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Microscope and Beyond

KahlessNestor

Explorer
So I heard about Microscope and how some have used it to build worlds for their more traditional RPG games, so I picked it up to check it out. Seems really interesting. I was wondering if anyone here had done that, how it worked, and if anyone would be interested in giving it a try.

The idea would be we would play Microscope and then play a campaign in the world/history we create. System would likely be based on what fit the history we built together. Maybe give WOIN a try again, or SWADE, since it has just come out. Or 5e if it's a fantasy world. Traveller could do a sci-fi history. I'm open to trying different things, and I don't have to be the GM either (Microscope doesn't have a GM, though obviously the campaign would have to).

Thoughts? How stupid am I? Interest?
 
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Shayuri

Villager
What is Microscope in this context?

...nevermind, looked it up. Seems interesting, though I'm still unclear on how it works precisely. Might have to drop 10 bucks on the PDF if we go forward with this. :)
 
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KahlessNestor

Explorer
What is Microscope in this context?

...nevermind, looked it up. Seems interesting, though I'm still unclear on how it works precisely. Might have to drop 10 bucks on the PDF if we go forward with this. :)
It's a storytelling game (no dice, no GM) in which you make a history. The basic elements are nested PERIOD-EVENT-SCENE. It is meant to be non-collaborative, meaning when it's your turn, you can't get help or ideas from any other players. This way everyone builds on and expands on everyone else's unique contributions.

PERIODS are long stretches of time, like THE AGE OF DISCOVERY. This is a birds eye view.
EVENTS are the things that happened during that period, say DISCOVERY OF THE NEW WORLD. This is sort of an on the ground, outsider's view.
SCENES are where we role play out specific situations in an event, from within a character, and try to answer a question. HOW DID THE NATIVES RECEIVE THE STRANGE NEW ARRIVALS? for example. This is more insider views.

Once we'd played for a while, we would have a nice history to use as a start for a campaign.
 

5atbu

Villager
I did exactly this for my last Savage Worlds SF campaign.

Worked extremely well.

However I can't join you for this one.

Good luck.
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
We just have [MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6855545]Archon Basileus[/MENTION]

Ideally I would like two more, so we would have a full party when we started playing the actual RPG game. Microscope works best with 3-5 players (I would be a player in that).
 

FitzTheRuke

Adventurer
I'm interested. Would we have to buy something? I'm not familiar with Microscope or how it works. I've created many worlds, though, and I enjoy collaborations where you just go with whatever everyone else says - "yes... and" appeals to me.
 

KahlessNestor

Explorer
I'm interested. Would we have to buy something? I'm not familiar with Microscope or how it works. I've created many worlds, though, and I enjoy collaborations where you just go with whatever everyone else says - "yes... and" appeals to me.
Okay, that's three players and a DM interested. I think we can swing with that. You won't have to buy anything. I have the book. Mostly we just need something to take the place of the index cards. I've seen Adam Kobel run it on Roll20, but a Google Spreadsheet might work.

Here is who I have: @Shayuri, @Archon Basileus, @FitzTheRuke. And one person interested for when the actual campaign starts.

One thing we might need to determine is how long we want the Microscope part to go. It can go on as long as we wish. The more rounds it goes, the more history we develop. I know PBP can take a while. I imagine the Microscope part would take several months. We could even go a year. Depends on how much detail we want to develop. Anything not done during the Microscope game will have to be built by me as the DM.

EDIT: We could also just play it by ear and stop when we think we have enough.
 

Shayuri

Villager
Lets just get started...it's really hard to plan for this without being more familiar with the system, and I foresee the possibility of getting vapor-locked in this kind of thing. Where we start planning for how to plan so we can plan for the plan.

:)

Diving in may be the best solution.
 
I'm back from... Life. :) Wife's better thank God and I'm ready to spin! I'll update my games and I can take some time to read through Microscope - I've been doing it in my own time. Lovely system!
 

ART!

Explorer
I'm interested! I own Microscope, and I've played/"run" it. Been a while, but I know how it works.
 

ART!

Explorer
I'll second (or third, or fourth) that. As long as we have a knowledgable guide, I say we dive in. It's not a game where the players have to know the rules ahead of time.
 
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KahlessNestor

Explorer
Okay, let’s get this started. First a bit about the system and how it works:

All of us here have equal creative power. At times we’ll have different roles and authority, but we’re all equal participants and authors. “It may sound like I’m running the game because I’m going to be explaining a lot about the rules, and I may interrupt and jump in to clarify how the game is played. But I don’t have any more authority than anyone else when it comes to actually playing the game -- there’s no GM. Now that we know what the game’s about, we’re ready to get started.

Microscope is a little like Poker: you want to keep your cool ideas close to your vest until you use them. If the rest of us know what you’re going to do ahead of time, it’s not as interesting.

First, we want to brainstorm a simple overview of the history we want to play. If you were looking in a history book, this would be the one line that summarizes what happens, but leaves out all the details. It should be no more than a single sentence.

Some examples:

An ancient empire rises and falls.

Cavemen at the dawn of time found the first civilization.

Mankind leaves the sick Earth behind and spreads out to
the stars.

Pick something big. We want a lot of time and space to work with.

Don’t worry if your idea seems too simple or uninteresting. That’s normal at this stage. Fleshing out the interesting details is what the rest of the game is all about.

So let’s start pitching some ideas. You can reply here and I will keep a doc as well that I will share with you all.

Players:
[MENTION=6801311]KahlessNestor[/MENTION]
[MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION]
[MENTION=6855545]Archon Basileus[/MENTION]
[MENTION=59816]FitzTheRuke[/MENTION]
[MENTION=79926]ART![/MENTION]
 

ART!

Explorer
Sweet!

So we don't have a genre picked out yet, right?

Engineering a premise to be intentionally super-vague is a nice challenge. How about:

An arcane field of knowledge - long lost and forgotten by most - has resurfaced, throwing a civilization into chaos!
 

FitzTheRuke

Adventurer
So we all pitch a premise and one of them gets picked?

Let's see... off the top of my head I will say:

Civilisation had reached a shining pinnacle of Art, Science, and Magic, but then a Stellar Event occurred, and now all the rules have changed.
 

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