Man begat thinking machine, and thinking machine begat jump drive. For a time it was good, but good times never last. The machines won and superweaponed the Sun, which has gone red and expanded out past Jupiter's orbit. All that remains of the human empire is one decrepit space station in Pluto's shadow, two thousand foppish nobility and attending bureaurats who lack the hardware to repair the station's failing life support systems, and over a billion slumbering souls in cryostasis. An anomaly was recently located inside a melting Kuiper Belt body - a ship of unfathomably ancient origin, but apparently compatible with human life and with a functioning jump drive and weapon systems. Unfortunately, none of said nobles know how to operate such a ship, which is why you, O Daring Spacemen, have been thawed. Go forth and begin the return of man to galactic prominence, by acquiring ships and technology from the Enemy, making contact with rebel groups and splinter factions, and perhaps securing transport for the frozen masses to a new homeworld! Or maybe just bring back some fresh airlock seals and atmosfilters. Soon, please?
Sources of inspiration:
- Pirates of Drinax - Decrepit 'empire' with one high-tech relic ship in need of a crew for raiding.
- Homeworld - The Endgame, and Suns of Gold has such rules for it too.
- Titan AE - Humanity is very much a minor species, Earth a dead world.
- AI War: Fleet Command - General balance of power, inattentive AI.
- Sandbox with consequences and deadlines. You can leave Terra and never look back, but then humanity dies, you lose your base of operations, and the game probably gets rather more difficult. C'est la vie.
- Substantial exploratory element - you're not really sure what's in the next system over, and getting that data out of the AI is likely difficult. Other minor alien factions are likely more helpful in this regard.
- Higher-continuity than anything I've run in a long time. Species-critical personnel don't usually just appear and disappear at random.