I’ve got a DS9-like campaign: Federation star base surrounding a planet that’s not (yet) part of the Federation, out beyond Bajor in the Alpha Quadrant. We’ve had a number of station-based stories, and “emergency in space” stories.
I’m trying to come up with a good idea for something planet-side. I’m trying to think of a good story that would draw the characters planet-side and be enough of a mystery or conflict to keep the group engaged. I probably need a plot requiring the somewhat-more-technologically-advanced Starfleet folks to help out, but nothing so huge that it seems planet-threatening.
How about something around an undercover cardassian/romulan/other infiltration trying to subvert the local government/religion?
There was a sort of similar story line in DS9 relating to a cardassian working for the Par Wraiths on Bajor I think, it has been a long time.
The players can either be there officially helping out or they could also be being sneaky to try and thwart the infiltration without tipping their hand and possibly triggering external actions.
Alternatively I’ve run an Arctic exploration scenario where the players were investigating an ancient ship wreck under the ice.
That could be done in conjunction with planetary forces after their original team went missing and they need more advanced tech to find and evacuate them.
Bonus points for having to work with locals who may not trust these Federation outsiders and the mystery of the wreck itself.
Maybe a set up similar to what happens in the TNG double Episode Time’s Arrow in Earth’s past, where Devidian aliens murder people by siphoning neural energy from them.
Something is going on there which the not-so-advanced planets inhabitants can’t quite figure out, maybe they think it’s some sort of plague. The Starfleet folks step by step figure out that some alien force is at work there and provide a solution (maybe in several attempts). If you design it cleverly, it might become a challenge for the medical department first, then for the more sciency/engineering folks, then a fighting attempt for the security-inclined part of the crew and in the end a diplomatic solution.
It’s time to make them do unusual things:
- Protocol Dinner with strange food and translation problems (same word for 2 different things)
- Contest (sports with strange rules, car race with 20th century like cars ) for celebrating friendship (who said sabotage ?)
- Display of art (like a 3 hours No theatrical play) very hard to stay awake but with clues on political situation
- traditional murder case on the planet where they don’t have police power
- Archaeological site on planet that will be the start of several on-planet missions
- Gravitational problems from the planet that impact the station (perhaps linked to the previous idea)
- A planet, a space station? Here comes Zathras from Babylon 5 (and maybe the Babylon 4 story Arc). Who said that DS9 and Babylon 5 are very very similar? JMS’ lawyers?
One I made a while back was the following
The crew comes across a pre-warp society, with circa 1970’s technology and cities. In my game, the Shrileans were a nocturnal species that evolved from the equivalent of mice or other rodents, but it’s a good time to let yourself develop a new species. All the action in my game took place in the capital city, analogous to New York.
Anyway, an away team goes down in disguise of the locals, and in no short order a gangland hit occurs in their proximity, using modern disruptor weapons, which are centuries ahead of their time. You can add a specific species as a red herring, but it appears the Prime Directive has been violated before the crew arrived
The Orion Syndicate has been clandestinely providing arms to criminal organizations or radical groups for the purposes of destabilizing these worlds so that more receptive governments will provide them trade or resources or other wealth. For this planet, their exposure has been limited to one gang, and not so much that it can be dismissed as ravings if played right.
It is the crew’s job to uncover this plan and stop the plot, all the while avoiding exposure themselves