1. Oh hai Guest!

    Welcome to the RPF!

Unclassifiable Microscope: the RPG (Reboot!)

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Saintheart, Sep 5, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Moderators: Penguinator, Ramza
  1. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Hmm. Hmmmm.

    Not sure how I feel about aliens. It's difficult to play without some cheesy auto translation stuff. Although it might be interesting as The City is the culmination of GALACTIC civilization...

    Yeah okay I'm good with aliens. :D

    Another round in the same order?

    Edit- haha saint beat me to it :p

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
  2. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    I don't think any order is required for this part, so just post up if you want. :)

    EDIT: Also addressed the universal translator bit, Xan. ;) Bear in mind I am not saying communication is impossible, only that you can't wander round talking to a living rock and a gas bag and a big stupid jellyfish with one Babel Fish. :D
    Last edited by Saintheart, Sep 6, 2012
  3. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Yes- Psionics. Which, yes, is basically "space magic" along the lines of the Force or biotics or whatever. How psionics occur in people, its rarity, its manifestation (telepathy? telekinesis?) and all those details can to be determined as we play 'em.
    - Giant bipedal mechs. At some point large humanoid robots, piloted by a person sitting in the cockpit, become a weapon of choice.
    - Aliens. Lots of them. A variety of types and sizes and shapes.
    - Omertà. While a predominantly fictional concoction, a mafioso code of honor provides some much needed rules of engagement, and creates interesting interaction dynamics.

    No
    - No hyperdrive or hyperspace. Travel between the vast distances between stars can only happen by two methods: naturally occurring wormholes or conventional sublight propulsion, i.e. "generation ships" in the latter case
    - No universal translators. Communication with other species is just as tricky and fraught with potential error as communicating with people in other languages is. Some languages might simply not be capable of translation into human terms by virtue of the fact the communication method is utterly incompatible with human understanding (emission and detection via single photon patterns, for example. Human eyes biologically requires a stream of at least eight photons to even register.)


    Possibly an unnecessary addition, but I'd rather not risk not having it.
    Last edited by Ramza, Sep 6, 2012
  4. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Ramza, Omerta was historically just the code of silence, in that they didn't discuss their business with outsiders - you're suggesting a wider code of conduct than that?

    Also remember that the inclusion in the Yes list does not mean that the element is always present in the history, only that it is fine to introduce it at some stage. So for example there might well be periods in the history where Omerta simply breaks down or doesn't exist at all.
  5. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Well, if you want to get technical, Omertà wasn't historically anything. :p

    But yeah, I'm talking the whole made up honor shebang. Ask permission, honor your godfather, don't get involved with the authorities... et cetera et cetera. There's no good name for it since... well, like I said, it didn't exist. I guess Omertà could be what it's called in universe.
    Last edited by Ramza, Sep 6, 2012
  6. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Soooo ... anyone want to add anything else, or are we done with this part?
  7. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Yes
    - Psionics. Which, yes, is basically "space magic" along the lines of the Force or biotics or whatever. How psionics occur in people, its rarity, its manifestation (telepathy? telekinesis?) and all those details can to be determined as we play 'em.
    - Giant bipedal mechs. At some point large humanoid robots, piloted by a person sitting in the cockpit, become a weapon of choice.
    - Aliens. Lots of them. A variety of types and sizes and shapes.
    - Omertà. While a predominantly fictional concoction, a mafioso code of honor provides some much needed rules of engagement, and creates interesting interaction dynamics.

    No
    - No hyperdrive or hyperspace. Travel between the vast distances between stars can only happen by two methods: naturally occurring wormholes or conventional sublight propulsion, i.e. "generation ships" in the latter case
    - No universal translators. Communication with other species is just as tricky and fraught with potential error as communicating with people in other languages is. Some languages might simply not be capable of translation into human terms by virtue of the fact the communication method is utterly incompatible with human understanding (emission and detection via single photon patterns, for example. Human eyes biologically requires a stream of at least eight photons to even register.)
    - Immortality/resurrection. Life extensions, sure, but nobody can ever live forever. Cloning is okay so long as no funky Life Essence Transfer (e.g. EU Palpatine) is involved.
  8. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    spy, all on you now - nothing to add, and we move on, or add something and we all (potentially) go again? :)
  9. spycoder9 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2008
    star 4
    I can't think of anything else I particularly want to add. So onto the next stage. :D
  10. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Well, the Palette is then complete, and we're ready to start!

    Like I said, I screwed up what's to happen next the first time we played, so what follows is mostly new.

    Step Five: The First Pass

    Group decisions are now over. For the rest of the game, each player makes decisions individually and has vast power to shape the history.

    This First Pass is a chance to learn more about our history from each of us.

    Let me say as a guiding principle to remember that whilst building on one another's contributions is required, collaboration is forbidden. You can ask for clarification if you're not certain about what a player is visualising, but you can't suggest or negotiate an event. If it's your turn, you also can't ask for suggestions.

    If a player says it happens, it's permitted by the palette, and it doesn't contradict what we already know about the history, then it happens.

    At this point, we also start taking turns. (I'll randomise the order of players at the end.)

    What we doing in the First Pass is each create either (a) a single Period or (b) a single Event. Which is entirely up to you. Just describe what happens as though we're seeing it from a birds-eye view. You're in charge, and the rest of us are eagerly listening to hear what you have to say.

    Guidance on creating a Period:
    A Period is the largest subdivision of the history. It is a very large chunk of time, usually decades or centuries depending on your history, like an era of feudal wars or stellar colonization. To make a new period:

    1. Decide when it is: Place the new Period between any two adjacent Periods. (Obviously, in the list of Periods we have, there's at present only two - but obviously the one further up the page is earlier, the one further down the page is later.)
    2. Describe the Period: Give the other players a grand summary of what happens during this time or what things are like. Describe how it is different from other Periods around it, as appropriate.
    3. Say whether it is Light or Dark: Explain how that Tone fits your description. You're never wrong about Tone, but you do have to justify your choice to the other players.
    For example, "This is before the colonies build the warp net, but they have developed faster star drives, so you can travel between worlds in a few weeks rather than a few years. Interstellar commerce and travel is now commonplace. The New Sun faith from the 'Crusades' Period is everywhere, but its not a fervent belief anymore, just customs and traditions everyone shares without thinking about it."See? Your description of the Period does not have to be a one-liner -- just come up with a name for the Period, and that goes in the list.

    Note that you don't specify exactly how long a Period is. Your description may include a broad sense of how much time is passing ("it's a war that rages for generations" or "this is decades after the revolution", but we never count years or worry about exactly how long something is.

    Guidance on creating an Event:
    An Event is a specific thing that happens inside a Period, like a prince seizing the throne or a colony ship arriving on a new world. It has to be inside an existing Period (so, if you wanted, you could place an Event inside the Starting or Ending Periods, since they count as Periods too.)

    To make a new Event:

    1. Decide when it is: Place the Event inside an existing Period. You cannot have an Event outside a Period. If there are already other Events in tht Period, place it before or after one of them chronologically.
    2. Describe the Event: Tell the other players what happens. Your description should be specific enough that the other players have a clear picture of what physically takes place (and I might note in passing I royally screwed this one up last time we tried this, so I've learned my lesson. The description does not have to be a one-liner; quite the contrary, you'd be entitled to ask me for clarification if all I said about the Event was "The Earth disappears from space"). Make sure to include the outcome, not just the start.
    3. Say whether it is Light or Dark: As with Events above.
    Note that an Event is not the same as a Scene,which is a further nesting inside an Event. We'll get to that later. If you start to make an Event that describes something that is part of an existing Event, it'll be a Scene instead. Anything that builds up to or describes the aftermath of what was described in an Event (like a meeting planning an upcoming attack, or the survivors escaping after that attack) is probably a Scene in that Event, not a separate Event. Avoiding split Events helps keep the history manageable and easier to grasp: instead of several Events that reall just describe one thing, you'll have a single Event summarising the core concept, and all the related Scenes tucked neatly into it.

    For example, a player says "I'll make an Event in this 'Lords of Shadow' Period. A warrior-prince who's a direct descendant of High King Ulrix sneaks into the castle of a shadow-tainted Duke to rescue his sister, who the Duke has captured and plans to wed. The prince and pricess had both been in hiding, and they had escaped corruption. The prince tries valiantly, but he's discovered and slain. His sister does not escape. The Event is totally Dark."

    How do we keep all this straight and in order?
    Basically, I'm going to make an OOC thread right after this that addresses it. I'd suggest you all ping placeholders in there once it's up. Essentially the series of events will wind up as follows:

    Period
    --Event
    ---Scene
    ---Scene
    ---Scene
    --Event
    Period
    Period

    With the Tones highlighted into the text and each Period/Event/Scene given a shorthand description. If you need to keep notes rather than search through the thread for them, try and keep them in your placeholders.

    What order do we go in?
    I've appealed to Invisible Castle to help. The results of this dice roll tell me that spycoder goes first, Ramza goes last. This dice roll tells me I go second, Xan goes third.

    So: spycoder9, Saintheart, Xan, Ramza.

    And with that, I think the instructions are over (for the moment) and we can start, so...

    TAG: spycoder9!
    Last edited by Saintheart, Sep 9, 2012
  11. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Just for clarity, the OOC thread is up over in RPR, and if the above was vague on the point -- when it's your turn you can create one Event or one Period. I took a look back and figured that might not be entirely clear.

    When we move into Lens-and-Focus territory in later rounds, this rule will change a little, but for the First Pass, it's create one Event or one Period.
  12. spycoder9 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2008
    star 4
    Okay, so I’ll add an event to the "foundation and first flowering of "the City" period. The daughter of an influential alien diplomat is kidnapped from her home in the City by humans against galactic growth. The City’s militia tries to determine her location, but their efforts are slow. The father gathers a band of his own men, and though they are able to find her whereabouts, they are too late. She was dead, and the humans who killed her gone. This is VERY Dark.

    Whew, being first in the line is not fun. :p
  13. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    I'll add an event in the "foundation and first flowering" Period, placed chronologically after spy's event. To broker a settlement over the diplomatic incident caused by the death of the alien diplomat's daughter, the City turns to Jalix'e of the Red Soil Clan. Jalix'e is a member of the Drisax species, a bipedal crustacean species originating from the Flame Nebula. Jalix'e has significant and shady connections across galactic society. He is what humans would describe as a gangster. Jalix'e accepts the City's requests, and manages to head off the alien diplomat's people (which I am not determining here) from withdrawing their support for the City.

    This is a Light event since the City's role as a centre of galactic trade and its figurehead role is preserved.

    Xan, you're up! :)
  14. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I'll add a Light Period: Discovery of human psionics. In a rare time of (relative) peace and stability in the City, some humans have risen to prominence due to their ability perform feats of mind that were previously thought impossible outside the realm of charlatans and sleight-of-hand magicians. Their rise sets off a period of political and socioeconomic upheaval for the humans (and aliens, too) of the City, but also a grand period of experimentation and discovery as the first human psionics master their newfound powers.
    Last edited by DarthXan318, Sep 10, 2012
  15. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    I shall add a Dark Period in between the Founding of the City and the Discovery of Human Psionics: The Three Families War. A minor turf conflict accidentally erupts into a full-blown, decades-spanning mob war between three powerful cartels when the son of a major crime boss perishes in the crossfire. The constant threat of erupting violence leaves whole generations growing up afraid to walk the streets at the wrong time of day.
    Last edited by Ramza, Sep 10, 2012
  16. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Ramza, are those cartels human, human/alien, or alien?
  17. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    I guess I assumed they were human/alien mixes, so let's go with that.
  18. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I'd imagine that the families are all of one species each, though? Even if the greater cartel is mixed.

    Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
  19. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Well, uh, not that kind of Family, even though an actual son is involved.

    In retrospect that was an unfortunate terminological coincidence.:p
    Last edited by Ramza, Sep 10, 2012
  20. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    All right, now we’re into regular rounds. And as said, we now know a lot more about our history than when we first started.

    At this point, there’s two concepts to introduce: the Lens and the Focus.

    The Lens is basically ‘the guy with the ball this round.’ He is a lot like the lens of a Microscope (b-boom tss) mostly because he determines what we look at this round.

    To keep everyone playing the same game, the Lens picks a Focus – a unifying theme that ties the story together, at least until the next Lens picks a new one.

    The Focus can be anything: a person, a place, a thing, an institution, an Event, a Period, a concept – anything you want. The Lens can use something that already came up in play or make up something new on the spot. If you’re making something new, you’ll usually declare the Focus, then make a Period, Event or Scene to show what you’re talking about.

    If a new Lens is interested in a previous Focus, they can pick the same Focus again or a related Focus that looks at things from a different angle. For example: if the old Focus was President Galveston, patriarch of the Lone Star Republic. During play we find out he died in office, eaten away by illness. The new Lens wants to explore that, so she makes the new Focus “the last days of Galveston’s Presidency.”

    Picking a Focus is powerful. It lets you set the direction of the game. Don’t hesitate to make up a Focus even if you don’t have a clear idea why it’s interesting. Those details will emerge as you play.

    I’ll be keeping notes of what the Focus was and who chose it each round so that, as history unfolds, we can look back and see how we explored it.

    Here’s how it works:

    (1) The Lens declares the current Focus.
    (2) Each player takes a turn creating either a Period, Event or Scene. The Lens goes first. What you create must relate to the current Focus. The Lens can choose to create two things on her turn, so long as they are nested inside each other: either a new Event plus a Scene inside that Event, or a new Period plus an Event inside that Period. This gives the Lens more power to get the Focus going.
    (3) After each player has taken a turn, the Lens gets to go again and add another Period, Event or Scene (or two nested things.) This lets the Lens have the last word about the Focus.

    After that, we get to talk Legacies, but let’s leave that for later.

    To show how it works, I’m going to go as the Lens this round, and we’ll otherwise follow the sequence, so it’ll be Xan, Ramza, spy, then me for this one.

    Note that unlike the last attempt at this game, I’m not going to create a Scene as yet, since it introduces another tranche of rules to remember. If, however, you guys feel you’re ready for it, by all means identify that you want to make a Scene and I’ll explain the rules at that point.

    So, onward. As I say, I’ll pick up as the Lens this round.

    I am declaring the Focus to be the alien diplomat whose daughter is killed during the Foundation period.

    I am creating an Event inside the Foundation period, after Jalix’e settles the diplomatic incident.

    In this Event, the alien diplomat murders three humans claiming to be psychics aboard one of the small worldlets making up the Dyson Sphere that provides for the City’s energy needs. He does so alone.

    The Event is Light, since the psychics appear to have been planning to destroy that worldlet and thus interrupt the continuity of the Dyson Sphere and thus threaten the City’s power supplies.

    I'm only creating the single Event - for the time being, I'm foregoing my ability to make two nested events.

    So, Xan, it’s over to you, again with the focus being the alien diplomat.

    And remember, guys, you can be specific if you want to introduce species, races, names, etc. It doesn't have to be vague.
    Last edited by Saintheart, Sep 10, 2012
  21. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I'm going to make a Light Event at the start of the first period: Representatives from each species on the galactic stage (Human, Drisax, Loren, and others besides) arrive on the City for its official opening. The Loren delegation includes an influential diplomat of galactic reknown, who is to be his species' permanent representative and ambassador on the City, and his young daughter. This event is Light because the opening of the City is the culmination of several decades of breakneck construction, and is held up as a symbol of hope and galactic cooperation.
  22. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    I'll create a new Light Event near the end of the closing period: the consciousnesses of the greatest diplomats, thinkers, and artists in the city's history, including that of our Ambassador, are uploaded into the neural network transfer ship Arcadia. In this way, they are saved from being lost along with the City, which is quickly becoming uninhabitable as a result of constant fights between mobsters piloting giant robots.

    Except not. See below.
    Last edited by Ramza, Sep 10, 2012
  23. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Ramza, bearing in mind Microscope's caution against tremendously longlived characters, moving consciousnesses around is borderline, but it gets there. :)

    Spy, you're up once more!

    EDIT: Also, as Xan has given a name to the alien ambassador's species - Loren - I'll be updating the history to include that as well.
    Last edited by Saintheart, Sep 10, 2012
  24. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Hey, didn't we ban immortality/resurrection?
  25. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Actually, yes, we did. I thought this was a transfer of consciousness a la the transfer of a Vulcan's katra to the Hall of Endless Thought - the mind transfers across, but it's not immortality as such. And the game does caution against immortal characters, so I might ask ...

    Ramza, can you clarify that Event so it does not contradict the Palette? Or change it if need be?
Moderators: Penguinator, Ramza
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.