This idea is for a far future setting, and would work well with some Lovercraftian overtones.
Stellar Engines are theoretical ways to move a star around… So that got me thinking to how we could use them in a game, other than as a cool piece of scenery. Of course, entire campaigns could be run on one (perhaps as an alternative to a Dyson sphere setting)
In a first contact style-game, the first hint we have that we are not alone in the galaxy is when one of the nearby stars starts moving closer. Do we try and get somebody there, to say hi, or do we broadcast to them, hoping for a response?
For a more Lovercraftian twist, in a space opera setting, perhaps a group of well-funded cultists are tired of waiting for the stars to become right, and have decided to shuffle them into place, ensuring the rise of the old ones? The campaign could revolve about a group of workers working on building the Stellar Engine, who discover that the company doing the funding is actually trying to awaken the Great Old Ones.
In a similar vein, the game can take place once the star has already started moving. Or perhaps the characters are building a stellar engine in order to prevent the stars from ever aligning?
Call of Cthulhu came out in 2005. It was directed by Andrew Leman, and stars Matt Foyer and John Bolen (IMDB Page). Needless to say, it is based on the story of the same name by H. P. Lovecraft.
This is a silent movie, with no speech, just music, and the occasional card of text. This gives a very interesting feel to the movie… It really takes you back to the era that the it is set in.
This got me thinking about running a silent RPG… It would not really work with a classic round the table set up. But in a LARP or a JeepForm, it might be an interesting experience. The players not allowed to speak, and they are forced to rely on other means of communication. There could even be an in-world explanation for this… Perhaps they have all been struck dumb by something, or for a darker game, they are all slaves whose tongues have been cut out.
Of course, the tricky part would be to keep the game from devolving into a game of Charades, which would kill the mood.
Specialists Called in
At one point, Thurston consults with the archaeological society. This scene reminded me of how rarely players actually ask for help from NPCs. It makes sense for the characters to ask specialists for their opinions. Of course, there is never a guarantee that those opinions will be accurate, or even sane.
The story is actually two simultaneous stories, the story of Thurston’s uncle, and the story about Thurston discovering what happened.
This could easily be applied to an RP session, as the characters discover what happened before, rather than presenting the information they found, allow them to play a short scene or two as the characters that they are learning about.