A million years from now, humanity has spread throughout the galaxy and taken countless forms. Your House has seen empires rise and fall like the cresting of waves. You wander the stars as fast as light allows, immortal in your sleeper ships skipping across centuries. But something new has been found. Will you remain who you are, or, at long last, change?
Archives of the Sky is a new tabletop storytelling game from award-winning digital games designer Aaron A. Reed, inspired by the epic science fiction of authors like Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter. Players will face dilemmas on an epic scope that put long-held values into conflict. In the tradition of diceless, GM-less games like Polaris, Microscope, and Downfall, the focus of Archives is on collaborative creation, character-driven roleplaying, and building a satisfying narrative together.
Adam: OK, I think I'm ready to Narrate. Dale, you're Epic, and Brenda, you're Intimate, right? (They concur.) Right. So we're on the bridge of the ship, and Anaria has summoned everyone, so we're all here. She says "I think we should send a probe down into the gas giant to investigate what's up with the Hunt."
Dale (as Delos): "A probe? Why don't we just take the ship down ourselves? It can stand the pressure."
Celia: Ooh, nice Epic-ing.
Brenda (as Brin): "I don't know. Seems dangerous to me."
(They argue back and forth for a bit, but Adam really wants this to happen.)
Adam (Correcting): But in the end, Anaria convinced Brin that it was worth the danger.
Brenda (throwing her hands up): Don't say I didn't warn you!
Adam: Great. So the ship descends into the thick storms of the gas giant.
Dale (being Epic): These are storms that could swallow entire planets. Spears of lightning miles long pierce the gloom. It gets darker and darker.
Brenda (being Intimate): Brin doesn't tell anyone, but she's frightened. She doesn't like it down here. She grabs Chen's hand for comfort.
Celia: Chen whispers, "Don't worry. Anaria's the best pilot in our House."
Adam: Suddenly, Anaria points to a speck on the viewscreen. "There—what's that?"
Celia: The Saurians?!
Adam (Correcting again): But when they got closer, Chen realized it couldn't be one of the Saurians. It was far too small and had no life signatures. In fact, it was a single humanoid robot, spinning lifeless in the gas giant's storms. Anaria used the grappling hooks to pull it into the isolation tank.
Brenda (being Intimate): The feel of the grapples in her hands, the little servo twiches and quiet whines, is a familiar comfort.
Adam: Everyone rushes to the isolation room to examine it.
Brenda: "What is it?"
Celia: "I think we're about to find out."
Adam: Yes, they did. For as soon as they got into the room, it was clear the robot was a member of the Core.
Celia: Ooh, that's not good for Chen's Value "I hate machines".
Brenda (being Intimate): No, no it isn't. What does Chen think about this development?
Celia: Cold fury. It's been millennia, but she hasn't forgotten what the Core did to her people. She'll never forget.
Dale: Delos is oblivious to this. "What's the Core doing here?"
Brenda (as Brin): "Maybe they're interfering with the Hunt. But why?"
Adam: OK, I think that's the scene. My action is Complicate, and I'm replacing the Question "Why is the Hunt so legendary this cycle?" with "Why is the Core interfering with the Hunt?"
Brenda: Great. I'm Narrator next, right? I have a great idea for a scene. I want to play Threaten a Value on Chen. So you're there, viciously dissecting this robot, when Delos walks in...