My story game group has been talking for a while about wanting to play some kind of hard sci-fi space travel campaign. We looked at a lot of AW space hacks, but decided to use my Spectrum
system. But before we started building characters for Spectrum, we played 2 sessions of Microscope
to create our future timeline. Before Play: Microscope
I've been excited to use Microscope to create a setting for Spectrum. It would be great for creating setting for any game really, but especially for Spectrum, which lets you travel to any point in the timeline and change history. The default future timeline in Spectrum has rapid technological advancement, ending with the nanobots destroying the universe in the year 4000, and my players wanted a longer future timeline to play in.
So we played 2 sessions of Microscope, and got 38,000 years of future history. Terran expansion, warring corporations, a Martian revolution, a war for AI independence, the destruction of Earth, contact with 3 alien races (warlike Myconids, peaceful Arocknids, and manipulative parasitic Dravidians), the development of 4 distinct AI cultures, which eventually collaborate to create huge Dyson-sphere worlds populated with artificial life, a golden age of galactic peace, an invasion by extra-galactic intelligent electro-magnetic cloud entities, and finally the nanobots destroying the universe. We're all excited to play time-travelers in this setting.
Then I converted this future timeline into the Spectrum Tech Levels, found some good maps of our galaxy, and created a random time-and-space jump table. The default spectrum Tech Levels just include "space flight" and "hyperdrive", so I wrote some extra detail about the relative speeds of spaceships at different Tech Levels. All of this extra material is so far just in the form of notes, good enough for me to GM with, but I would like to clean it up and make it available as a free sourcebook for Spectrum. 1st Episode
We created Spectrum characters and played our first session. The characters are:
Edgar - human from 1930s America, charismatic time-bandit.
Pria - human from 2600s Mars, anarchist inventor.
Ooloo - shape-shifting artificial life-form from beyond time and space.
The players all chose a system of rare and inaccessible star-gates as their characters' time-travel Method, although each of them accesses these gates in their own unique way.
In the 1st Episode, Edgar was Yellow (moderately experienced) , Pria was Blue (more experienced), and Ooloo was Red (less experienced). Since Ooloo would be the weakest character for this Episode, I wanted to put the focus on him, and asked where and when he was, and what kind of trouble he was in.
Ooloo's player said he has traveled to the Sipsi star system, in the year 2627, in hopes of meeting the AI who eventually created him, but he arrived too early, and is floating in empty space, years before the AI colony ship reaches this system and builds their artifical world. Pria and Edgar needed to come to his rescue.
Pria bends time to have a small transport shuttle (taking on time debt), and she and Edgar arrive the Sipsi system, rescue Ooloo from floating in space. Ooloo can't speak, but Pria builds a translator device to speak to it, and it eventually manages to communicate with the others by shape-shifting. They all have to wait years for the AI ship to arrive, so Edgar makes a masterpiece painting to give the AI as a gift.
When the AI ship arrives, it is suspicious of the 2 humans and the shape-shifter. The AI is impressed with Edgar's painting, and he manages to convince it not to attack them, but the AI still wants to keep them all here to study them. Pria time-jumps herself, Edgar and the ship away, leaving a happy Ooloo with the confused AI.
Pria and Edgar arrive on Mars in 5399, in the final days of the AI war of independence. Pria had to make the jump without a star-gate, so they and their ship are damaged by the rough jump. Edgar forges a registration ID for the ship, and they dock it at Basin City, currently under control of the Lunar Queen corporate military. Pria finds an earlier instance of their ship, and Edgar tricks the military guards into letting him commandeer it. As a huge AI ship begins it's assault on the city, Edgar and Pria find the Martian star-gate on display in a public park, and escape with their two ships (actually both instances of the same ship). They still have to get Edgar's ship back to Pria when she bent time for it, to resolve her time debt before it creates a Paradox.