Constraints set you free. Creating a mod for Transcendence is not easy: there are bugs, quirks, and limitations in the modding system, of course, but probably the biggest difficulty is coming up with ideas to implement. The core engine allows you to create your own universe, with its own characters, sovereign, worlds, and starships. But who has time to invent all that?
In this article I want to talk about adventures you can create in the canonical Transcendence universe. Most of the ideas here use existing sovereigns and settings, and all are compatible with Domina & Oracus. By using the existing assets of the core universe you are free to spend your creative energy inventing engaging storylines and compelling characters. Constraints set you free.
The New Beyond
The New Beyond is the area of Commonwealth-controlled space beyond St. Katharine's Star. It is probably the most peaceful region of Human Space, but it is still filled with danger and adventure.
Adventure Idea: The Algorab System
The largest metropolis in the New Beyond is, of course, Starton Eridani, but there are other large Commonwealth stations in the region, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges. The metropolis in the Algorab system is typical of such stations. The brightness of the Algorab sun scorches all of its planets into lifeless deserts but human stations prosper, supported by a lucrative mining and resource extraction industries.
Besides the usual threats of pirates, warlords, and outlaws, the Algorab system is in conflict because of tension with Abbasid Survivalists. The inner system is dominated by a large Abbasid fortress known as Masjid al-Anka, which is believed to hold many relics of the Scholars of Abbasid. Unfortunately, the area around al-Anka is also coveted by various mining interests (legal and illegal) for its rich cellarox and xenotite deposits. With more and more mining colonies sprouting around the inner system, the Abbasid have been aggresively defending their area, and sometimes send raiders to attack nearby colonies.
The player could get hired by either side. Outlaw miners might hire the player to destroy the Abbasid. Maybe the Commonwealth will hire the player to protect the area from both the Abbasid and outlaws. Or perhaps the Abbasid will hire the player to clear out the area and in the process reveal more about their mysterious culture.
Adventure Idea: Freeworlds
When a biological attack on a Corporate Enclave is traced back to a group of Anarchists, the Corporate Hierarchy hires the player to search and destroy. The player destroys the designated base but comes across a strange ROM amid the wreckage. The ROM contains the location of Tao Station, a member of the secretive Freeworlds, which stand apart from both the Commonwealth and the Corporate Hierarchy. At Tao Station the player discovers a mysterious sect of Anarchists who threatens to unleash a deadly biological attacks on all Corporate installations.
The player must gain the confidence of Tao Station (perhaps by doing missions for them) to learn more about the Anarchists and their plans.
Eventually the player is led to the Freeworlds Shipyard, a mobile complex that builds and repairs classic ships such as the Earthzone-class shuttle. There the player learns that an Anarchist ship (a medium-sized destroyer) is preparing to attack various stations with its biological weapons. The player must intercept the Anarchist ship and destroy it.
The Ungoverned Territories
The Ungoverend Territories are nominally under Commonwealth control, but Sung Slavers and other sovereigns are increasingly asserting their influence. It is clear to many in St. Katharine's Star that the growing strength of the Sung Empire will eventually displace all others. But the colonists who make their home in the Territories will not give up without a fight.
Adventure Idea: The Order of Saint Josephine
The Order of Saint Josephine, one of the many orders of the Sisters of Domina, is probably the most radical. They believe that Domina intends to wipe out most of humanity, purging it of its dangerous and sinful elements, and that the few who survive will usher in a new age of peace and prosperity. This belief is not very popular among the other orders and the Saint Josephines are often marginalized from important decisions.
The expansion of Sung Slavers in the Ungoverned Territories has brought them in conflict with the Sisters, who often provide a permanent home for escaped slaves. The Sung threaten to invade all shrines and cathedrals of the Sisters and take its members into slavery unless they voluntarily leave the Territories. The leadership of the Sisters, known as the Circle of Obedience, has made a deal with the Sung to abandon the shrines nearests the Sung capital of Jiang's Star and instead reinforce the cathedrals around the Sanctum system.
Unfortunately, most of the shrines to be abandoned are of the Saint Josephine order. There are a lot of adventure possibilities in this setting. Perhaps the player is hired by the Sisters to "persuade" the Saint Josephines to abandon their shrines; though once there, it is likely the player will take the Saint Josephines' side against the Sung. Or perhaps the Sung double-cross the Sisters and mount a large-scale attack against their main cathedrals.
Adventure Idea: Commonwealth Special Operations Corps
When a job is too hard for the Militia and requires more finesse than the Fleet can muster, the men and women of the Special Operations Corps step in. In the Ungoverned Territories the COMSOC is involved in everything from rescuing slaves from the Sung, to locating and neutralizing high-value Sapiens targets. After a tour of duty in the Militia, the player might get recruited by COMSOC.
The Outer Realm
At the edge of Human Space the dangers grow, but so do the opportunities. While the principal conflict in the Outer Realm is between the Ares Orthodoxy and the scattered Commonwealth Fleet, there are also numerous smaller conflicts that are ripe with adventure possibilities.
Adventure Idea: Komoro Station
When the Commonwealth Fleet pulls back from the Heian system, the large settlement of Komoro is left undefended and vulnerable to attack by Kobol Warlords and Xenophobes. The player must organize the irregular forces in the area into a proper fighting force. Unfortunately, the player is opposed by the governor of Komoro, who does not believe in the threat, and by a cocky Militia commander who feels that he should be the one to lead.
More worryingly, a traitor inside Komoro is sabotaging the station's defenses, and until the player can discover them, the station will be in no position to defend itself.
Using these Ideas
You are free to use any of the ideas listed here in whole or in part to create your own extensions, and I hope you take advantage of them. I also hope these ideas inspire you to come up with your own adventure stories and characters.
Let me know on the forums if you decide to implement any of these adventures.