Mutant Future Wiki

“Earthship Ark...

Uncountable light years form earth.
Its passengers the last survivors of the now dead planet Earth.
Christened three hundred years before.
Launched in hopes seeking new worlds to colonize.
A structure two-hundred miles long.
Riding on the strength of men's dreams for a new Earth
somewhere beyond the infinities in space.
The gigantic space craft Arch is an entire world some one-hundred levels.
Each level holds a distinct and separate civilization sealed off from the ether.
In the centuries of the journey, countless generations lived and died.
And man has forgotten everything,
forgotten the reason for the journey,
and forgotten the flight itself.
On each level,
men believe they exist on an immovable planet body is surrounded by metal.
Our series begins when the colossal delusion is challenged.
When one man discovers the stunning and nightmarish truth
that they are The Starlost.”

—Series Pitch Prologue

The Starlost Into

The Starlost was a short-lived Canadian sci-fi television program by writer Harlan Ellison, that aired in 1973 with only 16 hour-long episodes. The series chronicles the adventures of Devon (Keir Dullea), a resident of Cypress Corners, who discovered that there was more to his world than his quaint Amish-like farming community. Looking deeper, he learns a terrible truth: If the Ark's navigation systems are not fixed in the foreseeable future, the ship will crash into a star and the Ark will be destroyed! With his friends Rachel (Gay Rowan) and Garth (Robin Ward), they travel through the ship to find a way to save the Ark form destruction. Along the way, they deal with all sorts of people and situations.

The basic shape of The Ark.

The Earthship Ark is a generational starship 80 kilometres (50 mi) wide and 320 kilometers (200 mi) long. The ship contains 37 of biospheres, each round 50 square kilometers in size and housing people of different cultures. The biospheres are clustered into three groups of ten, and one group of seven; they are connected to the ship by a set of eight modules that run along the center of the ship like a spine. The modules serves as the core of the ship, housing the Ark's more critical systems like command/control, engines, propulsion, etc. The goal of the Ark is to find and seed a new world of a distant star. More than a hundred years into the voyage, an unexplained accident occurs, and the ship goes into emergency mode, whereby each biosphere is sealed off from the others.

As Douglas Trumbull worked on the set pieces and special effects, the show bares a striking resemblance to the 1972 film Silent Running — another great sci-fi worth checking out.

For use in Mutant Future

Nothing special is needed to make the setting fit into the game. If anything, The Ark is a fantastic set piece for game settings in the same vain as Metamorphosis Alpha. In fact, Metamorphosis Alpha plays out like Mutant Future in a Starlost-like enviroment. (It should be noted that Metamorphosis Alpha was not based on The Starlost; it was based on Brian Aldiss' Non-Stop.) Mutant Lords can take the basic shape of the Ark and rearrange it in anyway they see fit. Failures with the ship's reactor, or a run in with a radioactive nebula could have flooded the ship with radiation that induced mutation upon the crew, passengers and animals.

Just like in the show, the isolation between levels and biospheres would allow characters to explore wildly different settings: cowboy westerns, swords & saddles, planetary romance, period drama, survival horror, etc. Basically, the kinds of random, out-of-place adventures that resulted in the Holodecks in Star Trek: The Next Generation.