For a long time, we were at war with The Jackals. Now, finally, we’ve driven them off, and we’re left with this: a year of relative peace. One quiet year, with which to build our community up and learn again how to work together. Come Winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive and we might not survive the encounter. This is when the game will end. But we don’t know about that yet. What we know is that right now, in this moment, there is an opportunity to build something.
This is the play area (which I have shamelessly stolen from the PBF of this game run by @Cokho on the old forum, as well as pinching bits of text from the rulebook). The top part is where we will create our map; updating it to reflect new discoveries, conflicts, and decisions. We won’t write words on it, though common symbols are fine.
On the bottom left is an area to record our resources, which can be common or rare. Next to that are the contempt tokens, they represent simmering tensions in the community. The area on the bottom right is where we track the contempt tokens.
I have a deck of cards:
This deck of cards represents our quiet year. Each suit is a season. At some point in Winter, we’ll draw the King of Spades. That’s when the Frost Shepherds will arrive, and the game will immediately end.
When we play The Quiet Year, we don’t control specific characters or act out scenes. Instead, we all act as abstract social forces within the community. At any point, we might be representing a single person or a great many. This is a story about social forces and their impact on the land, rather than being about specific individuals. At the same time that we’re playing as the community, we’re also looking for opportunities to introduce new and interesting challenges into the story. It’s our job to make sure that there are always difficult decisions to be made and uncertainties to be explored. As we introduce interesting challenges for the community and then figure out how to address them, tensions will emerge that ultimately reveal the character and future of our community.
Before we begin, we need to decide a few details about the community and the landscape in which it is located. Once we have come to an agreement, we’ll take it in turns to add one detail to the map.
Any suggestions? To start things off I’ll go with… the long-abandoned ruins of what was once an international airport.
(Side note: I’ve never run a play-by-forum game before, so feel free to give me tips or suggestions either in the discussion thread or by PM)