Space 2300


Banded Mongoose
When I was in college(s) I played a lot of RPGs. Despite some Shadowrun, Cyberpunk and Albedo, I always came back to my three favorites; Twilight: 2000, 2300AD and Space 1889. (I like RPGs with years in their titles, obviously.). Notice: all of these were originally by Games Designers Workshop. Further more one could argue that Twilight was merely a prequel to 2300 as they are set in the same universe. So sometime ago I decided that it's only right that Space 1889 should fit there somehow as well. But in order to keep the hard sci-fi feel changes were needed.

First: The Year- obviously there is no way in any hard sci-fi setting that people would land on Mars or Venus during the Victorian Era. So I moved it to 2289. To explain this I had "Mars" harbor a nasty prion based disease that was very easy to spread and resulted in violent madness as the brain deteriorated. For over 100 year contact was very limited as all humans exploring "Mars" needed to wear extensive bio hazard suits and undergo a lengthy decontamination process after visiting the planet. In 2268 an American research team finally develops a full vaccine that protects the individual from the Crimson Curse but also prevents it from spreading. First "unprotected" expedition to "Mars" occurs in 2270 and colonization follows.

Second: Who's There?- as with Space 1889, all the major colonial players are there to some degree. Though I recommend replacing Belgium with another nation. The military government of Mexico or the warlords of Manchuria may be suitably ruthless to offer a good replacement.
As for the "Martians" there are two good choices...Ebers, who have an architectural style similar to the Martian buildings in Space 1889 (same artist?). For me though I use a lost colony of Ylii. This also explains the various types of Martians as the Ylii polytaxial society fell apart following their Great War. And we get the added bonus of stunned looks on human faces as we realize the Kaefers slaves are the same aliens we've come to lord over.

Third: Where?- Of course we know Mars isn't habitable but keeping our new world within the basic region of the core is desirable. This means a change is needed. I offer up for sacrifice, Limbes. Make the world habitable and give it a suitable "Mars-like" name. I prefer Matin, French for Morning.

Fourth: Why?- Well, pretty much all the old GDW settings were pretty cool (Yes, even Dark Conspiracy had some merit.). Also, 2300AD was essentially pre-World War One geopolitics IN SPACE. They even called the simulation used to create the setting The Great Game. So despite having the Sung and Ebers, I always wanted an in setting example of direct colonialism in the vein of the White Man's Burden...albeit now known as the Earth Man's Burden.

Final thoughts- Despite France being the great power, I'd keep Britain as the biggest colonial power on Matin. France is hip deep in Africa so is a bit wary of further direct colonialism.

The Oenotarian War came at the tail end of the Central Asian War thanks to Manchurian agent provocateurs. Britain won using a sweeping hover tank assault across the seemingly unpassable Matin Deserts. But besides some concessions and reparations gained very little due to France's support for an Open Matin Policy.

The German enclave was once Hannoverian with strong ties to America and Australia. This kernel of friendship has taken root in the new German government and may some day bear fruit.

Lift wood is certainly an artificial plant created by a highly advanced alien, but either way it has made lifting off from a planetary surface far easier. Too bad it degrades badly when kept within an active stutter warp field.

Just some ideas. Let me know what you think and add any background tidbits you care to add.

Thanks, Benjamin


Cosmic Mongoose
If you're going to make all those changes to the setting, I don't see why you couldn't just do your hard sci-fi stuff in 1889 using the 1889 content.