I’m about to start up a campaign of Dungeon World, and my friends and I will play the first session some time early in the new year. As a twist, we decided to play two sessions of Microscope to generate a rough outline of the session.
If you don’t know Microscope, I would advise you to at least read the rules, if not play it once or twice! It’s a great game, one I would love to play a campaign in some day. I won’t give a review, but here’s a (very) short (and superficial) explanation.
In Microscope, the players take turns adding a Period, Event or a Scene to the timeline of a world’s history. A Period is a kind of “age” that describes what kind of events is happening in it. An Event is a thing that happens happens in a Period, like someone important being assassinated, or an important object is discovered.
A Scene is a kind of mini role-playing session that takes about 5 to 10 minutes, with the point of answering a question about an Event. When the question is answered, the Scene immediately ends. A question could be “How did Marius the Cloak sneak into Blackwind Castle?”. A Scene tries to elaborate on something that happens in an Event, and as such it cannot extend the Event, but must happen entirely within its time-frame.
There’s more to it than this, but this is the gist of it. The most important rule though is that no one is allowed to make suggestions when it is another player’s turn. It can be a bit uncomfortable to just sit there without any ideas, but it ensures that everyone has equal say in what happens. It also make the game utterly uncontrollable. I love that part, as it makes the game draw upon the collaborative creativity of a group.
I’ll make a write-up of the timeline in a later post, some time after Christmas. Our theme was to make a “points of light” inspired setting, and ours turned out to be almost post apocalyptic.
If you are interested to learn more about Microscope, you can find the official homepage here.
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