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[The Quiet Year] Life in the shadow of ancient wars

simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silenceyou took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
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.

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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 resolved by the person who started them.
  • The current player chooses and takes an action (Discover Something New, Hold a Discussion, or Start a Project).
  • The week ends.

Actions
  • When you discover something new, introduce a new situation to the map, be it opportunity, problem, person, or all three. Draw it on the map, usually on the smaller side. Use this to introduce new dilemmas to the map when things seem to controlled or easy.
  • When you hold a discussion, pose a question or a statement to the group for discussion. Everyone weighs in with a short response to the discussion - if it was a question, the person who asked can add their thoughts. If it was a statement, that's it. Each discussion should be tied to a situation on the map, and we'll mark those situations with a small dot to signify the community has spoken on this issue in the past.
  • When you start a project, choose a situation and declare what the community will do to resolve it. There's no consultation, the community simply gets to work. Name how long you think the project will take. Projects can take up to six weeks to complete. Be realistic about how long it would take the community - whether they have the right skills, tools, supplies, etc. - and if it seems like it would take longer than six weeks, it might need to become a multi-stage project.

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.
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Posts

  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    @credeiki @Elldren @desc

    I've taken the executive decision that this setting will be in the distant shadow of some ancient war where the sky burned and mechanical behemoths tore the mountains asunder. So we're looking post-apocalyptic, remnants of tech here and there but largely forgotten and decayed in knowledge. Otherwise I'm open to any kind of setting for the landscape/terrain!

  • descdesc bare man are locked in Registered User regular
    Maybe the ruined mecha and the jagged volcanic rocks crushed underneath them are both covered in green moss and tiny white flowers that only appear briefly in spring

  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    So like a cool, tundra kind of landscape? That sounds neat to me — @Elldren @credeiki any specific ideas you want to throw in as general setting deets, or should we just start the first map-making steps?

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    I like that sort of setting with a big lake; goes along with the sort of tundra and rocks in my mind

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    air-photos.tumblr.com
  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    I want a coastline... maybe a ragged fjordy coastline

    Maybe the fjords are a result of the apocalypse

    fuck gendered marketing
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Okay, so:
    Ragged fjordy coast
    Volcanic tundra environment
    Visible tech from pre-apocalyptica

    I’m thinking that tech angle is going to set a tone that weirdness can/will exist in the form of legacy/ancient machinery, so that gives us a “vibe”.

    Unless anyone has any further contributions, I’ll make a first stage map when I get home and we’ll start drawing the first objects on.

  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    simonwolf wrote: »
    Okay, so:
    Ragged fjordy coast
    Volcanic tundra environment
    Visible tech from pre-apocalyptica

    I’m thinking that tech angle is going to set a tone that weirdness can/will exist in the form of legacy/ancient machinery, so that gives us a “vibe”.

    Unless anyone has any further contributions, I’ll make a first stage map when I get home and we’ll start drawing the first objects on.

    Don’t forget the lake! I figure we are on an isthmus, with high ground seaward and a big mountain lake on the other (lower but still elevated) side

    fuck gendered marketing
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Tell you what, why don't we just add in these big features as our opening moves.
    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.

    I'll start with my contribution -- on the tundra there lies an Ozymandian graveyard of the War That Once Was, shattered beasts of steel and mechanica lying half-buried in the volcanic soil.

    ht0tcppwcxva.png

    @desc @credeiki @Elldren commit your detail and draw it on the map, following the directions above; once that's done we'll discuss the resources of our community.

  • descdesc bare man are locked in Registered User regular
    Okay, to the west of the battlefield that was lies a dense forest threaded with confusing paths that loop and cross one another. Glints of metal can be seen from fragments of ancient objects embedded in trees and soil closer to the eastern edge and thinning as one goes deeper into the woods. After heavy rains, things like skulls and ribcages and limbs made of metal are sometimes revealed, all facing west.

    Za1p4HU.png

  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    yeahhhh

    @Elldren @credeiki your move!

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    suam3mq2lhdk.png

    The lake is very clear, but deep enough so that the bottom stops being visible as you get some distance from the shore.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    air-photos.tumblr.com
    desc
  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    91yqz5g3m69m.png

    the fjord runs the length of the western coastline, with only a small beach to the north west of the lake.

    (sorry for the lateness, was sick all last week and couldn't really do a painting thing)

    fuck gendered marketing
    desc
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Awesome!

    Next step is Resources. We each name one, and then we’ll decide which one will be Abundant and which three will be Scarce. The important thing to note is that these things are all important to the community — once we define them, they’ll influence us from then on, and it’s reasonable to conclude that a goal will be to rectify the absence of the other important ones.

    I’m going to name the first resource as Scrap.

    @desc @Elldren @credeiki in any order, name a resource the community finds important!

  • descdesc bare man are locked in Registered User regular
    Fresh water!

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    Warriors

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    air-photos.tumblr.com
  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    credeiki wrote: »
    Warriors

    Come out and plaaay

    But resources: imma say ships

    fuck gendered marketing
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Okay! So we have:
    - Scrap
    - Warriors
    - Fresh water
    - Ships

    Now we decide as a group: which of these will be abundant, and which will be in scarcity?

    I kiiiiind of like the idea of having an abundance of warriors — it feels like something that would necessitate action to then resolve our shortages. But open for anything to be our choices!

  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    I think it’s obvious we have an abundance of fresh water

    fuck gendered marketing
  • discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    edited May 16
    Have to say an abundance of boats and a scarcity of warriors would be pretty funny.
    Just one lonely Captain surveying his grounded Armada

    discrider on
    Steam Community page: http://steamcommunity.com/id/discrider/
    Oh hey! A knife!
  • descdesc bare man are locked in Registered User regular
    What if there’s a shortage of scrap, necessitating dangerous and spooky forays into the battlegrounds or woods

  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    edited May 16
    Fresh water doesn't have to be abundant if we don't want it to be; the fjord could open onto salt water, while the lake remains slightly radioactive or otherwise contaminated by the relics of the war and requires treatment to be drinkable.

    I would like to have a scarcity of ships. Maybe there was an incident recently; maybe there's another reason.

    credeiki on
    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    air-photos.tumblr.com
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    I'm cool with scarcity on water and scrap, for sure -- but will water or warriors be the abundance??

  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    Ooh: the scarcity of ships and warriors could be connected: a failed expedition perhaps?

    I still don’t want a scarcity of water because I don’t really like the sort of story that leads to

    fuck gendered marketing
  • descdesc bare man are locked in Registered User regular
    edited May 16
    That could make sense — the scrap shortage might stem from getting the lost fleet ship-shape

    Now everyone’s land locked but hydrated?

    desc on
  • credeikicredeiki Registered User regular
    That works for me: abundance of water but scarcity of everything else.

    Steam, LoL: credeiki
    air-photos.tumblr.com
    Elldren
  • simonwolfsimonwolf there was a silence you took to mean somethingRegistered User regular
    Okay! So let's confirm:

    Abundances:
    Fresh water

    Scarcities:
    Warriors
    Scrap
    Ships

    So now we need to draw those things on the map in such a way as to represent their scarcity.

    v3gofc7195xr.png

    An empty storage area, with no scrap to fill its coverage.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    Water, water, everywhere,
    But all our men did sink.

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    desc
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