Frequently Asked Questions (Part 2)
What follows are a few of the questions that have regularly been asked of After Earth. I will be addressing each point in more detail further down the line, but for now, I'll summarise.
Q. What method of creation are you using for characters?
A. I use the Defined Limits option for After Earth: every player creates his or her character using 18 attribute dice, and 7 skill dice. No single skill can have 3D allocated towards it. Previously I had been using the Funds attribute in place of an actual number of credits per player, but this might also be subject to change.
Q. What kind of weapons and armour does humanity and the alien races have access to? Blasters?
A. At the time of the campaign's beginning, humanity still largely makes use of ballistic weaponry, though the Gaian Defence Force and Fleet have been issued energy weapons. Other high clearance operatives and organisations also have access to this kind of technology.
Alien races have their own technology and weaponry, but several manufacturers supply many different registered races of the Trade Council. It is no uncommon, therefore, to see various races carrying the same type of rifle or explosive.
Q. How do you intend on getting all our characters together at the start of the game?
A. All characters begin the game as part-owners (or crew members) of a Free Trader vessel. Players will need to modify their backgrounds where necessary to provide reason and means for their characters to begin the game in such a position.
Q. What is a Free Trader vessel?
A. A Free Trader vessel is a ship that is owned by one or more individuals who have registered with the Trade Council under their own authority. They accept contracts and missions where they can find them, but do not act on the authority or behalf of any corporation or government.
Q. What language do the aliens, and humanity, speak? How does everyone communicate with one another?
A. The principal language used by humanity is English. Although there are many survivors who speak different languages, such as French, Italian, Spanish, etc., English is the primary dialect used within the Commonwealth, and everyone is taught it throughout their education.
Each alien race possesses their own individual language, or means of communication.
One of the benefits of registering with the Trade Council is that, provided it is your government that is signing on, or a corporation or group large enough to represent a large majority of your race, your language is added to the Council's Universal Translator units. These devices are small machines that are attached to the ear or audio receptor of the individual. All races, upon registering with the Council, have their language incorporated into the devices, which can give (sometimes rough) translations that are then passed onto the brain of the Translator's user. This way, any race that has registered with the Trade Council can communicate with any other (registered) race, provided that both individuals are in possession of one of these units.
Q. How is humanity's government structured?
A. The Commonwealth, which is the term used to describe all of the planets that are home to humanity, adheres to the ruling of the Parliament, which is housed on Gaia. This Parliament is made up of elected representatives from each planet, and is chaired by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is elected by the Members of Parliament every time a new cabinet is assembled (every three years).
Another elected individual is the Gaian Representative, who acts as humanity's ambassador to the Trade Council. This individual is always chosen by the Parliament, and reports directly to the government.
Q. How is the Gaian Defence Fleet structured?
A. The Gaian Defence Fleet, like so much else, is based largely upon British structuring. In this case, the rank system and classes of starship are taken from the 21st century's Royal Navy.
The rank system, from lowest to highest, is as follows:
NCOs & Low Ranks:
Able Rate, Leading Hand, Petty Officer, Chief Petty Officer, Warrant Officer 2, Warrant Officer 1
Midshipman, Sub-Lieutenant, Lieutenant, Lieutenant-Commander, Commander, Captain, Commodore, Rear-Admiral, Vice-Admiral, Admiral, Admiral of the Fleet
The above ranks apply only to the Gaian Defence Fleet; the Gaian Defence Force uses a different series of ranks, although difference is still shown to someone from the alternative Defence branch who holds a higher rank than your own.
All starship names are prefixed by the acronym 'GDS', or 'Gaian Defence Ship'. The classes of starships are:
The primary defensive ships used by the Gaian Defence Fleet.
Larger than the frigates, the Destroyers are slower but carry much greater firepower.
Only slightly smaller than the Destroyers, Fighter Carriers contain squadrons of various fighter craft. Fighter Carriers are always escorted by Destroyers, or a large number of Frigates.
These ships are used to deploy and recover Gaian Defence Forces from a planet. They are armed, though not overly so, and are capable of traversing a planet's atmosphere without difficulty.
Gaian Auxiliary Ships:
Given the prefix of GAS, these highly valuable ships are responsible for resupplying active Gaian Defence Ships. Manned by civilian crews, these ships possess no armaments, and are therefore escorted wherever they go.