Friday, October 3, 2014

The September Project as AIM

Many of the antagonists central to the core Strange setting represent groups rather than the weird individual creatures for which Numenera is known.  There is an opportunity in these groups to develop a closely knit theme for the groups that help you develop distinctive units within the group -- while maintaining the group theme.  To illustrate this point, I will start with the September Project.

The September Project represents a high-tech threat on Strange Earth.  They develop technologies that potentially destabilize Earth or alert planetevores to its presence (tasty, tasty presence).  Based on this place within Strange Earth, the distinctive flavor for the September Project is corporate science.  This builds on the concern people have with faceless scientists performing unethical or dangerous research.  Your goal in developing September Project encounters would be to populate the scene with villains that fit this theme.  One possible source of inspiration stands out:  AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics).

by Ryan Harris (

In the Marvel comic universe, AIM fills a similar story niche as a villainous corporate science organization.  Most famous for their "bee-hive" helmets, AIM creates dangerous technology -- often for sale to the highest bidder.  Some hints about how to build the September Project come from a careful consideration of what makes AIM distinctive.  One of the elements is the setting in which AIM operates -- high tech labs.  You don't see many beehive helmets wandering down the streets of the Marvel universe.  Instead, this organization is often squirreled away in its labs.  Although, the players may seek to disrupt their efforts to deliver, demonstrate, or see their products.  This means that AIM stories -- and, if you choose, the September Project -- often take place within the specific environment of a high tech lab.

The image also emphasizes the sense that the AIM workers are uniform.  Each of the members is well-equipped but uniformly dressed.  This emphasizes the corporate element of the organization -- as distinct from, say, a lone mad scientist.  This also fits with the theme of the September Project.

AIM also possess a strict hierarchy.  Individual scientists work within teams.  The teams are connected to a clear hierarchy -- leading to the "Scientist Supreme."  Over the years, there have been others structures of their leadership bit the specifics are not important to AIM as an inspiration for the September Project.

Of course, you can ignore the bee-hive look or the giant head in a floating chair if you like :).

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