After three years of development, we are finally introducing DRIFT: Chronicles of the First Space Age, a retro-realistic scifi setting focusing on the expansion of Mankind across the solar system.
Set around 2150, DRIFT: Chronicles of the First Space Age is a tumultuous setting in which Mankind has finally turned toward the stars, even if he has not managed to overcome all his problems yet. The burdens of overpopulation, pollution, and dwindling fuel resources drove mankind first into orbit, then into planetary colonization. Step-by-step, mankind expanded through the solar system, first settling the moon, then Mars, then many of the largest asteroids, then Mercury, and then Venus and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. At that point, colonization stalled, the vast distances to the outermost planets making further expansion cost prohibitive and dangerous. The came war. The conflict didn't last long and many say the recovery period was more brutal than the war itself, what with the forced migrations back to Earth.
And when migration, exploration, and colonization began again, space travel changed radically. Up to this point, space travel had effectively been a mass transit system, moving dozens to hundreds of people at a time between two points, be it between space stations or planets. New corporations sprang up in the depths of space, selling the past. What was old became new again as companies competed in the fledgling private space travel segment, selling kit spacecraft derived from old designs, effectively creating a market similar to the auto transport market of earth during the early 20th century. Can’t afford the kit? Some sold authentic blueprints enabling you to fabricate nearly 200 year old designs from scratch, right down to wiring the electronics yourself. No worries, since there was zero regulation on building your own offworld or offstation space transportation. You could buy or build your own Soyuz or Apollo system, modify it with newer technology, fuel and stock it, give it the comforts of home and cruise your local planetary subsystem with it. Suddenly, space travel became an individual thing.
Shortly after that, the same sort of thing happened with old space station designs. Not only did old designs become once again available, but even those that never saw light of day beyond the drawing boards were resurrected in the name of competition.
This is the primary era in which DRIFT takes place. Earth rules the inner solar system with fascism, while the outer system, still slowly being developed, exists beyond the control of Earth, ruled primarily by the entrepreneurs and corporations developing it. Occasionally, one can even find a local despot lording it over a colony, factory or mining facility. You might even find an old, abandoned facility that has been appropriated by squatters and converted into a lawless haven ruled by crime in these distant reaches.
So what is the goal of every character in DRIFT? Survival. The universe is inherently hostile to life. That makes space a dangerous place to travel, and colonization even more so. Will the character survive long enough to become a “have”, rather than finding death as a “have-not”? And how much of a “have” will you be? Will you be a home owner in the mining colony or doomed to endless rental fees, living out of a sleeper coffin? Or maybe you’ll have your own little ship, scraping by on what you earn hauling, smuggling, or bounty hunting? Perhaps you’ll move into a position to run an asteroid facility, turning it into your own despotic little fiefdom?
Maybe you’ll just settle for fame and a good or bad reputation known by all. Will you be the first man or woman to set foot on a particular planet or moon? Will you be the ace of aces among fighter pilots? The smuggler with the fastest ship in the solar system? The most dreaded of pirates, most infamous of gamblers, most accomplished of womanizers, or most feared of bounty hunters? The explorer that makes the greatest discovery since Columbus?
Or are your dreams greater than that? If not an asteroid or station, then what will be big enough for you? A moon? A planet? The entire solar system?
Of course, DRIFT also allows you to go the other way as well. Drawing so much inspiration from the early days of the Space Race, you can easily do a game set in the 1960’s, playing out the Space Race itself, or establishing an alternate history that made many of the spacecraft and habitat proposals a reality or perhaps the Space Race turned out to be an armed conflict over extraterrestrial resources.
Early releases of the product series will be generic, with support for various game systems coming at a later date.
This first release provides the introduction, as well as the Atlas entries for the inferior planets (the planets that orbit closer to the Sun thanEarth, namely Mercury and Venus). Also included are a Table of Contents and Glossary that will expand with future releases.