Omega: Mass Effect with Apocalypse World

I want to tell you about a campaign I want to play in. Not run, play. It’s an Apocalypse World game set in the Mass Effect universe, but it’s very much an Apocalypse World game — with a cataclysm that happened 50 years ago that no one’s trying to solve or care about because the past doesn’t matter in the hard word, with a psychic maelstrom, with all that stuff. It takes place on Omega, well after the end of Mass Effect 3 (and assuming elements of the Omega DLC).

The conversion is actually, for this specific concept, dead simple. None of the rules change, just the setup and a little bit of character bits.

Fifty years ago, the mass relay near Omega blew the fuck up. No one knows why. All the quantum entanglement devices stopped functioning, so suddenly no one had any way to leave, any way to come back from wherever they were, any way to talk to people outside of the station. At least Aria T’loak was there to take charge and be the force that held Omega together.

That lasted all of five years, but even Aria’s luck ran out. One well-timed assassin destroyed Omega’s foundation. The destruction of the mass relay wasn’t our apocalypse. Aria’s death was. Ever since then, Omega’s been a meat grinder, with no one being able to hold power. The Blue Suns, Blood Pack, and Eclipse all started fighting each other, and then they splintered to hell.

Life goes on. You carve out what you can, keep what you hold for as long as you can hold it, find fleeting moments of peace. Overcrowding’s a problem, though the ships that were docked around Omega have effectively become floating parts of the station, and there’s always a gang war to cut people down in their prime.

But there’s more to life on Omega that struggle and death. There’s something weird in the air, too. Has been for a long time. Some thing it’s the eezo, others figure it’s Reaper tech or something other horrible thing, but whatever it is, it freaks some people out — which gives other people power.

Or something like that. All of the playbooks for AW work, as far as I can imagine, with flavor tweaking. To promote feeling like a Mass Effect game, I might replace the name/gender/appearance bits for ones tying to the various races in the game, but that’s about it. The psychic maelstrom stays kinda the same — people have ideas of what it might be about, but no one knows for sure.

The one thing that might be missing is biotics, which is more or less “I can use Weird to Go Aggro/Seize by Force.” I don’t know what to do about that, and I’m not sure I care all that much beyond letting that flavor the Brainer or Gunlugger or Battlebabe — though I’m open to ideas.

I know that Adam Koebel has been playing with a Mass Effect-inspired hack of Dungeon World and occasionally posting up stuff about it on his G+ thread, and I’m also excited by his work. This idea is specifically about drifting the Mass Effect to play Apocalypse World, not just using the *World mechanics but all of the drama and assumptions around an AW game.

– Ryan


One Response to Omega: Mass Effect with Apocalypse World

  1. Nice. You could just make biotics a custom move that players can take as a perk, similar to how some take abilities from other characters. Roll+Weird, do a thing, on 7-9 they either return fire or you burn out and can’t do the move again for a bit, something along those lines.