The character group you are playing in Odysseus heavily defines your experience as a player. In this blog post we’ll do our best to give you an idea of what your experience would be like playing a character from each group. Some characters are part of several groups, giving the player an opportunity to either focus on one group or balance their play between several groups. In addition to these, there are a few other character elements that might strongly define your experience. We’ll ask about your willingness to play each of these in the casting questionnaire. Some examples of characters with such additional game-play-defining elements are android/machine characters, characters with hidden knowledge to be revealed at certain points in the story or characters with scripted death scenes.
All our characters are pre-written with fully fleshed backgrounds, secrets and goals as well as at least a half a dozen connections to other characters. All of them have friends and colleagues, many have romantic interests, and some may even have family on board ESS Odysseus. To create the sense of a living world, as well as to raise the stakes on what is happening outside the ship during the game, the characters also have connections to people on other ships in the survival fleet who can be contacted via in-game chat and are played by our lovely NPC team.
While all our characters are facing a journey filled with tragedies and hard choices, there is a vast variety of different experiences to be had on board the Odysseus. The most fundamental difference is between the civilian and military characters. Civilians are not tied to the ever-turning clockwork aspect of the larp, are free to choose their sleeping schedule as they like, and have no assigned tasks that need to be completed in a set time frame. For civilians the experience leans more heavily towards relationship drama and experiencing the reality of war around them while unable to directly influence the outcome. However, some civilian characters (mainly politicians) also have a lot of influence on matters at a larger scale, as the inevitable shift from martial law back to civilian government takes place during the game run.
For military characters Odysseus offers the experience of a very hectic military simulation. While they also have pre-written connections to other characters and everything that comes with those (as well as enough free time to play them out), the defining element of the military experience is being part of an organized routine that runs like clockwork day and night for the duration of the larp. The ship needs to jump as often as possible (every 2 hours and 47 minutes) to escape the unrelenting enemy. Early on in the larp, a glimmer of hope is presented to the characters and, in pursuit of that hope, the path they need to follow is laid in front of them. To be able to do that, marines need to conduct land missions to retrieve beacons left behind by their ancestors and scientists must solve puzzles within these beacons to determine the next destination to jump to. Meanwhile, bridge crew need to steer the ship and fight off enemies alongside the fighter pilots until it is safe to jump again. Engineers are busy fixing the inevitable damage to the ship, and medics saving the lives of its crew and passengers on a regular basis. Officers are there to make sure the cogs keep turning… and they are responsible for making the difficult decisions that the characters will inevitably face.
TL;DR: Military leaders are in charge of operative decisions that take place throughout the larp.
I walked into the dimly lit room and gave a look at the half empty mug with cold coffee on my desk where I had left it four hours ago. I felt tired, stretched, but I also felt alive. Once more we had managed to escape, jumping to safety just in time. I knew my crew was just as tired as I was, but I had to stay strong for them, lead them when they turned to look at me.
Just as I’d been about to end my shift the chief engineer had approached me with a proposition to increase the amount of drones, but doing so would temporarily occupy one calibration slot which could not be used for repairs during that time. We needed more drones, so I gave them a green light and prayed that there wouldn’t be another attack too soon.
I sighed from exhaustion and sat on the edge of my bed. The room was empty now, but soon enough the other temporary beds would fill up too. The ship was filled to the brim, but I shouldn’t complain. Every person on board was one more person saved from the unimaginable destruction left behind by the machines. But so many civilians on board would also inevitably cause disruptions, and it was only a matter of time before something happened. Maybe I should speak to them later after I’d slept, reassure them that we would keep doing everything in our power to keep everyone alive. Or maybe I should ask the Admiral to do that.
I laid down on the bed, but as soon as I’d closed my eyes I heard the alarms go off: “Red alert! Crew to action stations!” The enemy had found us. Again. I braced myself to stand up but, after a second, let my body relax again. I wouldn’t be of any use to them now. The officer in charge would see this crisis solved as they had before. I had to sleep so that I’d be able to do my duty when my next shift would begin.
There are nine characters in the officers character group. Six of them are divided among the three shifts (Solar, Lunar and Twilight) as (acting) captain and (acting) XO. Of the remaining three one is the quartermaster, in charge of passengers and equipment and acting as the liaison between civilians and military, while the other two are in charge of ship security and the marines on board. Characters in this group are the highest ranking military personnel on board ESS Odysseus. While the captain, XO, quartermaster and security officer are part of the original crew of the Odysseus, the rest of the characters in this group are high ranking officers from other ships and space stations who will have to get familiar with the crew and the working methods on board to be able to assume command during their shifts.
The officers are in charge of coordinating the work of the bridge crew, making executive decisions and issuing orders on matters such as when to engage in battle, when to retreat, when to initiate a jump, as well as other issues arising during the larp. Thus, they are closely associated with the bridge even though they don’t have their own posts there. There are always two officers on duty, the (acting) captain and the (acting) XO. The original Captain of the Odysseus will be the captain on duty on Solar shifts and the original XO of Odysseus will take the role of captain on duty on Lunar shifts. They will recruit (predetermined) acting XOs for their shifts and the Captain will also assign a (predetermined) acting captain and XO for the Twilight shifts. They will also have personal plots and relationships to play out.
The officers are also in charge of making major strategic decisions that concern the fate of all characters in the game. Towards the end of the larp some of this responsibility will shift to the civilian leadership, and the officers will need to coordinate and cooperate closely with them. Players of officer characters are expected to do their best to ensure that the game progresses smoothly, and to follow the path laid out in front of them. Some officer players may also receive metagame information in order to create a better larp experience for other players.
TL;DR: In charge of their post (navigation, science, comms, weapons) on the bridge during their shift.
The wonderful sound of the jump drives kicking in lets me relax in my seat. They can’t follow us here at least. I wonder how long it’ll be before they catch up this time. Maybe that’ll be the next shift’s problem. I love the camaraderie of us all up here, each person doing their part to make sure everyone on board is safe. The best team ever.
I should try and find my partner. There are so many things to sort out between us and I’m not sure if I can summon the energy. It’s been relentless since we started running. But then, what is it all for if we lose ourselves? I look out the window to the main concourse, watching all the people going about their business. We need to remember why we’re doing this.
“Sir, can I have a moment?” I hear from behind me. One of the pilots I’m responsible for needs me. Every time we get in a fight, I count them all out and I count them back in again. Was I ever that young and reckless? I smile. Yup, I definitely was. I wish I was back with them, without all the worry and responsibility, but then I wouldn’t be flying the big boat. Oh well, no rest for the wicked, I guess.
There are 18 characters in this character group. Most of them are part of the original crew of ESS Odysseus, but the crew for the Twilight shift, mandated by the emergency protocol, will be assembled during the game and will have quite a few posts staffed by other passengers with matching ranks and skills from other ships.
There are six bridge crew members in each shift, as well as the (acting) captain and the (acting) XO. In addition to the commanding officers, who do not have their own posts, there are the following posts on the bridge: Navigations officer, Weapons officer, Communications officer, Communications specialist, Science officer and Science specialist. There is also a rotating task for one of the engineers to operate the Engineering station on the bridge. There are five roles in Empty Epsilon (the spaceship simulation we use in the game): Navigation, Weapons, Engineering, Comms and Science. On top of this we have another Comms position for communicating with fighter pilots and for shipwide announcements, as well as another Science position for our own star map software.
The bridge crew works in three shifts throughout the larp. While there is no need to have all the stations manned at all times, certain information (e.g. scanners and communications) needs to be monitored 24/7 and there also has to be a commanding officer on the bridge at all times. This means that characters associated with the bridge will spend a lot of time steering the ship, making plans, communicating with other ships, preparing for and fighting battles, and maneuvering, as well as monitoring different data streams provided by the systems. A typical shift is four hours long, with either 8 hours of sleep or 8 hours off duty between shifts. This gives players time to play out their characters' other relationships and plots. Since one of the shifts is always sleeping, the off duty shift also acts as a backup in case someone on the bridge needs to take a break. Off duty bridge officers might also be assigned to train suitable civilians in training environments.
While we aim to provide extensive workshops for players of the bridge crew on the location, if you are interested in a role in the bridge crew, we highly recommend that you practice using Empty Epsilon before the game (we will provide training scenarios and instructions!). Being familiar with the software will significantly improve your player experience in this character group.
TL;DR: Pilots fly two-person fighters in combat situations alongside Odysseus.
The sound of the alarm interrupts the moment. I let out a deep sigh and break away from the embrace. They give me a silent nod. They understand.
In ten seconds I’m at the hangar door. I see my co-pilot come running. “Damn machines, no respect for our personal lives.” They grin at me and, while their voice is light, I can sense the exhaustion under the surface. “Let’s repay that disrespect to them,” I reply, meeting their grin with my own.
We climbed into the cockpit. I turn on the comms and hear the oh-so-familiar voice of my comms officer. “Releasing fighters in 60 seconds.” I buckle up my harness and brace myself for the battle.
There are 6 military pilots amongst the characters, four of them stationed on the Odysseus, and almost as many characters (trainees, ex-military pilots, civilian pilots) with the skills needed to fly fighters, who will be recruited early in the game to do so. All of these are considered members of the pilots character group, but based on the background of each pilot character the play experience might vary outside of their assigned shift.
Pilots fly fighters and engage in space battles and surveillance missions. Most of them either are or will become a part of the military organization due to their assignment, and their game will heavily involve the military hierarchy and possible conflicts between the military and the civilians. Pilots are a tight-knit group into which even newly recruited pilots are expected to integrate, and have group-centered plots and relationships.
The fighter cockpits are situated (off-game) in the hangar bay (where the fighters are launched from in-game). There are at least three fighters available in the hangar bay, possibly more. Each fighter has one pilot and one weapons officer. Both have headsets that let them communicate with the bridge and with each other. The fighters and the mothership will fight side by side against the enemy. We very much encourage the fighters and the bridge to coordinate their maneuvers together in order to fight effectively and to buy the fleet enough time to make the next jump.
The game will not have a major emphasis on space battles. In most cases the fighters will engage with a few enemy scout ships or will stay close to Odysseus in order to intercept missiles and buy the ship a little bit more time. However there will also likely be a few bigger battles and some close calls and minor clashes. The pilots may also be tasked with assisting the marines with internal security as well as flying the marines to land missions. All pilots are assigned to one of the three shifts but, unlike the characters in bridge crew, they will not have tasks throughout the entire shift. Instead they are expected to be on stand-by during their shifts and ready to jump into action on a moment's notice when the red alert sounds. On-duty pilots might also be expected to train suitable civilians during more peaceful moments. Pilots will also have personal plots and relationships to play outside of their shifts.
While we aim to provide extensive workshops for pilot players on the location, if you are interested in playing a pilot, we highly recommend that you practice using Empty Epsilon before the game (we will provide training scenarios and instructions!). Being familiar with the software will significantly improve your player experience in this character group.
TL;DR: Marines are in charge of internal security on board and are sent out to ground missions on planets.
It’s been three days since I arrived on the Odysseus. I’ve slept about ten hours total. I’m exhausted. I’ve fought the Machines in space and on the ground, with missiles, guns and hand to hand. I've been reprimanded by the commanding officer for my recklessness. When we received the emergency message, I flew out to rescue old friends and lovers with my team.
Coming back from a mission, I went straight to the sick bay carrying a poisoned civilian through the crowded room and setting them down gently on the med scanner. That sure got the Doc's attention! They lived and we became friends.
I married my partner, the intensity of life on the ship heightening the intensity of our relationship, and life is short. It was a beautiful ceremony, despite my commander busting in late.
I'm slumped at the table with a bowl of hot food and a fork. The alarm sounds! The Machines are attacking. I drop my fork, stand up and run to my post.
The marine character group consists of eight marines originating from Odysseus (two teams with four members each) and one complete marine team (four members) arriving with Starcaller, as well as half a dozen marines being recruited amongst the other survivors (some already having a military rank and/or extensive experience and some with training from academy but no real combat experience). All of them are recruited to work on shifts and participate on land missions.
The marines’ priority task is to perform land missions, typically of the surveillance and “search and retrieve” type. There are three teams (one of them created during the game) who are transported to planets to execute these missions. Our current plan is to have four team members and two interchangeable specialists in each team. We aim to stream the missions on an onboard screen through headcams worn by some of the marines. Each team will have two or three missions during the larp. The need for these missions will increase organically throughout the larp but, in order to minimize stress and balance the missions amongst marines, there is a little bit of meta-information involved regarding them. Each of the marine players receives off-game information on which missions they will be participating in, although their characters do not have this information. It is the job of the security officer or the commander of the marines in each shift to make sure that characters are aware that they are needed, and the responsibility of the players to be available when their assigned mission is approaching. If the player misses or chooses to skip one of their missions, we can’t guarantee there will be another chance.
On board Odysseus, the marines have two major roles. Following the declaration of martial law, they act as internal security and are there to break up fights and make sure that everyone follows orders, possibly causing conflicts between the military and the civilians. They are also the first and last line of defense if the enemy should board the ship. Marines are divided into three shifts and, during their shifts, they are expected to do whatever the commanding officer assigns them to do, from watching the surveillance, doing rounds of the ship, maintaining peace, to working as messengers between bridge and other groups. The off duty marines (not those sleeping) are expected to report on duty in the event of Red Alerts. Marines have personal plots and relationships to play on outside of their shifts, but they will have plenty of opportunities to play them during their shifts as well.
Marines should be prepared to face physical challenges during land missions. These might include climbing, running, crawling or wading in shallow water. In case of rain, there is a risk that players will get wet, so we encourage players to prepare and bring a change of clothes. Ultimately, it is up to the players to what extent they engage with these activities, but the sense of urgency is constantly present in the missions and roughly half of the missions involve combat.
TL;DR: Engineers fix the ship when it is damaged and conduct jump preparations.
I laid on my back under the desk, holding the flashlight with my teeth as I carefully opened the panel screws and switched the fried fuses. Cheers from the bridge crew indicated the fix had worked and the screen was operational once more. I carefully slid out from under the desk and made a quick greeting to the captain before exiting the bridge.
I took a few running steps on my way back to the engine room. My boss sat next to the desk looking at the screens with slight worry on their face. “Bridge fuses done.” I reported. I looked at the repair list on the screen and then the clock. Calibration slots would be full for another fifteen minutes and the next safe jump would be less than in half an hour. So anything that would require calibration would have to wait until we had jumped. I skimmed the list and spotted a wire issue on a med bay. My sibling was most likely still there after the incident, I could bypass the wires and say hello to them at the same time. “I’ll take the med bay one.” Boss nodded and off I went.
There are five engineers on board the Odysseus and roughly the same amount are recruited from the other survivors (including engineers from other ships as well as civilian engineers). These are all considered members of the engineers character group and are assigned to one of the three shifts. However, some engineers are a part of the military organization, while others are civilians and, therefore, the experience outside the duty shift might vary depending on your character's background. Engineers who are on duty are expected to follow instructions from the Chief engineer on duty. In catastrophic situations off duty engineers might also be called to assist.
It is up to the engineers to fix everything that inevitably breaks down on board Odysseus. This group is in charge of repairs and maintenance, which will make for a hectic schedule: be it an overheated hyperdrive, a gas leak, broken shield generators, jammed gun controllers, or fried scanners, the engineers will have to be there to save the day. On top of their other tasks engineers also have a rotating post at the bridge where one of the on-duty engineers need to be stationed (or reached by radio should the need arise).
Some maintenance tasks need to be performed routinely throughout the larp, others only become necessary under certain conditions. Maintenance work comes as different types of puzzles for the engineers, ranging from pulling two levers at the same time to setting calibration values to connecting wires. We will create mechanical things to fix, crawl spaces to crawl in, and puzzles to solve. For the engineers, these will be the main content of their game, but, like all characters, they will also have personal plots and relationships to play on. Engineers are also expected to train suitable civilians (other than those who have formal education and are already drafted) to learn some of the tasks in less hectic time slots.
While we do our best to make all the puzzles as accessible as possible and try to minimize the amount of real life skills required, it is still important to note that, if you hate puzzles or minigames, the role of engineer might not be the best choice for you. This is also a rather hectic role, with lots of running around, and most of the tasks need to be performed under pressure.
TL;DR: Medics patch up those who get injured in battle, help out passengers in all their medical needs and, if there is time, conduct medical inspections.
It never stops. Just when you think you’ve helped everyone, more people flood into the med bay looking for help, for solace, for… whatever it is they want. They’ll just have to wait in line. It feels wrong, but the worst-looking cases are the easiest to handle. Stop the bleeding, wrap ‘em up and send them on their way. It’s the mysteries that I can’t stand. What is really wrong with this person? Is it an infection? An implant? Did it come from the Machines? Could this person be a Machine perhaps? No matter. Just wrap them up and send them away.
The alert sounds, the metallic voice calling out action stations. A fighter comes in hot, battered by the machines and the fate of its crew unclear. You grab the medkit and sprint to the landing bay as the jump countdown begins. Marines pull the Weapons officer out, but the pilot has crashed, bleeding out from shrapnel wounds. No time for med bay - you climb into the tight cockpit, attempting to stabilize them. Clip. Snip. Cauterize. The jump countdown continues and you curse. You work quickly, but there’s never enough time. Space twists as the ship jumps into musical silence, and, for a moment, you might join your patient in unconsciousness. Then reality snaps back and your professionalism and training kick in. You strain and reach across their body, your judgment guiding the probe to the deepest and most severe injury. There’s a puff of acrid smoke as the wound is cauterized. “Get them to med bay!” you yell over your shoulder at the marines. You look down at your hands, slick with the pilot’s blood, then wipe them on your shirt. No time to wash or change. It never stops.
There are around 10 characters with some type of formal medical training. Only two of them are originally stationed on Odysseus, but considering the situation, everyone with any kind of medical training has been drafted to help. Thus this group also includes characters who are not originally part of the military. Characters in this group consist of varied backgrounds from combat medics to doctors, surgeons, nurses and mental health professionals. The medbay needs to be manned around the clock, so medical personnel will also be divided to work in three shifts. In medbay the original background (military/civilian) matters very little and the tasks are divided based on skill set and availability.
Medics will be doing their best to keep everyone fit and operational, patching up those who are injured in a fight or during land missions. They will also be performing routine medical check-ups and taking care of those passengers requiring medical attention.
Our aim is to make the healthcare feel as real as possible (involving fake blood and devices that provide information on the patients’ health status). There is a lot of medical equipment to use and our amazing SFX team will conjure extremely realistic looking wounds, both suffered in battle or related to other medical conditions. There are occasional elements of gross body horror, including eg. worm infested wounds. It is possible to opt out from the most gory elements of medical play (either in game, as something might be too much also for the character, or off-game). But it is not possible to avoid elements such as fake blood, screaming, crying, fainting, nausea, etc. as a character who is stationed at med bay.
The medics will also have personal plots and relationships to play on. They have a chance to play these on off-duty times or in quieter moments during shifts. Like engineers, off-duty medics might also be called to help out during major crises where med bay is getting swamped with patients. Some of the civilians (other than those who have formal education and are already drafted) will be sent out to help with tasks that do not require more than a pair of hands.
TL;DR: Scientists investigate mysterious alien artifacts on board in order to gain advantage against the machines, and solve the puzzles left behind by their ancestors to find the next clue.
I stared at the alien object that was laying on the table in front of me. I looked at them like I was trying to force them to surrender their secrets with sheer willpower, or so my colleague had said earlier. But I was sure there was some detail we had missed, some small thing that I could figure out to turn the tide. It was something one of the Velians had said that had encouraged me to return to this artifact. They knew so much more about these things than we did, but they were still hesitant to share all their secrets. Maybe I’d be too, but we were running out of time and we had to find something useful soon.
Sound of running footsteps drew me back to the present. I looked at my watch, Marines had probably returned from the mission with yet another beacon. I carefully lifted the artifact back to its place on the shelf and quickly cleared the table as my colleagues ran inside the lab carrying the beacon. All of us gathered around the item as my colleague, carefully but with slightly shaking hands, turned the key to open the beacon and reveal what our ancestors had left us to find centuries ago. I would have loved to cherish that moment. To take our time to properly study every inch of these priceless relics, but we were on the clock. Enemy was still following us and irreplaceable resources would be wasted if we couldn’t figure out the coordinates to the next beacon before the enemy would force us to jump again.
There are several scientists on board the Odysseus, since the ship’s latest mission was exploration involving major scientific discovery - mainly an intact outpost left behind by the alien race that inhabited the star system a long time ago. The scientists, in cooperation with representatives from both of the EOC religions (Faith of the High Science and Old ways), Velian religions and, in some cases, also medical personnel, will be solving riddles discovered in beacons left behind by their ancestors, as well as the mysteries of the ancient alien race and the technology they left behind. It is also their job to study the enemy to find out its possible weaknesses. Some of them will also run personal projects and experiments.
The scientists are civilians and most of them are heavily involved with the Faith of the High Science, the main religion among the characters. Scientists do not have the same kind of strict shifts as the military personnel, but they, too, will need to take turns to be on duty as there might be a need to keep working around the clock. There are in total around 10 characters who are involved with the scientific research taking place during the larp. They come from very different backgrounds but need to put aside their differences and help one another to be able to solve the mysteries at hand.
Scientists' play involves different kinds of puzzles (mostly physical, but may also contain minigames) and, sometimes, gated progress towards necessary breakthroughs to gain advantages against the enemy. It consists of ongoing research concerning the artifacts from their latest mission and very time sensitive solving of puzzles inside the beacons acquired by the marines from land missions. Solving these beacon puzzles will be the top priority whenever there is one available. Since it is up to them to examine these remnants left behind by their ancestors, scientists are among the first to uncover the secrets of the past.
Like other character groups, scientists will also have personal plots and relationships to play on but, since there are not so clear divisions for shifts for them, it is more up to the players themselves to pace their game and agree amongst each other who’s in charge of which tasks.
TL;DR: Closed group of survivors from a different kind of disaster who need to team up with their rescuers in order to survive.
The musty old air felt suffocating; it was like a physical manifestation of what we all felt. Immeasurable grief and sense of loss. What had stood for centuries was gone in an instant and we were all that remained. I looked at my kin, I could see the shock and uncertainty in their faces as they turned to look at me for instructions. This place would not sustain us for long, so our first priority was to call for aid. The chances that anyone would hear us were slim, but we had to try. I felt the Guardian’s presence by my side. They laid their hand on my shoulder and I knew that we could trust their guidance and support as we always had, but it was up to us to take the steps we needed to take.
We had all gathered in a small corner. Just to be with each other, to feel the comfort of familiar faces even for just a moment. Many of us had found a place and purpose in this ship that, in the past days, had become our new home. But we all missed dearly everything we had lost. We were so few. All that was left of us. We knew that, even if we survived, even if the enemy could be defeated, it might not be a victory for us. We would live, but would our culture survive, or would it fade away as if it had never existed? That day might once come, but today we would still honor our traditions.
Roughly fifteen passengers come from the planet Velian. They will start the larp in a different location with roughly the same number of players that come from the EOC Space station Atlantis. This group will spend the first hours of the larp solving problems of their own before being united with the rest of the players on board Odysseus.
Velians, who lived in a domed city built by an ancient alien race on an otherwise uninhabitable planet, only recently came into contact with the EOC Nations. Ambassadors have been sent by both sides but, due to the distance, interaction has been sparse. A common theory suggests Velians might originate from one of the Genesis ships that never made it to Ellarion, but these theories remain unconfirmed. Velians have a unique culture where they live in a strictly theocratic society and follow the teachings of their spiritual leader, the Guardian.
The Velians' game focuses around their own culture and internal plots as well as getting accustomed to the other groups. They also have much to contribute to solving the riddles of ancient alien technology, as well as the mystery concerning their shared ancestry with the EOC population. Most of the Velian characters have skills that allow them to directly contribute to the work of some other character group and, as such, the majority of Velian characters are also part of some other character group (engineers, medics, scientists or marines). For a few of them the main focus of the larp will be taking part in politics and religion, and acting as leaders to the remaining Velians. They are also assigned to learn one or more useful skills on board, but this is a smaller element of their experience.
For Velians, defining themes of the larp are a very tight community and being a part of a clear minority with some major shared secrets, as well as trying to fit in with the rest of the crew and figuring out their place in a grand scheme of things. Velians have major cultural differences to the EOC, such as leadership, family, reproduction and many others.
TL;DR: Survivors who all have their own agenda, they will find a way to contribute to the ongoing fight and they just need to keep on living one moment at a time meanwhile.
I whispered a silent prayer to the spirits. My eyes were pinned to the screen. Video feed from the vest cameras of the marines who had descended to the planet below showed a fight that had just begun. I tried to look for my loved one, but couldn't see them. The commands we could hear through the feed and the worried voices of others that had gathered around the screen felt distant. Then I saw my loved one on the ground. Injured? Dead? My friend next to me saw it as well and saw the utter terror on my face. They turned and pulled me into a hug.
I look around the mess hall with blurry eyes. 15 hours of solid drinking has not made the situation any better. Funny how that never seems to work, but I keep trying. So many people are scurrying about on their important missions, going to where they need to be. I've got nowhere to be, no one telling me where to go. And I hope it stays that way. I heard they are going around recruiting civilians too. Best to lay low and attract as little attention as possible. From my seat at the bar, I can assess these people. Who is weak? Who has something worth stealing? Who needs something I can help them acquire, for a price? Lots of possibilities.
Chatter and bickering filled the room. The discussion had gone on for an hour and we were none the wiser. Even now, after everything that had happened, we were still arguing with each other, trying to outsmart the next person, to get our voices heard. I felt the anger building up and didn't even notice how hard I had hit my fists on the table until the room fell silent. “We can argue about all of this later, we need to get this sorted. The longer we argue amongst ourselves, the longer our future and the future of our entire civilization is in the hands of captains and admirals. And I don’t know about you but, for me, it sounds terrifying.”
I keep my eyes on the drink in front of me but I can almost feel the gaze of the marines at the next table. Am I imagining it or are they looking at me? Do they know what I have done? I slowly lift my hand on top of the other to hide my dynasty tattoo, so many small things they could spot. This ship is too small and there are eyes everywhere. I sigh and take a sip from my drink. “They said you could help me. I need to know what they are hiding.” The voice behind me whispers softly but still manages to startle me enough to spill my drink. I let out a small curse and check the next table, the marines don’t seem to be paying any attention to us. I nod quickly. “Not here. Meet me at the hangar in ten minutes and we can discuss.”
Roughly a quarter of our characters are civilians rescued from the planet’s surface and a few smaller ships. Some begin as part of other character groups (medics, engineers, marines, pilots, scientists) but not all. Not all of the civilians have appropriate skills to make themselves useful right away, but they too have an agenda of their own and plans for their imminent future.
Civilians aboard the Odysseus come from different backgrounds, varying from politics, to religion and entertainment, to more shady businesses. During the larp, all civilian characters (who are not already part of one of the character groups to begin with) will be assigned to help out in one of the following groups: bridge crew, pilots, engineers, marines, medics, or scientists. It is up to the players to decide if they want to make themselves useful in learning the new skills associated with running a starship, or if they want to focus more on personal plots and other shenanigans.
There are various types of people among the civilians. Some are hard-working, honest people who only want to survive. For others, life has not been fair, and some have drifted into darker directions. The catastrophe, the loss of not only their loved ones but their entire civilization, might mean a full descent into darkness, but it might also be an opportunity for redemption, facing the mistakes of their past. A chance for a new life – or a chance to turn a profit from the misfortune of others.
For the survivors, the main themes will be survivors’ guilt, new beginnings, atonement, and choices on how to proceed in this new world. Political characters also have a large amount of influence. They are in key positions to solve the potential conflicts arising between the civilians and the military during the larp, as well as deciding on how the human society should be built anew. Some of these characters have made their careers as politicians, others are just now rising to power after the catastrophe.
Most civilian characters (with the exception of those who are already drafted and assigned to shifts) do not have specific shifts, they are free to pick their sleeping schedule (or lack of it) independently. It is also up to them to decide how much they want to be of assistance or if they want to abandon their assigned work to focus on other plots. Civilian characters have more extensive personal plots and, while most of them have connections with the characters who are part of the clockwork play, they also all have important connections amongst other civilians, to avoid work schedules blocking opportunities to play relationships. All civilians also have significant connections played by our lovely npc-team (family, friends, lovers) on board other ships, with whom they can chat during the larp and whose fates hang in the balance in every battle.
Blog is written by several members of the production team.