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On A Boat: Ad-Hoc RPG Velvet Sundown

At last: Eldorado, the MMO

Our post about The Ship giving away all the ships for free prompted lovely Wired UK chap (and writer of our Sim City 2000 retrospective) Duncan Geere to mention Velvet Sundown. And thus, there was yet another ship. This is one of a slate of short story-like online roleplaying games from Finnish outfit Stagecraft that throw away the numbers and the NPCs, and focus purely on players inhabiting their characters. Velvet Sundown specifically is set on board a luxury yacht, with each player assuming the role of one of its passengers.

Crime, romance, the trading of poetry and wearing sunglasses indoors: my sense of it from the video below and Duncan’s write-up was of a cross between the ad-hoc storytelling of Sleep is Death and the cheesy melodrama of a late-80s US soap opera starring rich people with too much make-up and over-large shoulderpads.

It’s the first of a planned series of DIY storytelling games called Stagecraft. These freeform seabound tales of love, duplicity and hiding in closets to take around an hour each, with five players involved. While there’s something of an open brief, there are set objectives (and, eventually, timed events will be introduced) – but it’s up to you how to achieve them, and to use a gilded tongue to convince others to help out.

Of course, much depends on how adept at writing and conjuring up scenarios and backstories said five players are: like any good session of AD&D, you’ll no doubt enjoy the experience if you approach it in the company of imaginative colleagues.

Velvet Sundown is due for a 2012 release, but you can beg for beta access now. I’ll see if I can get team RPS on there, just so we have somewhere else to flirt with each other.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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