Benevolent Precursors
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Basic Information

When the Benevolent Precursors left the universe, they had done all they could to ensure the younger races did noot follow them to the grave because of something they left behind. Assuming, that is, that they are dead by the time the campaign takes place. If not, then they are actively making sure that no undue suffering of the youunger races occurs on their watch, much as a shepherd protects his sheep. In either case, they will not through neglect or malicicous action harm those they seek to protect.

Sources

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Game and Story Use

  • If the Benevolent Precursors have died out, then the traditional scramble for the leftover artifacts should have safeguards which must be overcome in order to use/unleash them.
    • These are particularly good excuses for the sort of PC resistant safeguards that destroy the MacGuffin (or at least put it even further beyond reach) if brute force is used to try to gain access: the precursors specifically designed their cache not to yield up its contents to barbarians.
      • Example of this from sci-fi fiction: the BattleTech novel "The Price of Glory" concerning a cache of Star League equipment prepared in just this way.
  • If the Benevolent Precursors are still alive, then there has to be a reason the PCs are the ones dealing with whatever antagonists are present. Here are a few options
    • They have been progressed beyond their more destructive tendencies and no longer have the stomach to deal with a new threat or the numerous threats that have emerged on the horizon. Thus they have enlisted the help of a species that still has the fight in in it: Humanity. With Precursor Technology and Human Tenacity in the face of danger, both species may stand a chance.
    • They still have the fight in them, but outright conflict with their foes would be devestating for both sides. Thu they enlist the help of the younger races to overcome their adversary who also uses the younger races to their advantage. It becomes a chess game on a collosal scale between two races of Precursors - one good, one evil.
      • This is roughly the situation in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Simarillion; so you see, this trope is not necessarily limited to science fiction settings.
    • They were never any good in a fight to start with - whatever the threat is, it is an order of magnitude greater than has been faced before. Perhaps it is the first major threat that the Precursors haven't been able to contain by non-violent means…
    • There aren't enough of them left - their species has declined/sublimed so much that there are only a handful of precursors left: they need the numbers of the younger races to stand up to the threat but can provide localised support and technology/magic. This still allows for (and indeed magnifies) the potential for a heroic sacrifice by one or more precursors to remove otherwise invulnerable threats (think of Gandalf the Grey's exchange for the Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring).
    • They intend for humanity to learn from the experience. You're never going to stand on your own with the Precursors helping you all the time.
  • Benevolent precursors can still be a pain in the ass - for example by regarding your species as a threat that needs containing, retarding your developement in certain technologies or engaging in outright social engineering of your species.
    • More generally, they may be slow to consider that their way may not be the only (right) way and refuse to let a civilisation choose its own path - the sympathetic interpretation of the Vorlons from Bablyon 5 reads them more or less this way. Just because they are the good guys, it doesn't mean you don't need to kill them.
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