Microscope Forum RPG - DAMMIT, LET ME DIE FIRST

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Microscope Forum RPG - DAMMIT, LET ME DIE FIRST

Postby Arkbrik » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:34 pm

Our History

Premise: Humanity explores an empty universe and eventually withers.

Palette:

YES
Unintelligent alien life
Religious fanaticism
Period of prosperity following exploration but preceding civil war
The end takes place in 1-2 years, tops
Has some persistent Characters
Bloody, violent war for an irrelevant reason that is a catalyst for the end.
Bittersweet or somewhat upbeat ending

NO
Intelligent alien life
Extinct alien civilizations
Downer ending
Zombies
Glamorizing the giant conflict

Focuses:

1. Starmetals (Arkbrik)
2. Expansion/exploration (mgb519)

Legacies:

Thanes (Silverdream)

Period: The Reaching
Humanity reaches the first new worlds and star systems. [LIGHT]

Event: The first FTL Hyperdrive is tested successfully. [LIGHT]

Period: The Starmetal Age
People discover the potenial of various minerals and other substances found in outer space, and an era of population growth, scientific breakthrough, and cultural prosperity follows. [LIGHT]

Event: The Martel family lands on the uninhabited world of Scade I and starts prospecting operations. [LIGHT]

Scene: Who was the first victim of the Niordium sickness? [LIGHT]
Characters: Peter Martel, the youngest, 13-year-old, son of the Martel family (Arkbrik). Harris Martel, his grandfather (mgb519). Neil Martel, Peter's uncle (Silverdream).
Setting: The home of the Martel family. Everyone is dying of Niordium sickness in their beds, except the youngest son, Peter Martel.
Summary:
Spoiler: show
Peter holds his mother's oozy hand as she sits in her bed. She croaks to him to go and talk to his grandfather. Peter goes into his grandfather's and uncle's room. Neil coughs up blood. Peter gets him some water. Harris tells Peter that he doesn't have a lot of time left, and must trust Peter with a great responsibility. He regrets that he opened the mines, but there's no going back now. He tells Peter that he must be cautious. The Niordium Mafia will want their share of the Niordium, but he must withhold from them as much as he can. Peter must find people that he trusts. Peter is nervous. He doesn't know who he could trust. The mine workers are loud and rough. But his uncle has spending a lot of time with them, so they can't be that bad...

Harris says that Peter can trust his friends, Harmon and Elaine. Peter brightens up. He didn't think of them before! They are hardly older than him, but he's sure they'll help him. Neil says that the greatest thing a Martel can have is his brain. Peter is a good boy. He's the future of this family. Peter says that he won't disappoint them. He can do this. Harris has no doubts that Peter will make a fine leader. Neil says goodbye to Peter. Peter turns to him and grabs his hand, desperately. Neil stops breathing.

Answer: Neil Martel was the first to die.


Period: Euginidian Era
The Euginides Dynasty unites all worlds in a Monarchial Meritocracy, causing peace and prosperity. [LIGHT]

Event: Thane Kelsey Montague conquers the Harkhand system and destroys the ruling democratic republic, on behalf of King Constantine I. [DARK]

Period: The Quantum Conquest
The Church of the Quantum Mechanic conquers dozens of worlds to spread their worship of the all-powerful Uncertainty. [DARK]

Period: The End
The ravaged humanity slowly dies. [DARK]

Event: The Niordium mines on Scade I are exhausted. [DARK]

Scene: Why was Thane Leonid Nemirovsky so obsessed with attaining the Niordium? [LIGHT]
Characters: Thane Leonid Nemirovsky (Arkbrik). Gordan Price, his right hand man (mgb519). Dunya Martel, head of the Niordium mining corporation (Silverdream).
Setting: Thane Nemirovsky's command ship, the Gypsy.
Summary:
Spoiler: show
Nemirovsky and Gordan welcomes Dunya to the Gypsy. Nemirovsky has read the mine prognosises and says that they seem promising. But Dunya says that Scade I relies on Niordium for its structure, if it is all mined the palnet could collapse. Nemirovsky says that the Quantum Church is in dire need of Niordium, planet after planet is running out. Gordan says that there are proposals for supports that can keep the planet intact even when the ore is gone. Nemirovsky outlines the Church's proposal: an exclusive contract to buy Scade I's Niordium. They'll pay better than anyone else. Dunya wants to know why the Church needs the Niordium so badly. Nemirovsky says that it's needed for the wars, in Niordium torpedoes, the best weapon in ship-to-ship combat. But while he says this, he's thinking that very little of Scade I's Niordium will actually end up there.

Nemirovsky explains further that as an official contractor of the Church they'll get other benefits as well - a State Moderator of the Church will visit them every year to see if they have any problems or need anything. Dunya sighs and says that she guesses that she has no choice. She signs the contract. Nemirovsky allows himself a deep, satisified sigh. With this much Niordium under his control, he can finally get the Niordium Mafia off his back...

Answer: Thane Nemirovsky needed the Niordium to get the Niordium Mafia off his back.


Scene: Why was the population of Scade I doomed when they could not produce more Niordium? [DARK]
Characters: Dunya Martel, head of the Niordium mining corporation (Arkbrik). Alai Martel, her husband (Silverdream). Ron Anders (mgb519), shady guy.
Setting: The evening of the day when the Niordium exhaustion has become public. A quiet restaurant in the capital of Scade I. Dunya, Alai, and the State Moderator sent by the Quantum Church to inspect the Niordium mining corps are having dinner together. Ron is sitting at a table nearby.
Summary:
Spoiler: show
Dunya and Alai put up with the annoying State Moderator, and do their best to befriend her, Alai using his smooth talking skills. They know this planet is doomed, and her shuttle is their best chance to get away. She tells them she's from Moccur VI, and they start talking about how they've always wanted to go there. Wine is brought in and the Moderator gives a toast to the bright future of the Martels' business, and of Scade I. A snort is heard from Ron. Alai and Dunya convinces the Moderator to take them along to Moccur VI. This is when Ron comes up and asks for a seat on the shuttle for him as well, introducing himself as William Pike. He wants to bring his girlfriend along and propose to her on the beautiful Moccur VI. When he reveals that she's dying, the Moderator lets them come along. Suddenly the ground shakes just slightly. The Moderator doesn't notice, but the others do. They hurry off to get their bags.

While Dunya and Alai are going home, they are stopped by Ron. He tells Dunya that "Helen told you every step of the way, and you wrote her off every time." He asks if the name Helen means anything to her. Dunya recognizes the name as the crazy environmentalist woman, with her insane forecasts of the planet's collapse if they kept mining Niordium... but doesn't let Ron know that she knows.

Answer: The planet depended on the Niordium - when it was gone, it became unstable and collapsed.


Scene: How can Helen's Niordium sickness be treated? [DARK]
Characters: Dunya Martel, head of the Niordium mining corporation on Scade I (Silverdream). Ron Anders, shady guy (mgb519). Helen, sick environmentalist, Ron's girlfriend (Arkbrik).
Setting: Right as the last scene ended.
Summary:
Spoiler: show
Dunya sends Alai off to their apartment to get their things. She tells him she still has her MF-4 to reassure him. Ron says to Dunya that he knows that she knows who Helen is, because they spoke on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, Helen is in her and Ron's apartment, anxiously waiting for him. There is a larger tremor in the ground. She decides that she can't stay there anymore, and runs out to look for him, putting up her hood to conceal her diseased face. She passes by a group of mine workers, who seem agitated and angry at the Martels.

Dunya and Ron feels the tremor as well. Dunya is ready to draw her MF-4, a collapsible gun. Three quick snaps and you had a semiautomatic. Ron reveals who he is. Dunya is shocked, she hoped that she would never have to hear that name again. Ron asks if she remembers the messages his company sent her, about alternatives to unsustainable and dangerous Niordium mining. Dunya says that Thane Nemirovsky would never let her do that.

Helen spots Ron, shouts to him and runs up to him. She asks what he's doing, the planet is coming down! She begins to ask him something, but stops when remembers Dunya. Ron tells Helen that she was right, he couldn't do it after all.

*Snap* *Click* *Snap*

Dunya pulls out her MF-4 and turns it into a semiautomatic. She knows that there is only one cure for Niordium sickness - Death. She fires at Helen. Ron instantly fires a hidden gun at Dunya. Both Helen and Dunya are hit and fall to the ground. Helen's hood falls off, revealing her diseased, oozing face. Her sores feel less painful as the world goes darker...

Ron stands unscathed. "No. NO!!!!"

Answer: Death is the only cure.


Microscope

The rulebook wrote:Microscope works differently from some other role-playing games you might have played, so let's abandon some preconceptions:

You won't have your own character.

You won't play the game in chronological order. You may know all about the future, but be surprised by the past.

You'll build the story from the outside in. You'll decide the big picture, the grand scheme of history, and then burrow down and carve out the details.

It's fractal gaming.

So think big: you have a massive chunk of history to play around in.


All right people, let's play Microscope: the game of epic histories. Histories that you create piece by piece. You create a grand Premise that sums up your whole history, then take turns to create one history unit; either a Period, an Event, or a Scene.

The history in Microscope is layered. First you have the Periods; big chunks of time defined by a wide theme. Eg. "The age of dwarf and elf wars" or "Humanity's colonization of space".

Each Period can contain a number of Events. These are specific things that happen at a particular time and place. Eg. "The burning of the elven home-tree" or "Settlers on Omega-7 awaken a cosmic horror".

Zooming in further, each Event can contain a number of Scenes. These are roleplayed, and show exactly what happens at a specific time and place, with specific people. All players take part in roleplaying them. A Scene is created as a question, and you play until the question has been answered. Eg. "Why did the dwarves spare the Elvenking's life?" or "Did any settlers escape the cosmic horror?"

Those are the basics of the rules. You can read more about the game at its site, where you can also buy it (but you don't need to - I have the rules and I'll explain as we go).

Microscope is played without a GM; all the players have equal power. I'll be the facilitator, meaning that I explain the rules, keep the OP updated with the full history, and generally keep things running, but I don't have more game power than anyone else.

There's three player spots (including me). A small number of players makes everything easier. When you sign up, you can suggest a Premise for the history as well. The Premise sums up the whole history; eg. "The rise and fall of the Dwarven Empire" or "Humanity spreads to the stars and forges a galactic civilization". The premise doesn't have to be super cool or original; the game will take care of that.

THE SPOTS
1. Arkbrik
2. mgb519
3. Silverdream

Final words: If you are still not convinced that Microscope is awesome, read this.
Last edited by Arkbrik on Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:51 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby mgb519 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:04 pm

I'll take a spot and give it a try.
Premise: Space exploration without aliens? As in, to see what sorts of conflicts occur when we're left to ourselves?
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby Arkbrik » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:22 pm

Sounds cool. We will know the beginning and the end when we start, so we'll need to sum it up in the premise.

How about "Humanity explores an empty universe, and eventually withers"?
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby Silverdream » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:18 pm

I call last spot!

Arkbrik wrote:How about "Humanity explores an empty universe, and eventually withers"?
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby mgb519 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:01 pm

That works. I'm happy as long as there are explosions.
Tzan wrote:
Semaj Nagirrac wrote:Well, I took some land without checking if it was owned by a faction or not. I'm not going to be banned, am I? I can destroy everything if need be.


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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby Arkbrik » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:12 pm

Sweet, our premise is set!

The next step is to create our Bookends. These are the very first and last Periods in our history. We decide these together. (There's a few collaborative decisions when starting the game; later, not so much.)

The Periods should have a short description or a descriptive name, and either Light or Dark Tone. The tone shows whether the Period is generally happy (Light) or tragic (Dark).

---

With our premise it seems the first Period should be Light and the last Dark, hmm?

I'd like the first Period to be "Humanity explores and colonizes the solar system". Small steps at first, you know. How do you like that?

The last Period could just be called "Humanity withers" if we want to leave that open, or we could define it a little more. What do you think?
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby Ben-Jammin » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:20 pm

mgb519 wrote:Premise: Space exploration without aliens? As in, to see what sorts of conflicts occur when we're left to ourselves?


http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Factions

Invasions, Succession wars, Civil wars, and Jihad. Take your pick.
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby mgb519 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:29 pm

Maybe we could start with, "The Era of Reaching," or something like that. That brings to my head an image of an infant reaching towards light for the first time. It also literally describes the time when humanity starts reaching new worlds and star systems and so on like Bonn-o-Tron. The name could be better, but I think that if nothing else, it's a good sort of tone to shoot for.

Perhaps end with the "Terminal Era" or something along those lines. Except, I can't help but feel that the end should involve some massive, bloody conflict or other.
Tzan wrote:
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby Silverdream » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:43 pm

Why not simply call it "The end". I see it as a massive conflict that improverishes each world and bankrupts all civilizations of good gene pools and industry, as all resources have been destroyed or depleted in the great war. The last people die of disease and inbreeding.

As for the start, humanity is united and full of potential, like Mgb said.
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby mgb519 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:45 pm

I want to have a ray of hope at the very end, somehow. I'll get to that later, because I don't think it's time for that now.
But, if we call it the end, then we can call the first bit "The reaching."
Tzan wrote:
Semaj Nagirrac wrote:Well, I took some land without checking if it was owned by a faction or not. I'm not going to be banned, am I? I can destroy everything if need be.


That's what Hitler said,
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby Silverdream » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:50 pm

mgb519 wrote:I want to have a ray of hope at the very end, somehow. I'll get to that later, because I don't think it's time for that now.
But, if we call it the end, then we can call the first bit "The reaching."


Agreed.

Idea for later: We could make it a bittersweet ending: everyone is dying, but peace is made, and mankind can rest easy knowing that they died as united as they were born.
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby mgb519 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:59 pm

I've got an idea already. Leave it to me.
Tzan wrote:
Semaj Nagirrac wrote:Well, I took some land without checking if it was owned by a faction or not. I'm not going to be banned, am I? I can destroy everything if need be.


That's what Hitler said,
in 1938.
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby Arkbrik » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:12 am

Ok, "The Reaching" and "The End".

Next step is the Palette, where we add or ban ingredients that we want or don't want in our history. You can list 3-5 things, under either YES or NO.

Put something under YES if you think the others would not expect it in the history, but you want to include it anyway. Things under YES are always okay to bring into the game, for anyone.

Put something under NO if you think the others would expect it in the history, but you don't want to see it. No one can bring things from NO into the game, no matter what.

This is the last step where we make a group decision. No one should be unhappy with the contents of the Palette, so the things we put on it can be negotiated.

My list:

YES
Unintelligent alien life
Religious fanaticism

NO
Intelligent alien life
Extinct alien civilizations
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby mgb519 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:20 am

YES
Period of prosperity following exploration but preceding civil war
The end takes place in 1-2 years, tops
Has some persistent Characters
NO
Downer ending
Last edited by mgb519 on Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Tzan wrote:
Semaj Nagirrac wrote:Well, I took some land without checking if it was owned by a faction or not. I'm not going to be banned, am I? I can destroy everything if need be.


That's what Hitler said,
in 1938.
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Re: Microscope Forum RPG

Postby Arkbrik » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:09 am

When you say no to "Timespan requires new characters to be created", do you mean it should all take place in a single human lifetime? I disagree, I think the history should span at least centuries. In Microscope you create new characters all the time as you hop around space and time. But it's quick, you just say "This is Bob and he's a space pilot". There's no stats or anything, and the roleplaying in the Scenes is freeform.
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