Prime time adventures

There’s been interest in having a Play-By-Post version of this game on this site in order to accommodate volunteers who come from a wide variety of time zones.

And this is a formal proposal that we give it a try.

I’ve run the first edition of the game a couple of times so I’ll be trying to facilitate setting it up if not necessarily acting as Producer (the GM equivalent) on whatever series we end up running.

We’ll be using the current (3rd Ed) version of the rules: contact me for a rules summary if you’re interested.

I would suggest that we limit the numbers to four or at most five players plus one Producer. There have been TV series with more lead characters than that but having episodes in which one or more character is absent is easier to do when you have professional actors and not people who are doing it for fun.

I would suggest that everyone writes and brings to the first part of the game, the Writers’ Room brainstorming session at least one proposal for a series.

This should be at minimum the ‘elevator pitch’: a sentence or two that tells you what the series is about.

The elevator pitch for Hmmm… Let me see now…

BREAKING BAD: A respectable chemistry teacher becomes a master criminal when he finds out he’s dying of cancer.

FIREFLY: A spaceship full of criminals, fugitives and the heroes who lost a war try to keep flying and avoid the law.

And at maximum you could add up to a hundred words (a Drabble) about the series and what it’s about.
We would then discuss it, ask each other questions, modify the pitches and finally choose a series we feel like taking part in. Hopefully, one we all feel like taking part in.

We’d also choose which one of us takes the Producer’s role. It could be the person who first proposed it or they may be happier as one of the cast.

After that we run for five or six episodes, starting with a Pilot and then giving each player a spotlight episode. We may even get a series finale.

We would have to hope that posts came in fast and furious and that people didn’t hog the limelight but gave others the chance to stick their two-pennyworth in.

Comments? Volunteers?



As I’ve mentioned elsethread, I think it’s possible to bastardise this with investigative play, and my pitches are made with that in mind.

The Longest Fall (SF/action): as humanity expands into space, a crew of misfit policemen takes on the job of law enforcement in orbit (Influences: Star Cops, Transhuman Space: High Frontier)

London, NW* (historical/soap): while WWII is raging, the inhabitants of a street in London cope with bombing raids, rationing, and the absence of family members. (And enemy spies, and/or a mass murderer?)

* yes, this is a deliberate error, because numbered postal districts in London had been introduced in 1917, but it sounds more old-timey.

S. S. Exile (historical/soap): around the turn of the 20th century, the crew of a tramp steamer takes on any job that’ll keep the boilers stoked.

Orion Rising (SF): in the 1950s, a team of former Manhattan Project scientists fights to open the road to space. We just need a few nuclear weapons… (Obligatory reading: Project Orion)

Too Meta For Words (modern): a group of TV writers and producers tries to come up with the next winning show. (This may not be entirely serious.)


I think we should wait for a few more responses before opening for questions but I already have several for Roger!

I’ll come up with something or perhaps even somethings from myself in the next day or so.

I Truffatori: a caper show, con artists in renaissance Venice. (In the manner of Leverage.)


Fiends: the lives and hates of fashionable young demons in one of the more urbanised parts of Hell.


Kunming Brew
A group of allied soldiers struggle with logistics weather and sobriety at the terminus of The Hump. (Quartered Safe Out Here; MASH)

Should Have Been Done Long Ago
Activists have seized control of vital facilities on a generation ship as a result of political differences. (Four Dead In Ohio; Orphans of the Sky)

An Examination of Secrets
Vienna in the 1880s is anxious for new entertainments. Who knows what diversions May arrive from the Balkans, Europe and further afield. (The Illusionist; Carnivale)


The Wall
Roman legionaries are sent to the northern frontier to build Hadrian’s Wall. (Or the Antonine Wall)

The Retirement Home
Autumn Leaves retirement community has a secret - its inhabitants are all immortal.

Zooquest in Spaaaaace!
The team travel to Epsilon Indi to capture and bring back exotic alien animals for London Zoo.

First Contact
The crew of The Faraway Heaven are the first humans to ever reach another solar system. Suddenly another ship jumps into the system and they realise humanity is not alone in the universe…

And re-pitching the one from a con game Mike ran:
The Circus From Nowhere
A travelling circus from a magical country which no longer exists wanders the American Midwest.


The Merriment of the Twisted Wheel
A Shakespearean comedy set in the last wild days of Northern Soul hotspot The Twisted Wheel.
(Much Ado about Nothing, Funland, Psychoville).

The E Men
The daily lives and tribulations of the occult inmates at HM Prison Channings Wood - Eldritch Division.
(Porridge, Harry Potter, The Laundry Files).


OK. Instead of one setting with a elevator pitch and a longer writeup… I get several elevator pitches a person. Never mind.

We have (with me) six people). Long past time I put something in the pot. Some of these may seem familiar to people who have listened to the podcast.


A small, kingdom somewhere in Eastern Europe went to sleep when Napoleon approached and vanished from the world. And as the Evil Empire withdraws it awakens… It’s the late 20th/early 21st century and the royal council has to talk fast and use their magical resources to keep themselves free and awake.


On an island in the middle of the ocean, the city is decadent, corrupt and powerful. Lesser powers send their sons and daughters there to dance attendance at the court. In the lower parts of the city vice and crime are contained rather than cured. There are mad prophets saying that Atlantis’ days are numbered but who pays any attention to them.


This is the cheerful version of number 2. The Emperor may be a blithering idiot, dependent on his chief minister. The court may be riven with political, religious and cultural differences but a young man from the rim systems can still rise to be someone! THREE (or however many) MUSKETEERS IN SPAAAACEEE…

  1. WDNE

The Section is housed in a war surplus airfield in East Anglia, cut off in the fens. The personnel all have reason to be grateful to have fallen into this niche: they would not last long in the mainstream of the Services and the Civil Service even in the bright New Elizabethan Age of the 1950s. The Supervisors who send them out to investigate strange things sometimes have access to very surprising knowledge and technology. If anyone asks remember: We Do Not Exist.


Five orphan children are taken from our world to a world of magic. They are to be the new champions of the Gods. But why children? And what happened to the previous classes of children who vanished from the Orphanage?


It’s Nineteen Fifty Something. And you’ve just woken up on the first day of term at your new school! You’re young! You’re beautiful! You’re talented! And America is the Best Place On Earth to live! So why does it all seem so strange? Why can you not connect with your life? Why does it all feel… not quite real?


OK. What happens next is we move to discussion. I’ll start a new thread.

I’m not doing this in the writers’ room, because I’m not actually a participant; I’m just kibitzing. But I’ve looked over the list and picked favorites, so I thought I’d mention them:

  1. The Retirement Home. I’ve been thinking for a while about the concept of superbeings who acquire their abilities not at puberty but at the onset of old age, like the Hindu concept of the sadhu/sadhvi. This sounds like it could explore that trope. (One of my favorite Kipling stories, “The Miracle of Purun Bhagat,” explores this theme.)

  2. 5 Children and Them. Partly because I just wrote GURPS Portal Fantasy recently; partly because more generally I think a campaign of child characters would be interesting.

  3. Orion Rising. Dyson’s dream made real! Heroic scientists venturing into space on their own! The sheer coolness is hard to resist.

  4. WDNE. I had a lot of fun running a Laundry campaign set in Australia (where the occult agency was the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation, a real organization whose official motto is “See the Unseen, Know the Unknown”). The investigative theme would be fun.

  5. Should Have Been Done. I’d like to explore generation ship ecopolitics, and this would fit a pattern I’ve done a few times but never played in: The group of characters who are bound together by being all in one place with one set of necessities to address.

There were several others I found neat as well. In particular, I thought London NW was interesting, but it would have to turn on actual knowledge of place, folkways, culture, and history, and I don’t know any of those well enough to imagine I could participate usefully, at least not in a campaign where other people would be so well able to spot my blunders.


Heh, I’m running (face to face) a GURPS WWII plus magic campaign with several players who know far more about it than I do. It’s an interesting challenge…

The thought that my current physical decay is a step towards ubermenschdom is almost consoling.


Well, maybe I’m being obsessive, but it would bother me to try to roleplay a person from a cultural milieu that other people can be expected to know much more about than I do.

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