Sunday, 29 March 2020

Funding Your Space Archaeology Teams

Will do a few more d100s for this space archaeology
Alternative for Traveller, star frontiers or other exploration SF

So this is some simple notes for a space archaeology campaign

Characters are mission specialists or ship crew (ex scouts)
Funding bodies often nominate chosen experts for key jobs
Juggling funds and sponsors is mostly administered before an expedition
Factions continue to get involved in onboard conflicts
Expedition leader can usually veto votes from rest of the expedition
Ship crew in matters of safety and flight of ship are senior
Crew or team might have the past experience you wouldn't expect

A respectable funding body will publish and support credible work and will help expeditions credibility. A disreputable university will support more outlandish theories. Worse than disrespectable university is lunatic fringe space archaeologists. They are the most dangerous cults that contaminate data. Yet many are rich and charismatic and might get permission to explore despite the boring university verisimilitude. While scientists get excited at finding an alien poop in a space wreck, the lunatics want crystals, strange forces, magical technology, faux history and stuff that sorta look like those on other planets.

Sometimes non-archeology departments get involved to investigate the same sites for other interests. Also, some black patrons might send an agent of some kind to spy on the expedition.

One site planetary expedition for a month requires one funding body 6-12 crew
Multi site system survey for three months  requires 3 funding bodies 15-30 crew
Multi system survey for one year requires 5 funding bodies 40-60 crew
Multi exploratory voyage 3 years require 7 funding bodies

Expedition manager will arrange these things before an expedition. A few skill rolls from the expedition leader can help secure legit funding but if any fail you might seek other funding which will require rolls. You might have rival expeditions to compete and could meet later on the field.

d12 Legitimate funding bodies

1 Xeno archaeology department of a university
2 Colonial archaeology department of a university
3 Astro Anthropology department of a university
4 Other arts faculty d4 1=museum studies 2=linguistics 3=fine art 4=history
5 Other science faculty 1=computers 2=astronomy 3=paeontology 4=genetics

6 Interplanetary Heritage Council support various research and exploration
Mining company interested in heritage and loot sponsor geologists mostly
8 Biotech company seeking patents from alien life and intelligence 
9 Famous museum renown for funding science and seeking objects
10 Xenotechnology Research Group government org classifies alien objects
11 Government cultural department sponsoring various research fields
12 Colonial office supports projects that might aid colonisation and exploration

d12 Alternative funding

1 Crowdsourced from fans and subscribers, risk being popular in public
2 Credit against profits of the expedition, licencing and media rights from a company

3 Eccentric rich noble has own secret interests and access to data
4 The previous project was profitable enough to gain advance from a lender
5 Bored eccentric nobility interested, often one will come to observe
6 Politician offers aid but more red tape and wants work made public 
7 Celebrity endorsement who might even come along
8 Product sponsorship who want naming, brand rights and product placement 
9 Accepting rich donor money if an inept family member gets a job and some glory
10 Media network offers constant coverage and a documentary team
11 Famous university for irrelevant field funding this for some reason
12 Mediocre or new university out to prove itself in this field it has just adopted

d12 Dubious funding bodies

1 Tourism company sells replicants of art and holiday packages to sites
2 Research organisation, secretive and funded bu rich cult3 A disreputable university often funds mavericks and populists normally shunned
4 New age organisation with metaphysical beliefs seeks to prove some theory
5 Unheard of new institute cover for crime clan investigating things to steal
6 Galactic Brotherhood seek contact and peace with secret aliens who hide among us
7 Cyclopedia Galactica once credible now owned by popular mass media

8 Fan funded xenologist with strange unbelievable theories of ancients and aliens 
9 Racist out to prove humanity predestined master race plus other diet & sexual claims
10 A Corporation seeking xenotechnology, when they find will seek to control it
11 Sordid tourist museum nabs artifacts and lies about them to get in public
12 Antiquities dealer seeking loot for rich collectors

d12 Black funding bodies

1 Criminal mastermind seeks great treasure stockpile of fabled lot hoard
2 A pirate clan will observe operations for loot and information about the transport
3 Cult willing to steal and kill for secret religion seeking to serve the ancient ones
4 The criminal dealer uses antiquities as the front, deals in vice, drugs and arms 
5 A terrorist organisation uses antiquities to raise funds for conflict
6 Dangerous billionaire seeks xenotech innovations to gain personal power
7 A covert agent working for foreign or alien power monitoring xenotech sites
8 An independent alien slyly hiding among humans seeks relics to take advantage of
9 Secret society seeking knowledge of ancients have killed to gain it before
10 Religious organisation want to plant false data to prove cult tenets
11 Secret cult of alien hybrids who believe they are inheritors of universe
12 Black security agency dealing with alien infiltration and analysis

d12 Some past expedition member scandals

1 A claim was improved by later evidence and exploration by others
2 A claim was laughed at by establishment and peers, taken years to move on
3 Accident on expedition killed several members of team and flight crew
4 The sole survivor from past exploration
5 Cleared of charges to do with crime or politics
6 Accused of improper conduct with crew or expedition in past
7 Stuck to out of date theories and laughed at by younger scholars
8 Entertains wild speculation and ideas harmed credibility
9 Fell for a fraud that harmed 
10 Famous and sold some books, too popular for scholars to take seriously 
11 Stole or sabotaged others work in the race to achieve funding
12 Was robbed of artifacts by criminals

d12 Expedition Disasters

1 Targeted by crime syndicate or pirates

2 Infiltrated by d4 1=cultist 2=spy 3=rival team 4=press
3 Accident d4 1=in hyperspace 2=navigation 3=system on fire 4=collision
4 Saboteur d4 1=from rival team 2=cultist 3=crew brainwashed 4=cybernetic
5 Finance stream at risk needs the effort to save
6 Information leak d4 1=media 2=rivals 3=crooks 4=cult
7 Stalked d4 1=cultists into ancient aliens 2=locals 3=media 4=criminal cartel
8 A mining company wants expedition out of the way of their operations or just gone
9 Some populist movement claims expedition just graverobbers and plunderers
10 A political crisis emerges near the area of expedition
11 Discovery d4 1=valuable sensation 2=stolen 3=xenotech 4=alien biology
12 Hazzard d4 1=native life 2=weather 3=plague 4=geological

Pre Expedition

Expedition committee plan and nominate leader, secretary and treasurer
Board made up of principal sponsors as advisors
Students might be included in the preparation


Flight Crew
Expedition Leader
Mission specialists (voting rights)
Technical staff, assistants, students

Other guests include
Representatives of funding bodies
-wealthy or celebrity patrons


  1. As usual, a lot of fodder for the various ways & means of getting a party of players out in the field. You seem to be a nearly endless fountain of ideas. I don't know how you churn out so much useful stuff - most content I see is not as potentially usable as yours

  2. The alternative, dubious, and black funding bodies also work for non-governmental sponsors of Projects Long Stairs.

    1. i usually keep out non gov orgs

    2. I remember. I originally found your blog through your posts about ANZAC's Long Stairs incursions at RPGNet. And that policy is more in keeping with the original RPGNet thread.

      But my personal Long Stairs take has the original getting out of hand, with additional doors spontaneously manifesting upon each government-generated breach. So having a few dozen potential interests capable of sending their own teams is particularly useful from my perspective.

    3. not like one right way
      i had mining and biotech firms involved
      and plenty of expert specioalists but they were pretty much tricked or coerced in
      corp experts were dangerous jerks who tried bribery and took stupid risks. Various countries might vary but all keep secret. I guess eventually the truth would leak out and the world would be invaded by creatures and gates

    4. Yup. That's pretty much how I'd see it play out.

      In USA, a lot of military projects are partially staffed with private contractors so maybe it's leakier here than it would be with ANZAC.

    5. Though has increased since 90s and current gov sell anything. Catering was outsourded to company then they refused to go into peacekeeping and middle east. Presume they sorted this but poor guys got old ration packs


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