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 Post subject: We played Microscope...and it rocked
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:30 pm 
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Barono

Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:43 pm
Posts: 454
Location: Norris, Tennessee USA
Microscope by Lame Mage Production (Ben Robbins)

Our group was down two players (for a total of 4 at the table), but that worked well. Microscope is best played by 3-4 (according to the creator--and I believe him).

I'll not go into too much mechanical stuff. (Of which there's not much--it's basically a procedure you follow.)

Our starting ideas were:
1. Colonists settle an isolated place
2. Revolutionaries topple a decadent Empire.

We all felt both of these were cool and decided to combine them. Our history would begin with the Revolutionaries and move into the Colonists.
We were all getting a Sci-Fi vibe, but no one was quite ready to nail it down yet.

Our Palette included the following:
  • No communication with aliens
  • No FTL
  • No pscionics
  • No light based weapons
  • Yes religion
  • Yes limited trans-humanism
  • Yes [will fill in later when I have my notes]
  • Yes [will fill in later when I have my notes]

We decided to have our bookend periods be exactly the same!
  • Revolutionaries topple a decadent Empire.
The opening period was light, then ending dark.

In very broad strokes then...

My first turn I created an event called Sabotage of the Generational Ship Colossus, then a scene that asked how the colonists overcame the sabotage.
It was clunky and worrisome. Two of the players picked characters that didn't have much to do. At this point I was a little worried. I needn't have been. Later scenes were powerful and deep. Our newest and youngest member by far outshone the rest of us with his creative twists and subplots.

Turn by turn we created an amazingly rich history that spanned tens of thousands of years. The original Empire was toppled in part by the Engineers Guild, but the nanites they released became uncontrollable and destroyed the home planet. Feeling remorse, the Swarm built generation ships and sent the survivors on toward the stars. In a rich scene the Swarm (played by the Scene's creator) insisted that all the humans leave, but we had already established that only a minority escaped, so the rest of us had to roleplay to find out why the majority remained behind. It was a great use of narrative authority to force some compelling roleplay.

Of the 5 ships that eventually left the home world (Colossus, Elder, Behemot, Leviathan, and Jörmungandr) only Leviathan survived, the other 4 betrayed by Levithan's fanatical Captain.

The new settlement--under the rule the Witch-Kings and influenced by the new Religion (named for the captain of Leviathan later Prophet, Naveen)-- sees fall of the Engineers Guild, the rise of the Technomnacers.
Following a period of planet-wide feudalism, the technomancers become the Technocratic Confedearcy and aid the revolutionaries in overthrowing the decadent empire.

Overall:
An excellent game. I was so pleased and I didn't want to stop. It was the most fun I've running a one-nighter in a while (and that includes my recent gonzo sci-fi game that I still need to write up).

The first weak scene gave us some lessons on how to do scenes that made the rest of them amazing.

I will, at some point, use Microscope to make the setting for a more typical RPG for us to play through.

If this were our every week game, I'd miss the roleplay. There is some, but not enough to satisfy me long-term. But if this were to become our regular, go-to one nighter I would be quite happy with that.

There's more, and I will highlight some of the juicier details when I have the cards with me. (You use note cards to track the history)
Any questions?

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Last edited by mountzionryan on Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: We played Microscope...and it rocked
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:34 pm 
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Barono

Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:43 pm
Posts: 454
Location: Norris, Tennessee USA
BTW
I expect we will continue this game of microscope at some point. There was a fair amount of history at the later part of the timeline that still needed fleshing out.

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I have a game for sale here called All For Me Grog.


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 Post subject: Re: We played Microscope...and it rocked
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:16 pm 
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Owner

Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2010 1:00 am
Posts: 3326
Location: Montréal
mountzionryan wrote:
Any questions?


Yes. How did the scenes go?

Reading the game, I had this feeling that (a) the roleplaying might feel akward since it's freeform and on a different vibe from the rest of the game, and that (b) the amount of rules involved might clash with the minimal rules for the rest of the game.

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 Post subject: Re: We played Microscope...and it rocked
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:33 pm 
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Barono

Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:43 pm
Posts: 454
Location: Norris, Tennessee USA
Jocelyn Robitaille wrote:
mountzionryan wrote:
Any questions?


Yes. How did the scenes go?

Reading the game, I had this feeling that (a) the roleplaying might feel akward since it's freeform and on a different vibe from the rest of the game, and that (b) the amount of rules involved might clash with the minimal rules for the rest of the game.


After the first crappy scene they went well. We didn't get into Push much. Only once or twice I think.

Two of the best scenes were
1. How did the colonists decide where to settle? Required characters the captains of the 4 remaining generational ships. Went off amazingly. We were all chatting away and debating...and Captain Naveen of the Leviathan infected our ships with the same virus that took down the Colossus. Completely unexpected and a rather elegant solution to the question.

That scene played nicely into a scene earlier (or later in the cronology0 that answered why do the Naveenites claim only the Colossus landed on the new planet.

2. We later had a scene with the Last Guildmaster of the Engineer's Guild, the Arch Ubiquitor, an Imperial Inquisitor, and Grand Technomancer to answer why did the ley-lines overload and cause wide spread destruction.
As we began the scene no one, not even the scene's creator, knew whether we were meeting just after to the overload to discuss a way forward or prior to the overload to plan our conspiracy. It was a tense moment as we all kind looked at each other waiting to see who would act first.
We were on a balcony far above the city, the stars wheeling overhead and the lights of the empire twinkling below. The Grand Technomancer walked onto the balcony and demanded to know why we had sent for him...
the tension hung like smoke in the air.
Then my character, the Arch Ubiquitor, pulled a gun and killed him. I turned to the other characters and said, "Inquisitor, are your men in place as we discussed?"
The last Guildmaster said, "Remember, we agreed my guild will take the credit for averting a larger catastrophe."
"I know" I said, "I have you best intentions at heart." To the players, I added, "I don't."

Which is to say, it went fine. We never had to count votes. It was pretty clear when one proposal had a consensus.

I found the freeform to be a lot of fun, and way to connect with he elements created in events and periods.

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I have a podcast here called Roll For News.
I have a game for sale here called All For Me Grog.


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 Post subject: Re: We played Microscope...and it rocked
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:34 pm 
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Markizo

Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2011 9:05 am
Posts: 1628
Location: Toronto
mountzionryan wrote:
Then my character, the Arch Ubiquitor, pulled a gun and killed him.
Another Arch Ubiquitor? Those guys are everywhere these days...

This sounds really cool, and a great tool for world-building that could be followed up by a more roleplay oriented game set in the invented setting.

Another one to add to the list... :D

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 Post subject: Re: We played Microscope...and it rocked
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:40 pm 
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Civitano

Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:52 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Toronto, Ontario
I just realized I lost my copy in my move. ;_; I better go get another because this game hits so many of my sweet spots.

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