Serenity Articles : The Dressler Report

(originally published on www.dragonlairdgaming.com on February 12, 2007)

The Dressler Report

This suggestion provides the Gamemaster with a “big secret” of similar scope to “Miranda” to set behind their campaign. It should be laced behind a large arc, a season or two worth.

The exodus from Earth was an achievement on a scale unheard-of in human history. Massive amounts of technology, machinery, and people flew across the heavens to land in a new universe, a star system that promised miraculous possibilities. Planets were settled, terraforming began and in the short time of a few hundred years, dozens of planets were human habitable.

As planets became more difficult to terraform, as the work moves away from the support of the Core Worlds, the effort became more expensive and much slower. There came a point where the drain on the government’s resources became too great and any terraforming efforts now are simply for show.

Most of this is common knowledge to anyone in ‘the know’, business men, senior government officials, masters of the guilds. What is not generally known is contained a highly suppressed document called the Dressler Report. It was written a few years ago by Hiram Dressler, a sharp analyst in a forgotten government bureau. Dressler concluded that the financial base of the ‘Verse, of the mighty Alliance itself was deteriorating quickly and there was no way the government could maintain its size and scope. To attempt to do so would undoubtedly bring everything to a violent economic crash.

The implications of the Dressler Report are staggering. Anyone in government would likely lose power. The markets would crash taking massive amounts of paper wealth with them. A military coup would be inevitable as the ‘Verse descended into chaos and war.

Suppression of the Dressler Report is key to the preventing all these things, to letting people keep their heads stuck in the sand as long as possible. For some, they truly believe that belief in their future will make it come true, that it will overcome the forces of economics and human nature. Perhaps, if they can change the rules of the game… adjust human nature… they can rig the game and avoid the ‘prophecied end’.

Several variations present themselves for introducing this secret into the game.

  1. What ever happened to Hiram Dressler? Perhaps he’s still on the run, keeping his secret, perhaps even trying to flee it and its consequences. Is the government hunting him? Do they think he’s dead but then during the adventures he gets ‘rediscovered’? He could be sought by enemies of the government as well, willing to bring everything down.
  2. A copy of the report is stolen with the intent to use it as blackmail against the government. That copy gets lost and eventually comes into the possession of the PCs. Do they know what it means? They should hang on to it, even if its for a completely other or bogus reason. Later, when they learn what it is, they’ll have it to use.
  3. The report is released somewhere and causes shockwaves across the ‘Verse. The end it predicts starts to come. How you conceive of this playing out is up to you and how drastically you want to affect your version of the ‘Verse. Does the military shatter into independent factions? Is travel and connection to the Core worlds restricted or even cut off with the collapse of the Cortex?

Consider the Dressler Report and how it might bring some of the epic gravity that Joss Whedon introduced with the Miranda plot arc.

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