Project EVAPORITE — 'Flat Black' AAPs

After a long hiatus from role-playing, I’m planning to kick off a new campaign soon, which I will run by way of Facetime video chat from 8:30 PM to about 11:30 PM or midnight on Fridays, Australian Eastern Time¹. So far the only person signed up to play a character is my old friend Paul, who has played a bit of Flat Black over the years but is not a not a veteran of the long run of early campaigns. I’d be happy to recruit another keen player or two, but I don’t have high hopes of the schedule (which is dictated by our time-zone and Paul’s commitments for work, family, and other hobbies) attracting anyone, so it’s probably going to be a one-on-one.

I plan to post after-action reports in this thread.


The campaign will be set in my perennial SF setting Flat Black. I think Paul would be keen to have a look at what is going on the Fringe as the older New Worlds become self-governing and prepare to appoint their first Imperial senators.


Serial rationalised planetary romance. It’s what Flat Black is for.

The campaign will be a series of largely unconnected adventures. In each adventure the PC or PCs will come as an outsider or outsiders to one of the 1,000 inhabited worlds in Flat Black, with a job to do, a task to accomplish. This will bring him or them into contact with the bizarre society and culture of the inhabitants of the world, which will at first be an obstacle to the PC’s or PCs’ mission, but which may be circumvented or even turned to advantage.

Adventures will all contain significant elements of

  1. finding out and figuring out what is going on
  2. and then doing something about it.

But the PC or PCs will not have the responsibility, right, or resources to address large-scale social or humanitarian problems on the worlds that he or they visit.

I aim to produce a varied diet of action, adventure, suspense, mystery, combat, and drama, mixing up the usual stealth & slaughter with chases, races, infiltrations, exfiltrations, dialogue, impersonations, dissimulations, surveillance, and stalking. The focus will not be on combat or tactics, but violence will [almost] always be an option both for PCs and their antagonists.


The player character or player characters will be "effectives"² working for some sort of interstellar non-government organisation, perhaps as troubleshooters, perhaps as secret operators, perhaps sometimes as one and sometimes as the other. They will not have official authority nor official duties. They will be involved in unofficial investigations of thefts and missing-persons, hostage rescue, object recovery, a bit of espionage sometimes, counter-espionage sometimes, and sometimes subversion of government and non-government agencies, but seldom if ever tasked explicitly with assassination.

It is as yet undecided whether the PC or PCs will be working for an NGO that has or that lacks a grand political agenda. I think Paul would like a look at the political skulduggery that is going on as the new worlds in the Fringe become self-governing and appoint their Imperial senators. I’d slightly prefer that the PCs be effectives of a politically neutral NGO such as the Reporters’ Guild, Human Heritage etc. That’s subject to discussion.

Tone & Content

TV content rating: M 15+ : for mature audiences.

I won’t emphasis the brutal, but there will be violence and its effects may sometimes be graphic.

There will likely be some bawdy content. Sexual incident will likely occur from time to time; it will be mentioned explicitly but fleetingly, not described graphically.

There will be anthropological content, including character nudity and bizarre social conduct.

Warning: colourful Australian figures of speech.

Game system

I will probably run this game using ForeSight, a 1980s-style SF RPG based on Victory Games’ James Bond 007, SPI’s Universe, and SPI’s Commando, though that is subject to discussion. A Fate or Gumshoe hack ought to be suitable, but I don’t have the hang of them.


So far I have one fellow signed up to play, and I expect that this will end up a one-on-one campaign. But if you’re interested despite the time-zone, let me know.

I have three character-players signed up to play now, and that seems to me like the right number.

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Just checked and it’s 1030 to 1330 for me on GMT, is that right?
Whilst I would love to bunk off work and play with your preferred system, I shouldn’t.

Eastern is Sydney time, I believe (and currently in summer time). So 20:30 next Friday would be unixtime 1553247000, or 09:30 GMT (also on Friday).

(Missing footnotes?)

From the first Sunday in April, yes.

With a bit of luck Brexit will put you out of work and thus relax your schedule.

This coming Friday my eldest brother is descending on me for a convenient bed and free meals. Session Zero must be postponed until 2019-04-29 09:30 UTC. Session One will then be 2019-05-05 09:30 UTC Then Daylight Saving in NSW ends on the following night, and the regular time will be 10:30 UTC until October.

¹ AET is AEDT (UTC+11:00) until 2019-04-07 (i.e. for the next three Fridays) then daylight saving ends and it will be AEST (UTC+10:00) until October. Daylight Saving is not really terribly convenient for co-ordinating people who live in different jurisdictions.

² “Effective” covers a range of duties in the field variously covering the ideas of “troubleshooter”, “field agent”, “private detective”, and “clandestine operator”. Effectives may work permanently for NGOS or private firms, or be free-lances; the term excludes government officials. Effectives are contrasted with spies in that their duties emphasise effecting changes to a situation rather than gathering information. Effectives have to be usually less violent and more subtle than special operators because they lack a military mandate.

Unixtime is. :slight_smile:

Sorry I won’t be able to join you. Have you any plans to record?

I also cut a definition of “serial rationalised planetary romance”, because I reckoned that I had already defined it for this audience. But since we’re being thorough:

Serial rationalised planetary romance

Planetary romance is a subgenre of science fiction in which the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, characterised by distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds. Rationalised planetary romances incline to SF rather than science fantasy, and take place against the background of a future culture where travel between worlds by spaceship is commonplace. But naval action and travel in space are not the the focus of planetary romance. It is adventures on the exotic alien planets that are the focus of the story.

So’s UTC. But it would be better if people’s schedules weren’t capriciously changed by DST changes.

I’m toying with the idea, but Paul will almost certainly refuse; he’s not a high Internet-profile kind of guy.

Re: Brexit , too soon for humour.
Especially since my job is funded from the EU

My apologies. Good luck with the next few months.

There are indications that I might be able to recruit a second player.

There might be adjustments involved in making sure that all participants’ tastes are catered to.

I think the new recruit doesn’t FaceTime. Is it time to discover Discord?

You might take a look at Zoom. The online campaign I play it shifted from Skype to Zoom a few months ago, and my computer likes it a lot better. I think one person has to be a subscriber, but you can just send out links to the others for each session and they can access it through a browser. I’m liking it fairly well; the sound quality is definitely superior to Skype.

I would like to participate. I’m in Spain at the moment but I can talk when I get back.

Discord is very popular and I’m not sure why. I’ve found it annoying: if tries to look cool and forgets its job is to disappear, and it doesn’t simply work. Other software I’ve used that seemed to work better included Google Hangouts and Teamspeak. The latter is what I’m used to.

Fantasy Grounds could be used to regulate dice rolling, provide maps when and if you find that useful, lots of other things. I suspect unnecessary for your style.

I’ll send you an e-mail.

David’s recruitment brings us to four: a GM and three character-players. That feels like about the right number to me, so the casting call is closed.

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And this is proving difficult, as usual.