We’re trying out the new Drama rules with a shiny new history. The overview is humanity locked in a three-way war with two alien races (yep, it’s intentionally a StarCraft analog).

Early in the game we establish that one of the races is the Swarm, small parasites that attach themselves to unintelligent native species and use their bodies. So when the Swarm assaults a base, it looks like a hodgepodge of different creatures all fighting together, tentacled monstrosities thundering alongside suspiciously aggressive star-antelope, etc. They’re intelligent and can build spaceships and cities (if they take over species with thumbs) but they also spread from world to world as spores, giving rise to separated pockets of Swarm far and wide. You never know if a world is already infected until the squirrels start acting funny.

An Event gets added really early in the timeline where the Swarm homeworld becomes uninhabitable — the ecosystem collapses, so the Swarm are forced to look for new digs, making them a roaming menace. But we don’t go into any detail about what actually happened, so a lot later in the game we have a Scene with the Question “hey, why did the ecosystem of the Swarm homeworld collapse?” Because, well, that seems pertinent.

It turns out the highly successful Swarm had taken over all the native species of their planet, and when all the organisms in the ecosphere stop acting the way they’re supposed to — when the star-lions stop hunting the star-gazelles and they sit around and plan cities instead — the natural order is pretty much a thing of the past. The food chain breaks down, and eventually the ecosystem tanks.

The real bummer? It also implies that the same thing will happen to any world the Swarm take over, dooming them to wreck worlds and then look for more, like locusts.

    Ben Robbins | November 17th, 2009 | microscope actual play | show 2 comments