Michael Brown creates a lot of simple one-page settings for the Cepheus Engine system, many inspired by various sci-fi properties.
One of them is Wings over the World, a science fiction setting based on Things to Come, the 1936 science fiction film. I’ve made a Cepheus Engine character sheet specifically designed for this setting.
Things to Come was released by United Artists in 1936. The screenplay was written by the famed writer H.G. Wells.
The three parts of the film all take place in Everytown, a fictional English town.
The first part is set in 1940, when a world war breaks out (good guess, H.G.). The war drags on until the 1960s, when civilization collapses after a bioweapon called “the wandering sickness” is released. The world is left a ruined mess, ruled by various warlords.
In the second part, the ruins of 1970s Everytown are ruled by a thuggish warlord called “the Boss”.
A man in a sleek futuristic aircraft lands in Everytown. He is a representative of Wings over the World, an organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to rebuilding civilization, and creating a global society based on science and reason. The Boss resists this, so Wings over the World send their flying wing aircraft to sedate Everytown with sleeping gas. The Boss is defeated, and the work begins building the new world. There’s an impressive montage of futuristic machines building things.
The third part is set in 2036. Wings over the World has succeeded in their aims, and the world is a scientific Utopia. Everytown is now a shiny Art Deco underground city. The rest of the plot involves public unrest about the pace of human progress, and objections to a space program.
The movie is interesting, but incredibly preachy (there are multiple long-winded speeches). It’s worth watching, however, for the fascinating set design and costumes. The vehicle designs have a lovely retro look – flying wings and gyrocopters.
In Brown’s adaptation, WWII is extended due to the Third Reich’s advanced weapons programs. The Manhattan project fails, and atomic weapons are never developed. The U.S. developed a virus named Zombie, which works like the “wandering sickness” in the movie. The HQ of Wings Over the World is located in Svalbard, Norway (in the movie, it’s in Basra, Iraq)
The game is designed to take place in the postwar chaos of the 1970s. Players could play Wings Over the World personnel – fighting warlords and rebuilding the world. Alternately, they could be survivors in the ruins, having to deal with the expansionist power of Wings Over the World.
Suggestions for which Cepheus careers can be used in the setting are provided. The details of the Zombie virus are also included. Interestingly, despite the focus on air power in the source material, no vehicle stats are provided.
The Character Sheet
I’ve made a good number of Cepheus/Traveller character sheets. This is the first one that uses the lifeblood/stamina rules for wounds found in the latest version of Cepheus Deluxe instead of the old STR/DEX/END rules. I’m considering releasing a version with the old wound systems. *** Update – I’ve added a second version that used the STR/DEX/END boxes***
This version will create check boxes for both stamina and lifeblood. It’s a two-page A4-sized PDF. I’ve tried to give it a Art Deco look to match the style of the movie. You can also import an image. I’ve added this to my ludicrously long list of character sheets.
2 thoughts on “Wings Over The World: a character sheet for the retro sci-fi Cepheus Engine setting”
Excellent work as always! I’m really fond of all the Cepheus Engine creativity going on. As for a version with the traditional wounds of STR/DEX/END, that would be very handy. Cheers!
I’ve updated the post with an alternate sheet that still uses the traditional wound system.