Mars. Mercury. Venus. And what lies beyond the asteroid belt? The advent of space travel and the discovery of civilizations ancient and new throughout the solar system have quite literally opened new horizons to the people of Victorian Earth. Colonial governments have new peoples to enlighten, adventurers and archeologists have new regions to explore, and scientists and inventors are unlocking new secrets at a frankly shocking pace. It seems only fitting that social endeavors should evolve as well. Thus Emily Constance Marie Peregrine, the Countess of Danforth, has announced her latest social innovation: the Aether Salon!
Every three months the Countess will host the social event of the season: a salon aboard the Duchess of Argyle, the luxurious aether flyer her husband and noted inventor Edmund Death Whately Peregrine, the 12th Earl of Danforth, has recently built for her. They will fly the Duchess where whimsy takes them, bringing civilization and the cream of Victorian society with them. One gathering may take place outside London, the next in orbit around Venus. The ancient city states of Mars, the frontier outposts of Mercury... all these and more will be their playground. Always known for slight eccentricity, the Countess will invite anyone she feels will add interest to her salon, even if the strictest social arbiters may not approve. The Countess's Aether Salon is the most anticipated and coveted invite on the social calendar.
Shifting Sands is the culmination of a decades-old desire to run a LARP campaign in Frank Chadwick's Space:1889 universe. The recent Kickstarter campaign to create an English translation of the latest version of the ruleset prompted us to dust off the old collection and finally bring that desire to fruition. We have assembled a fantastic team of narrators and work is progressing rapidly.
Our goal is to create a game where Victorian science fiction, colonial politics, interpersonal drama and nefarious plots blend seamlessly. The name Shifting Sands derives from the idea that every individual is a member of various groupings or factions--some more formal than others--be they familial, political, religious, professional, social or otherwise. The interests of these groups will align in some areas and come into conflict in others, often simultaneously. How does one navigate such treacherous ground?
Players will develop their own characters with guidance and assistance from the narrators to ensure good depth and plenty of the dramatic interconnections with other characters that will be the meat of the campaign. The game will focus on these interpersonal aspects. While there will be some opportunities for adventuring and derring-do outside of the main sessions, the core of the game will take place at the aether salons, and there the derring just won't do.
We are developing our own set of LARP rules for this campaign, a distillation of several of our favorite drama-based systems. The mechanics are intended to a) encourage dramatic situations and interactions, b) keep action on stage, and c) get out of the way as much as possible. Characters will be compilations of story and characteristics, with little in the way of numbers and special abilities. We fully realize that this sort of game may not be everyone's cup of tea, and encourage you to think carefully about playing if you find yourself disappointed by character sheets that are not dominated by stats and powers. We will not be hurt if you do not think this sounds like fun.
We expect to run four main sessions each year, on Saturday nights at Castle Whately in North Barrington, IL. These will be the "Aether Salons", and will run something like 6 or 7pm to 11 or midnight.
Additional, "side sessions" will run with smaller groups to focus on select scenes not occurring during the salons. These will be held as needed during the weekend of the Salons, typically Friday nights and Saturday during the day. These may be dinner parties, adventuring sessions, military campaigns, or just about anything else. They are neither mandatory nor guaranteed, and will only be held according to player interest and narrator bandwidth.
As it currently stands:
- April 23rd, 2016, 1-5pm: Player kick-off meeting; Character submission begins.
- May-June, 2016: Character and faction development.
- July 9th, 2016: First game session.
- Sessions to occur quarterly, generally on the second Saturday of the second month of the quarter, so February, April, August and November. Of course, we're already breaking that rule with the first session, which has been moved up to July so as not to conflict with various August events.
- The game will run for three to five years. We are expecting five, but we'll see where the story takes us.
What can I do right now?
Watch this space! (No pun intended.) Further information and developments will be posted here in the coming weeks. We will introduce the Countess's staff (also known as your narration team), tell you about the character submission and generation process, point you at valuable background material and resources, describe our shiny new mechanics system, and explain our vision for the game more fully.
Also, be sure to like our page on facebook and sign up for the Fête Fatale mailing list.
We're very excited to be embarking on this odyssey, and very much hope you will want to join us!
The Shifting Sands staff, for
Fête Fatale Productions