Vortex Mars info
Fellow role-players, here’s some information on Mars in the Vortex space opera campaign setting:
- circa 2000 B.C.E. or -4200 Terran Galactic Era: Ru’ulok and Olvar, among other extraterrestrial species , visit the Sol system. (See also the " Vanished Lands .") Ancient Egypt flourishes.
- c. 300 B.C.E.: Romans name the red planet after their war god.
- 1609 A.D./C.E.: Johannes Kepler calculates Mars’ orbit.
- 1877 A.D./C.E.: Giovanni Schiaparelli observes lines, or “canali” on Mars. (See also “Gaslight Grimoire”)
- 1895 A.D./C.E.: Percival Lowell theorizes that Mars’ canals are signs of a lost civilization.
- 1898 A.D./C.E.: H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds is published.
- 1912 A.D./C.E.: Edgar Rice Buroughs’ A Princess of Mars is published.
- 1950 A.D./C.E.: The so-called Golden Age of science fiction; Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles published.
- 1969 A.D./C.E. or -226 T.G.E.: Apollo 11 — first men on Earth’s Moon.
- 1971 A.D./C.E.: Mariner 9 (U.S.A.) is first successful orbiter.
- 1976 A.D./C.E.: Viking 1 (U.S.A.) first successful unmanned Mars landing.
- c. 1982 A.D./C.E.: Carlo R., Gene D., et al. write “The Zarkonian Bomb.”
- c. 2020 A.D./C.E.: First human missions to Mars.
- c. -100 T.G.E.: Emigrants from China begin settling on Mars, just as people from Oceania and Southeast Asia colonize Earth’s oceans. Wealthy Europeans, North Americans, Indians, and East Asians colonize Lagrange orbital points and the Moon in response to pollution and population pressures. The United Earth Authority is founded in Rio de Janeiro.
- -85 T.G.E.: First Interplanetary War: The Lunar Free State and some orbital habitats rebel against Terran colonial powers, becoming quasi-independent corporate states.
- -75 T.G.E.: Ecoterrorists disrupt research undersea and on Mars as terraforming begins. The U.E.A. charters the Interplanetary Patrol and begins building Fort Olympus Mons.
- -50 T.G.E.: Synths gain limited rights after several rounds of civil unrest.
- -30 T.G.E.: Second Interplanetary War: Mars Confederation and Synths rebel against megacorps, gain a seat on the United Earth Council. The Slavic League begins mining operations on Venus, and humans begin to settle in the Asteroid Belt and Jovian and Saturnian systems.
- -20 T.G.E.: Jason Delmar is born near the North Eastern American Megalopolis [" Vortex " Party 1]. Terrans build first orbital elevators from Earth and Mars. “Jasmine” is born in Mars orbit.
- -c. 10 T.G.E.: The United Ecumenical Movement is founded in reaction to slaughter in the Holy Land and archaeological discoveries.
- -5 T.C.G.: The latest insurgencies end on Mars (tours of duty of “Hector,” “Chris,” and “Kevin”). The U.E.M. expands its presence at the Phobos Temples.
- -1 T.G.E.: “Collateral Damage Inc.” begins missions from its Newark base (" Vortex " Team 3, Virginia, fall 1996).
-c. 2194 A.D./C.E. or 0 T.G.E.: Open and official First Contact between galactic societies and the Sol system.
- June: Mars Soup Aid Lenders Ltd. (“MarSoupAiL”) is created as a shell company by the grifters who later take possession of the Fortune’s Fool/Gen. Lee/Appomattox (FATE 3e " Vortex " Party 5b/Team 2, 2010).
- July: A few aliens and their Terran allies (FATE 3e " Vortex " Party 5a/Team 1) accompany the Achilles battle group from Earth orbit to Mars . The Gen. Lee , including “Hector Chavez” and “Jasmine,” goes to the troubled Venus colonies.
- August: On the train from the Demios-Pavonis space elevator and Sheffield Station near Valles Marineris, Team 1 fights bandits . After an incident in New Shanghai involving former Interplanetary Patrol officers, the group visits the capital at Hellas Park and a terraforming station at Hadriaca Paterna.
“Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus” is reprogrammed by Black Box Security Co. The adventurers also help conduct a raid on a domestead used by drug smugglers and Ru’ulok spies . The U.E.M. holds conferences at the Phobos Temples.
- September: After Team 1 is interviewed by officers from the U.E.A. and the Kharvamid Alliance, the Olvar Star League grants it the experimental scout ship Morifaiwet , which is renamed the Blackbird and sets out for deep space. The crew of the Appomattox distributes Ru’ulok FTL blueprints to Terrans through the Xox Memes.
- October: Collateral Damage Inc. visits Mars, including the spaceport at Tarsis Prime, the plains of Syrtis Major, and Phobos.
- November: Collateral Damage Inc. renames itself “Full Circle” and designs the P.T.S. Venture . The Blackbird returns to Earth from Oasis Station via a Precursor jump gate. The Appomattox travels from Epsilon Eridani to Atlanta .
- December: Ru’ulok expand trade deals with Terrans as tensions escalate in South Asia. The United Earth Authority renames itself the Union of Solar Nations and expands operations in the Asteroid Belt with advisors from the Kharvamid Alliance.
c. 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:
- January: Jason Delmar trains aboard the Stella Sagitta .
- February: The crew of the Gryphon makes its shakedown cruise from New Gdansk to the Mars Confederacy.
And here’s more information about factions on Mars and sourcebooks for " Vortex :"
Environment of Mars
Mars is still sparsely inhabited, with a land mass equivalent to that of Earth but only one-third the gravity. The air is still very thin, and temperatures range from -80 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Fine dust, solar radiation, and the carbon dioxide atmosphere are why most domesteads and the few cities on the planet are 90% underground and have double airlocks.
Still, a few “Synths” and genetically-modified humans can venture into the Martian outback without a full space suit. Early terraforming efforts involving water reclamation, algae production, and reflected sunlight have had some success.
Mars has some natural wonders to attract wealthy tourists in the late 22nd century: Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the Sol system, is the size of Texas. Valles Marineris is the largest canyon in the solar system.
Factions on Mars
- Union of Solar Nations: Formerly the United Earth Authority, humanity’s loose central government, has built Fort Olympus Mons. This military facility is home to elite squadrons of the North American Aerospace Marine Corps. The Marines follow the traditions of the U.K.’s Royal Marines and the U.S.M.C. The Interplanetary Patrol (think U.S. Marshals in the Old West) also has a presence here.
- United Ecumenical Movement: A coalition of religions and mystics whose chaplains work with the U.S.N. Runs temples on the moon of Phobos.
- People’s Liberation Army: The local milita; the Tenryu Party currently controls the confederacy’s civilian government.
- Tharsis Terraforming Directorate and Wildlife Bureau: Agencies of the Martian government.
- Uruk Services: The largest megacorporation on Mars, it provides shelter, jobs, food, and technology to many colonists.
- Xiao Chu: Megacorp that built and controls the space elevator from the moon of Demios down to Pavonis on the surface. Nearby destinations include the Utopia Planitia shipyards.
- Black Box Security Co.: Government and private contractor, run by eugenics conspiracists, and former employer of “Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus.”
- Green Gongen: Supporters of terraforming plans. Scientists predict that making the red planet more Earthlike could take centuries. Terraforming efforts are centered at Hadriaca Paterna.
Beyond the law:
- Barsoom Defense Force: Nativist rebels based out of scattered “domesteads” in the Martian Outback.
- Rust Coalition: Preservationists who oppose efforts to terraform Mars.
- Synth Liberation Front: Guerrillas in the Martian outback fighting for equal rights for “Synths” — including formerly indentured robots/artificial intelligences and “Uplifted” (bioengineered) animals.
- Tong: Organized criminal gangs in the underground settlements of Chryse, New Shanghai, and Hellas Park. Dealers in “Red Menace,” the latest designer drug.
- D20 Core Command / Jovian Chronicles : Mars Planet Sourcebook
- D20 Wars: Mars and Battlefronts
- GURPS Space , Mars, Terradyne, Transhuman Space: In the Well, Uplift
- Hero System 5th Ed.: Star Hero
- Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment ( FATE ) 3rd Ed.