When I begin to create a new world for a game, I find it’s best to simply sit down and type a short introduction. Because the Saturday Night Roleplay group wants to play some science-fiction and I am the Arbiter for the new campaign, I decided that this was how I would begin today:
The world ended in flames. The universe burned. All that was made in the Grand Era of Technology turned against its creators and humanity felt the terror of The Purge. Upon a thousand worlds, the Grand Empire of the Stars fell into another Long Night and the survivors discovered that the knowledge of more than five millennia locked in technological libraries of silicon was suddenly gone. As the Vampire Fleets fought in the heavens and fiery doom rained down upon any inhabited world, our forebears delved into the earth for solace. Now, as the winter above abates and the Church calls us to rise once again, some of the brave are taking once more to the skies…
Writing this introduction fired my imagination and helped me to (finally) begin to define the shape of the Otherverse that I wanted to play within. From here, I was able to draft a short one-page “pitch” for the game that helps to arrange the parameters and expectations we agreed upon while also giving me a chance to inject creativity in the project.
The influences are obvious – I feel a mix of the Traveller RPG (1977-), the Alien movies, some aspects of near-future Cyberpunk, 1970s/80s retro-SF, Dark Future, the 41st Millennium, and some elements of conspiracy/horror gaming are all pressing to find expression. It’s an offer for exploration in a Retro-SF Dark Age game set within the ruins of the Grand Empire of the Stars.
The primary goal of the game is to bring camaraderie and enjoyment focused on the exploration and discovery of a science-fiction Otherverse. Played with the game universe front-and-centre, the game rules will be behind the Arbiter’s screen and dice rolled out of sight.
Players have the opportunity to perceive the universe of the far future through the lens of their character, a persona who will risk all to bring home the resources and knowledge needed to survive in a universe fallen.
It’s my hope that we can adapt whichever set of game rules I choose to the methodology seeking deeper Otherverse-immersion and offering players a great sense of Character-immersion too.
It’s amazing to me how much creative energy can be released when we simply sit down and write a short introduction, letting our subconscious selves express and connect with our imaginative conscious mind.
Here’s hoping that my small beginning will both enthuse the players and lead to deeper lore as the work of creation develops. As with all beginnings, it’s an exciting and also terrifying time.