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SHARED UNIVERSES




Introduction:   Shared Universes is an addition to the universe of wargaming 
and roleplaying. Gamers are often very creative and talented people. 
Unfortunately there is often nowhere to go for the amateur writer or 
artist. Poems get buried away never to be seen again. The doodles never get 
turned into paintings. Ideas die, never having been fully explored. Most 
gamers have a few drawings and adventure ideas hidden in old folders. 
Shared Universes is an attempt to give this raw undeveloped talent a place 
to go, to grow, to be seen, and to communicate.  In Shared Universes, 
like-minded artists band together, for inspiration and support, in 
organizational units called journey groups. Players may decide to work on 
group projects together called, appropriately, shared universes. Artifacts, 
such as drawings and stories, not only have their own intrinsic value but 
also contribute to a larger work of art, the shared universe. As players 
build up their portfolios and the groups archives grow, the players and the 
group will move onto continually more sophisticated and fulfilling projects.
Shared Universes is a gaming system that provides players with a framework 
in which to create their own art and literature. The rules give guidelines 
and starting points for the creative process. Players are not just playing 
a game, they are producing permanent records of their ideas in writing and 
in art. As players refine their skills the game becomes richer and more 
rewarding.

The Journey:   All players are considered to be on a journey.  A journey 
of imagination, self exploration, learning, creating, experience, ideas, 
growth, sharing, and mastery.  

Journey Names:   Every player should take a journey name. These names 
should be descriptive and fanciful. Some examples include: Earthborn, 
Starbright, Dreamdancer, Lost Angel, Birdman. The journey name is one of 
the players' many alter egos. Players should draw a picture of the 
physical incarnation of their journey name. A player, of course, may use 
different names for different journeys.

Journey Groups:   Every artist and writer needs an audience. This is the 
primary function of the journey group. Groups may be composed of just 
several friends or they may be larger, community based, clubs or 
organizations. Journey groups are called J-groups for short.

Journey Group Names:   Every journey group should give itself a name. Some 
sample names: The Ghost Writers; Anonymous Artists Political Action Group; 
Sidereal Messengers; Prometheans; The Underground; Undead Poets Society; 
The Fellowship; Futurians; Tech Hombres Gang; The Journeymen.

Journey Sessions:   When a journey group meets it is called a session. 
Formal sessions may occur once a week, once a month, or whenever 
convenient. A session is broken down into two main parts: show and tell, 
and brainstorming. During show and tell, players take turns showing off 
and reading out loud whatever art and writing they have done since the 
previous session. During brainstorming players work on group projects and 
give feedback about each others personal projects.

Guardian of Knowledge:   Abbreviated GK, this individual is the groups' 
leader, organizer, record keeper, and judge. The actual responsibilities 
of the GK may be spread among several people. This position has more 
responsibility than authority as most decisions of a group will be arrived 
at democratically. 


The role of the GK includes the following tasks:
-Inspire players
-Maintain interest or call for a change of topic 
-Mediate disputes; Keep the peace; Negotiate compromises
-Call Votes
-Award Story Teller Points
-Offer suggestions and advice
-Maintain the archives
-Provide focus and organization if and where it is needed.

Artifacts:   Artifacts are another name for anything created for a journey 
universe. Drawings, songs, stories, and jewelry are all artifacts. 
Artifacts also include events such as performances and festivals.

Special Projects:   A player or group may decide to do a special project.  
Special projects, in the most general sense, are collections of artifacts, 
usually with a unifying purpose or theme, displayed together. An example of 
a special project would be a series of books, each containing a collection 
of short stories and illustrations.  A special project may incorporate work 
from many universes.

Universes:   The concept of the ‘Universe' is central to the Shared 
Universes game. A universe is simply a fictional background that players 
use as a framework for creating artifacts.  Artifacts help to detail a 
universe and detailed universe gives inspiration for the creation of more 
artifacts. Imagination is the only limit to the number of possible 
universes. Universes may be of several types: shared, closed, personal, and 
parallel.

Shared Universe:   Everyone in the journey group may use a shared 
universe.  The GK may keep a file in which anyone who wishes may keep a 
copy of their work.  All players should have full access to the GKs Shared 
universe files.   

Closed Universe:   In this universe only certain people may contribute 
under certain conditions. Players should make a charter document detailing 
who has access to the universe. 

Personal Universe:   This includes very personal, private work of a single 
player. 

Parallel Universe:   This is material that supplements another universe 
but is kept separate for whatever reason. For example, if a player creates 
an artifact for a specific universe and the other players do not feel it 
belongs there, the GK may decide to put the artifact in a parallel universe 
file.  The most common use for a parallel universe is as a place to keep 
rough draft material which will outnumber finished artifacts.

Archives:   An archive is a collection of artifacts. Players will have 
their own personal archives and the GK will keep the journey groups 
archives.  Artifacts of a single universe may be kept together in what is 
known as a single "library".  To help keep the archives organized, 
individual artifacts should be recorded, cataloged, and labeled with the 
creators name, the date of creation, the artifacts title, the universe it 
was created for and any other important information.

Possession:   They say possession is nine tenths of the law. No player is 
under any compulsion to give their work to another player. Avoid potential 
problems by making copies of your work. Players should avoid plagiarizing 
published authors. Always include references and credits where necessary.

Story Teller Points:   Story teller points or STPs are an abstract measure 
of productivity, quality, and ideas generated by players. The GK awards 
STPs either during or after a Journey session. The GK's award may be 
influenced by players opinions.  Players keep track of their STP totals 
from session to session. As players accumulate STPs they increase in level 
and corresponding title. An artifact may be used to acquire points only 
once in a particular Journey group. If a player belongs to more than one 
group that player will have different STP totals and ranks in each.

Awarding Story Teller Points:
1 for attending a Journey session
1 for being a GK at a Journey session
1 for a quick Sketch 
1+ for a Poem, story outline, or character concept
1+ per page of writing
1+ for a really good idea
1+ for creating a new Universe
5+ for a detailed Illustration
5+ for a Short Story or Essay
5+ for a game design or set of RPG rules
10+ for a detailed Painting
20+ for a Book or Novel
5+ for a Comic Strip
1+ for a Photograph
5+ for completing a special project
1-20+ for Craft items: Metalwork, Sculpture, Jewelry, Glass, Costumes, Clothing, etc
5+ for Acting, Orations, Speeches, Monologues
10+ for putting on a Play, Concert, or Festival
5+ for a Song or Instrumental piece
10+ for an Album or Video
1+ for attending Craft or Renaissance Fairs
1+ for selling an Artifact
10+ for having your work published or displayed in public
10+ for having your own Webpage
1+ for every 1,000 hits
A single artifact or project may acquire points in several categories.  

STP Rank & Title Table:
STPs		RANK		TITLE
0		0		Initiate
100		1		Novice
200		2		Aspirant
400		3		Adept
800		4		Artisan
1200		5		Artist
2000		6		Seeker
3000		7		Loremaster
4000		8		Dreamspeaker
5000		9		Shaman
6000		10		Oracle

Journey Roleplaying & Storytelling Resolution:  Many of the shared 
universes will, after some development, become ripe settings for 
roleplaying.  In Shared Universes style roleplaying the distinction between 
players and game master is blurred.  Players are collectively creating a 
story and have some control over all elements of the story.  Players 
resolve events, actions, and plot lines by debating what result would be 
the most dramatic and appropriate to the story.  If it improves the story, 
players may change events that occurred earlier.  


SHARED UNIVERSES The following universes are available as starting points to any player and any group. These suggestions are by no means exhaustive. Discover and explore new universes: ANIME MAYHEM Japanese animation is sterotypically postapocalyptic, violent and intensely sexual. Common elements include big eyes and transformers. Players may enjoy taking turns drawing sequential scenes for an action sequence. Artifacts: Character sketches; Storylines; Technical diagrams; Haikus; Film festivals; and of course, merchandising. FANTASY ARMIES Two player-generals draw 10 or more units that are in their armies. The GK draws a map of the battlefield. Other players determine the result of the confrontation. Artifacts: First hand written accounts of the battle by soldiers and commanders; maps depicting troop movements; General's battle plans; Historian's notes; and drawings of the battle in progress. PERSONAL MYTHOLOGY This concept is best suited for a personal universe. Examine your own psychological landscape. Depict personal problems as battles between heros and monsters. Transform places in the real world into legendary lands. People become gods and titans. Goals become quests. Sorrow becomes the destruction of nations. Anger becomes earthquakes and tidal waves. Obstacles become mountains. Love is a golden age. Minutes become eras of a thousand years. Artifacts of this soul searching include: Poetry; Fables; Pantheons; and fine art. MYSTIC JOURNEYS Players create artifacts with mystical, occult, spiritual and religious themes. The goal is for players to create a personal religion for themselves. Through the meditative and reflective act of creating artifacts players discover what they really believe in. Artifacts: Rituals; Holy symbols; Scriptures on Universal truths, Mans relationship to the universe, the structure of the cosmos, Self actualization, and the nature of God. ART HISTORY Get Some books on an artist, such as Picasso. First try duplicating some of their paintings, then try making some new paintings in the same style. This journey will be the most rewarding if the players have adequate supplies (paints, brushes, canvasses) on hand. STELLAR LANDSCAPES Draw, or preferably, paint a landscape of one of the planets or moons in our solar system. Some are rocky, some are volcanic, some are icy, some have atmospheres, some do not. This journey will be most rewarding if you first do some research on the heavenly bodies you are depicting. From Triton you can see the rings of Saturn. If you run out of places in our solar system do landscapes of alien planets. FLOORPLANS OF A SPACESHIP Make a detailed technical diagram. Types of ships might include: research vessels, space stations, colony ships, fighters, battleships, world ships. If everyone in the group does a few, you may have enough for a whole fleet. Tie this in with Space Fury. Artifacts: Captains logs; Ship recognition manuals; Histories of each ship class. INN OF THE GOURMET GORGON The Inn is located in Findell, a fantasy realm filled with magical creatures of every description. The house specialty is Dragontail steak and Fireberry wine. Artifacts: Menus; Recipes; Actual edible meals; Bistro magic; and short stories. LANTASIA A classic fantasy realm complete with elves, dwarves, orcs, wizards, knights, dragons, and mighty spells. FANTASTIC ARCHITECTURE Using the laws of physics, magic, and aesthetics, players design buildings. Mix ancient with modern styles. Experiment with materials, cultures, and locations. Artifacts: Exterior and interior views; Floorplans. FUTURE HISTORY Players speculate about what changes in science, medicine, technology, transportation, culture, government, art, sports, computers, agriculture, energy, entertainment, economics, work, and human evolution will occur in the next 25, 50, 75, 100, 200, 500, 1000 years. Artifacts: Essays; Histories; Timelines. DREAM LOGS Players make records of their dreams. After doing this for awhile players might try lucid dreaming. Artifacts: Dream journals; Dream catchers RAYGUNS & ROCKETSLEDS This universe is straight from 1930's science fiction comics. Be sure to include bubble helmets, jetpacks, and cliffhangers. Artifacts: Serial adventure comics. GIANT ASPARAGUS FROM PLANET X This universe is that of the 1950's B-movies. Common elements include: earth invasions, mutant monsters, and mad scientists. Artifacts: Movie posters; Short films in black and white. KUNG FU FIGHTERS This universe is that of contemporary martial arts movies and arcade games. Common elements include gratuitous death and special moves. Artifacts: Character descriptions, high scores. EXPLORERS Human exploration of the galaxy is still incomplete after hundreds of years of missions. The history logs are filled with thousands of incredible accounts of first contacts. This shared universe is particularly good for short stories. Artifacts: Survey crew logs. PRIMEA An alternate universe of human and dinosaur evolution on planet Earth. Dinosaurs still exist and several races of hominids have built civilizations. The cities of Cro-Magnon, Homo Erectus and the Neanderthals live in a delicate balance of competition and coexistence. Artifacts: Maps; Descriptions of the relationships between the races of man; Dinosaur based technology. CHILDRENS BOOKS Players create stories and illustrations for childrens books and fables. A lot of great art has been created since the mid 1800's for childrens books. Artifacts: Illustrated Fairy tales. UNDERGROUND This is the universe of 1960's under-ground comix. Common themes are sex, drugs, rock n roll, changing morals, psychedelia, political protest, and dark humor. Players should experiment with the possibilities of the comix format. CITY PLANNER Players design in detail a utopian city that they create using current technology. This should also include the cities government and legal system. NATURALISTS Players make collections of natural phenomenon. This can turn into a very satisfying pastime and a nice change from wargames. Artifacts: Rock and crystal collections; Pressed leaves; Insects; Seashells; Bird watching; Camping trips; fishing trips. BEATNIK SCENE Players dress in black, make some coffee, and read some homegrown poetry. As extra incentive give the hippest cat a prize, dig. Make sure to have some jazz in the background. FILKING Players write songs and music for their favorite novels. This is a sign of a real fan. SCIENCE FANTASY THEATER Costumed players enact scenes from their favorite works of fiction. Big STP's for this category, especially for long performances. DRAGONBAIT Do a RPG in a cartoon style with gags, puns, mayhem, and punchlines. Artifacts: Character sketches, strips. NOVA A science fiction universe where human empires fight using every weapon of war and every form of treachery at their disposal. HISTORIAN Players do projects using their favorite historical period as subject matter. This may require some research. The possibilities for Historical Roleplaying are very rich. MUTOG This universe details the years and centuries on planet earth after a nuclear holocaust. Menaces include radiation, mutants, and rebuilding civilization. HORROR SHOW Save your scariest and strangest stuff for this universe. Stories may or may not be unconnected. CONSPIRACIES In this universe there is some truth behind most conspiracy theories. Watch your back. THE PUZZLING Players create mathematical, word, and visual puzzles to confound each other. BROKEN LANDS The broken lands is a fantasy setting populated with savage barbarians, beautiful amazons, foul beasts, filthy cities, constant warfare, and exotic locations. Magic is ritualistic and diabolic. This is a good universe for artists who love drawing muscles, and writers who love describing fierce, grisly combats. D-TRAVELERS D-Travelers is a universe in which dimension travelers have both high tech and magic at their disposal. SUPERHEROS A universe where super heros and supervillans are behind every nook and cranny. CYBERPUNK In the not so distant future EROTICA Players Artifacts: Drawings, Letters, Photos, Sculpture, Experiences. LOVE BONDS This is a closed universe shared by two lovers. HISTORICAL WHAT IFs Players recreate history. What if the Roman Empire did not fall? NEW SPORT Players design a new type of team sport. Artifacts: Rules; Playing equipment; Demonstration game. ANATONOMY Players produce artifacts describing human, animal and monstrous figures. SCAVENGER HUNT The GK creates an elaborate scavenger hunt, puzzle or mystery for the players to solve. COSMIC BALANCE Demons, Titans, Gods, Deities, and Avatars are locked in an eternal struggle for control of the multiverse. Artifacts: Epics ALL THE QUEENS MEN Set in the Victorian era, intrepid English scientists and their companions explore the hollow earth, the planets, and other fantastic places. VEHICLES Players produce designs for fantastic vehicles. Artifacts: Blueprints WESTERNS Players pay tribute to the legends of the old west. COMPUTER ART Players produce artwork using computers. THE SIMULATORS What do humans of the 5th millennium do for entertainment? They engage in highly elaborate holographic simulations. The simulation controllers easily mix historical and fantastic elements in the most bizarre combinations possible. Roleplayers will often find themselves in very awkward situations. GAME DESIGNERS NOTES This 'gaming system' was written before the advent of the Internet & the Web. LINKS Star Shield RPG Guardians of Knowlege Matrix Gaming A better way to game Blakes 7 RPG Sample online Matrix Game The World of Slobbovia Example of a Shared Universe




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