Continuing my “thinking out loud” process here, I want to turn to characters. Now, the initial plan was to being in media res with the PCs aboard a crashing starship, which sort of indicates that they would start out in the same unit. However, what I’m currently thinking is that they don’t know each other very well at all, so logically, it would work better if they weren’t in the same squad or platoon or whatever. Perhaps instead, have them all be in the same battalion (equivalent) so some of them may recognize the others but only by sight. That works better because it means some (or all) could have dark secrets that come to light later.
With regards to team make-up, I really like the stuff in Action 4: Specialists which lets you pick and choose elements from a basic template. Totally thinking of going with that.
I also really dig the way ME1 split up your version of Space Jesus into two groups of categories. The first is their origin which is one of three:
- Colonist – raised on Mindoir which was attacked by Batarian slavers. You’re the only survivor.
- Earthborn – born in the gutters on Earth, grew up on the streets. Joined to get away from that.
- Spacer – born and raised in space. Both parents are military.
Then you have their military history, also split into three:
- Ruthless – involved in the campaign to rid the Skyllian Verge of slavers. Got 3/4 of your troops killed in the fighting but got the job done.
- Sole Survivor – went to Akuze and was attacked by thresher maws. Everyone died but you.
- War Hero – at Elysium when Skyllian Blitz struck. Rallied civilians, led them to defend. You’re a BDH.
- Hardened Veteran – You participated in the Skyllian Verge campaign and saw some real hairy shit on Torfan. Every single one of your closest friends died when Lieutenant Shepard led you on an assault to take out the heavily fortified underground bunker, but somehow, you survived. As one of the few living members of that elite team, you are given wide berth and great respect.
- Fierce Patriot – Growing up on the colony of Elysium, you were barley an adult when the Skyllian Blitz struck in 2176 and it was there that your childhood died. You saw friends and family get cut down and only Lieutenant Shepard’s presence saved your life. Afterward, you enlisted, intent on showing your worth to the whole galaxy.
- Honored Tradition – Even as a kid, you knew you were going to be in the military. Your parents were military, their parents were, and their parents, and so on. So here you are … and to while you don’t much care for all of the life, your upbringing pretty much ensured that you were far better prepared for this kind of life than many of your peers.
- Lucky Scoundrel – It was the military or prison for you after that last score. How were you to know that the dude you swindled was so well-connected? And since you weren’t enthusiastic about spending your best years behind bars, the military it was. Now you’ve got access to more state-of-the-art gear than you could have ever imagined!
- Grounded Pilot – That last crash was totally not your fault. You’d complained about that piece of junk a dozen times and when everything went south, you were lucky to walk away alive. The inquest panel blamed you though – it was your asshole commanding officer’s fault – and not only stripped you of your rank, but grounded you permanently. Now you’re stuck playing grunt.
- Intelligence Officer – You’re not even supposed to be here! This is a job for the damned military and you’re trained as a spy, an analyst who just happens to be a damned good shot and a better tactical planner! If you’d kept your mouth shut, your control officer wouldn’t have decided you were the best person to be a liaison with the jarheads. But here you are…