Premise: Humanity explores an empty universe and eventually withers.
Unintelligent alien life
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 endingNO
Intelligent alien life
Extinct alien civilizations
Glamorizing the giant conflict
(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.
Scene: Who was the first victim of the Niordium sickness?
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.
Period: Euginidian Era
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.
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.
Scene: Why was Thane Leonid Nemirovsky so obsessed with attaining the Niordium?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
Final words: If you are still not convinced that Microscope is awesome, read this