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[The Quiet Year] Spring Has Arrived

simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silenceyou took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
edited November 2012 in Critical Failures
The Quiet Year

For a long time, we were at war with The Jackals. Now, finally, we’ve driven them off, and we’re left with this: a year of relative peace. One quiet year, with which to build our community up and learn again how to work together. Come Winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive and we might not survive the encounter. This is when the game will end. But we don’t know about that yet. What we know is that right now, in this moment, there is an opportunity to build something.

2NAkg.jpg

What Are Our Tools?
We have a map, which is currently a blank image. Before playing, we'll establish some of the landscape. As we play, we will continually update it with new discoveries, conflicts, opportunities. We'll avoid writing words on it. We are all responsible for drawing on the map, even if poorly or crudely.

We have a record list, detailing our abundances, scarcities, important people, and projects.

We have points of Contempt, representing any tension and frustration that might arise in the community as play progresses.

We have a deck of cards, divided by suit; these are our seasons, and they will guide us through the game, week by week.


The Seasons
There are four seasons in the game, as there is in real life. We start the game at the beginning of Spring, and we play through the quiet year that follows. Each season has 13 cards, represented by a single suit. We divide the deck into suits, then shuffle and stack them to make a year of cards, in seasonal order. While all the cards will tell a player to make a decision about the direction of the community, there is a special card, the King of Spades. When this card is drawn, the game will be over. It could come at any time during Winter.

Spring is represented by Hearts. Spring will ask us many questions, which will help us develop the landscape and inner workings of the community. There won't be a lot of conflict in this season, necessarily, but this is fine.

Summer is represented by Diamonds. In this season, threats will emerge, but so will progress. We'll define our community and sow the beginnings of discontent through our actions.

Autumn is represented by Clubs. Danger and failure will become become more visible in this, the most trying season.

Winter is represented by Spades. The community will continue its work and preparations, but the players will know that the Frost Shepherds might arrive at any time.


Who We Are
As players, we each have two roles to play. We are representatives of the community at a slightly zoomed-out scale, caring about its fate. But we are also dispassionate observers, introducers of dilemmas, experimenters of a sort. The Quiet Year asks us to move between these roles. We don't represent specific characters; we don't act out scenes. We represent currents of thought, and when we speak or take action, we might be a single person or a great many. But we care about their fate regardless, and allowing ourselves to do so creates a richer experience, a peek into the struggles of a community in conflict.

We will often be given opportunities to introduce new issues for the community to deal with, whether by drawing a card or choosing to Discover Something New as an action. By dispassionately putting these dilemmas forward, then assuming our other role as community representatives, we generate tension and make the successes of the community seem real. If there's something you struggle with in real life (like if violence is ever justified), introduce situations that bring it into question.


Sketching Terrain
Before we start, we have to establish some facts about the community and its surroundings. We start with a brief discussion about the general terrain and environment of the area, and after we agree on a setting (a rocky desert; a windswept coastline), we introduce details. Everyone names one detail about the local terrain, and sketches it onto the map where they feel it fits. These sketches should be rough and simple, nothing grand or elaborate, leaving plenty of blank space. There will be plenty of things to throw on the map, over time. Assume our community has between 60 and 80 members.

For example, a group might set their game on a rocky coastline. The first player introduces a detail: "Okay, on the shoreline is a series of washed up cargo containers where the community has settled". The next adds, "And there's the wreckage of a container ship, just a bit too far in the water." The third adds, "There's a lighthouse on an outcropping just off the coast." The last player says, "A thick woodland starts just in from where the lighthouse is."


Starting Resources
Next, each of us declares an important resource, something the community might have in abundance or scarcity. Things like clean drinking water, food, shelter, children, sleep, hope. Choosing a resource makes it important, as well; whether abundant or scarce, they are something the community wants and needs.

Then we choose one of these resources to be in abundance. It gets noted in the Records as such, and whoever named it gets to draw an abundance of the resource on the map. The other resources become scarcities; they are noted as such on the Records, and their absence or scarcity is noted on the map by the people who named them. Symbols and symbolic representation is fine; words are to be avoided.


The Week
We progress through the game by weeks. Each player takes one turn at a time, and shouldn't take too long to deal with. During the week, the following things are done:
  • The next card is given to the current player; they choose the option that most interests them, post it in-thread, resolve it, and follow any bolded text.
  • Project counters are reduced by 1, and any finished projects are updated.
  • The current player chooses and takes an action (Discover Something New, Hold a Discussion, or Start a Project).
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How do we begin?
Well, @Inquisitor, @Winky, @Abdhyius - Let's start at the very beginning - suggestions for the terrain and environment that our community has found itself living in. Fire away!

How much should we write?
Here's some rough guidelines for in-game posting:
  • For an answer to a card's query, work in the range of around three sentences at most.
  • For a response to a Hold A Discussion, two sentence max, with twitter's 140 characters as a eyeball.
  • For finishing a project, two or three sentences, the more concise the better.

simonwolf on
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Posts

  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    So, super important question: what kind of tone are we going for with the game? Because if we're playing it straight that would be fun, but if we are playing it goofy that would be a lot of fun :P.

    Either way I am happy.

  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    The game is designed to be played straight, so that is how we do!

  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Alright, well I will start off by voting for a mist-shrouded jagged mountain range, in the vein of
    Five%2BSacred%2BMountains%2BHuangshan.jpg

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    The warm kind?

    Or the cold, damp, desolate kind?

    misty_mountain_waterfall__isle_of_skye__scottish_highlands__scotland.jpg

    ftOqU21.png
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Ooooh, since you are a fjord expert I demand a fjord.

    Makes for fun maps.

  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    I am for mist-shrouded mountains and fjords. Both are good times.

    But what is the climate of this area? Or are we settling in the mountains themselves? Are we a coastal or fresh water fjord?

    I am feeling maybe something like... living in the mountains, with a fjords and the ocean to one side of the range and perhaps rolling hills and trees to the other?

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Ooooh, since you are a fjord expert I demand a fjord.

    Makes for fun maps.

    geiranger05.jpg

    Far in, at the end of the fjord is where we carved out our home.

    Beyond the mouth of the fjord, in the islands and skerries, sailed the desperate, risking everything for a chance to survive the next time the storms and the ice came. Year after year the storms drove bands of those jackals to our shore. The fight was long, hard and bitter. All fights are, when the stakes are survival.

    729x.jpg

    But now, we've driven them back, pushed them back out to sea. They've fled or been torn apart by the storms, it does not matter which. We can finally get some rest.

    But the sea is not the only place where enemies can come from.

    People occasionally came from the east, from across the mountain highlands. Few did so unscathed, but come they did.

    It's getting worse inland. Come the winter, we know they'll come. There's nowhere for them to go, when the ice comes.

    We call them shepherds, the inlanders, although precious few sheep they have. And the surge of desperate people we're expecting will likely have little more to shepherd than the frost.

    But we have a year before that time comes.

    A year of hard-won quiet.

    ftOqU21.png
  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    @simonwolf

    Small question, what is the technology level of the world? Is that something that is determined or we do on the fly? My assumption is that it is pretty similar to our own current times? I just want to know if say, I don't know, finding a run down nuclear power plant is leaking radiation or finding a cache of firearms could be an event or not.

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    I would be cool with "like if things went to shit today"

    makes it easier

    ftOqU21.png
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    We could live in a community built directly into the sheer cliffs of the mountains at the end of the fjord, making it really defensible but hazardous to live in and difficult to build in. I'm imagining that the area would still be fairly lush even for how cold, rocky, and damp it is.
    huas+4.jpg

  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Okay, so we've decided on the terrain, neat! At the moment, we're meant to be quick and undetailed, but keep what Abdy has said as inspiration for some elements that might show up later, maybe why not?

    Technology level isn't determined, but it's assumed to be "post-collapse", whatever that means to us. There are cards which suggest weirdness or other strange artefacts from the end of the world or before - we should ideally get that stuff down by around mid-Summer. Let's go with the average tech level being around the modern day, though.

    So we've decided on fjords, mountains, and general coldness. Neat!

    Next step is drawing the map, and each naming a detail (a sentence or so, if you please).

    I've drawn a coastline that juts in a way I associate with fjords, but it doesn't really matter what it looks like - we all know what the general environment is.

    My detail is this: the tallest of the mountains are to the south-east, towering above everything else in the region.

    So here is our map:

    0KaVv.jpg

    Next person: name your detail, add it onto the map. Leave plenty of room, of course!

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    also: yeah everything I wrote there was just a way to get a general idea out there.

    ftOqU21.png
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    What's turn order?

  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Until the game starts "for realsies", there isn't one - though if you're in the process of editing the map, it'd probably be nice to make a courtesy post.

    edit: If anyone thinks the map should be bigger, that's an easy thing to deal with, but it'd probably be best to do that now, before we've added everything onto it.

    simonwolf on
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    map.jpg

    There's an island in the North West with the ruins of a small city, last we knew Jackals were living there.

  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    This is awesome! I am going to do some grocery shopping and then starting adding stuff to the map :D

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    I am going to pop over to school and throw some things in the scanner and I will start adding stuffs too.

    ftOqU21.png
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Remember, once we've all added a single detail, we move on to resource talk. This "one moment of contribution" will be a recurring theme in the game!

  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    map.jpg

    The River. The fastest way to travel around the region, but we aren't the only ones who can use it.

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    [img][/img]2wny5ok.jpg

    Our home. What was a quiet fishing village by the mouth of the river.

    ftOqU21.png
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Awesome!

    Next step: let's nominate resources.

    At this point, we don't draw them on the map; after naming one each, we collaboratively determine which one will be in abundance, and which three will be in scarcity. Then we'll draw 'em on the map.

    Again, we go in any order, so I'll start the ball rolling and say that one of our community's key resources is warmth.

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    Another important resource for our community, is, of course, armaments.

    ftOqU21.png
  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    Well, every community needs food, and I get the feeling that our mountainous area ain't got much in the way of farmable land, so in addition to our fishing ways I nominate wild game as a key resource, both for food and materials.

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    boredom is a good motivator to do purposeless bullshit.
    2gw8inp.gif

    Abdhyius on
    ftOqU21.png
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    That's pretty cool. Abdy! I think we should stick with the "plain white paper" map for actual game use, but I like that realistic one a whole bunch.

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    simonwolf wrote: »
    That's pretty cool. Abdy! I think we should stick with the "plain white paper" map for actual game use, but I like that realistic one a whole bunch.

    2060etl.jpg

    maybe?

    I'm fine with not using it tho I'm just procrastinating here.

    EDIT: Alt with better readability:
    ascck.jpg

    (as I said, I like making maps :P)

    Abdhyius on
    ftOqU21.png
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Actually that one is pretty cool, better than my shitty mouse drawn coastline

    If the others are cool with using that one, then by all means, let's go for it!

    As another thing: once Winky has contributed his resource, we can start discussing which one of the four is Abundant, and which three are Scarcities, so don't wait for me to announce that discussion's start.

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    we discuss it one at a time, only one input, or?

    ftOqU21.png
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    We can discuss a bit more about the abundance thing, I believe, but nothing too detailed - most of the world and our community's situation will be expanded upon in-play, not during this stage.

  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    Does wild game also cover fish? Because otherwise I have to take fish.

    But if it does cover fish, then I take manpower instead, as a general measure of population, strength, and morale.

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    Our struggle against the jackals has, as far as my appraisal goes, left us with little fuel and shelter for warmth, lacking sufficient armaments and being low on manpower.

    But this remains as good a place to settle as it ever was - the sea and the river are still rich with fish, and the mountains have plenty of animals yet. Wild game will not be a problem, as I see it.

    ftOqU21.png
  • WinkyWinky Registered User regular
    I agree with Abdhyius' assessment.

  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    I'm of the opinion that "wild game" doesn't cover fish, actually, mostly because that is the definition of the term!

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    game fish don't count?

    okay the seas might be utterly dead but atleast there's some deer and whatnot.

    ftOqU21.png
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Well, the seas mightn't be dead - remember, we'll uncover more resources through actual play - but for the start of the game, I think we should split our hunting of wild animals and whatever fishing we do. These four opening resources are things our community thinks are important, but there's nothing stopping us from starting a project at some point to build boats and fish the seas once more.

    Edit: of course, if Inq decides that he did mean to include fish in his "wild game" term, then that's cool and ot'll be included for sure! I am just going by the term's definition.

    simonwolf on
  • InquisitorInquisitor Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Game fish, are, by definition, fish that pursued primarily for sport, so, not really a food resource. Anyway, like Simon said, we can get our fishing industry back up to par later. My intent was to have Wild Game not include fish.

    I almost feel like proposing an alternate resource distribution just so we have some discussion, though, admittedly Abd's spread does make a lot of logical sense. We could perhaps be low on wild game, perhaps between the winter, a lot of the recent fighting, and some of the wild game being migratory we are currently low on wild game. What resource would we then be high on? It does make sense that both our manpower and our armaments would be depleted by the recent fighting as well. That leaves us with warmth, perhaps most of the fighting took place around but not in the town itself, so our buildings are still intact and stocked with fuel. And with it now being spring and the temperatures improving, perhaps we are abundant in warmth?

    But I am also fine with Abd's spread. Also, the last map Abd posted, the one with better readability, I like quite a lot. I think we should use it.

    Inquisitor on
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    I only just noticed the better readability version - I'm actually not pro that one, since hashing out the water makes it Relatively Difficult to draw on it in future without going through a whole mess of erasure and such. But I like the clean lines of its earlier incarnation a bunch, so I'd like to stick with that one, for sure.

    I kind of like that abundant warmth idea, actually, so I'd lean towards using that spread of resources.

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    I think I like the abundant warmth idea too - if I'm allowed to change my opinion at this stage to avoid a stalemate :P

    EDIT: I'm not very fond of the cleanest map because it's basically just a squiggly line. Drawing in the water shouldn't be too hard, just use colours.

    I can see if I can make a version that has some indication of what's water and what's not but obstructs less.

    EDITEDIT: How 'bout this?
    6jkhu8.jpg
    ascck.jpg

    Abdhyius on
    ftOqU21.png
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    That first one is better, yes

    So since we've got three people consenting to "abundant warmth, scarcities of manpower, armaments, and wild game", and I will be at work shortly and won't be able to do computer-drawy-business, I'm going to update the map with the resource I named, our abundance of warmth, as represented by a roaring fire near our community's settlement!

    yRtqy.jpg

    Next, you guys (in any order) draw a scarcity of the resource you named somewhere on the map. Symbolism is 100% okay!

  • AbdhyiusAbdhyius Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Um.

    draw a lack of something?

    Hm.

    EDIT: anyway bedtime.

    Abdhyius on
    ftOqU21.png
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