯ-fiŋ  , ˈä- \

Definition of offing

1: the part of the deep sea seen from the shore

2: the near or foreseeable future

    //in the offing

First Known Use of offing

1608, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for offing

Middle English of, from Old English

Look-up Popularity

Top 5% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – Wassi It is a writing app as a gm you can find a ton of ways to use it to organize your games. I am looking at using it to organize all of my one shots. I am going to start working on them a bit more regularly. Hopefully I am going to start recording them and post them in the feed. The cast will be a few different folks from a few different shows I hope. 

Here is the link for the Apple version and sadly there isn’t an Android version.

Joules – Dororo.  A manga that was turned into an anime (Anime can be watched on Amazon prime).  Premise is that a local lord made a deal with demons for his land to be prosperous and he to rule it.  The price was the arms, legs, eyes, ears, skin and other body parts of his just born son.  The son survives through luck, kindness and fate; to discover he can restore his body, bit by bit,  by slaying those same demons.

Guard-a-Manger – Framing Britney Spears.  A new documentary that explores not only the question of Britney Spears’ and her conservatorship. Also how the Pop Culture constructs surrounding her failed.  The questions it raises are interesting for GMs about the rise and fall of icons, culture, and the feedback loop it engenders. 

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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