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SF exploration game, niche setting and system, 8PM Monday or Thursday US Eastern Time

KS Backer
G'day I'm a GM with over thirty years' experience looking for three to five players for a science fiction game. Chime in if you would be interested. Feel free to ask for clarifications and more information. Prospectus for FLAT BLACK: Survey Schedule I'm going to run the game at 8 PM US Eastern Time on either a Monday night or a Thursday night. The day is negotiable. Sessions will be about three to four hours long. This involves me actually running the game at a completely different time in my time-zone, but don't worry about that. If the campaign lasts long enough to run into the beginning of daylight saving here and the end of it in the USA, I will adjust to keep the schedule fixed in US Eastern time. Game system I'd like to run using a game called ForeSight , but that is negotiable to some extent. If players can suggest another simple, reasonably realistic game capable of handling SF adventure I am open to suggestions. A new version of ForeSight is currently in development hell. You can get a playtest version from Loewald New Media which ought to be adequate, but I might import extra rules from the original (1987) edition, and might offer a simpler character generation system. ForeSight is niche. I would expect all the players to be complete newbies. No problem. Playing style I run a rules-light narrative style, in which the game is essentially a structured story-telling jam session. I view character-players as collaborators in improv storytelling, not as opponents. But I like to have robust rules to fall back on when things get hairy. I don't run a campaign like a concentration camp, and I like jokes and banter about as much as average, but this won't be a beer-and-pretzels game. Players will be called on to pay attention and make sensible contributions. Genre & Premise SF exploration. THE PCs will be comparatively lowly, more-or-less expendable explorers and scientists making up part of a specialised landing team on an Imperial Navy survey frigate: an interstellar spaceship engaged in exploring and re-contacting a series of lost colonies. The campaign is notionally similar to Star Trek in that it follows the voyages of a starship engaged in exploration and discovery, and will consist of episodic encounters with isolated planetary societies. It will, however, differ from Star Trek in the following ways: 1) Less rubber science and techno-babble, and a lot less emphasis on solving problems with tools and technology. Technology will be more realistic, much less powerful, and less important to the story than in Star Trek . 2) The adventures will much more often take place on inhabited planets and in contact with their quirky or bizarre local societies, and much less often in spaceships and in space. 3) The setting has no known space-faring aliens. There are, however, some pretty freaky genetically-altered humans, a few uplifted animals, some artificial species, and people with high-tech body-mods. 4) The PCs will not be the command team, and the mission itself won't really be responsible for fixing big problems. The big issues will be out of PCs' hands, and the adventures will often be about the things that they get up to while doing their work. Think of M*A*S*H , in which the central characters had no way of even shortening the war. 5) The setting is a lot less optimistic, and the PCs will often encounter bleak situations that even their superiors will have no way of mending. Moreover, the Empire itself is no shiny happy United Federation of Planets. 6) Ain't no steekin' Prime Directive. Extension If the game goes well and runs long, I may ask the players each to generate a second character in some other part of the crew so that we can play adventures based on, say, what the marines do, what the diplomats do, and what the naval crew do. So that eventually each player might built up a stable of one explorer, one diplomat, one marine, one naval officer, and one member of the command team. Advisory I don't go out of my way to work blue, and I don't run erotica. Neither am I at all interested in the pornography of violence. But there are going to be adult themes such as war, famine, plague, oppressive taxation, bad government, and failure. Characters may have normal love-lives. The PCs may deal with societies that have unusual sexual customs. "National Geographic nudity" may be mentioned. There will be some science and anthropology content. This campaign is not suitable for children: MA 15+ .
I am interested, I have been wanting to play a frontier style game for awhile.
I'll have to look at the rules to get a better understanding of the game, but I would definitely be interested in trying =) I've played another "frontier-ish"/space game a friend of mine spent several years creating... So it would be fun to try another one.
KS Backer
Aargh! Adventures in good editing! Either a flakey editor or a Bluetooth keyboard with failing batteries swallowed up part of my prospectus, and in repairing the damage I somehow failed to restore the section on setting. Setting The setting for this campaign will be my own interstellar SF setting Flat Black , which I designed specially for this sort of rationalised planetary romance. This is of course terribly obscure, but since the adventures are going to take place on a spaceship in the wilderness or on planets that have been isolated for hundreds of years, it won't matter that teh players are entirely unfamiliar with the setting at first. Newbies no problem. This campaign is set starting 532 years after the destruction of Earth , which is about 75 years before my usual campaign date in that setting. The players will be joining the complement of INS Icebird , one of the first generation of Survey frigates, on her maiden cruise.
Sounds interesting, count me in!
Sounds Awesome. I'm in!
I'm interested as well. I'll take a look at some info of the system just to get my bearings.
KS Backer
Okay then. Allen, Anton, DrPersons, Ethan, and Jake makes five, which is as many players as I feel comfortable handling. So extending the recruiting period any further will simply result in my having to make invidious decisions without any grounds on which to do so. So unless we have trouble making the same schedule, and unless one of us turns out to be a jerk and all the players quit, let's call recruitment closed.
You guys might want to look into Diaspora, which is perhaps even a little harder SF than Traveler. I'm looking to play a game of it, thus my search. It uses a lightly modified version of Fate as well, which I hear is a really fun system, especially for character development. Have fun!
KS Backer
I have a copy. In fact I have a hard copy and a PDF, and I run a FATE game called Spirit of the Century game with a different group. I could certainly manage with Diaspora . But I'm not sure how the other guys feel about having to buy a new game. Whereas ForeSight is available free. Also, there are a few ways in which Diaspora might be less suitable than ForeSight : there are sections of Diaspora dedicated to the PCs having a starship, which would be superfluous, likewise the cluster-design system.(I already have a setting, and it is quite different from that, beside which the players being involved in generating worlds that way would blunt the point of this exploration game). Also, I'm wary of Diaspora 's social combat system because I'm afraid that how you draw the map has a lot of effect on the course and outcome, and I don't know how to "steer" it; besides which, I think that how you draw the map and where you place opponents and rivals on it might give away too much for a mystery-exploration game. Finally, I'm not sure how well table adjudication would work for a game that depends so much on the GM knowing things that the players are playing to find out. Sure, I could run Diaspora and not use the bits that happen not to be suitable for this game. But that leaves a core that is perhaps not detailed enough to distinguish characters in a setting where everyone is playing a social scientist with slightly different specialities, societies with tech spread from the Paleolithic to four hundred years worth of futuristic, etc. I'd do it if the players, or a few on the players, were keen on Diaspora . But if I'm going to teach everyone a new game I'd rather my favourite, ForeSight .
Ah. Fair enough. Cheers.