Generation Starship (working title)

  • Sat Oct 17, 8:00 PM - 12:00 AM
  • Aaron Vanek
  • Songlines
  • Adult themes
  • ()
  • 4
  • 2 of 7
  • Created at the table


This is a playtest for a new RPG system that uses music as a story guide. In this scenario, players will represent generations of one family line aboard a starship looking for a new home among the stars.

The game uses dice rolling for task resolution, but also elements of larping and creation/making.

Triggers: There will be elements of death (players represent a family line, so individual characters are going to die, hopefully of old age) and birth (sex is merely implied, however). Some of the songs might be very sad or at least emotional. There will be a few instances of CvC (character versus character) which could be intense or aggressively argumentative.

Tags: Adult themes, Adventure, Collaborative, Drama, Emotional, Exploration, GM-less, Melancholy, Player antagonism, Potentially triggering*, Provocative, Sci-Fi, Serious, Strong storyline

3 comments to Generation Starship (working title)

  • Excited for this. Love music in RPGs, so interested to see what this feels like. I’m assuming its better that we don’t know what music we’re coming into? Or does it matter normally in play?

    • Aaron

      Knowing the music doesn’t matter to the game plot, but it might matter to your experience of the game. That’s why I put a TW on this. If I happen to pick a song that brings up a bad moment in your past, or maybe it’s just a sad song you know well, it might impact your emotions in playing the game–which is the purpose. If you don’t know the song, it might still influence your play through the melody or rhythm. It might become a new favorite song, or introduce you to a new artist.

      The idea is that the songs:
      time the scene (scene only lasts while songs play)

      determine the mise en scene, i.e., what the scene is – I deliberately wrote scenes to match the songs, or the songs inspired the scenes. For example, a fast paced song will play during a stressful, roll a lot of dice scene

      influence the tenor and emotions of the players through the usual things songs do (harmony, lyrics, beat, melody, etc.)

      What I DON’T have these songs do:
      You don’t have to listen to the song for a clue to a puzzle, or follow any directions in the song like doing the Time Warp Again.

      That doesn’t mean future Songlines scenarios won’t do that, just that this one does not.

      I hope that answers your question, and I look forward to bringing this to you next month.

  • Aaron Vanek

    More information, since I playtested this at Celesticon’s Protospiel: This is a GM-less game, but I will be there to facilitate and observe. The GM is a Spotify playlist on shuffle play. Each song on the playlist represents a scene for the People of the starship, on their way to a new world. Some scenes require dice rolling (d6s) to overcome a challenge, other scenes require the People (players) to debate on the course of the colony ship, and some ask the players to make something (draw or write). Some scenes are a combination of those actions.

    Each scene is paced by the song; you have as long as the song lasts to do the task. No knowledge of the song nor understanding of the lyrics is required, the music just sets the mood, tone, and duration of each scene. The game will probably take 2.5 to 3 hours, including explanation, feedback, etc.

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