Mass Effect: Grim Fixes the End

I’m aware they’re – somewhat – revising the ending this summer, but I need to work with what I have really. I also doubt that they’ll completely rewrite the ending.

For MY Shepard’s ending you can read #CorwinsChronicle (search term) over on G+, I’ll be posting my epilogues there as well, as I imagine them.

For my Mass Effect games and RPG conversion, you can assume that ‘Grim Canon’ is the deal. ‘Reconcile’ is my attempt to ‘explain’ what does happen in better terms. ‘Stock Explanation’ is what I think happened, informed by the internet as well.

How the Fuck Does the Illusive Man get to the Citadel?

The Stock Explanation: The Reapers let The Illusive Man on to try and talk Shepard and Anderson down. The obvious problem with this is that he’s betrayed them and while he might be indoctrinated, how the buggery did he get there?

Reconcile: Well, I guess they could have, but they’re not the most personable of creatures and The Illusive Man seems to think he still has a chance of controlling them. I suppose these vast, killer, intelligences could play obsequious and kowtow to him to make him think he’s in control, but I don’t see it myself. Since he wasn’t at the Cerberus Base he could be anywhere, so there’s plenty of ways he could have gotten to The Citadel.

Grim Canon: Cerberus infiltrated the research facility set up on Ilos following the events of ME1. The Illusive Man and much of his remaining forces made a move on Ilos pretty much the moment they figured out what The Catalyst was. The Conduit was powered up and used to transport them to The Citadel and while The Illusive Man lost the forces he took with him getting to the control centre where he confronted Shepard and Anderson. He’s been self-indoctrinated since… well, a long time. The recent visible changes are a result of battle damage and ‘upgrades’ learned from Lawson.

What is this Child AI?

The Stock Explanation: This is the controlling AI intelligence of the Relay Network and the force behind The Reapers. Some artefact of whatever truly ancient civilisation first set about creating The Reapers and designed this cycle.

Reconcile: OK, fair enough, but it seems odd that you would ‘protect’ the universe from synthetics with a synthetic. The Reapers themselves aren’t truly machines, per se, they’re cybernetic, organic and synthetic together. This ‘intelligence’ makes more sense as a VI or shackled AI in the service of the original Reapers and a device to coordinate and control the relays and The Keepers.

Grim Canon: It’s a VI, as above.

‘Splodey Death!

The Stock Explanation: There isn’t one. The mass relays appear to explode but as we know from the exploding Alpha Relay this would normally destroy a system. We know it doesn’t do that this time because we see The Reapers collapse on Earth, without the Earth being destroyed. We don’t really know why.

Reconcile: Undirected the energy is enough to destroy a system but the Crucible/Catalyst interaction isn’t undirected. It makes a massive field effect which is, essentially, biotic and uses The Reaper’s own network to bugger the up and knock them out. There is still a massive outpouring of energy, but the gate network is set up to deal with that. There are planet-empty systems that are safe points where relay energy can be dumped, such as Raheel-Leyya. The energy passed along the relay system that would destroy systems uncontrolled, is dumped safely into these expendable systems.

Grim Canon: As above.

Everybody’s Stuck

The Stock Explanation: This isn’t addressed, but the Mass Relays are gone. Everyone’s pretty much buggered, relatively speaking. Top-end civilisation FTL is 15ly/day, Reaper FTL is 30ly/day. The Protheans only just about managed to build a mini-relay at the very end of their civilisation and that was only two-way.

Reconcile: Yep, this is what happens. The Reaper FTL will open things up more, pretty quickly, but a relay is going to be decades away.

Grim Canon: As above. There are ways around it – potentially – super-big ‘carriers’. There’s going to be plenty of Eezo from all those dead reapers and fleet wrecks, not to mention the smashed relay. Earth is likely to become the technological and military centre of a new galactic civilisation, but it’s going to take years to explore and re-contact all the other worlds and civilisations. This makes for a bloody interesting galaxy and some great long term RPG campaign play.

Joker Runs Away With All Your Mates

The Stock Explanation: There isn’t one. Out of nowhere Joker seems to have grabbed all your friends and fled for the stars. Not to mention that without a relay he’s suddenly across the galaxy crashing onto an Eden-like world, despite there being no reason why The Normandy should be shoved around or blown up… of everything that happens this makes the least sense.

Reconcile: As Hammer falls back and everything goes to shit on the ground the survivors – including your squad – are falling back too but without something drastic occurring they’re fucked. Joker breaks ranks for the sake of his friends and even though the SR2 isn’t class-rated for atmospheric entry on planets such as Earth… he’s Joker! He pulls it off, slips through while The Reapers are attacking the ground forces and trying to close in on The Citadel. He blasts a small Reaper with The Thanix Cannon at the nose of The Normandy and gets the squad on board before hightailing it as fast as possible to rejoin the fleet. The ships CLOSE to The Citadel are blasted by the shockwave. Joker is, however, Joker and manages to turn away and ‘surf’ the blastwave, even as it picks up speed and power and breaks FTL. The Mass Effect Wave combined with the native FTL and Joker being fabulous, as well as EDI being on board and super smart allow them to drop out of FTL and effect a crash landing on Zorya. Though they’re now effectively stranded.

Grim Canon: Joker does come down to save the crew and airlifts them and a bunch of Alliance Marines out of trouble. Takes a hit from a Reaper and goes down, managing to flee to a rural/equatorial/jungle area (African Congo?) as far as possible from London and The Reapers.

Destroy All Synthetics?

The Stock Explanation: Choosing the Destroy ending supposedly would kill EDI and The Geth as well. Thing is, the Reapers aren’t really synthetics, they’re cybernetic, a fusion of organic and machine. EDI and the Geth are fully synthetic, not organic and not based on the same tech as The Reapers. Given that the Destroy ending neglects to show EDI we can suppose that the threat is true and that synthetics were destroyed.

Reconcile: It’s a bluff. The Reapers are trying to use your connection to EDI and the Geth to pluck your heartstrings and get you to choose something different.

Grim Canon: The destroy ending is the one that occurs. It doesn’t kill EDI or the Geth because they’re fully synthetic and not based on Reaper tech. It was a bluff. Furthermore The Reapers are disabled/killed but husks are not and as we know, even dormant Reapers are dangerous. The fight to liberate Earth – and the rest of the Galaxy – is now winable, but far from over.

Control the Reapers?

The Stock Explanation: You control the Reapers, despite being consumed in the effort. They back off.

Reconcile: It’s another bluff. The Illusive Man knew far more about this side of it than you did and he succumbed. Your mind gets swallowed up by The Reapers. A few people escape – like Joker – but The Crucible is destroyed and the Reapers proceed to eat the Galaxy. Nom, nom, nom.

Grim Canon: Shep ain’t this stupid.


The Stock Explanation: Robots and people somehow fuse, a change in DNA? Something. Incoherent, but it does at least fit the happy clippy, hippy vibe if you’ve taken the Paragon route all the time. It still doesn’t really make any sense though.

Reconcile: Biotic adjustment? Latent nanotech? This one’s beyond my storytelling powers I’m afraid.

Grim Canon: This doesn’t happen.

Camelot Cosmos: Out this Friday

Camelot Cosmos, our new game by Daniel Jupp, will be out this Friday.

There will be two books to the game, the Games Master’s Book (202 pages)  and the Player’s Book (170 pages) with art by Raven Morrison.

Each will sell for $9.99 USD as a PDF and around £15.00 UK print-on-demand via Lulu.

As an introduction to the Camelot Cosmos here’s an introduction by the writer and designer himself. There’ll be more about this game all this week up to and including launch day.

Camelot Cosmos is coming!

After gaming for nearly thirty years, and giving lots of other people in the industry my hard-earned cash on an embarrassingly regular basis, I decided to have a go at writing my own RPG setting. Like most GMs I had played with lots of different systems and invented worlds by the score, but I had never settled down to produce an entire setting from scratch that would be interesting enough to demand money from other people just for the privilege of owning a copy! Well now I have and, thanks to James Desborough at Postmortem Studios, it is very shortly going to be available for purchase as a PDF download or a print-on-demand ‘dead tree’ copy.

What is the point of the Camelot Cosmos?

I’ve always been fascinated by novels or games that break genre barriers. Most of the people who read fantasy also read science-fiction, and many more read horror and crime as well. Genre barriers are artificially set up to make life easier for marketing departments, but really exciting and interesting things happen when writers refuse to be put in separate little boxes. I wanted to write a setting that could include anything found in fantasy or science-fiction, but that didn’t just repeat the same tired old clichés of graceful elves, grumpy dwarves and square-jawed space captains. Like the creators of Talislanta I wanted new races and new monsters to describe, ones unique to my setting, but I also wanted to be able to throw in anything from myth, legend, cinema or any other influence as and when I chose. I love settings like the Rifts Megaverse that mix technology and magic and I wanted to do that too. I wanted to be greedy, to subvert clichés or use them, depending only on which choice would be the most fun. And I wanted to create not just one setting but hundreds or even thousands of settings, each tied to a core story that explained why they all existed. So the central point of the setting was about trying to find an idea that would allow me to do this.

Yes, like all GMs, I’m a megalomaniac.

What is the Main Idea?

The Camelot Cosmos is the first child of my megalomania. The core idea that allows me to throw anything into the mix is that in the future we will be living on crowded, polluted worlds crammed full of bored people suffering in dull and pointless occupations working for vast bureaucratic corporations. Not an original idea, I’ll admit. But these corporations want their workers to be happy, to keep producing and consuming goods without rioting, looting or striking, and they are smart enough to offer bread and circuses to the masses rather than riot sticks and tear gas. So they build leisure planets themed around particularly exciting periods of history or myths and legends, and allow their workers to play out their greatest fantasies during short holidays to these ‘theme planets’. Anyone who has seen or read Westworld will be familiar with that idea too. Then they built hugely advanced artificial intelligences to administer and run these planets, as human administrators proved inadequate to the logistical demands posed by ferrying billions of people to planets designed to fulfil their every fantasy. Unfortunately the AI’s began to believe the myths they were built to enact and saw themselves as Gods reborn. When the corporations grew concerned by this and tried to turn them off, the AIs reacted by launching biological and nuclear attacks that wiped out more than ninety percent of human life. Hundreds of years later new human societies based on distorted memories of the theme planets still worship the AI’s as saints, gods, angels, demons and devils. Scraps and fragments of old technology are viewed as magical items or holy relics, and the AI’s deliberately distort history to gain more worshippers.

The main idea, then, is that the setting (the Cosmos) will eventually describe lots of different themed future worlds, many of which include old legends. The first of these settings centres on cultures influenced by Arthurian myths.

What is the Camelot Cosmos Like?

The Camelot Cosmos is a region of space filled with theme planets rooted in the legends of King Arthur and his knights. A new Camelot floats in the sky, and King Gawain XXIII wages war on the witches and heretics of Queen Morgan le Fay. Ancient robots hide in ice-bound caves and a secretive order of monks guard the cryogenically frozen bodies of sleeping corporate executives. The ruins of shopping centres are swathed in jungle foliage, and mermaids paint pictures of the past on the walls of undersea caverns. The faithful flock to hear the words of the Arch-Bishop of Camelot, who offers a digital heaven to the true believer. Dark knights hone their skills battling giant worms in a desert, while proud nobles keep cars and computers they cannot use locked in the vaults of their huge castles. Nanite ghosts try to possess the unwary, and holographic Senators debate in marble halls. Centaurs are enslaved as beasts of burden, and spaceships are mistaken for fire-breathing dragons. In the Camelot Cosmos you can be a lord playing a game of thrones, or a lady learning the lore of the druids. You can be a knight on a quest, but your prize might be a broken television. Technology is mistaken for magic, and magic is studied as a science. In the Camelot Cosmos you can be whatever you want to be, but you will always be more than you know.

What are the Influences?

If you liked the idea of a malfunctioning robot gunslinger in Westworld, you should like the way theme planets are used as a pivotal part of the history of the Camelot Cosmos. Westworld and the Red Dwarf episode ‘Wax World’ were big influences.

The Terminator films were a big influence on the idea of the Days of Gedd and the slaughter of billions by the AI’s in the war that destroyed the corporations.

The Arthurian myths and the sense they give of an embattled chivalry doomed to ultimate failure strongly influenced the religion of the Camelot Cosmos and the rivalry between King Gawain and Queen Morgan.

‘A Canticle for Liebowitz’ and its sequel were very important in giving a sense of how ancient science would be viewed by a more primitive inheritor culture, and of how societies of the future might resemble the past.

What is in the Book?

The Camelot Cosmos has been divided into two books, the Players Guide and the GMs Guide. Both are around 200 pages long.

The Players Guide includes:

  • A new, stream-lined version of the FATE rules. Characters start out slightly weaker than usual for FATE, but have more opportunity to progress and develop. Rules for character creation, advancement, combat and injury are all included.
  • 100 fully described skills, closely tied to Aspects.
  • Over 200 fully described Aspects
  • 23 playable races
  • Equipment lists
  • A Players Gazetteer and History of the setting
  • 20 Organisations for PCs to join or fight against
  • Players descriptions of major NPCs in the setting

The GMs Guide includes:

  • The Secret History of the setting
  • Full descriptions of 20 Organisations including benefits of membership and suggested quests
  • 15 fully described Realms with key locations noted
  • 51 fully described Artefacts and Relics
  • Relic Generation Tables
  • A Quest Generation System including Name, Location, Villain and Patron Tables
  • A Bestiary of monsters and opponents
  • 39 fully described NPCs including plot hook secrets

The intention with both books has been to provide tons of material for lasting campaigns, but even more supporting material is also planned.

About Me

Daniel Jupp is a silly name. He is also a scholar, wit, poet, dashing blade and bit of a prat. He is thirty eight but has retained his youthful looks, despite the power of prayer. He is five foot eleven inches tall but considerably taller in Cuban heels. He is kind to animals, left-handed, and fond of anachronisms and tweed suits, although he doesn’t own any (tweed, that is, not anachronisms). He is a firm believer in the British Empire and would be astonished to hear that it no longer exists, and he infinitely prefers made-up realities to real realities. But first and foremost, he is a roleplayer, and always will be. He is currently considering having a tattoo of a twenty sided dice or the face of Gary Gygax on his left arm, but is revolted by the idea of his own physical pain.