The Shifting Sands campaign will run over the course of up to five years. Some plots will require that entire time to resolve, some will run their course in about a year, some will be but a flash in the galactic pan, and everything in between. Each year will have four main sessions, the "Salons", run quarterly on Saturday nights from 6pm-12m. Everyone should attempt to attend these if at all possible. Usually they will run on the second Saturday of the second month of the quarter, but not always. See the Calendar page for details. Additional "side sessions" may be scheduled for roleplaying a specific scene or event for relevant characters at times convenient for most of the players involved, usually earlier on in the day of the main Salon session. Most characters will not have a side session every quarter, but most will have from one to several over the course of the campaign if the player can make it.
We recognize that players may not be able to make all games or attend every side session that their character would normally be involved in. There are several participation options that players can choose from.
Players that feel confident in their ability to make the majority of Salons and side sessions are encouraged to make their own characters for submission to the staff for the game. The staff will work with players as much as possible to make sure that side sessions are scheduled in ways to accommodate as many players as possible.
Players that may not be able to make the majority of games are welcome to ask for a cast character. Cast characters are somewhere between a Non-Player Character (NPC) and a Player Character (PC). Cast characters are recurring characters that are given goals and certain information that they are to bring into game but can also grow and have a great deal of player input as well.
Non-Player Characters (NPC) are characters that are primarily put into game for specific purposes and may or may not reappear from game to game. Anyone looking to just NPC for the game may play a great deal of different characters over the campaign and will likely eventually interact with everyone in the game at one point or another.
We will collect $10 per player per session attended at the door, or possibly ahead of time via PayPal; we'll see about the latter. Game fees will be used for limited refreshments during the game, printing and supply costs, etc.
Mechanics, Economy and Influence
We are not expecting there to be much need for conflict resolution mechanics during the Salons. And we want players to be focused on building interesting scenes and interactions rather than comparing character sheets and rolling dice. Therefore our core mechanics system will be simplified to reflect this. We will use an attribute-based system intended to give the feel of different characters' capabilities without bogging down the action with exhaustive lists of skills and stats and modifiers ad infinitum.
Because of the Countess' elite guest list, it won't be necessary to keep track of every farthing characters have available to them. We will assume that everyone has sufficient pocket change appropriate to their character to perform normal actions, get from here to there, and keep themselves fed and clothed. We will only track the large sums of money needed to perform game-affecting actions, like funding an expedition and the like.
When players want to affect events happening during a session, they will do so through roleplaying. There will be no special ability cards that you can use to force another character to do something or create an effect. When you want to affect something outside the session, you will do so by exercising Influence. Most if not all characters will be influential in one circle or another, usually in multiple. These are the movers and shakers of Victorian Society after all. We will use a simple card system to represent that influence, and a theme-appropriate method of communicating with the staff when and how this influence is used.