War in the Heavens: Dark Energy
Fading Suns is a big setting. To make it playable, we can’t have character and chronicle concepts scattered to its every far corner, at least not to start. So what we’ll do is “design” the Chronicle we want.
To do this in a way that insures everybody gets what they want, I’ll use a series of instant runoff votes to narrow big lists of possibilities down to much smaller, manageable lists.
Sound complicated? Don’t worry, we’ll walk through every step together in the forum. If you want to plan ahead, here’re the steps I’ll use:
Step 1: Themes
After we’ve got a dedicated group of players, I will open a thread in the forums “Chronicle Design,” advising who the players are, and that we can start designing the Chronicle we want to play. First, you’ll send me a private message with the list of themes below, ranked from most- to least-favorite. I’ll instant-runoff the lists I get, to fill three spots as the thematic hub of the game, and post that to the design thread.
- Cosmology/Ultimate truth
- “My People!”
Step 2: Ties that Bind
In the second stage, we’ll find out what kinds of associations the characters in the game have in common. To start, in the design thread, I’ll announce the themes, and ask for “association nominations.” Every player will nominate two items (in posts in the thread) from the Fading Suns setting. Your first nomination should be one of the major factions of the clergy, nobility, or guilds, or it can be one of the most playable (Vorox, Ukari, Obun) alien species. The second nomination can be any of these, or anything else you can think of, at all— so long as it’s something you can imagine more than one players’ character being positively motivated by association with it, for example, abilities like Archaeology or Swordsmanship, one of the kinds of outsiders (Kurgans, Vuldrok, Symbionts), one of its major mysteries (the Invisible Path, the Phavian Institute, Gjartinism, Manja, Incarnatism, the Anunnaki, Second Republic Technology… the list goes on), worlds of origin, etc. Feel free, also, at this stage, to nominate any of the items listed in inspirations, as a model for the Chronicle, e.g., “Chronicle Model: Firefly” or “Chronicle Model: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.”
After I have all the nominations, I’ll post an assembled list of associations in the design thread, and ask everyone to send me a private message ranking the nominations from most to least favorite. Then I’ll use an instant runoff to find the few items that best satisfy everyone’s preferences. I’ll pick as many different as possible associations as there are (players in the group +1).
At the end of this stage, we’ll have a small list of final associations, and you’ll pick any two of them for your character to have an association with, moving forward. Often, the association can be “member of” a sect, guild, house, or species. But it can be any enduring, positively motivating association you want, like “raised by” or “fascinated by” or “works loyally for.”
And barring very unusual picks, everybody should be able to take one or both of the associations they nominated in the first place, and should be tied to a couple other members of the group by their associations.
Step 3: Worlds
At this point I’ll announce that we’re working on the “world scope” in the design thread, and each player will post their nominations of up to 3 planets for the game’s Worlds scope. Since I doubt I can detail all the worlds here adequately in the Wiki, you should probably ask questions about which worlds have this-and-that. Feel free to include mythical worlds, barbarian frontier worlds or, if you like, you can include “lost worlds” as one of your picks.
Once every player has posted their nominations, I’ll post the rankable list there, then please PM me your ranking of preference for that list. I will stop including worlds in the scope of the chronicle after I reach a continuous system of 3+ planets. That’ll be the game’s “home territory” and I will give you a lot of extra detail about those worlds.
Note that including mythical, barbarian, or “lost” worlds in a campaign that uses the “Discovery” theme will mean that campaign will be doing a lot of lost worlds exploration.
Also note: it’s at this stage, and not before, that you’ll start fleshing out your character. Once you’ve picked your character’s two associations, I’ll look at all the characters, and possibly assign more detail; e.g., suppose three of the four characters are House Hawkwood related. At that point I’ll probably assign or ask for ideas about what particular branch/feif of Hawkwoods we’re talking about.
Step 4: Name!
At this point, we’ll engage in however much or little brainstorming, cajoling, and/or bitching it takes to come up with a Chronicle Name we can all agree on, and we’ll be finished, and move on to creating our individual characters.
Step 5: Character submissions
At this point, character profiles will be posted for other players to see.
Step 6: Chronicle Element Submissions
At this point, you will have the opportunity to submit three chronicle ideas of your own invention— as specific or as general as you like. For example, you can suggest a plotline, a recurring enemy, or whatever you like. The only caveat is: you’re not allowed to name your own character in the definition of the chronicle idea. Your goal here is to submit ideas you find interesting for the OTHER players’ characters, though obviously your own character will be involved as part of the party.
If I decide to use any of your specific ideas, I’ll award you 5 fate points on a one-time basis. What makes me more likely to use your idea is that: it fits the material established in previous steps, it’s interesting, it’s brief, and it doesn’t try and it doesn’t seem like an obvious attempt to make your own character steal the show. I reserve the right to use few or none of the submissions I get in this stage, so don’t be disappointed if I don’t use your ideas.