Starting off in the Imperial Constabulary Headquarters of Emera City, Regalia, Haster it is almost immediately evident that The Voyage of the Resplendent takes places in an expertly crafted sci-fi universe. One filled with vast empires, cities protected by diamond domes and Empresses that care for a peaceful and above all stable reign.
Just to keep things interesting though, Emera, the current and twenty first ruler of the Galactic Empire, seems to be in need of your services. Her once unshakable Empire is losing its iron grip on the known cosmos. Systems are in open rebellion and the Imperatrix is fighting for her throne; the same throne that has been the seat of all power for eons and the centre of a powerful and utter monopoly on the ancient technology of faster-than-light travel and hence orbital bombardment.
You, as Astronaut-Superintendent Waechter, police officer and now captain of the magnificent Resplendent, are tasked with keeping the deteriorating peace and, above all, discovering what happened to a missing messenger drone. One of ten unmanned, FTL-capable ships that essentially keep the economy working. A priceless artifact of the utmost political significance.
To do so you’ll have to pick a crew for the Resplendent and be ready to fight both political and proper battles, while carrying on with your investigation in the most peaceful way possible. Keeping the bloodthirsty Praetorian Guard under control and getting a princess to run engineering will probably cheer you up, but will in no way make this grim business jolly.
Not that I haven’t immensely enjoyed the game, mind you. It’s just that its setting is rather dark. Then again, it also is very well written and I really do love very well written stuff where only a few words can paint the atmosphere and imply complex, alien and contradictory societies. Odd ethics and unexpected logics.
It’s those wisely selected words that can make choices feel important.
Now, in fear of spoiling anything crucial I will stop here. My notes on The Voyage of the Resplendent would make for a fine summary of its plot and cover more than a few of the major branches available and, honestly, it really is so much better discovering everything on your own. Besides, this deep, brilliant story will especially appeal to anyone who has ever enjoyed the Rogue Trader Warhammer 40k RPG.