Oh, Gamesmasters of da Interwebz, this is probably only pertinent to superhero roleplaying games, but where do you stand on the presence of alien races in your games (presuming they are set on Earth)?
Do you take it that 'first contact' has already been made and extraterrestrials are a known factor of your campaign background (even to the extent of having ETs as PCs) or do you leave 'first contact' hanging as potential plot thread for your campaign?
If I go with developing my own supers background I'm currently undecided on this score, but was just wondering what the general consensus was...
Here's the background I've roughed out for a Knight City supers game if I decide to opt for a "they're already here" background:
It's hard to imagine that there is a single soul on Earth who is not aware - to some degree or another - of the events that unfolded on the Moon when John Young and Charles Duke - of Apollo 16 - made "first contact" with the alien that materialised before them in the Descartes Highlands.
It was April 22, 1972, and the world would never be the same again.
The entity revealed itself to be Exarch Farillor of Rythos, an emissary from his planet seeking to make contact with intelligent life in our solar system.
Rythans are beings composed of air currents and small particles of 'ice'. Many have the ability (or 'skill' as they call it) to condense their particles into humanoid forms.
Elder Rythans (such as Farillor's mentor, Rhyll) disdain this skill, saying it is lowering the noble Rythans down to the level of "solids" or "monoforms". Then again those most skilled in "body-forming" can change their shape or even increase their size to spectacular effect.
The entire Rythan culture is very skill-orientated and the best of the best of the warrior caste are asked to join The Crystal Guard (an elite Imperial unit and the only Rythans who regularly travel by starship; most simply dissolve their solid forms and travel through space as clouds of particles or - if they are able - use the 'storm portal' skill).
A Rythan's natural ability to control its own body and its immediate environment allows for such abilities as altering temperature by thought and healing wounds by binding molecules together. However, the most impressive Rythan skill is the "storm portal" (mastered by Farillor), which opens cross-dimensional portals over vast distances.
No Earth scientists have yet worked out how the Rythans can do this, but it is still fascinating to watch the clouds and light show.
The planet Rythos is said to be one of the most beautiful in the galaxy. Bathed in the glow of its red sun during the day, it is dominated by sweeping, multi-coloured, ice plains and intricate crystalline palaces and statues.
|Rythos - Temple Of Eternal Thought|
|Rythos - Jungles of Tarqil|
|Rythos - Coast of Pahoon (at night)|
|Rythos - The Inhospitable Wastes of Drubdarr (at night)|
Rythan mentality encourages learning and this is why when Exarch Farillor made his way eventually to Earth he was accompanied by his eldricar (mentor/teacher/guide) Rhyll.
In the years since his arrival, Farillor has been co-operating with a number of global organisations (such as [FILL IN NAME] and COMPASS) and governments, sharing what knowledge he feels he is able to and helping mankind better understand its place in the universe.
He has only ever spoken publicly of one other alien race, the Lyrars, a mysterious, reptilian race driven by a desire for knowledge and technology. Short-tempered and generally impatient, Lyrar space craft (as well as their costumes, buildings etc) are a mish-mash of ill-fitting parts and often unfinished.
|Typical Lyrar (artist's impression)|
The trouble with the Lyrans obsession with tinkering is that it doesn't stop with technology - they have been known to 'mess around with' with other lifeforms to "try and improve their basic design".
Although they quickly discovered that most sentient lifeforms didn't want to be improved this way, the Lyrar response wasn't to stop their experiments but to create 'The Harvestors' - a crack squad under the command of one Cropmaster Krandir - to help ignorant races appreciate what a great gift they were being given.
Earth scientists, with Farillor's aid, have deduced that his world orbits the star we call Proxima Centauri, approximately 4.2 light-years away from Earth. Neither Farillor nor the less communicative Rhyll have any idea where the Lyran home world is.
Farilllor's behind-the-scenes scientific assistance is almost certain to have been the major boost to the American space programme that has seen the recent launch of the first manned mission to Mars (due to arrive any day now).