Temet Nosce Prequels: The Pilot Episode

One of our priorities at Temet Nosce Larp is providing strong expectation management. We do better at this in some areas than others, and the feedback after our first prequel, Children of Earth: Grand Assembly illustrated where we needed to expand our expectation management and communication.

We are running four prequel events, each centering on a different primary world in the Temet Nosce universe. The first, Grand Assembly, focused on the Children of Earth. The second event is January 27, 2018 and centers around the Fanseeth; registration for The Darkest Space is open now. Operation: ReForge, all about the Etamui, is scheduled for March 31, 2018; the as-yet unnamed Nurani game is planned for sometime in summer 2018.

The purpose of the prequel games is multi-fold:

  1. Set up the story for the main event: a short series of beta events in 2018, and then the official opening of Temet Nosce after the beta events are complete.
  2. Establish player culture through workshops, debriefs, and story-intensive events.
  3. Provide an opportunity for players to have an in-depth experience with all four worlds so as to better understand the setting and get a feel for what they want to play long-term.
  4. Elaborate on and worldbuild the four different worlds, and provide an opportunity for players to invest in and contribute to the worldbuilding.

In this post, I’m going to elaborate on the first point: setting up the story.

A player commented that Grand Assembly felt much like the pilot episode of a sci-fi television series: setting the stage for future episodes, providing glimpses of a greater threat, revealing the presence of mysteries but not solving them. This is a perfect metaphor for exactly what the prequel events are intended to be.

The four prequels can be seen as a four-part pilot episode for Temet Nosce.

“Television networks use pilots to discover whether an entertaining concept can be successfully realized. After seeing this sample of the proposed product, networks will then determine whether the expense of additional episodes is justified. They are best thought of as prototypes of the show that is to follow, because elements often change from pilot to series.” –Wikipedia

The prequels are both episodic (fully closed stories with their own arc) and serial (setting up an overarching story). You should be able to complete your character’s story arc within the single episode of the prequel, as these are not designed to be repeatable characters, but the arc of the setting will not be closed in the prequel.

As an example: in Grand Assembly, the gathered Children of Earth from three different ships and factions arrived, met each other, traded stories along with futures, options, and stocks, developed romances, and arranged transfers between ships.Two characters died during the Grand Assembly and a memorial service was held for them. The Assembly ended with an announcement of the new trade routes for each ship. The episode arc was the Grand Assembly itself.

However, mysteries were building in the background. Reports trickled in of ships lost in space: missing ships, or ships that showed up with their entire crew missing, or ships with their entire crew braindead and comatose, all across the outskirts of the major star systems. There was no resolution to this in the episode itself, and there was no way to figure out what was behind these strange tragic events. That was intentional; this creeping mystery is a setup for future games.

In The Darkest Space, expect there to be both an episode arc and the setup for the serial arc. There will be mysteries you can’t solve neatly in a single episode, and there will be problems you can solve within the episode. Look, however, to your character’s arc, as you have the power to choose much of what that single-episode character story entails. What do you want to accomplish in that time? What experiences do you want to have? Work with your fellow players to work towards those goals. Or, if you’re more of a seat-of-your-pants sort of player, just play with what comes up in the moment of the game, though we strongly recommend at least planning some character dynamics with your fellow players ahead of time!