A few things go into deciding what the campaign’s tone might be, but first consider. Terminator? The Fifth Element? Judge Dredd? Avengers? Machinarium? The Walking Dead? All of them have different tones, and all of them are acceptable in The Frankenstein Crisis. That being said, the adventure’s work best if each of the adventures in the overall campaign share the same tone. Here are a list of the obvious possibilities and some considerations.
- Ominous: Beginning of Wall E. The world, the universe, the whatever is big and it’s dead. Looking around, it’s clear that massive and horrible things must have happened. The world as you know it is utterly wasted. The dramatics of the apocalypse are, however, over. The tone is one of utter hopelessness. Normal people in this world stare at the walls or go through routines in the hope that they can just make it through their days without being reminded of the devastation they face.
- Apocalyptic: People are running through the streets. The tone is deadly serious. Any slip, any mistake (even the mistake of reacting to the danger in a way that is human) could surely mean your downfall. People in this situation are desperate. Many of them have switched into survival mode.
- Horror: Keeping it to a personal scale, the tone of the campaign is one in which the characters are facing robot zombies. Whatever else it looks like, somewhere in Prometheus there must be potential for horror. Normal people in this mode are off kilter. They do not know what or who to trust. They may go through their lives as if nothing is wrong, but they suspect that something horrible is happening where no one is looking, and it might soon include them.
- Survival Mode: The point here is to be in a place where you cannot hope that you will be saved by the agents of society. You are on your own. The normal people in a campaign where the tone is survival mode are either, like you, in survival mode, or they are off somewhere else sipping moon tea.
- Low Space Opera: This is like Star Wars or The Fifth Element. You don’t generally see people walking around in astronaut stuff. You can travel between worlds just fine. You don’t ask too many questions about how things work, and that’s fine. The mixture of sci fi races and technological miracles happens without causing much of a stir. Most people in a campaign like this are doing their thing. They are fairly mixed in their reactions….neither hopeful or hopeless. They’re basically just doing their thing.
- High Space Opera: Flash Gordon. You zip around. Everyone you meet is an alien princess or the commander of a pirate space station. Technology and science fiction is big and flashy. Things work; asking how is beside the point. Most people you encounter in this world are cardboard cutouts. Generally, they hench for one villain/hero/cause or another. You aren’t expected to act particularly realistic either. Life in a campaign of this tone is larger than life.
- Super Heroic: You’re a superhero. You are fighting an army of robot zombies. This isn’t that complicated. The average people in a campaign like this are watching the heroes in tights fly across the sky. Things might get dire, but they never get horrible.
- Cyberpunk: The world isn’t pretty. Utopia has its seedier sides. There are places in Prometheus that aren’t controlled by the Archons. The tone of the campaign is one of criminality. It might be Dark Champions if you grab bad guys and leave them in the harbor. The average people in a campaign with this tone are the residents of Gotham (even if they’re aliens on Ganymede 8…or whatever). They’re likely to do something horrible if no one stops them.
- Dark Comedy: Judge Dredd. Things are fairly superheroic, but they have an air of ridiculousness to them. Your average person is a bit too crazy and erratic. Most of them are on the verge of blowing themselves up.
- Oddball: Watch someone play Machinarium. You want a campaign where you enter the mind of a Frankenstein Robot? That’s oddball.
Prometheus is a technological utopia. Some of the people on Prometheus (the actual planet) are born as cyborg. Other people take drugs that give them Telekinesis. They have pulse rifles and robots following them around and use technology to make breakfast cereal that would make you think they are wizards. The Archons are so good at websurfing that they can predict the future. And your super powers are based on technology….
You, therefore, ought to answer some questions about technology, who has it and what it means. The higher you move up on this list, the more superheroic the game becomes.
- You and everyone else have the same level of technology. You’re a superhero because you put it all together in a superheroic ways or use them for superheroic manner. By setting character powers at this level, you end up playing cool heroes, but not really superheroes.
- You have tech that’s generally restricted (like military grade stuff, cop stuff, or really expensive stuff). Other people probably have the same kind of stuff as you, but it’s not common. This is perfect if you see your characters as part of a unit, or as a group well armed survivors.
- You have better versions of stuff than some of the stuff that’s out there. Iron Man’s suit is better than all the other power suits. You are kind of a superhero, but it doesn’t take much in a world of this type to be a superhero (like the characters in Arrow).
- The stuff you have is unique. You reacted strangely to the drugs you took or you built your super stuff yourself. Even in a world of super-science, you are a superhero.