In the height of the Roman empire, gladiatorial games were commonplace. They were nothing but entertainment, men brutally killing each other for the viewing pleasure of a few hundred spectators. Sometimes their battles were modeled after ancient wars, or simply to the profane preferences of the ravenous crowds. But Rome fell. Many, many years ago, Rome fell, and the world moved on. New empire rose to power and expanded, more wars were fought, and the power of the Roman empire fell into antiquity.
History, however, is cyclical, and, with Earth’s resources failing, humans moved on to the stars. Colonies rose on planets near and far, massive space stations were constructed between stars, and huge ships carried humanity farther than they ever believed possible. However, as any great empire is prone to do, the system-spanning empire of humanity buckled and collapsed into infighting and pointless wars. Planets were decimated, colonies lost, and stations abandoned. That was years ago now, but conflict has yet to cease, the obsession with battle and military hardware never died down, and the risk of the great war once more hitting a boiling point has never truly faded. Humanity wanted blood, and history is cyclical.
Drop, an inter-planetary gladiatorial spectacle viewed by trillions upon trillions of humans across all controlled sectors. What started as a means for out-of-work weapon manufacturers to make a profit in the dying years of the Succession War quickly turned into a living, breathing entity obsessed with devouring the lives of thousands of willing, and not so willing, men and women. Droppers consist of everything from willing fighters who join for fame and fortune to innocent men and women enslaved and sold for battle. While some Droppers are former mercenaries or ex-military, the majority are untrained, uninformed, and unprepared for the bloodbath that awaits them on the planet’s surface, for the only things they see on primetime are the highlights: battles with more spectacle than fighting, or crowd-favored squads being fed easy victories. To many viewers none of it is real – reality television displaying a mere visage of reality. However I can assure you that Drop is as real as it gets. The battles are harsh and bloody, you don’t just get back up after getting shot, and despite all the DTV’s rules, almost anything is game when you get your feet on the ground.If, that is, you even make it that far.
Drop soldiers, called Droppers, are those that participate in the actual combat that DTV focuses on. There are no set prerequisites to being a Dropper, and many are, in fact, normal, untrained civilians who wanted a taste of the glory of being a fan favorite. Some, however, are in debt to the all-pwerful armament companies, forced to pay off their debt by working for the company’s sponsored Drop team. Others are slaves, captured during a battle or siege and forced to fight for the amusement of their enemies. The last group is composed of human rights activists, groups which are now often militarized and do not support the idea of modern-day gladiators. They attack Drop ships relentlessly, but have yet to gain a major foothold against the massive company. Without the backing of a government, many of which were dissolved by the corporations they once served under, they’ve resorted to trying to destroy DTV from within. Thus far, they have been unsuccessful.
But you want to know why you’re called a Dropper, don’t you? Well you must have been living on some backwater mining colony up until now, because everyone and their grandmother knows why Droppers are called Droppers. We can’t afford to send you all down in comfort, and besides, that’s not what you’re paid for. So get in that drop pod, strap in, and pray to whatever god is left that our aim is good and you don’t get shot on your way down.
Get ready to Drop.
Drop is a science fiction game, sure, but it’s a bit… Grittier than sci fi was in its heyday. Lasers take too long to burn through something to be weaponized, plasma is incredibly unstable, and teleportation is a thing of fairy tales. While I’m ok with you getting creative, don’t go really wild with it unless you think it’ll work. If it won’t, I’ll tell you and let you revise. Don’t worry, I’m easy like that.
A typical Drop squad consists of 4-6 members, with a 7th slot open for specialists. I’ve included quite a number of positions in the premade cards, but have left your strengths, weaknesses, and subplots open. Have fun with them, but make sure to tell me where you’re from and why you’re a Dropper in your backgrounder. Have any questions, make a quick character and ask me in the comments – fastest way for me to see it.
Hosted and narrated by:
Cluck Cluck (TwoChickens)
Scenes played: 10
License: Community License