Thursday, February 26, 2009

Campaign Sketches: Artifact

A recycling day, in that I'm dredging up some old material to have people look at. Back in 2000 I thought that I might try to put together a PBEM campaign. I did a lot of the leg work and heavy lifting of prep but I never managed to get it off the ground. If you're interested, here's a link to the pdf:

Artifact pdf

There's some stuff there I might eventually steal to use elsewhere. The document is long (about 16 pages), but here's the opening:

I. Preface
The time is the future, several hundred years. Terran Space is divided among several factions, and it seems clear that a crisis is immanent. Alien races growl at the gates, waiting for an opportunity to seize developed worlds. In the midst of these times, a signal is received and leaked. The signal, likely from a lost colony explorer ship indicates the discovery of a new system, one containing at least one habitable, resource rich world and the strong possibility of intact Proto-Alien cultural relics and technology. The system is, however, anomalous. Caught between various gravatic bodies, conventional FTL travel might require decades or even centuries. A Jump Gate exists, but one with a delicate window of opportunity, opening once every several hundred years. That window will open soon, and only for a brief time.

The only choice for your faction is the dispatch of a colony ship, in the hope that they can take control of this new world. There may be competition and there will most certainly be isolation. Colonists sent on this mission cannot expect any contact with the rest of Human Space for several centuries. It is a long-term gamble and one that has required your faction to move as rapidly as possible in the limited time available to put together a mission. You have been chosen. The world has been named Artifact.

Basic Premise
Players will be members of a colony traveling from their particular faction to settle on a strange alien planet. The isolation of the planet makes this a long-term operation (spanning generations). Through a particular plot device (details to be revealed later) characters will be “frozen” and “unfrozen” at various points in the development of the colony. While the basic play will be typical PBEM (the exchange and development of a story between the players and the GM) there are a couple of differences.

First, the grand time arc means that players may not be “awake” at the same time. If another player is “awake” in the same time period, I will alert you and you may communicate with them. The game will be broken into episodes. At the end of each particular episode, you will be encourage to submit a narrative log, telling of you adventures so far.

These will be posted on the Artifact website (I’ll pass out the address soon). You should only read logs of characters in the past; if the time date on a log is ahead of you, avoid reading it.

The game is a story, so as players you do a great deal of shaping of the direction. It is what we call a “Schroedinger” game, that is, until you explore it, it isn’t set. So carve out your imaginative realm as you see fit here. Suggest things, explore options, develop interactions, etc.

Three Rules

· First, if you want something changed or if you’re unhappy with the direction of things, say so. Give feedback and we’ll try to steer the story back the direction you’d like. If you get stuck or have to take a break, say so as well. There’s no time pressure here; people can generally play at their own pace.

· Second, we will establish a gentleperson’s agreement not to comment on spelling, typing, grammar and mechanics. I am a poor typist, especially when typing quickly. The document you are about to read is a first draft…I haven’t taken the time to proof it, so I hope you will excuse that.

· Third, no emotes.

Once this document is in everyone’s hands (which should be 8-17-00) I’ll give a little over a week for people to fire off questions. I’d like requests for factions by 8-25-00, so that we can get characters finalized after that.


  1. Okay, so you are going to do this, right? And I get to play too, right?

    I scrolled through the pdf. I didn't read everything in detail but it looks extremely interesting. I haven't read many of the books in your bibliography, but I was thinking about Farscape, Firefly and B5.

    When you were designing this how many people did you think would be playing?

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