• This game is under the Sci-Fi genre.
  • The game system is FATE.
  • This game contains mature content.
  • The GM has marked this game as containing personal and intellectual property.
    If the GM leaves or deletes the game nobody else will be able to continue the game.
The Voyages of the Jean Baret
Setting: Mindjammer. It would be preferable to have access to either the main book or the players guide. Familiarity with Fate would be a reasonable substitute, but understanding the background will in this case require more effort - from both you and me.

Background: The development of a new class of starships is a complex undertaking. Even in the Commonality, where material scarcity is itself a scarcity, a whole new class of near-capital ships is a significant undertaking. Learning the lessons of encountering the Venu, the Commonality decided to take on the unknown in a committed, and self-reliant way.

Meet the Jeanne Baret. It took years, and a great deal of effort, to bring her into life. The best skills of thousands of very skilled designers, engineers, and theoreticians underpin every part of her. If available parts weren't as good as they could be, new ones were designed, and made. An exploration-focused capital ship, the Jeanne Baret is the nameholder of her class (the Baret class explorer), and the first of this new concept to leave the shipyards.

With the voyage into the unknown not only testing the boundaries of the Commonality's knowledge, but testing the successful creation of the new class of ship, the decision was taken to adopt a strategy of resilience, right from the start, rather than caution: the most would be learned about both new systems and the ship itself by pushing on through problems, rather than using the ship without stretching it, or returning the moment something went wrong. This "resilience first" philosophy extended to providing her with multiple makepoints; a backup planing engine; and a flexible architecture to enable the assimilation of new discoveries with relative ease. For a nominally exploration-focused vessel, she is heavily armed, another legacy of the discovery of the Venu, and has a very large maximum crew capacity. Part of the reason for that massive capacity is that she has been envisaged as capable of carrying a fledgling colony with sustainable population and suitable equipment - this colony to be transported in a form of suspension, in a dedicated, detachable segment of the ship, able to travel reasonably well in the system chosen to settle in. The colony could be a research colony, planted to thoroughly research a system with interesting potential, or a more resource-and-growth based colony, depending on how they were equipped and staffed. Opportunities could be seized which again would otherwise require a return to Commonality-dominated space. For the maiden voyage, however, a different use was intended for that colony module: a frozen watch.

Following the philosophy of resilience, and yet recognising that the first voyage of any new ship class could raise unexpected additional questions, the provision was made to have additional expertise available in case it was needed, without putting an additional load on the life support systems of the ship, but more importantly: without weakening the authority or requirement for self-reliance on the part of the primary crew; and with the added reassurance that those in frozen watch were far less vulnerable to any threat than those 'alive'. The additional expertise took the form of an entire duplicate crew - minimal crew numbers, but still a complete replacement crew - in the suspension chambers of the colony module; this included a replacement AI. Expertise was prioritised in ship engineering, exploration, and security. The intention was that whatever skill was somehow missing - through misadventure, presumably, but potentially by being missed from the primary crew roster - the frozen watch would be able to fill the need. Various failsafe systems were adopted to protect even against an apocalypse scenario where some disaster rendered the main body of the ship non-functional, in which case the colony module would awaken the backup AI, and the AI could decide what to do next. The AI would be compatible with the main ship but intentionally complete isolated, so that whatever happened, it would still be able to work.

The player characters are members of that frozen watch, possibly including the backup AI. The story starts with them being awakened. Something has gone wrong.

Posting Frequency, duration of game:
I try to post daily, and I sometimes fail to do that (busy real-world life).  Sometimes I'll post more often, but if I can see players can't keep up for whatever reason, I wait as long as I can.  If there are e.g. half-a-dozen players and one can't keep up for a particular scene, I'll take over their character for that scene.  If I sense during character and game setup that someone's going to be less frequent in posting than everyone else, I may decide not to proceed with that player for that game.  If on the other hand I discover we have a group of players who are all comfortable with a slower posting schedule, I'll adapt myself to suit that.

There isn't a specific end-point for this game; the overplot arc has a natural beginning, a long middle (with a variable number of steps), and an end to that overplot, but there's a healthy dose of Star Trek in the concept, and Star Trek doesn't need to have an end.

Tone, 'feel', inspirations
I'm expecting a certain amount of exploration, not entirely unlike Star Trek of various flavours, but with probably a smaller number of forehead prosthetics.
- conscious influences are: The Mindjammer rulebook and background; All Star Trek versions; Andromeda; The Orville; Killjoys; Farscape; The Culture novels; and very tiny bits of Asimov.
- there is an overarching plot to deal with, and the exploration will periodically interact with that.  I can't think right now of a cultural reference which uses the same conceit, but I'm confident there is one, possibly several.
- traps I'm deliberately going to avoid:
1) "The Voyager Trap" - you can never get home because that would end the series.  This is explicitly not the case: you can get home.
2) "Exploring Next Door's Garden" - exploring in a region of space where you know all the other species makes it quite likely you aren't really going to get surprised in any credible way; this is intentionally long-range exploration.
3) "The Dallas Shower" - this isn't a simulation, dream, or other fake-out; that doesn't mean such things can't happen during an 'episode', but making a whole game on that basis strikes me as a cheat, unless players (not characters) know that going in.
4) "We can't get any better equipment while away from base" - both in-character and in-game, the ship can increase its capabilities over time, and create new equipment, functionality, etc; there's also in-game reasons within the overplot to explain why some features of the ship might not be available straight away, but could return to use later; so in all aspects, not only personal development, but in terms of equipment, capabilities, and expansion, the ground is intentionally fertile.

The Commonality of Mindjammer is full of vast possibilities.  One of the reasons for the "Exploration" setting is to narrow down the possibilities for creating characters to a manageable choice, and to give a common purpose, while leaving open the possibilities of what may be encountered.  I expect, if the game continues long enough, for the Jeanne Baret to return to Commonality space, and interact with the Commonality again; however by tying it to a particular purpose, I hope it gives an anchor point in the otherwise bewildering sea of stuff.

Why the Frozen Watch?
The Frozen watch isn't an antidote to a long time passing, in this case - however long may pass between going to sleep and waking up.  It's a resilience measure.  While in the stasis pods, which are for all the lifeforms in them (including the AI) broadly equivalent to the sort of things they'd be using to survive a catastrophic failure of any starship, they are extremely well protected.  The goal is twofold.  In the simplest scenario: they are able to be individually restored wakefulness so that individual skillsets or awesomeness can be tapped into to resolve whatever individual problems the ship encounters; if the problem is short lived (or the skillset need is only temporary), the facility exists to put people back into the stasis.  In the more disastrous scenario, automated monitoring is supposed to be able to detect the loss of the main crew, by whatever means, and trigger a progressive wakeup of the backup (Frozen) watch once monitoring considers it safe to do so.  The monitoring is intentionally and by design relatively mechanistic, simplistic, and conservative.

The idea is that even if something utterly wipes out the crew and primary AI, the ship will be recoverable - it is quite a big 'investment', even for a post-scarcity civilisation, and more importantly, the knowledge which could be gained from finding what wiped out the crew could be vital.  Putting the backup crew in stasis is simply the safest way of achieving this: while things can penetrate stasis - this isn't Larry Niven Tnuctupin / Slaver stasis - there's no more reliable way of transporting people.  NB because it's full stasis, they will not have been in mindscapes, and no perception of time passing will have been gained.  Wake up time could be the next day or the next century (or even longer), and the Frozen Watch would be none the wiser.

Who are these people?
The volunteers may well have been compelled - and I'm happy to see aspects which would have led to that turn up in backgrounds - but they don't have to have been; they do either have to have been compelled, or willing.
In the expected case they played a role in the design or / and construction of the vessel; they wouldn't know the whole thing well - in the same way as you wouldn't know the whole of a city's construction in detail well, even if you were involved in all the street planning - but they know a part of it very well.  If they didn't play a part in putting it together, I'd turn the question back on the player: how did you wangle your way into this crew?  (The bar for entry is high, not press-gang low).

How far are we going?
This is the maiden voyage, and there has been a conscious decision to make the ship extremely capable.  It is thought possible that this class of ship will be the first to bridge the vast intergalactic gulf to the nearest other galaxies.  That's one of the reasons it's capable of acting as a colony seed.  The initial voyage is intended to be much more local, however: just beyond the galactic core into the space the other side.

Why would you want to come all that way just to stay asleep through it:
a) The second ship in the family will be offered to the auxiliary crew as-primary, once the shakedown voyage is complete and any remediation processed.
b) Any reasons which people write into their aspects/background
c) Time is not a big problem for any of the Frozen Watch in this case: the stasis is completely effective - there is no ageing while in stasis - and they have all worked on the creation of this ship, one way or another, so they may well have an emotional tie to "seeing" it work - moreover, being around to fix it, to nudge it over the finish line, so to speak.
d) Because if you do get woken up, you will almost inevitably be 'saving the day', and some people will get a buzz out of that.

Behaviour, Ettiquette
This is a Mature game setting.  I don't want to have to hold back on any content because of consideration of minors.  That said, it's not an **Adult** game.  I don't have any problem with Adult stuff happening, but that's not the focus of the story.
Unkindness to each other as players is not tolerated.