This is an idea that I got from a single line in Unknown Armies. It mentioned that there should still be a Major charge on the moon, so my idea was for a campaign about a Cliomancer that is actually trying to go after this charge, with the idea that it will be at the original landing site of the Appollo 11 mission, in the Sea of Tranquility . Of course, in order to do that, he would need to actually get to the moon, which is not exactly a straightforward task.
He would need allies and financing. He would need to do this either through joining a country’s existing space program, and perhaps the first part of the campaign would involve a lot of political manoeuvring, in order to convince a country that it is worth going back to the moon. The other option is a privately funded flight, which would raise other difficulties.
The Cliomancer - This one is kind of obvious, I think that he would have to be someone who gets charges from space-related locations. Cape Canaveral would be the obvious choice, but for a more international take on the mission, perhaps he could use the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is where the first successful manned spaceflight was launched from.
Since this character would be central to the campaign, it would require an experienced player, and somebody who would not want to hog the spotlight too much.
The other characters could be members of the occult underground, or just normal people in the know. I think there are several archetypes that would take an interest in a mission like this.
For this campaign, I would stay away from having a big bad, with most of the conflict coming from the scale of what the characters are trying to accomplish. Having said that, there are factions which would take a definite interest in this mission.
The New Inquisition will definitely watch this with great interest, and Alex Able might decide to try to use the characters for his own interests, possibly even financing the expedition.
Of course, there are always other cabals, as well as normal people who might be opposed to the characters efforts, if some direct opposition is needed.
This one is kind of obvious, since it draws a lot on the Unknown Armies setting.
Some slight variations on this idea:
- Alternate History – Wind the clock back to the late 50’s/Early 60s, and have the characters involved in the original space race.
- No Supernatural - Run the game with no supernatural elements, with the characters just as normal humans trying to get to the moon for their own reasons.
- Conspiracy – This is the whole “the moon landing was a hoax”. Perhaps the characters did not know that, and when they get up there, they discover the moon is completely different from what they have been told… Or perhaps there are those trying to cover up the original hoax.
Resources and Inspiration
Most of the inspiration for this kind of campaign would have to come from real life, and you could do worse than to read some of the factual articles about the original Apollo 11 flight, or the Russian Space programme.
If you do want to draw inspiration from fiction as well, here are a couple of ideas:
- Space Cowboys – This 2000 movie is useful for getting some ideas about how a space mission would look like, as well as the rivalry between the astronauts.
- Apollo 13 – This movie from 2006 is based on the difficulties encountered during the Apollo 13 mission, it is useful for inspiration for the actual mission, and the kind of difficulties the characters can encounter during the actual flight.
- Defying Gravity – This was a series which only lasted one season before getting cancelled, but it is definitely worth tracking down. For this particular idea, the various training sequences are very valuable.