Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Albedo: Platinum Catalyst

            This is the story of an idea that didn’t come to fruition.

I’ve been working on several projects near simultaneously. While waiting for art for the as yet untitled Lifer Army Book and the Choicer Player’s Guide, I’ve been finishing up Races of the Command Fleet for the Galaxy Command campaign setting. As I finalized races, I got an urge to do more Galaxy Command stuff. It’s a very fun setting to work on, and given its kitchen-sink nature as a homage to 70s and early 80s sci-fi, one that’s very easy to design for. I can toss in anything I want, any concept that seems fun, and it fits.

            Anyway, I’ve got a ton of furry fans because of Fursona, and I thought it might be fun to create an Anthro supplement for Galaxy Command. So I started writing, doing preliminary work on a sourcebook; before I scrapped the idea, I got to about 5K usable words and 10K rough notes.

  • I envisioned a sector of space, an enclosed area within a nebula, that hides the area from the wider galaxy. I called this sector Anthro Space.

  • Inside, I figured it would be a Anthro-only sci-fi setting, with a classic space opera feel. Anthro order would both substitute for race and species, but would also hint at the creature’s personality and social role.

  • Anthro Space is a relatively new setting: the Anthros were created/uplifted by an outside race, not naturally evolved. Until a relatively short while ago, the Anthros were a servant of a mysterious race I called the Experimenters. The Experimenters built the sector’s infrastructure, gave the Anthros tech and culture- they didn’t ‘earn it’ for themselves. The Experimenters vanished a while back, and nobody in Anthro Space knows what happened to them.

  • I broke Anthro Space into two major factions.

  • The good guy faction would be a loose confederation of planets, with a very heterogeneous population- while a few worlds would be exclusively settled by one Order, most of the worlds would have a mix of different Orders, all living mostly peacefully together.

  • The bad guy faction would basically be Furry-Nazis in Space! They’re racial separatists, who have carved out a single order empire for themselves. They conquer worlds, absorb citizens of their preferred order and kill or exile everybody else. Riffing on the Kzin, I decided the bad guy faction would be Felis Major (Tigers).

Anyway, I figured I had the basics of a pretty kickass campaign setting here. So I decided to check into other Anthro-specific sci-fi and see how they did things. Now, at this point I was aware of the Albedo RPG in that I knew its name, knew that it was fairly serious military sci-fi and knew the author, Steve Gallachi, was ex-USAF himself. Other than that, I really knew nothing about it. Anyway, Monday or Tuesday I found a copy of Albedo: Platinum Catalyst (Sanguine Productions, 2004). I was reading over it and about five pages in I realized I had to scrap this whole damn idea.

The reason? Without realizing it, I’d completely recreated the Albedo universe albeit in slightly mangled form. Their setting called its mysterious uplifters the Creators rather than the Experimenters, and their races’ origins were only about 200 years in the past, where I was figuring the Anthros of Anthro Space had existed for 2-3,000 years. The EDF (the military to which Albedo’s iconic heroine, Erma Felna, belonged) is organized politically and socially exactly how I wanted my good guy faction to be; Albedo’s Furry-Space-Nazis were the Independent Lapine Republic and were rabbits, not tigers (which is an absolutely kickass reversal of expectations) but they worked the same.

At that point, I just sorta set there at half a week’s work and just said “Fuuuuuuck.” Okay, scratch that idea.

So no Anthro Space sourcebook, though several pages of Fursona-compatible new material will be include in Races of the Command Fleet. Races of the Command Fleet will be a fairly large and useful sourcebook overall. It will also be art heavy. John and Amanda are both having a ton of fun illustrating it, and I’ll have some more preview art up in a few days.

Here’s a tentative release schedule for early 2013.
  • January: Solomon Station (coming soon), Races of the Command Fleet (by end of January)
  • Late Jan or early February: The Lifer Army Book and Choicer Player’s Guide (both for Otherverse America)
  • Late Spring or Early Summer: Black Tokyo Unlimited Edition (very subject to change; this book will require lots of art- I’d rather it come out later with sufficient art than early and done half-assed.)
  • Late Summer-Early Fall: Masters of Endara Campaign Setting (again, very subject to change, but I’m shooting to get this one out before 2013 ends).


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