Wreck of the Kaiserstolz
It all started with the war…
…and when the war was over, and the Germans had agreed to a cease-fire, everyone was safe to stand in awe of what they had accomplished: the Kaiserstarke, or “Kaiser’s Strength”, an artillery cannon built to strike any target in Europe. Though the actual capabilities of the Kaiserstarke were never tested in wartime, it is generally believed to be the first cannon capable of sending an object into orbit.
The Americans, who had mediated the truce between Germany and the rest of Europe, were the first to use the German technology to build their own orbital cannon, the Liberty. Shortly after the completion of construction in 1923, the first shots into space were fired. First, America became the first man to put a man in orbit. Weeks later, they had landed a group of men on the moon. The Bull Moose, the first colony shell ever fired, reported the moon to be of thin air and cold climate, but full of edible flora underground.
Spurred by the possibilities, the Kaiser’s scientists began looking for additional colonization prospects, and finally settle on Venus. The shot takes two years to plan, and in 1925, Germany announces that it will fire the Kaisterstolz, the largest colony shell built to date, at the planet Venus. The shot will take place during the month-long Weltraumstechnologiefest (Space Technology Festival) in Berlin.
During a run-of-the-mill tour and mock launch, however, the doors seal, the cabin pressurizes, and the Kaiserstolz is fired. The hundred-and-fifty-four tour-goers manage to strap in and survive the weeklong journey to Venus, but upon landing will be at the mercy of the elements, and will be stranded with no way home until the problem is solved.
Who fired the Kaiserstolz early?
How will the survivors fare in the harsh jungles of Venus?
And how will they ever get back home?
Wreck of the Kaiserstolz is a high-pulp, alt-history game where you are charged with building a colony in the jungles of Venus. Every game will have two portions to it, each derived from two different game.
The first portion, or the “Colonial Matters” phase of the game will have players choosing what they build, what they discover, and what the pressing matters of the week are. We’ll go over how all that works later. I’ve pretty much wholeheartedly pulled the rules for this portion from a game called The Quiet Year.
The second portion is a more traditional role playing game using the rules for Fate Core. The intention is that in the first portion of the game, players will come up with plots and conceits that will then drive the second portion of the game. We’ll explain how all that works as well.
What Kind of Character Should You Play?
The first bit of advice I’ll offer is this: don’t play a normal person. Your character should be interesting, active, and fun for you to play. Don’t be afraid to ask for special dispensation if you want to get a little crazy with it. My personal policy is not to say no, but to say “Yes, and…”.
For example, having an archaeologist in the colony might not seem exciting, and he’s pretty useless outside of any situation that doesn’t require archaeology. However, if we make that archaeologist into Indiana Jones, then suddenly he becomes far more useful and far more fun to play. He can shoot, he’s somewhat athletic, and he’s an archaeologist to boot.
The second bit of advice I’ll give you is play someone who tends to get into sticky situations. Caution gets boring in a setting where things are this pulpy. We’ll talk more about how to do this in the Aspects section, but play someone with a reason to adventure and a goal to achieve, and you’ll never have a dull gaming session.
When you’re creating your character, you need to keep two main things in mind: skills and aspects. Skills dictate what your character can do, aspects dictates what they are and how they react to different situations.
Now, let’s talk about Aspects.