Let’s Talk About: Bright Lunar Night (Cypher System)

Oh, you haven’t heard yet? That’s OK! Bright Lunar Night is our just-published adventure over at DriveThruRPG. It’s built for the Cypher System from Monte Cook Games using the Cypher System Open License. Bright Lunar Night is a short, campaign-opening adventure. It’s 8 pages long and set in a Science-Fiction universe where humanity has colonized the Solar System, but FTL travel is limited and rare.

We love shows like Firefly, Dark Matter, The Expanse, and Farscape. That concept – a found family crew, probably on the run from something – makes for a great RPG campaign. So we wanted to write up a quick way to start that campaign.

The “You meet in a tavern” trope is pretty well established in Fantasy games, but we’re not sure there’s an equivalent in sci-fi. You certainly could have characters meet in a bar, but it definitely doesn’t have the same deep rooted familiarity. We also wanted something with a little more action, and to show off the Cypher System with an introductory adventure.

We decided to go with “all your characters are prisoners on their way to incarceration, whether they are guilty or not is up to you.” This would allow the players to come up with all sorts of backstories, and wouldn’t limit them too much. It would also allow a GM to mine those backstories for future NPCs and sessions. It also gives all the characters a shared motivation at the end of the adventure – on the run from their former captors, who hold the rights to their incarceration.

The main villain in this tale is a huge megacorporation. This is not to make any political statement, but more for the flexibility it affords the GM. There’s no reason a lunar or planetary government wouldn’t just send the military after the PCs once they stir up trouble. But if they’re the responsibility of a megacorp – that allows more wiggle room for the GM. The megacorp is less likely to have military assets of that nature, nor are they likely to have the carte-blanche freedom to mobilize huge resources for some fugitives. The PCs have to stay on the move, making money and avoiding the megacorp – but they’re not on Wanted posters all over the solar system.

The characters “inherit” a small, FTL capable starship at the end of the adventure – the GM can stock that ship with whatever equipment or powers as need be. This adventure was inspired by, and definitely targeted to be used in “The Revel” setting in The Stars Are Fire, but it certainly is not tightly bound to that universe. A great follow-up to this adventure would be “Salvage Over Saturn”, the sample adventure in The Stars Are Fire. There, the characters could pick up some blackmail-worthy information on a megacorp, giving them a little bit of security in any future “negotiations”.

We are inexperienced at formal adventure authorship. Consider Bright Lunar Night a very amateur effort – but we think it can still be a ton of fun for your table. Most of that is thanks to the Cypher System itself. Take our idea and mash it up into your game. We learned a lot about layouts, licenses, and organization. We hope to create better adventures down the road.

Thank you!

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