Station

Microscope, Session 3: Worldbuilding Tweaks

Here are the worldbuilding tweaks we made to the history described in the third session.

  • Revise: “The Reign of Google” to “The Reign of the Engines” (a bunch of primitive AIs)
  • Expand: The nature of the Coil: they’re parasites in a particular species of human-sized animal. They’re large, chitinous animals and the symbiont is worn in the head/neck.
  • Focus and expand: the human/alien space station:
    • Station is now part of the Entourage
    • Entourage knows the Visitor will leave eventually.
    • The station has different habitation zones for different biologies.
    • There are cults of the Visitor onboard.
    • The Entourage can be imagined as a Battlestar Galactica-style fleet of ships around the Visitor.
    • Purpose: for humanity (and other problematic aliens) to convince the Network/Visitor they’ve committed to peace and collaboration.
    • Name: Mea Culpa
  • Expand: Mx Hood showed up at Terran Federalist attack on the Coil.
    • They’ve had different children as voices over the years.
    • They’ve had different body types over the years.
    • Wherever there’s interspecies conflict, Mx Hood shows up.
  • Expand: It’s easy to buy tickets to travel, but difficult to buy or own entire ships.
  • Expand: Mea Culpa is the home of the current xenophobia research institution.
  • Expand: Xeno research originally got money and built an institution. After Echevarria’s coup, they left and reestablished on Mea Culpa.
  • Focus: Conflict arises in the mix of gray-market, idealism, and academia.
  • Create: Humanity’s early attack on the Visitor damaged a ship of communicators/translators/diplomats. The people from that ship evacuated, but the ship’s self-repair systems broke and became twisted, leaving the ship… weird. The former occupants remaining part of the Entourage, but hate humanity. They’re now something of a caste.
  • Create: The station’s rules are the Visitor’s rules: people must be “disarmed” (folks are likely to be creative, however), and the inhabitants should be peaceful.
  • Create: Station politics:
    • OOC: No roleplaying of the station’s council/ruling body.
    • The station has system administrators (“sys admins”) that keep the lights on. There are also armed people who interpret and enforce public safety.
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Microscope, Session 3

Here’s the state of our setting after our final Microscope session. This doesn’t include the worldbuilding tweaks.

Our basic premise for the game was that first contact with aliens collapsed human civilization but eventually led to galactic relevance.

Palette

Yes:

  • Effective immortality
    No:
  • Unexplained supernatural events
  • Unaided crossbreeding between aliens
  • No history of sexual/racial oppression on Earth (aliens can have a legacy of such, but must have gotten over it)

Foci

  1. The fall of humanity (from Gregory)
  2. The unification of Earth (from Brendan)
  3. The transition from democracy to despotism (from Lucy)
  4. Humanity’s reaching grasp (from Lissa)

Legacies

  • Growing integration of human/alien societies (Brendan)
  • The Coil civilian colony on Ganymede (Lucy)
  • The Hamilton J Echevaria clan (Gregory)
  • The Visitor (Lissa)

The History So Far

  • Period: Humanity first becomes aware of Visitors; doesn’t handle it well (Start) ◍
    • Event: Humanity investigates the visitor. ○
      • Scene: What were the first words broadcast by the first humans to see the Visitor craft with their naked eyes? | Set in the Diplomat vessel, with astronauts | “Parts of the Visitor are engaging in something of a dance. We are trying to mimic.” ○
        • Crew of the Diplomat: a pastor, Cmdr Suzy the comm tech, Cmdr Tarek the pilot, a medic/science officer.
        • To the Diplomat, the Visitor seemed silent. It was a large shape surrounded by smaller, independent triangular shapes.
    • Event: The Visitor provides a list of demands to humanity (universal suffrage, cessation of violence, distributed prosperity). ○
    • Event: Humanity’s governments attack the visitor. ◍
    • Event: The Visitor retaliates in self-defense. Major cities are trapped in stasis. ◍
      • Scene: What members of the US Government escape the bubbling of Washington, DC? | Set in the war room in DC as a strange energy is building. | Most of Congress escaped along with top generals; no elder statesfolk, cabinet members, president, etc. ◍
        • President was Miles Ng; First Gentleman was named Robbie.
        • Secretary of Science and Art was Suzy Simpson, the comm officer from the Diplomat (PR motto: “Full STEAM Ahead!”)
        • Secretary of Defense was Secy. Miller
        • The Visitor’s weapon involved tachyon particles. The bubbling process slowed the area gradually, filling it with pink foamy bubbles.
  • Period: Humanity becomes connected to the broader interstellar network. ○
    • Event: The Entourage establish a spaceport as a hub for interstellar commerce and movement past Earth’s moon. It becomes the third brightest object in Earth’s sky. ○
    • Event: Conflict arises as “global” trade organizations (EU, etc.) try to coordinate. Inefficiencies ensue. ◍
    • Event: Humanity establishes a merchant colony on Pluto. ○
    • Event: The Visitor shares string travel technique for FTL in the interstellar network. ○
  • Period: Economic collapse destroys capitalism as a viable model. ◍
    • Event: Hamilton J. Echevarria II invests enormous funds into antimatter futures; lack of technical understanding results in the worst market crash in history. ◍
    • Event: Scientists create the first alien-human hybrids. ◍
    • Event: Consolidation of Earth government into 1Earth. ○
    • Event: 1Earth establishes a single, heavily-regulated command economy. ○
  • Period: 1Earth establishes a permanent presence on/with the Visitor. ○
    • Event: 1Earth gives in to the demands of the Visitor, leading to widespread revolution among the populace. ◍
    • Event: The Terran Federalist Navy (rebels against 1Earth) attacks the alien Coil civilian colony on Ganymede, starting interstellar war. ◍
    • Event: Negotiations organized by the Visitor’s Entourage ends the war, but requires Earth to abide by concessions. ○
      • Scene: How were the negotiations concluded? | Des Moines, Iowa (1Earth Capitol), in a field-turned-government-building. | Humanity conceded to complete disarmament, the creation of a Trade Federation “police force” for the solar system, and a human immigrant to Coil society (Captain Freebeard).
        • Attendees included the Voice of the Visitor, a 12-ft tall colorful and shimmery member of the Entourage named Twice But Never, a short, reptilian representative of the Trade Federation called The Merchant, 5-star General J. Adams of the 1Earth navy, and former Captain Sheila “Hook” Freebeard of the Terran Federalist Navy
    • Event: Visitor shares the secret of “collapsing” temporal bubbles given enough time and effort; Suzy Simpson revives her celebrity as an early “resurrection.”
  • Period: Widespread influx of interstellar tourists. ○
    • Event: Human anti-hybridization terrorists attack a tourist vessel, killing over 100 aliens and humans. ◍
    • Event: Shock and grief in response to the attack leads to an upswell in sympathy for alien-human cooperation that leads to actual action. ○
      • Scene: What actions do humans take in response to the attack? | Set in the 1Earth council room. | 1Earth assigns major funds toward research for anti-xenophobia treatments, considering it a pathology. ○
        • Rep for the Unaligned Nonplanetary Communities was a biologically-bigoted android named Sammy XK43 Mk8.
        • Rep for African Interests was Isabelle Ngoma.
        • Rep for the Americas was Hamilton J Echevarria IV, with a fantastic waxed mustache.
        • The Chair was the Rep for the Union of Pacific Islands, known only as “The Chair.”
        • Other proposals were for large-scale mind-reading surveillance and large-scale mandatory alien hybridization.
        • There were only five terrorists.
    • Event: Echevarria IV leads a revolt against the 1Earth global council resulting in the installation of him as the autocratic leader of Earth and the Solar System. ◍
      • Scene: What relationship do Earthlings now have with alien species? | Set in a press conference. | Threats of violence if Echevarria IV is not removed soon. ◍
        • Reporter for Internet non-establishment publication was present
        • Reporter for Zokka-!-!, from what you would call the Horsehead Nebula
        • Organizer of press conference was Mx. Hood, a being not from Earth and probably not human, with their seven-year-old girl translator.
        • Thud the jackbooted thug was keeping things “civil.”
    • Event: Ganymede becomes a territory occupied by the Echevarrian autocracy. A Coil internment camp is established. ◍
    • Event: A bioterrorist attack on the Ganymede settlement by the Coil resistance. ◍
    • Event: Mx. Hood’s proclamations serve as a rallying point for anti-HJEIV forces, leading to a coup. HJEIV disappears in the chaos. ○
    • Event: Alien-human hybrids found a colony on Proteus. Speculation spreads that there is reproduction. ○
  • Period: The Reign of Google: a formerly-primitive AI takes charge of the Earth government post-Echevarrian coup. It predicts human behavior and maintains control across generations. ◍
    • Event: Alien-human trade and government relationships enter a halcyon albeit non-democratic era. ○
    • Event: Establishment of human/alien joint space station in Visitor’s Entourage. ○
    • Event: A gray market is established on the station which allows for trade unmonitored by the computer overlord. ○
    • Event: Humans learn to navigate via black holes and wormholes. ○
    • Event: Founding of the Formerly Terran Explorer’s League. ○
  • Period: The Visitor and the Entourage leave Earth, heading for the next threshold planet to be brought into the network. ○
  • Period: Human scientists unlock the final key to biological transcendence. Humanity leaves behind its shell. ○
    • Event: Unshelled humans begin colonizing an adjacent galaxy. ○
      • Scene: What does humanity do to the first inhabitants it finds in an adjacent galaxy? | Setting: Earth-like planet in Andromeda just after the ship enters orbit. | They wait for a ship to rise from the planet and organize their little Entourage ships into a dance pattern. ◍
  • Period: Humanity’s descendants send their own Visitor back to the past. (End) ◍
    • Event: The Last Human dies (tragi-hopeful) ○
      • Scene: How does the last human feel about Echevarria IV? | Set on her deathbed, being interviewed. | Echevarria V thinks her father was wrong and the most harmful person of her time. Her mustache is bushy. ○
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Microscope, Session 2

At the start of our last session, we discussed the process for introducing new players. We felt that having everyone get together to meet or interview players was impractical. Instead, we propose that the sponsor of the new player take time to introduce them to the values of the group, since they know the new player best and will know where any pain points may be.

Regarding either guiding new players to fit in or dealing with problems with old players, we should be open-minded and talk about things without letting them fester. The opening OOC check-in can be used to issue corrective nudges to ensure cultural fit. If we talk about things when they’re not a big deal, they won’t become a big deal.

It was proposed to add to our charter that one should always assume the best intentions from others, but recognize that (despite intentions) the effects of your actions are also real.

Here is the current state of our Microscope layout after this session:

Our basic premise for the game was that first contact with aliens collapsed human civilization but eventually led to galactic relevance.

Palette

Yes:

  • Effective immortality
    No:
  • Unexplained supernatural events
  • Unaided crossbreeding between aliens
  • No history of sexual/racial oppression on Earth (aliens can have a legacy of such, but must have gotten over it)

Foci

  1. The fall of humanity (from Gregory)
  2. The unification of Earth (from Brendan)
  3. The transition from democracy to despotism (from Lucy)
  4. Humanity’s reaching grasp (from Lissa)

Legacies

  • Growing integration of human/alien societies (Brendan)
  • The Coil civilian colony on Ganymede (Lucy)
  • The Hamilton J Echevaria clan (Gregory)
  • The Visitor (Lissa)

The History So Far

  • Period: Humanity first becomes aware of Visitors; doesn’t handle it well (Start) ◍
    • Event: Humanity investigates the visitor. ○
      • Scene: What were the first words broadcast by the first humans to see the Visitor craft with their naked eyes? | Set in the Diplomat vessel, with astronauts | “Parts of the Visitor are engaging in something of a dance. We are trying to mimic.” ○
        • Crew of the Diplomat: a pastor, Cmdr Suzy the comm tech, Cmdr Tarek the pilot, a medic/science officer.
        • To the Diplomat, the Visitor seemed silent. It was a large shape surrounded by smaller, independent triangular shapes.
    • Event: The Visitor provides a list of demands to humanity (universal suffrage, cessation of violence, distributed prosperity). ○
    • Event: Humanity’s governments attack the visitor. ◍
    • Event: The Visitor retaliates in self-defense. Major cities are trapped in stasis. ◍
      • Scene: What members of the US Government escape the bubbling of Washington, DC? | Set in the war room in DC as a strange energy is building. | Most of Congress escaped along with top generals; no elder statesfolk, cabinet members, president, etc. ◍
        • President was Miles Ng; First Gentleman was named Robbie.
        • Secretary of Science and Art was Suzy Simpson, the comm officer from the Diplomat (PR motto: “Full STEAM Ahead!”)
        • Secretary of Defense was Secy. Miller
        • The Visitor’s weapon involved tachyon particles. The bubbling process slowed the area gradually, filling it with pink foamy bubbles.
  • Period: Humanity becomes connected to the broader interstellar network. ○
    • Event: Conflict arises as “global” trade organizations (EU, etc.) try to coordinate. Inefficiencies ensue. ◍
    • Event: Humanity establishes a merchant colony on Pluto. ○
  • Period: Economic collapse destroys capitalism as a viable model. ◍
    • Event: Hamilton J. Echevarria II invests enormous funds into antimatter futures; lack of technical understanding results in the worst market crash in history. ◍
    • Event: Scientists create the first alien-human hybrids. ◍
    • Event: Consolidation of Earth government into 1Earth. ○
    • Event: 1Earth establishes a single, heavily-regulated command economy. ○
  • Period: 1Earth establishes a permanent presence on/with the Visitor. ○
    • Event: 1Earth gives in to the demands of the Visitor, leading to widespread revolution among the populace. ◍
    • Event: The Terran Federalist Navy (rebels against 1Earth) attacks the alien Coil civilian colony on Ganymede, starting interstellar war. ◍
    • Event: Negotiations organized by the Visitor’s Entourage ends the war, but requires Earth to abide by consessions. ○
  • Period: Widespread influx of interstellar tourists. ○
    • Event: Anti-hybridization terrorists attack a tourist vessel, killing over 100 aliens and humans. ◍
    • Event: Shock and grief in response to the attack leads to an upswell in sympathy for alien-human cooperation that leads to actual action. ○
      • Scene: What actions do humans take in response to the attack? | Set in the 1Earth council room. | 1Earth assigns major funds toward research for anti-xenophobia treatments, considering it a pathology. ○
        • Rep for the Unaligned Nonplanetary Communities was a biologically-bigoted android named Sammy XK43 Mk8.
        • Rep for African Interests was Isabelle Ngoma.
        • Rep for the Americas was Hamilton J Echevarria IV, with a fantastic waxed mustache.
        • The Chair was the Rep for the Union of Pacific Islands, known only as “The Chair.”
        • Other proposals were for large-scale mind-reading surveillance and large-scale mandatory alien hybridization.
        • There were only five terrorists.
    • Event: Echevarria IV leads a revolt against the 1Earth global council resulting in the installation of him as the autocratic leader of Earth and the Solar System. ◍
      • Scene: What relationship do Earthlings now have with alien species? | Set in a press conference. | Threats of violence if Echevarria IV is not removed soon. ◍
        • Reporter for Internet non-establishment publication was present
        • Reporter for Zokka-!-!, from what you would call the Horsehead Nebula
        • Organizer of press conference was Mx. Hood, a being not from Earth and probably not human, with their seven-year-old girl translator.
        • Thud the jackbooted thug was keeping things “civil.”
    • Event: Ganymede becomes a territory occupied by the Echevarrian autocracy. A Coil internment camp is established. ◍
    • Event: Mx. Hood’s proclamations serve as a rallying point for anti-HJEIV forces, leading to a coup. HJEIV disappears in the chaos. ○
  • Period: The Reign of Google: a formerly-primitive AI takes charge of the Earth government post-Echevarrian coup. It predicts human behavior and maintains control across generations. ◍
    • Event: Alien-human trade and government relationships enter a halcyon albeit non-democratic era. ○
    • Event: Establishment of human/alien joint space station in Visitor’s Entourage. ○
    • Event: Founding of the Formerly Terran Explorer’s League. ○
  • Period: Human scientists unlock the final key to biological transcendence. Humanity leaves behind its shell. ○
    • Event: Unshelled humans begin colonizing the galaxy. ○
      • Scene: What does humanity do to the first inhabitants it finds in an adjacent galaxy? | Setting: Earth-like planet in Andromeda just after the ship enters orbit. | They wait for a ship to rise from the planet and organize their little Entourage ships into a dance pattern. ◍
  • Period: Humanity’s descendants send their own Visitor back to the past. (End) ◍
    • Event: The Last Human dies (tragi-hopeful) ○
      • Scene: How does the last human feel about Echevarria IV? | Set on her deathbed, being interviewed. | Echevarria V thinks her father was wrong and the most harmful person of her time. Her mustache is bushy. ○

Next Session

Lissa will be the facilitator. We’ll rotate volunteer facilitators so no one is in charge.

  • We’ll discuss invitation candidates.
  • We’ll discuss selecting a set time to begin business, to enable us to stay on schedule and have enough time to play.
  • We’ll do an open Microscope round, 1 or more things per person.
  • We’ll follow the Microscope guide for converting our history into a setting.
  • We’ll make character concepts, ties, and secrets.
  • We’ll review the Rosette LARP rules and make characters.
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Microscope, Session 1

Our basic premise for the game was that first contact with aliens collapsed human civilization but eventually led to galactic relevance.

Palette

Yes:

  • Effective immortality
    No:
  • Unexplained supernatural events
  • Unaided crossbreeding between aliens
  • No history of sexual/racial oppression on Earth (aliens can have a legacy of such, but must have gotten over it)

First Focus

The fall of humanity (from Gregory)

The History So Far

  • Period: Humanity first becomes aware of Visitors; doesn’t handle it well (Start) ◍
    • Event: Humanity investigates the visitor. ○
      • Scene: What were the first words broadcast by the first humans to see the Visitor craft with their naked eyes? | Set in the Diplomat vessel, with astronauts | “Parts of the Visitor are engaging in something of a dance. We are trying to mimic.” ○
    • Event: Humanity’s governments attack the visitor. ◍
  • Period: Humanity becomes connected to the broader interstellar network. ○
  • Period: Widespread influx of interstellar tourists. ○
  • Period: Human scientists unlock the final key to biological transcendence. Humanity leaves behind its shell. ○
  • Period: Humanity’s descendants send their own Visitor back to the past. (End) ◍
    • Event: The Last Human dies (tragi-hopeful) ○

Notes

Crew of the Diplomat: a pastor, Cmdr Suzy the comm tech, Cmdr Tarek the pilot, a medic/science officer

To the Diplomat, the Visitor seemed silent. It was a large shape surrounded by smaller, independent triangular shapes.

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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