First, I'm going to be the sole head game master for this campaign. If there's anyone who'd like the "junior space cadet GM" role, or who'd like to participate by playing the occasional NPC, that'd be keen. But I'm going to exercise full control over plot and setting, and retain veto power over anyone else's ideas. I've been sharing control in every campaign I've run for the last three years: this time around, I want things to be a little simpler. Don't get me wrong: GM-by-consensus has produced great results for me, and I expect I'll sacrifice some versimilitude in setting and direction by going it alone. But it's time for a change of pace for me.
Second, I'm aiming for a multi-player group of characters who have reason to stick together. PCs should be created with an idea in mind of how they'll fit into the group. Actually, this doesn't apply to the "You'll Just Have to Trust Me" idea outlined below--in that case, I will be handling the reason-to-stick-together however I see fit. But for the other four ideas, PCs should not be lone wolves who want to avoid each other. You don't have to LIKE the other PCs, but you do need an in-character reason to be with them. This isn't to say that every session will involve every character, or that PCs can never go off and do their own thing. But for the most part, it'll be an ensemble cast.
Third, I am currently anticipating that I'll run a game every other week, and the average game session will be 4-5 hours. Players will be expected to be able to meet this level of commitment. That's not to say games can never be postponed or re-scheduled: this is just the guideline for general expectations. If you'd like to participate, but your schedule is too hectic to make room for a regular commitment, you might consider playing an NPC -- a character who can be conveniently written out or played by me, if necessary.
Fourth, this campaign will follow the same general guidelines laid out in Sinai's AUP. My stories are plot- and character-driven, with little to no on-camera sexual content. (Think "kissing" as the extreme end.) That's not to say that you or your character has to be a prude: it just means that the actual sessions run as "canon" for the campaign are not going to involve any details of sexual activity.
This entry is an open invitation for players: if you're reading this, and you'd like to participate, please leave a comment, or send me an email. I won't guarantee everyone a space (depends on how many people are interested and what roles they're willing to take), but I'd be glad to hear from you.
What I'd like to hear from potential participants:
1) Of the eight ideas given here, which do you like/dislike? You can rank them in order of preference, if you want, but I also want to know if any of the ideas are totally unsuited to you. If you want to particpate, but only if it's "The Great Game", or you're willing to do any of them except "CyberWest", then that's what I need to know. I'll pick the final campaign based in part on what reactions I get. If you really love a particular concept above all others -- even if you'd be willing to play in the others, too -- say so. Enthusiasm will count in the weightings. :)
2) Do you want to be play as a PC, or an NPC, or assistant GM? If more than one of those options appeals, which is your preference? The MUCK medium only lends itself to so many participants at one time, and, in particular, I'm limited in the number of PCs I can handle. I have no idea how enthusiastic the response to this will be at this point; I may need some assistant GMs, or I may have to cut the list of players down arbitrarily. Or it may just be Lut and me and one other person I beg into joining us. ("Please come play with me? Please?") :)
I'm hoping to settle on a campaign idea some time in the next couple of weeks. Once that's finalized, I'll flesh out the setting further, ask people to draw up characters, and work out plot details. My campaigns will tell a story, and the nature of that story will be dependent in part on the characters involved. So I won't be finalizing the story until I know who my PCs are. Since it will be a story, there will be a beginning, middle, and end. I make no promises on how long the entire campaign will take. Mirari took about two years from start to finish.
I expect to be running the first live session some time in late May or June.
Finally, the campaign ideas. Bet you thought I'd never get here. :) Broken out by genre:
Space-faring science fiction
Interstellar Geographic: Space exploration adventure. PCs comprise a "second contact" group, exploring virtually unknown worlds, meeting alien races, and making new discoveries. They have a "soft science" approach, supporting their voyages by selling documentary footage and journalist-style articles to the press back home.
Forlorn Hope: space-faring in dangerous times. The PCs are a small group on a single spacecraft, on a desperate quest to save their world from destruction.
The Great Game: In a distant future, the world is at peace, lifespans of over 200 years are not uncommon, and medical treatment can all but bring the dead back to life. Sports and other games are huge pastimes. One of the most popular sports is "Rocket Mayhem", a team-based race game. Two teams of six, equipped with jet packs and other high-tech equipment, compete along a marathon obstacle course to see who can get their banner to the finish line first. "Rocket Mayhem" has only been around a few years, and players are constantly refining and inventing new tactics and plans for competing against the course, and other teams. The obstacles on each course vary wildly and are rearranged and altered before each game, with the course layout being a closely guarded secret. PCs play members of a single team. The RPG is intended to take place both on the course and off, with PCs wrestling with issues in their own life as well as the over-arching importance of the Game. Though "Rocket Mayhem" thrives on its reputation as a "dangerous game", it is still safer than sports like drag racing today, and the chances of PC death in the course of the campaign are virtually nil.
CyberWest: Players live on a partially colonized world dominated by a few large corporations, with minimal government and a few small independent businessess. Law enforcement is somewhat spotty, and people tend to “take care of their own”. Most people know the basics of self-defense, and the world itself poses occasional ... interesting challenges for those living on it to deal with. Sort of a cross between cyberpunk and “wild west” in flavor. This setting will undergo significant change over the course of the campaign. Changes may or may not be under PC control. No further information on this will be given. You just have to trust the GM on some things. ;)
You Just Have to Trust Me: Intended to be a short-term campaign. (no, REALLY!) PCs meet one another, for the first time, at a dinner party. Interesting things ensue. So much secrecy that the players are not to talk about the game or their characters EVEN with one another, and the genre for the game is, itself, undisclosed.
Spirits in Wonderland: Concept based loosely on the film "Spirited Away" as well as fantasy/surrealist works like "Labyrinth", Alice in Wonderland, and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. At least one of the PCs will play an "ordinary" character from the modern world, who falls into an extraordinary fantasy environment. (This character need not necessarily be a child). The other PCs will play natives of this fantasy world, who will help (or, possibly, hinder) the "ordinary" figure(s) in their goals. Other details will be given out on a need-to-know basis, to avoid giving spoilers up front for the "normal(s)".
Gothsters Inc.: Beings from another dimension power their civilization by harnessing the power of human teenage angst. <-This one is entirely Envoy's fault. Just so you know.
The Bound Sisterhood: PCs living in Ashdod cope with the difficulties of their nation, and the struggle of the priestesses of the Bound Sisters -- an apostate religion where the Seven never break their chains, and instead continue in the functions set for them by their father.
One final note on settings: while some of these are billed as "SF" and others as "fantasy", please bear in mind that I am not a very technically-savvy person. I will not be running anything that could be classified as "hard sf". If I go with one of the sf options, I will shoot for somewhat more realism than "Star Trek". The level of realism you get in "Babylon 5" is probably as close as I would come. There will be techno-gizmos for which I have no good scientific basis, and some things will probably violate known physical laws. I make no claims of expertise.