In the sci-fi book I'm currently researching, I'm currently struggling to come up with a reasonable act 3-4 adversary (about 2/3 through the book). Now, ordinarily, I'd ask this on writers.SE, but they don't like questions that are basically "what should I write about?".

However, I understand RPG.SE does not mind questions related to setting and research, as long as they are not likely to be answered better in a different place. However, it's not directly related to an RPG campaign, setting, universe or ruleset, so I don't know if it's quite in order for RPG.SE. But, I can easily phrase my question so it appears to be from an RPG campaign, complete with setting, ruleset, PC party and universe.

I am wondering what the opinion of the RPG meta is. The origin of the question is not really related to RPGs, but it can easily be seen and phrased as a campaign setting. Would it be an acceptable question?

Since people asked about the setting (and because it's easier to have a quick source for chat later on): It's an alternate history/future earth. A gas giant orbiting a sunlike star in 2 years had a near exact copy of earth orbiting around it. The moon had an extremely rare ore found only in what's the current Belgium. The ore interacts with radiation of the gas giant to create a special gas that heightens the capabilities of humans living there for multiple generations. The moon mostly evolved the same up until the Gaul-Roman wars, at which point the Belgae are far too powerful for the romans. They become an allied state, help beat back the Germanic invasions and then take over the Roman Empire from within.

Because of the double length years and because the great libraries of Rome, Alexandria, Greece and Persia aren't destroyed by barbarians, science goes far further than in our Earth. in effect, they reached our current stage of technology in their 10th century (which on a galactic scale happens at exactly the same time our 10th century). At that point, due to a rogue black hole, The Earth-moon gets flung into a closer orbit with their star, and the gas giant was flung into the star. I'm still trying to figure out timelines and such, but at this point, their centuries begin to match up with ours, but they are still a thousand years ahead of us in tech.

This was backstory. in 2050, a Belgian twenty-something thrillseeker/whitehat hacker with a homemade AI in what's basically the '50s Glass gets teleported from our Earth to the alternate earth after an experiment goes wrong on their side. The first quarter is about finding his place and setting the scene, the second quarter is about him becoming a security analyst on a explorer's spaceship. the beginning of the 3rd quarter is where i'm currently and the explorers got an assignment from the alternate Earth president. I want to figure out where to take this group and what a decent adversary would be, preferably without precursor aliens or an extragalactic threat. I'd also like for humanity to not be the center of the universe, like often happens in sci-fi.

The above is setting, I'm hoping it can stay so I have something to refer chat to.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You can go ahead and tell us more about the setting here. Probably it is not going to be on topic, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – DampeS8N
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 21:36

1 Answer 1


The nature of the question's origin is less important than how it interacts with the site. Some questions, while technically on topic because they're about RPGs, aren't a good fit for the Stack Exchange site and would be better asked in chat or on a forum site. Just framing a question as being about an RPG doesn't necessarily make it a question this site can field.

In this case, however, there's a more fundamental reason to avoid this strategy: it would be a bad idea to apply RPG advice to writing a book. Good advice about plotting RPG campaigns takes into account specific system mechanics and the inevitable independent improvisation of a game's players, while good advice about plotting a novel will rightly assume the author has total control over his protagonists and can easily shift the perspective of the narrative in ways which most RPG systems fail to even consider.

However, brainstorming about these things with GMs and players on rpg.se chat might be useful; it's too discussiony for the main site, but RPGers have a lot of experience with storytelling--albeit in a different form than yours--and could perhaps help spark ideas of your own.

  • \$\begingroup\$ so basically: a question would not work because of the discussion required, but a brainstorm with chat can help to figure out where to go? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nzall
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 21:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pretty much; no guarantees, but I've had success brainstorming with the chatfolk in the past. If we can't help, other non-Stack sites with more forum-like behaviours could be the next step. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 21:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Okay, once I got time, i'll ask chat. Could I leave the setting I just added (on request from @DampeS8N) in the question, so I don't have to spam chat with it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nzall
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see why not. I hope I'm in chat when you show up! \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 22:02

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