from the Wise (Guys)
To the fifteenth issue of The
When Nicholas contacted me asking to write this editorial, I had just received
Spacemaster:Privateers and was assembling materials, ideas, and adventure plots for my new
science fiction campaign.
As usual, in the first stage of creation, my struggle for perfection was titanic. I gathered
NASA pictures of Solar System, videos of starship battles, I even considered writing a software
simulating a starship console, all in the name of accuracy.
Last week though, I gave a lecture on fractals at the Starfleet Academy of Rome...
The Starfleet Academy
The Starfleet Academy is a live RPG where players impersonate the cadets of Star Trek's Starfleet Academy.
Academy teachers, on the other hand are played by Gamemasters.
Once a week people gather to follow lessons about physics, history (Federation history, obviously), tactics, law,
technology and all other subjects a Starfleet officer is supposed to know.
Teachers really teach and cadets really study what they are taught, nevertheless everybody is having fun.
It was not the first time that I have roleplayed live, but it was surely the first time I roleplayed
something as "dull" as a lecture, however I enjoyed it very much. (You should have seen
those scared faces: "Do we really have to learn these things?").
Why did I enjoy the evening so much? It was short but intense, I didn't act as a
Starfleet officer, I felt I was one. Adventure, mystery, violence were not present at
all, yet it was a great gaming experience.
So I decided to share the experience with my usual fellow players.
I devised a series of scenarios set in various historical periods. They put the emphasis on
recreating characters' feelings, not their reactions to events.
Below are some examples of the few scenarios we played.
A monk has arrived in your village, telling stories about his god and how he died to save mankind.
You have never met him before but his reputation precedes him, his name is Patrick.
Your father has finally come back from his long voyage. He followed the river to the sea. He tells
you of strange lands where the snow is rarely seen. He tells you of the golden city, the capital of
the empire where there are more people than trees in a forest and he tells you of the Emperor, who hired
all the men of your tribe as mercenaries to reconquer the Western regions his ancestors lost.
You will soon know his generals, Narses and Belisarius.
Lorenzo writes to you about the Donation of Constantine. "There is evidence", he says "it is a fake".
An interesting discovery with many political ramifications. Unfortunately your research of the Philosophers' Stone
can't wait; you put down his letter and hastily return to your laboratory.
We had a lot of fun playing those scenarios. We spent some great evenings looking at history flowing before
our eyes, watching with the eyes of a contemporary, rather than a fantasy hero.
The most unexpected feeling was with magic. We really felt magic existed, not because we were in a
fantasy world where real world physics didn't work, but because magic was all people had to explain the
world in those times.
I'm still gathering stuff for my new SF campaign, but I have decided I can wait for all the supplemental material
that should come out before the summer. In the meantime, I know what to do.
(for now ...)
Enough ranting for this column, I could continue endlessly on other topics but I suspect I would be ambushed
again, this time with serious consequences.
Next issue will be published in June 2000, until then, as someone else often says,
Keep gaming and have fun!
am I? Scrolls
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