Blue Planet is a science-fiction Tabletop RPG by Biohazard Games.
The year is 2199. Over a hundred years ago, astronomers found an unusual object beyond the orbit of Pluto. It turned out to be a stable wormhole leading to the Lambda Serpentis system, about 40 light-years away. The second planet in the system was a water world, teeming with life, which was named Poseidon.
A colony ship, the UNSS Cousteau, was sent in 2086, carrying genetically modified colonists designed to thrive on a water world: humans with either gills or collapsible respiratory systems (like marine mammals), along with uplifted dolphins and orcas. More ships were planned to follow; however, in 2090, a genetically modified plant virus called the Blight escaped into the wild and devastated Earth's food supplies.
As the Blight worsened, international governmental authority was placed in the hands of the Global Ecology Organization, an arm of the United Nations empowered to enforce mandates worldwide; eventually, the UN itself ceded control to the GEO. As national governments fell, corporations took control of the cities they were based in, creating city-states referred to as Incorporate states.
Eventually, the Blight was conquered after almost thirty years, having cut Earth's population by more than half. As governments began to recover, they found that there was actually no way to rescind the GEO's authority; that could only be done by a two-thirds vote of the original United Nations members who authorized it...and over a third of those member states no longer existed. The recreated United Nations, the Independent nations who never accepted the GEO's authority, and the Incorporate states are all attempting to challenge the GEO, which refuses to yield the authority it has been given.
On Poseidon, when the resupply missions failed to arrive, the colonists learned how to live in a lower-tech way, aided by their genetic augmentations that made working in water easier. They also encountered a ray-like species that seemed intelligent, naming them 'Aborigines'.
In 2169, the UNSS Admiral Robert Perry recontacted the colonists of Poseidon, leading to regular resupply and contact runs through the wormhole. There was some interest by the GEO and the Incorporate states, but no major efforts at added colonization until the 2185 discovery of xenosilicates, a material that allows much easier modifications of biochemistry than ever believed possible. One of the first applications found was a retrovirus that stops the aging process, leading to a new name for xenosilicates: Longevity Ore, or Long John for short. A gold rush followed as miners flocked to Poseidon, looking for a big Long John score that would make them rich. The population of Poseidon, only 40,000 people when the Perry arrived, has reached two million, over 95% of them Earth-born arrivals from after Recontact.
The GEO is trying desperately to maintain some sort of control. The Incorporate and wildcat miners see fabulous wealth awaiting them. Some natives are choosing to resist the newcomers, sometimes violently. And it seems that Poseidon itself might be on their side...
There have been four editions of Blue Planet in total, with a fifth upcoming:
- First Edition (1997), published by Biohazard Games, one paperback book plus a few supplements.
- Second Edition (2000), published by Fantasy Flight Games. Two hardcover books, plus several hardcover supplements.
- Tabletop Game/GURPS Blue Planet (2002), published by Steve Jackson Games. One paperback book, published under license.
- Second Edition Revised (2012), published by FASA Games. Two hardcover books with several hardcover supplements.
- Blue Planet: Recontact (2022), published by Gallant Knight Games and Biohazard Games. Successfully Kickstarted in April-May 2021; a quick-start guide is available now, with full publication planned for October 2022.
Tropes found in Blue Planet include:
- Alien Sky: Poseidon has two moons, Proteus and Nereus. Proteus has its own life-forms, but Nereus is barren.
- Apocalypse How: The Blight is Class 2 (Planetary scale, societal collapse).
- Apparently Human Merfolk: Downplayed. The "aquaform" natives have genetic augmentations that either provide them with the ability to dive deeply like marine mammals, or to live underwater like fish.
- Artistic License Politics: The UN Security Council unanimously voted to pass governmental power to the GEO; the United States and China immediately refused to recognize the GEO's authority. In reality, the United States and China are both permanent members of the Security Council and have veto authority over any votes taken.
- Benevolent Precursors: The aborigines call them the Creators; they appear to have seeded life on Poseidon and created the wormhole.
- Bio-Augmentation: Very common on Poseidon; the aquaform colonists were augmented with diving reflexes or gills. Long John makes it even easier and more effective.
- Boom Town: Any major city on Poseidon is a boom town right now, although Haven (the original landing site) is more so than the rest.
- Cat Folk: Cat hybrids were created as primitive Super Soldiers.
- Crapsack World: Earth is pretty thoroughly there. Literally half the world's population died in the Blight, and large parts of the world are still lawless "free zones".
- Cyborg: Cybernetic augmentation is popular, but not as much as Bio-Augmentation. However, there are some things Bio-Augmentation can't do, like implanted radios and neural jacks.
- Designer Babies: The 'Transhuman' alpha genies are basically better than normal humans across the board.
- Eco-Terrorist: Some of the more radical natives, such as the residents of the Sierra Nueva cluster, definitely fall into this category.
- The Famine: The Blight, an engineered virus that was accidentally released and devastated all of Earth's crops. By the time it was done, Earth's population was less than half of what it was before it started.
- Future Slang: Quite a bit. The two subgroups of aquaforms are "divers" and "squid", dolphins are "fins", genetically-upgraded humans of all sorts are "genies".
- Half-Human Hybrid: Hybrids are mostly human with animal DNA added in as a primitive attempt to create Super Soldiers. Silvas have ape characteristics, and Cats have cat characteristics.
- Handy Feet: Spacer genies have prehensile feet that can grip things. They can walk on them under gravity, but don't like to.
- Hot Sub-on-Sub Action: By the nature of the setting, this is not an uncommon form of warfare, especially when attacking (or defending) underwater facilities.
- Loophole Abuse: The Blight is gone, so the need for the GEO is nominally gone as well. However, the GEO can only be shut down by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the UN at the time of its creation...and over a third of the original members no longer exist.
- Mega-Corp: The Incorporate states generally all qualify.
- One Nation Under Copyright: The Incorporate states are all corporate-run governments, originally city-states where the corporation maintained stability during the Blight.
- Organic Technology: The Creators used it heavily, including creating the aborigines.
- Population Control: GEO regulations limit families to two children.
- Sapient Cetaceans: Thanks to uplifting, there are intelligent dolphins and orcas.
- Single-Biome Planet: Poseidon is a water world, with land making up only 3% of its surface.
- Sleeper Ship: While the transit time to Poseidon is measured in months, not years, passengers are put in cryosleep to lower the life support requirements.
- Space People: Spacer genies have metabolism boosts, double-jointed legs, and prehensile feet with an opposable grip.
- Super Soldier:
- The hybrids were early attempts at this. Unfortunately, just because you've given somebody super-soldier characteristics, that doesn't mean they necessarily want to be soldiers...
- GEO Shock Troopers are a newer and much more successful attempt.
- Symbolic Serene Submersion: The Lesear Effect, described in the page quote, is an in-universe version. On first entering the seas of Poseidon, aquaforms get a blissful sensation that feels like the planet itself is welcoming them, causing them to just hang in the water for a few minutes.
- Transhuman: Alphas are also specifically called Transhumans, but all types of 'genies' are genetically redesigned humans. Aquaforms are engineered for life in and around water, alphas are improved across the board, spacers are optimized for life in space, and hybrids were an attempt at making supersoldiers.
- True-Breeding Hybrid: Both Silvas and Cats can breed true, and have done so.
- Underwater City: Several, given the setting, generally in domes.
- United Nations Is a Superpower: Not the UN itself, but the GEO that it created to handle the Blight. The actual UN is trying to rein it in, unsuccessfully.
- Uplifted Animal: Dolphins and orcas have been uplifted and are full partners on Poseidon.
- U.S. Marshal: The GEO Marshals are the highest level of GEO law enforcement, acting similarly to the historical US Marshals. There are 12 of them on Poseidon, and each one of them is a certified badass.
- Wide Open Sandbox: One criticism of the earlier versions of the game - they provided a fantastic world to play in, but little guidance on how to build a campaign in it.